Wigan v Blackburn: Clash Of The Under Fire Managersby Jack Kitson / 18 November 2011, 16:03Tweet
This weekend pits together two teams in desperate need of a moral boosting win, as bottom club Wigan Athletic host 19th place Blackburn Rovers at the DW Stadium. Both sides have made a shocking start to the season and consequently their respective managers find themselves under immense pressure heading into the crunch clash. On face value this may not seem like the most enticing fixture of the day but, with recent meetings in mind, alongside their league positions and manager uncertainty, this match is of great importance, and could well be the last for the losing team's manager.
Neither club could be in worse form as they prepare for the pivotal encounter. Wigan picked up five points from their opening three matches but have since been on a woeful run of eight straight defeats. With just a solitary win this season the Latics are rock-bottom of the Premier League with a mere five points from 11 matches. Similarly, Blackburn only have a single league win to their name since the season kicked off back in August, and they are without a victory in six league games. Rovers' away form makes for equally dire reading with only one victory from their last 14 league matches on the road.
Rovers boss Steve Kean has suffered a severe fans backlash in recent weeks, with some disgruntled supporters going as far as flying a plane over Ewood Park with the sign attached: "Steve Kean Out". As has been the case for near enough the whole season Kean is the bookmakers' favourite in the Next Premier League Manager To Be Sacked betting market, with odds of 5/4 to get the chop with Paddy Power. A defeat on Saturday would surely spell the end of a torrid 11 months in charge of the Lancashire club.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has seen his odds dwindle in the last month or so and he is now the second favourite manager to depart with odds of 4/1. However, the Italian finds himself in a unique position. Any other manager who had overseen eight straight defeats would almost certainly be sacked but not every manager has Dave Whelan as their chairman. Whelan is currently showing tremendous loyalty towards his manager - as Martinez did during the summer when he turned down Aston Villa and signed a new contract - but if Wigan keep on losing then surely there will come a time when enough is enough. If Wigan were to lose Martinez's 100th match in charge on Saturday then who knows what might happen.
The corresponding fixture last season was a seven-goal thriller with Wigan coming out on top 4-3. Since 2005 Blackburn have the better head-to-head record with seven wins out of 12 matches, with Wigan posting three wins, and two games ending all square. However, the Latics have won three out of their last four home matches against Rovers, scoring a whopping 13 goals in the process.
Paddy Power have installed Wigan as the 6/4 favourites to break their barren run and win their first match since the tail end of August. While Blackburn can be backed at 15/8 to win their first league game since beating an out of form Arsenal over two months ago. With both sides unaccustomed to winning this season a draw may be the way to go at 9/4.
All odds provided by Paddy Power.