HOPE POWELL, the manager of the England women’s team, has emerged as a shock contender to take charge of League Two Grimsby in what would be an historic appointment.<br /><br />No woman has ever managed a Football League club before but Powell, who has coached the national team for 11 years, is believed to be in the frame for the vacancy. Grimsby sacked Mike Newell at the weekend after defeat to Rochdale left the Mariners one place off the bottom of the game’s fourth tier.<br /><br />Powell, 42, has said she would like to manage a men’s team and the League Managers Association yesterday backed her to make the transition. However her employers the Football Association insisted she had not been approached by Grimsby.<br /><br />“Why shouldn’t she join the men’s game?” said LMA chief executive Richard Bevan. “Hope has done a fantastic job with England, but I’m not sure the FA would want to let her go.”<br /><br />An FA spokesman said: “Hope Powell has not been approached. As far as we are concerned there’s absolutely nothing in this story.”<br /><br />Powell became the first woman to be awarded the UEFA Pro Licence – the game’s highest coaching qualification – in 2003 and earlier this year led England to the final of the European Championships.<br /><br />Of managing a men’s team, Powell said in 2007: “I wouldn’t rule it out. Could I do it? Without a doubt.”<br /><br />Women are virtually absent from the men’s game, with former Birmingham managing director Karren Brady and a handful of match officials the only exceptions. Powell is already one of the few black coaches.