Five managers to keep an eye on this weekend

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 17 November 2016, 10:17

The busy Christmas period is now on the horizon with matches coming thick-and-fast at this pivotal, and often defining, stage of the season.

Below we take a look at a handful of gaffers who are worth keeping an eye on this weekend, whether they are under immense pressure, or find themselves in a difficult situation.

Alan Pardew (Crystal Palace)

Crystal Palace were on fire prior to the previous international break, however as soon as the action resumed they flopped, losing each of their four matches through to the November two-week break.

This rotten run of form saw the Eagles plummet down to 16th in the table - just one point above the relegation zone after 11 matches.

As a result Alan Pardew's odds have slithered to as short as 5/2 (Sky Bet) in the Premier League Sack Race, meaning he needs a win sharpish.

However, whether that will happen on Saturday is open to debate, with Palace hosting Pep Guardiola's Man City, meaning there is every chance Pardew's men could slip to their fifth consecutive defeat.

Alex Neil (Norwich)

Norwich City may sit 5th in the Championship but boy is their manager Alex Neil under an avalanche of pressure following a concerning dip in form, which has dented their hopes of a top-2 finish.

Zero wins from Neil's last five league and cup games has thrust his future into the spotlight.

The international break came at just about the right time, with the Canaries losing three straight second-tier games, which left the club 10 points adrift of league leaders Newcastle, and seven points off the automatic promotion places.

Neil, who looks to still just about have the backing of the board, will have used the timely two-week break to meticulously assess just what has gone wrong at the Norfolk club.

It doesn't take a genius to realise that the defence has been absolutely shocking - leaking in eight goals in 180 minutes of football, while their last clean sheet dates back 13 matches to mid-August.

Should Neil's troops disappoint at QPR on Saturday, then his time could well be up. This is a real possibility considering that the Hoops will be buoyed by the return of manager Ian Holloway, who replaced the sacked Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink last weekend.

Danny Wilson (Chesterfield)

It's not a good time to be the cash-strapped gaffer of Chesterfield; rock-bottom of League One, seven defeats on the spin, no victory since mid-September, one goal in just over 600 minutes of league football.

The statistics are extremely damning, and worst still the struggling Spireites are seven points adrift of safety, and there is little sign that they can eat into this margin anytime soon.

There are also problems off the pitch. Earlier this week Chesterfield were left stunned after Dave Allen resigned from his position as chairman and director (see video), leaving the club's future dangling precariously in the balance.

The results may be extremely poor, but it's harsh to pin too much of the blame on boss Danny Wilson - who is unlikely to be sacked, given the current situation - but alternatively he could decide to walk out of the door due to all the turmoil and confusion in the background.

John McGreal (Colchester)

Since his appointment back in May John McGreal has won only four of his 21 matches in charge of Colchester United, who are currently 22nd in League Two - one point above the relegation zone.

McGreal's men are winless in a dozen league and cup games (in 90 minutes) since early September, while last weekend's crushing 3-0 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Leyton Orient was labelled as 'devastating' by McGreal.

There are now real fears that the club could be set for a second successive relegation - Colchester have been in the Football League since 1992, and to drop out of it would be unbearable.

It's evident McGreal needs to make changes fast, otherwise his short tenure could come to an end.

Paul Tisdale (Exeter City)

Exeter's shambolic home form is no secret. The Grecians have been appalling at St James' Park, failing to win in front of their own fans since beating fierce rivals Plymouth back in April.

Paul Tisdale's future has been the subject of debate for some time, with reports rife that his contract may be shortened. The 43-year-old is the second-longest serving manager in the top-4 tiers - he recently marked his 10-year anniversary - but times are tough and and fresh change may be needed in order to propel the Grecians out of their current rut.

It's perhaps fortunate that Exeter have thrived on the road, winning five of their last seven, a record they will look to enhance in their next brace of matches against Carlisle and Leyton Orient.

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