After Tony Mowbray departed Middlesbrough yesterday, Josh McLoughlin looks at other managers finding themselves under pressure in the Football League.
Tony Mowbray became the second manager in the Championship this season to lose his job after Nigel Clough. Mowbray had been at ‘Boro for three years, a considerably long time compared to most. However not enough progress had been made, and the disastrous decline since the turn of the year has led the Teeside club to look elsewhere.
With the season well underway now, there are other managers who are under pressure and below are five managers who will need results to pick up soon.
Dougie Freedman – Bolton Wanderers
The former Crystal Palace manager took over from Owen Coyle last year, and led Bolton to 7th place in the Championship narrowly missing out on the play-offs on the last day. The Trotters form dramatically turned around under Freedman, and due to this they were one of the favourites for this season. The signing of Jermaine Beckford further enhanced their potential and much was expected from them this season. However Bolton have got off to a false start and have only won one of the first 12 league games of the season. They currently occupy 21st place with nine points. A small encouragement is that they aren’t losing every week by a huge scoreline, most of their games have been tight. If they had been able to convert some of their six draws into wins they would be a lot further up the table. As things stand they are 13 points off the play-offs and with only 10 goals scored, improvements will be demanded.
Dave Jones – Sheffield Wednesday
The only club to be without a win in the Championship at the moment. Jones failed to add much talent to his squad in the summer, especially in the striking department. His side have suffered due to this, scoring only 11 goals. Last season they had both Connor Wickham and Leroy Lita on loan, and it was hoped that at least one of them would return. Gary Madine has since been sentenced to jail, and they are very low on numbers up front. Matty Fryatt joined on loan from Hull and he will need to start firing. Again Wednesday haven’t been losing a lot of their games like Bolton and have seven draws. But the longer time goes on without a win, the more the pressure increases. One of the biggest clubs in the league, with one of the biggest stadiums, fans will be expecting a lot more, despite it only being their second season back in the Championship. Three back to back draws though shows promising signs that the Owls can turn the corner.
Sean O’Driscoll – Bristol City
Another side to be without a win yet this season, Bristol City were expected to be challenging for a return to the Championship this season. Instead they currently find themselves in a relegation battle in League 1. O’Driscoll has received backing from the board. Vice chairman Jon Landsdown has said that it takes time to get a team to play how the manager wants. Sean has been there since January though. He seemed like a good appointment for the club, he knows the Football League well, and was unfairly sacked last season after having a good start to the season with Nottingham Forest. He has some great players available to him; Nicky Shorey, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, and Sam Baldock are all more than capable of playing in the league above. Again another big club for this league, but they currently find themselves at the bottom of the table. It is still very tight at the bottom, and the first win would be a huge monkey off O’Driscoll’s back.
Aidy Boothroyd – Northampton Town
Northampton seem to be suffering from the effects of a play-off final defeat to Bradford City last season. They had a great season then, and Boothroyd’s side had looked to be one of the favourites for this season too. They did lose talisman Adebayo Akinfenwa to Gillingham and goals have been hard to come by for The Cobblers this season. They only have one player who has scored more than one goal so far, Roy O’Donovan. Despite having experienced pro’s such as Matt Duke, Darren Carter and Kelvin Langmead they find themselves in 23rd place in League 2. They have only one win at Sixfields this season, and Boothroyd will need results to improve. He is a manager who is more than capable though, having led Watford into the Premier League in his first managerial job. I think The Cobblers would find it hard to find a good replacement for Boothroyd, and I think he will manage to guide the team up the table.
John Sheridan – Plymouth Argyle
Plymouth have been through a lot of drama off the Football pitch in recent seasons, and some will be glad they still exist. However they will have been expecting a better start to the season. Sheridan’s men are currently without a win in seven games, and on Saturday lost to 10-man Hartlepool United. It has led to Sheridan himself saying that he knows his job is on the line. It is by no coincidence that all the clubs mentioned in this article are struggling for goals, and the Pilgrims are perhaps the worst culprits. They have only scored eight league goals this season, but have still managed 11 points from this. Given that they have obviously been able to grind out results, if they can manage to convert their chances more often, then they should be ok. They have been through a lot and perhaps Sheridan could do with a statement from the board backing him and the long-term project. Not necessarily the dreaded vote of confidence though.