Championship Clubs continue their search for new managersby Sean Raymond / 04 January 2011, 10:06Tweet
It's been a hectic festive period in the Championship Sack Race as three teams enter the new year searching for a new manager after Burnley, Preston North End and Crystal Palace have all parted company with their managers in the past seven days.
The halfway stage in the season came on New Years day and with 23 games remaining, it is always a busy time on the managerial-merry-go-round with teams looking to make a changes in time for the new managers to utilise the January transfer window and have enough games left in the season to change their sides fortunes.
Burnley were the first to act last Wednesday, sacking Brian Laws after the Clarets lost 2-0 at home to Scunthorpe United. Lancashire neighbours, PNE, followed suit less than an hour later when they announced that Darren Ferguson had been relived of his duties after the Lillywhites lost 3-1 at home to Middlesbrough and would be starting 2011 rooted to the bottom of the Championship.
Crystal Palace became the third club in the division to part company with their manager when firing George Burley at the end of last week, this followed a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Millwall and the Eagles in the relegation zone.
As all three teams continue their search for a replacement, the same names appear on the betting for all three jobs, although if the rumours are to be believed, it would appear that Crystal Palace are on the verge of welcoming Steve Coppell back to Selhurst Park for what would be his fourth stint at the club. However, Chris Hughton, Chris Coleman and current caretaker boss, Dougie Freedman are also in the running but the fans preference would seemingly be for Coppell who left Bristol City after just two games in charge at the beginning of the season.
Burnley's search for Brian Laws' replacement has seen a number of different managers move in to favouritism over the past few days with Watford manager, Malky Mackay, the current front runner. Bournemouth's Eddie Howe, Norwich's Paul Lambert, Derek McInnes, Phil Brown and Sam Allardyce have all sat at the head of the betting at one stage of another for what is undoubtedly an attractive job. The Clarets are currently tenth in the league just four points off the play-offs and with money available to spend and strong squad, a return to the Premier League is not only the aim for whoever takes over at Turf Moor but a realistic objective and one which is sure to appeal to plenty of mangers.
Preston North End on the other hand are seven points from safety and look doomed to relegation. Any manger who is brave enough to assume the reigns at Deepdale will be well aware at the task in hand and the distinct possibility that he will be managing in League 1 come August. Nonetheless, this has not deterred the bookies linking several big names to the job and PNE Chairman, Maurice Lindsay stated on Monday that he'd received 40 applications for the job and was looking to appoint a manager soon. Names in the running to replace Darren Ferguson include Paul Jewell, Phil Brown, Paul Hart and Gordon Strachan of those currently out of work whilst the biggest surprise at the head of the betting is former manager, Billy Davies, who is currently at Nottingham Forest and whilst it would be a decision that would leave the football world scratching their heads, their has been plenty of money in recent days for the Scotsman making a return to Lancashire five years after leaving.