A real rarity in the Football League: A week has gone by without a manager sacking. Although the possible new owner at Leeds Massimo Cellino tried his hardest to remove Brian McDermott. Without any manager sackings this week we focus on some of the Football League’s under pressure bosses and candidates for vacant posts, before trying to sum up the situation at Leeds.
Dougie Freedman – Bolton Wanderers
The proverbial wheels are on the way off of the Bolton bus if recent results are anything to go by. Wanderers are without a league win in six games and have picked up just two points in that time. An embarrassing 7-1 mauling at Reading was a real low point in the season. Overall they have had a disappointing season thus far other than a spell of improvement over October and November, where they remained unbeaten winning four games and drawing four in the eight game run. Currently they sit perilously above the relegation zone in 20th place and just four points clear with an extra game played over the bottom three. Freedman has said that he is “not concerned” by his sides poor league position, but following the sale of David Ngog to Swansea they are a striker light. Pressure is building on Freedman with relegation to the third tier unthinkable for a club that just a few years ago were a Premier League regular.
Phil Parkinson – Bradford City
As a football fan myself I have developed an empathy and sympathy for managers; under no circumstance do I feel that Phil Parkinson deserves to be sacked after the great job he has done at Bradford. Looking at the facts of what Parkinson has achieved at Bradford and it is an envious record. He took a fourth tier team to the league cup final, a feet which had not been achieved before since 1962. As we know it ended in defeat, however it was an incredible achievement and the team went on to win promotion to League One in the same season. Unfortunately the sentiment has been firmly kicked out of football. Bradford have picked up one league victory since October and that came in November. After such a promising start to the season it has gone badly downhill and although the Bantams appear safe in middle table they are only seven points clear of the relegation zone with some teams still having twenty league games left. Like I say every part of me feels Parkinson should not even be in contention for the sack, but the footballing cliché that it is a results business is coming more and more true year on year.
Gareth Ainsworth – Wycombe Wanderers
Wycombe are currently one of several teams who are at risk of falling out of the football league; Wanderers sit just one point clear of the drop zone, but more alarmingly the club have just one league win since mid-October. Gareth Ainsworth has become a modern club legend at Wycombe having played over 100 times for the club, before taking over as caretaker manager in September 2012 and taking the job on a permanent basis in November that season. Under his guidance the club steered clear of relegation, but this year has not seen things get any better for the Chairboys. Four straight home defeats has seen the side lose confidence and they go into the game against the improved Accrington Stanley knowing that if it becomes five defeats in a row at Adams Park, Ainsworth could be on his way out of the club.
Blackpool, Oxford and Shrewsbury – Vacant
All three of these manager-less sides seem no closer to appointing a new manager. Blackpool are still on the slide down the Championship table with a draw and two further defeats meaning the Tangerines have now gone twelve league games without a win and picked up just two points from a possible thirty-six. Barry Ferguson is still the odds on favourite whilst Paul Hartley and Owen Coyle remain contenders according to the bookies.
Sky Bet odds: Barry Ferguson 1/5 Paul Hartley 5/1 Owen Coyle 10/1 Lee Clark 14/1 (Stan James)
Oxford appear to be unaffected by the departure of long serving manager Chris Wilder as he took up the post at Northampton. The U’s have remained unbeaten in their three games under caretaker Mickey Lewis who is a contender to take over full time as the Kassam stadium. However, Accrington boss James Beattie has shortened to favourite at 2/1 with most bookies.
Sky Bet odds: James Beattie 2/1 Kevin Keen 9/4 Mickey Lewis 7/2 Martin Allen 10/1
Shrewsbury have remained indifferent since the resignation of Graham Turner after a long and illustrious career in management. The Shrews are still fixed in the bottom four and need to appoint the right man soon or they could return to League Two after a brief spell in the third tier. Sean O’Driscoll remains the bookies favourite although there seems to have been no talks between the two parties as of yet.
Sky Bet odds: Sean O’Driscoll Evens Mike Jackson 2/1 Robbie Fowler 8/1 John Trewick 20/1
Brain McDermott – Leeds – Gone and back again
Four days on from the weekend and I am still quite not sure what transpired at Elland Road. Friday night McDermott was gone. Monday morning he was back taking training as if nothing at happen. Not quite as you were though. The events that took place have left scars at the heart of the club that will never heal. I have no doubt the team will overcome the on the pitch struggles if McDermott remains at the helm if or when there is a change of ownership. However, the fans have reached a new level on anger to the financial and organisational issues in the boardroom at the club. Rightly so as well. For years these supporters have seen the club dragged through the mud by fat cats and money launderers who would happily blood the club of it’s final penny. The Football League and their fit and proper persons test has to take some responsibility and we can hope that Leeds fans get an owner fitting of the clubs great history soon.