We may only be in September, but the Championship table is already starting to take shape. Therefore, here is a look at some of those managers that are already feeling the heat. Just to clarify, this isn’t to say that these coaches will definitely be sacked – but they are certainly feeling the pressure to improve results sooner rather than later.
There is no particular bias in this article as it is based on results so far this season – but also considering how patient the clubs may be. That being said, I’m expecting plenty of debate on this one, especially since it is still early on in the season.
So, now that’s out of the way – let’s get stuck into it…
1. Dean Smith (Brentford)
It may well be early on in the season, but Brentford have not made the kind of start that they would have been hoping for. In fact, they have yet to win a league game so far this season – and currently, find themselves in the relegation zone.
This is all certainly at odds with my prediction ahead of the season for them to be a team to sizzle. It’s unclear what the expectations are for the Bees this season, but clearly, relegation to League One is not the aim.
Dean Smith may not be on the verge of getting the sack at the moment – but will need to find that first win to keep things that way. The 46-year-old is now in the unfortunate position of losing more games than he has won. Therefore, it will certainly be interesting to see how patient the Brentford board prove to be given the present form.
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2. Jaap Stam (Reading)
Looking back at last season, Reading were somewhat of a surprise package. Of course, their season came to an unfortunate end in the play-offs – but they still won a lot of fans through the way they approached things.
I predicted that the Royals would be one of the possession teams to watch before the season started. The short passing style has continued again this season – but it remains unknown if it will be so successful in terms of results.
Reading are currently 17th in the Championship and Jaap Stam must know that there is pressure to improve quickly. However, the Dutch coach still enjoys a win ratio of 53% - and that may well buy him a bit more time. However, Reading clearly are aiming for promotion this season – so the poor form can’t go on for much longer.
3. Harry Redknapp (Birmingham City)
Going back to last season, Birmingham City had an interesting time of it. The first half of the season went well under Gary Rowett. At the time, the club were on the verge of getting into the play-offs – but Rowett was sacked at that point. In the end, Harry Redknapp came in at the last minute to save the club from relegation to League One.
This season it’s unclear what to expect from Birmingham – but I’m quite sure they will want to be in the top half of the table. In addition to that, they are a club with a decent budget for transfers and wages – and that certainly adds to the pressure. One of those signings that could offer somewhat of an escape route is Jota, a player that I picked out to be one to watch this season.
70-year-old Redknapp has a load of experience to offer – and has seen most things in football. However, he has currently only won 33% of his games in charge. Therefore, knows that things have to change quickly – and his reputation won’t count for much. It will certainly be interesting to see how things progress from here.
4. Simon Grayson (Sunderland)
Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League last season – and would have been hoping to make an instant return this season. However, money has been tight for the club – and it’s been more about selling players than adding quality. It seems that lack of quality is starting to hit home with the club really struggling for form.
The current picture sees the club 20th in the league and a run of four defeats on the spin. Ahead of the new season, I predicted that Grayson would be a manager to be sacked before Christmas – and I’m sticking behind that.
Simon Grayson showed that he can do a decent job in the Championship last season with Preston, but managing a club with such high expectations is certainly a very different story. My personal view is that he is not the man to take them back to the Premier League and this appointment was always destined to fail. In addition, Grayson’s win ratio of 33% is going to be very hard to come back from.
5. Steve Bruce (Aston Villa)
A lot of people were expecting very good things from Aston Villa this season, but it hasn’t started particularly well for them. The current picture shows Villa in the bottom half of the Championship table – but there have been some signs of improvement in recent games.
Of course, I was one of those people that predicted the club would be in the top six of the Championship. There is every chance that they may still achieve that goal by the end of the season. It will be interesting to see if Steve Bruce is the man to achieve it though.
Bruce is another very experienced manager that has seen most things in the game, some of the things he has achieved include successfully winning promotion from this league. However, he can’t afford to rely on past successes and will know that expectations are massive at Villa
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6. Leonid Slutsky (Hull City)
Hull City are another one of those clubs that have struggled to adapt to life in the Championship so far this season. Current form suggests that they are scoring goals, but also conceding way too many. Current results have also shown four losses in their last five games.
Of course, there is always hope at this stage in the season that things can be turned around. One player that does offer some hope for Hull this season is Kamil Grosicki – who has been one of the leading creative midfielders so far this season.
Leonid Slutsky is new to the Championship and it seems his lack of experience of English football is causing an issue. At the moment, the Russian coach is on a win ratio of just 25% - and that is going to be tough for him to come back from. Whatever happens, it appears that Slutsky will have to improve quickly in order to keep his job
This completes the end of the content section for this article as we looked at the Championship managers that already find themselves under pressure this season. So, how did we do? Maybe you agree with what we have said here, or you think it’s way too early to even consider a manager being under pressure.
If you enjoy Championship content like this, then keep an eye on my profile page for all the latest updates. Next, I will be covering a range of different content covering players, teams and managers. Therefore, there is something for every Championship football fan.