Four Football League managers to keep an eye on this weekendby Jack Kitson / 18 August 2017, 15:51Tweet
The 2017/18 Football League season may only be two-to-three games old but stuttering starts have seen a cluster of managers sweat a little at this early stage of the campaign.
Below we look at four of those gaffers, from the Championship, League One and League Two, who will be desperate to cement a so far elusive win on the board this weekend.
Steve Bruce (Aston Villa)
Of the four managers featured it’s Steve Bruce who finds himself under the most pressure. The Villa boss was booed down the dugout in the aftermath of Tuesday’s dismal defeat to Reading, then slated on social media by many disgruntled supporters.
Villa are 23rd with just a point to their name from their opening three games, although if last season is taken into account they're on a five game winless streak, with just one win to their name since early April.
In Villa’s press conference for the upcoming Norwich game Bruce said" “the euphoria and nonsense that is written is quite embarrassing”, and that he “has to ride the storm”.
To make things worse it’s John Terry who has been installed as the favourite to replace his manager, should Bruce be axed. You can read more about that HERE.
Tony Mowbray (Blackburn Rovers)
Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers may have suffered the dreaded drop out of the Championship - becoming the first former Premier League champions to play in League One - but they were immediately installed as the bookies favourites to storm back up at the first time of asking.
However, Rovers have stumbled out of the blocks, losing to both Southend and Doncaster, leaving many people’s tip for top spot down in the relegation zone. Rovers could well remain pointless after this weekend’s clash at Bradford, a side that are currently enjoying a 31 game unbeaten streak at home, with their last defeat dating back to January 2016.
It’s also worth remembering that Mowbray was the first League One managerial casualty last season, resigning from his post at Coventry after a 10 game (league) winless start to the campaign, stating at the time of his departure:
"It's embarrassing to go 10 games without a win. I'm an honourable guy."
Harry Kewell (Crawley Town)
It’s not a good thing when a club (bizarrely) releases a vote of confidence statement just three games into a new season, but that is exactly what Crawley Town decided to do after managerial rookie Harry Kewell lost each of those league and cup matches.
It’s understandable that the club’s hierarchy are keen to keep a positive atmosphere and show Kewell that they are fully behind him, but why do it so publicly? It just invites a combination of pressure and bemusement, while also propelling Kewell into the spotlight.
Kewell will know that football management is a savage, chaotic and cut throat way to make a living after hanging up your boots. The Aussie will also know that after three defeats he desperately needs a win soon in order to swat away the doubters, however the longer is unbeaten start continues, the more pressure he’ll be under.
However, despite his poor start to life in the dugout Kewell remains optimistic (via 11verses11):
"I’ll live and die by what I do. If it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough but I’ve spoken to managers and they say to be your own man. You need an identity and be comfortable with it."
Gary Caldwell (Chesterfield)
Gary Caldwell took over at Chesterfield in January and he’s since gone on to win just two of his 22 games at the helm, giving him a lookaway-now win percentage of just 9%.
Last season the Spireites plummeted out of League One - Caldwell’s former side Wigan were also relegated from the Championship in the same season - and they’ve since lost their opening three games to the current campaign, extending their losing streak to seven successive matches (including last season).
Two of those defeats have come in the fourth-tier, leaving Chesterfield rock-bottom of the Football League. On Saturday Caldwell’s men host Michael Brown’s Port Vale, who are the last team they managed to bag three points against (April), and the luckless boss will desperately craving a repeat result this time around.