October is traditionally the time of year when many football managers start to come under serious pressure and October 2012 proved to be no different, with a whopping eight managers leaving their posts. All of the departures once again came in the Football League meaning the Premier League remains the only division to have yet to lose a manager to the dreaded Sack Race but, with the likes of Mark Hughes and Nigel Adkins in deep trouble, this could all change in November.
Paul Groves was the first manager to face the chop after he was sacked by AFC Bournemouth just three days into the month. Groves was replaced by former Cherries boss Eddie Howe who resigned from his post as Burnley manager on the 12th. In between those departures Bolton axed Owen Coyle, who was eventually succeeded by Dougie Freedman after he left Crystal Palace on the 23rd.
Paul Jewell was October's most predictable casualty, while Paul Cook’s switch from Accrington Stanley to take up the reigns at fellow League Two side Chesterfield was more of a surprise. Meanwhile Alan Knill was the final victim of a ruthless month after he was sacked by Scunthorpe United on the 29th.
Take a look below at the five contenders for October’s Naffest Gaffer and don't forget to vote via our Facebook link at the bottom of the article.
Mark Hughes - QPR
Mark Hughes has been under immense pressure ever since his side suffered a humiliating 5-0 drubbing at home to Swansea on the opening day of the season. QPR remain one of only two Premier League clubs to have yet to register a win as their poor form continued into the month of October.
Hughes’ men suffered defeats to West Ham, West Brom and Arsenal, with their only point coming at home to Everton. The Welshman’s expensively assembled squad have yet to gel and further disappointing displays could see him become the first top flight manager to lose his job this season, despite receiving numerous votes of confidence from owner Tony Fernandes.
Nigel Adkins - Southampton
Southampton's return to the top flight has rapidly turned into a nightmare; with the Saints losing seven of their opening nine Premier League games. October proved to be another miserable month, with the Saints picking up one point from their three league matches, alongside a comprehensive defeat to Championship club Leeds in the Capital One Cup.
The south coast side are the only club to have been behind in all of their league games so far and to add salt in their wounds they set an unwanted Premier League record of conceded more goals after nine games (26) than any other team in history. Nigel Adkins' success in the last two seasons (he led the Saints to back-to-back promotions) is no doubt keeping him in the job but whether it will save him in the long run remains to be seen. The fixture list has undoubtedly been cruel to the Hampshire club but they now face a crucial November with matches against the likes of West Brom, Swansea, QPR and Norwich.
Martin O'Neill - Sunderland
Martin O'Neill may be considered a surprise addition to the list but he has somehow managed to escape criticism despite another poor month at the helm. Sunderland failed to win any of their four games in October, ending the month with a pride sapping defeat at home to north east rivals Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup.
The Black Cats have only won one of their eight top flight matches this campaign and that tally lengthens to just one in 16 league games if you count the poor results from the backend of last season. O'Neill now faces a testing November with important home fixtures against Aston Villa, QPR and West Brom.
Derek McInnes - Bristol City
Derek McInnes has not experienced an enjoyable October, with Bristol City losing four of their five matches. As a result they have slumped down to 23rd in the Championship and look set to be battling it out for survival for the second successive season.
Similarly to Southampton the Robins have been conceding goals for fun - 29 in just 13 matches this season - leaking in 12 goals in five games in October. The pressure is rapidly mounting on McInnes who desperately needs to find a formula to tighten up his dodgy defence and in turn inspire a turnaround in form. The Bristol boss remains confident that he can unearth this secret ingredient but for his sake we hope it is sooner rather than later.
Dean Smith - Walsall
Walsall have endured a horror show month to forget with four defeats and two draws coupled with an early exit from the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Manager Dean Smith is now really starting to feel the heat as his side continue their descent down the League One table.
Their poor October form is in stark contrast to September, with the Saddlers winning four and drawing one of their six matches. Smith will be desperate to put a halt to their rotten run and get Walsall back up into the top-half of the table. But if they fail to get back to winning ways then he could well become the latest League One manager to be heading for the exit door.
Do you agree with our five shortlisted managers for the Naffest Gaffer of the Month, or are there any other contenders worthy of a mention? Get involved in the action by leaving your comments below and casting your vote on our Facebook poll at facebook.com/thesackrace.