In a new weekly feature, Championship editor Jason Lewis takes a look at managers under pressure and possible appointments in the coming weeks in the Football League. So far this season no fewer than eighteen Football League clubs have parted company with their managers and this is the place to get the inside track on who might be next.
Sheffield Wednesday – Stuart Gray
We start the new feature with an appointment that some Wednesday fans have been crying out for, for weeks. Stuart Gray took caretaker charge at the Owls after Dave Jones was sacked back at the start of December. Calls for Gray to take over were voiced further after he oversaw the clubs 6-0 demolition of Yorkshire rivals Leeds on Saturday. Chairman Milan Mandaric told BBC Radio Sheffield before the New Year “We’ll give Stuart another two games and see how he gets on”. Since then Wednesday have won both of their Championship fixtures and got past Macclesfield in the third round of the FA Cup via a replay on Tuesday evening. Gray has shown what he can do and the ball is firmly in Mandaric’s court. The fans have made their voices heard and would be more than happy for Gray to take charge. Bookies have showed their hand suspending betting on the new boss. Expect Gray to be named in the next couple of days.
Northampton Town – Vacant
Credit has to be given to the Northampton board. They gave Aidy Boothroyd a lot longer to turn things around for the Cobblers than most clubs would. It all became too much though and chairman David Cardoza felt he needed to take action with Town fixed to the bottom of the table and give them as much chance as possible to remain in the Football League, sacking Boothroyd before Christmas. Therefore, three and a half weeks have passed and Northampton are still without a permanent manager with Andy King in caretaker charge. Cardoza has said he is going to remain patient and he is content with the job King is doing. Today, Martin Allen has publicly come out and said he is interested in the job. Allen was relieved of his duties at Gillingham earlier in the season. King remains the bookies’ favourite, whilst Colin Calderwood’s odds are shortening. The surprise appointment would be be Paolo Di Canio, he is just 7/2 with Sky bet.
Sky bet latest odds
Andy King 6/4
Colin Calderwood 3/1
Paolo Di Canio 7/2
Steve Burr 6/1
Martin Allen 25/1
Blackpool – Paul Ince
The self-proclaimed ‘guvnor’ remains upbeat telling the press he does not feel under pressure. Everyone else in the football world seems to think otherwise. Blackpool have picked up just one point from the twenty-four available in their last eight Championship games and are without a league win since November. The Tangerines also crashed out of the third round of the FA Cup away at Bolton leaving just an uninspiring league position to improve on. After an incredible start to the season there were whispers of promotion, but they are long gone now replaced with fears of relegation. Ince has the ability to get Blackpool out of the deep hole they are in, however he may not be given the chance if chairman Karl Oytsen feels the Championship trapdoor is looming.
Stevenage – Graham Westley
On Tuesday night Stevenage got a long awaited victory in the form of a 2-0 home win over Swindon. It was however, Boro’s first win since November and they remain rooted to the bottom of the League 1 table three points away from safety. For some it will seem inconceivable for Westley to be sacked, but football has become a results business and with just six wins all season the pressure is building at Broadhall Way. In his second spell at the club after a failed spell in charge of Preston North End, Westley would have been set a target of remaining in League One and this is proving a struggle at present. In his first spell at the club he became a club legend winning the FA trophy in 2009, before back to back promotions took the club from the Conference into the Football League for the first time and up into the third tier. Despite this, Westley will have to improve results if he wants to remain in charge at a club that he has had much success at in the recent past.