Swansea sack Martin and Warnock ‘retires’: Predicting the next five Championship managers to leave
Slaven Bilic was initially on this list but Watford forced a late re-write. Thankfully, five other Championship bosses are reaching the end of their tether.
The 2022/23 Championship campaign has included a joint record of 19 mid-season manager changes and I’ve ranked them from worst to best. Check that out then come back here to find out which bosses will be next to go.
John Eustace – Birmingham City
The Blues were understandably among the early-season favourites to be relegated. They have surpassed expectations for much of this campaign but a slide towards the bottom three felt inevitable at some point.
A five-game winless league run has seen Birmingham slip down to 19th and seven points above the bottom three. This poor form is coming at the wrong time but you feel that Eustace’s side have enough about them to barely ward off the threat of relegation for this season at least.
Games this month against bottom-half rivals Rotherham United and QPR could be pivotal in deciding Birmingham’s fate.
The Championship club’s financial issues make Birmingham a tough club to guide at the best of times, especially for Eustace who came in as a managerial novice.
Given his inexperience, he has done more than an admirable job this term. Yet should their torrid stretch of results continue, patience will be lost and he will be moved on. A positive end to the campaign is needed if Eustace wants to remain at the helm heading into next season.
Mick McCarthy – Blackpool
The Seasiders stayed up with relative ease last term as Neil Critchley helped them collect 60 points and finish 16th. But his disastrous spell at QPR has seen his career take a nosedive and Blackpool have followed suit.
Under Michael Appleton, they made a solid start to this season and looked on course for another steady Championship campaign without much fear of relegation.
But a barren run of just one win in 18 league games has seen them plummet down the table. Appleton was rightly dismissed during this stretch and it was hoped that McCarthy’s experience could get them back on track.
But the expected new manager bounce has not worked its usual magic at Bloomfield Road as McCarthy has one win and three draws in nine games.
Blackpool scored goals for fun at the start of this campaign and while they shipped in a fair few as well, a club’s threat going forward usually serves them well in a relegation battle. But their threat has evaporated, with just six goals being scored since McCarthy took over.
McCarthy’s side are currently six points adrift of safety and while they could do worse than keeping him if they go down to League One, it is likely that he will be replaced if they are indeed relegated.
Neil Warnock – Huddersfield Town
The wily old fox returned to Championship management brimming with optimism and fully believing that he can drag Huddersfield Town to safety.
And to be honest, you cannot blame him. His track record at this level – his heroics at Rotherham United in particular – turned me into a believer that he could pull off one last salvage job by keeping Huddersfield up before riding off into the sunset *again*.
Four games in, it’s just not happening for the veteran manager. He won his first game in charge at home against Birmingham. But Huddersfield have since been beaten 4-0 by Burnley and Coventry City and could only earn a point at home against Bristol City. They are now 23rd in the Championship with only one win in their last 11 league games.
Just like their bottom three rivals, even with Warnock at the wheel, the Terriers do not look like a side capable of putting a run together to give them a fighting chance of staying up.
I would happily be proven wrong on Warnock. As a Rotherham supporter, I obviously have a soft spot for him. Though it does look at the moment that this job may be one too many and he’ll be wishing that he stayed with his wife Sharon on the south coast instead.
Paul Ince – Reading
The former Blackburn Rovers and MK Dons boss has got a bit of a kicking in my articles this season.
I’m still not overly sold on his managerial credentials, even though I could not help but make him a shock inclusion in a list of the Championship’s best managers of the season so far back in October. That article has not aged too well, as Leam Richardson was also included!
At the time, Ince was masterminding a stunning start to the season at Reading as they were battling near the top of the table. They have not slumped as badly as QPR, but they are firmly in the bottom half.
Many Reading supporters would have just been happy with Championship survival this season, but their inevitable points deduction will leave them in an uneasy position.
The Royals are expected to be docked six points and as things stand, this will leave them one place above the bottom three with a six-point cushion. So their recent home victories over Rotherham and Blackpool may be priceless by the end of the season.
The disappointment of a short-lived promotion pursuit should not take away from the job Ince has done this season. But even so, it feels like the 55-year-old is another poor run away from being let go.
Russell Martin – Swansea City
Much was expected of Swansea ahead of this season. I was among those bigging them up as potential promotion contenders, but this term has quickly turned into a damp squib for the Swans.
Martin has a very distinct preferred style of play as the former Norwich City defender puts an emphasis on possession football and playing out from the back.
This is great on the eye when it works, but Swansea have not had the necessary substance to go along with this style. Creating chances has been a real problem for the Welsh side and they are often left playing the ball in ineffective areas.
As Swansea have slipped down to 17th in the Championship, fans have been turning on Martin and his players, who are clearly lacking confidence. This is an even bigger issue when the team’s focus is purely on ball retention.
Martin has perhaps been guilty of being too stubborn and unwilling to adapt his game when the time is right. But he has not been helped by the club’s owners who have not backed him enough in the transfer market.
This has been brought up several times by Martin and while the blame for Swansea’s struggles do not purely lie at his door, the cracks are starting to show and he is on track to lose his job if there is not a sudden upturn in optimism before this season ends.
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