Four Football League managers in desperate need of a win this weekend

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 02 February 2018, 19:52

We have a full bank of fixtures to look forward to this weekend in the Championship, League One and League Two. The transfer window was bolted shut earlier on in the week, and it’s fair to say that a number of managers are far from pleased with their dealings, or lack of dealings for that matter.

Below we pick out four gaffers who head into the weekend with the weight of the world on their shoulders...

Thomas Christiansen (Leeds)

A come-from-behind Boxing Day defeat of Burton put Thomas Christiansen’s Leeds 5th in the Championship and within five points of the second automatic promotion spot. Fast-forward to early February and the free-falling Whites have sunk down to 10th, four points adrift of the top-6, and 10 points behind Derby, who currently occupy 2nd spot.

That 2-1 win over Nigel Clough’s men is the last time Leeds tasted victory. The Yorkshire outfit have since scraped together only two points, failing to score in four of their subsequent five matches, while they were also booted out of the FA Cup by League Two’s Newport.

As a result Christiansen heads into Saturday’s tasty clash with 4th-placed Cardiff - managed by former Whites boss Neil Warnock - in desperate need of a prized three points in order to quieten the critics and get the club’s promotion push back on track. However, Warnock has the chance to make it five wins out of five against his former club since he departed in 2013.

Russell Slade (Grimsby)

Earlier in the week Grimsby Town’s board of directors felt the need to give Russell Slade the “dreaded vote of confidence” - see tweet below - following a sorry return of three points from a possible 30, which leaves the club 17th in League Two.

The directors called the last few weeks “demoralising” but offered their complete support to the management team. Such a public backing has been the curse of many a manager, and should Grimsby’s winless run be extended to 11 games this weekend, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Slade was sent packing.

The Mariners are at home to Gary Johnson’s Cheltenham who they are level on points with, but behind in the table on goal difference.

Stuart McCall (Bradford)

Another manager who has recently received the “dreaded vote of confidence” is Stuart McCall following a four game losing streak. However, it didn’t have the desired effect with Bradford then slumping to a shock 4-0 defeat at home to AFC Wimbledon, a game which saw McCall sent to the stands.

It was the first time that Bradford had lost five on the trot since McCall’s last spell at the Bantams back in 2007, and earlier this week the Scot admitted he was feeling the pressure.

Automatic promotion may have been the pre-season target, but the club’s sudden jitters in 2018 means an 11 point gap has opened up. However, before the club pushes the panic button, it’s worth noting that Bradford remain in contention for a play-off spot, and with a couple of new recruits in the squad and the return of Tony McMahon this weekend, the club will be looking to get back to winning ways against struggling Oldham.

Richie Wellens (Oldham)

Oldham’s defeat to Plymouth means they are now without a League One win in nine matches dating back to early December - the worst winless run in the Football League. Richie Wellens’ men are now four points adrift of safety, with only their Greater Manchester rivals Rochdale and Bury fairing worse in the third-tier this season.

Last month Wellens admitted:

"I'm not naive enough to think as a manager you can keep losing games and keep your job.

"I know the game of football. If I was a player and I wasn't performing week in week out, then there wouldn't be a new contract for me, and it's the same for a manager. I've got thick skin and I'm a fighter. I'll fight to keep my job and to keep my team together.

The Oldham boss has since voiced his frustration with the lack of deadline day signings at the club, but he must now pick both himself and the club up ahead of the visits of Stuart McCall’s Bradford on Saturday. As mentioned in the section above the Bantams are enduring their own woeful run...surely something has to give when the out-of-form teams lock horns at Boundary Park?


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