Peach’s Picks: Five managers under pressure…

Since the season's start, half of the clubs in the Championship have had a change in their dugouts. That's 12 clubs with new bosses in the last four months. So who will be next to make a switch? Justin Peach discusses…

Justin Peach

This season has seen a ridiculous number of managers lose or change jobs in the Championship.

Alex Neil, who took charge of Stoke in August, is now the 13th longest-serving in the division and we’re less than halfway through the season.

It’s madness, but not entirely unexpected.

The World Cup break has no doubt prompted several clubs to change managers due to the vast amount of time between games.

This has ensured that new managers will get plenty of time to work with their squads, which seems entirely logical.

On the other hand, some managers have been sacked that perhaps shouldn’t have been – look at messrs Steve Morison, Rob Edwards and maybe even Steve Bruce.

Only joking about that last one, he was a bit terrible.

Anyway, with all these changes in mind, I’ve taken a look at five managers who might find themselves under pressure going into the second half of the season and those who might be at risk of losing their job…

Dean Smith (Norwich City)

Dean Smith’s Norwich sit in fifth ahead of the return to football in the coming weeks.

However, in the eyes of many that may not be enough.

Fan unrest has been growing in the lead-up to the World Cup break with Smith doing very little to curb that tide after a run of only two victories in their last 10 games.

His side are nine points off table toppers Burnley and have seemingly taken two steps backwards after their relegation from the Premier League last term.

The form of certain individuals has seemingly stalled with the likes of Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell looking like shadows of their former selves.

Smith will know he must do better, and reducing the number of points his team drops is a major priority, especially considering they’re just as close to the bottom three as they are to the top spot when it comes to points.

Should he get off to a poor start after the restart, Smith could find himself out of a job by Christmas.

Michael Appleton (Blackpool)

There’s an argument to be made about Appleton being lucky to still have a job at Bloomfield Road.

His side have collected just 22 points this season and went into the international break on the back of four straight losses.

Couple that with the second-highest xG conceded in the league, and it’s hard to see it improving.

They’ve regressed since Neil Critchley left as they were a relatively solid side under the former Liverpool coach.

But the Tangerines now closely resemble a broken sieve in their current state.

Injuries haven’t helped their cause this season, but Appleton’s management hasn’t either.

Benching Daniel Grimshaw was one of those bizarre decisions which will not help fan attitude towards him.

Nigel Pearson (Bristol City)

After asking several Bristol City supporters about their opinions on Pearson, it seems the room is split.

Some want him gone, some recognise the tough job he’s done and continues to do.

I sit in towards the latter, but also recognise the potential need for the Robins to change things up.

There is a good squad that has a number of injuries, but it’s certainly better than another lower mid-table finish and should the club finish anything lower than 13th, it will represent another disappointing season.

Not only that but the old habits under Pearson have not been sorted.

Dropping points from winning positions has been a chronic issue and so has a leaky defence.

Neither issues are yet to be rectified by one of the EFL’s most experienced managers, something that could count against him in the coming weeks.

Mark Hudson (Cardiff City)

Hudson has been dealt a tough hand mainly because the owners have under-equipped the squad and completely ignored what it’s needed.

Goals are expensive, and the club tried to rectify that issue by bringing in Callum Robinson.

But relying heavily on an attacker who has yet to score more than 13 goals in a season was a risk that is currently not paying off.

Hudson is inexperienced and poorly equipped due to absent ownership, and is at risk of losing his job purely because of impulsive, poor decision-making from the hierarchy.

Six defeats in eight games doesn’t make for healthy reading, especially with West Brom and Hull City gradually improving since the appointments of Carlos Corberan and Liam Rosenior respectively.

Vincent Kompany (Burnley)

Let’s get this abundantly clear, in no way shape or form is Kompany close to being sacked.

We’re purely discussing pressure here and that pressure of managing in the Championship may yet hit him.

Kompany is perhaps the calmest man alive but the second tier can be a cruel mistress to many.

The pressure will simply come from himself, especially with the Clarets deservedly the current favourites for the title.

That need to match their efforts and output from the first half of the season could become a struggle which may or may not impact Kompany as the season progresses.

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