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Championship Sack Race: Valerien Ismael favourite to be the next manager to leave

Five Championship managers have departed so far this season
Five Championship managers have departed so far this season

Five Championship managers have lost their jobs so far this season.

Nottingham Forest were the first to wield the axe in mid-September when they dismissed Chris Hughton, former Swansea boss Steve Cooper came in as his replacement.

Mick McCarthy lost his job the following month, Cardiff subsequently opted to upgrade coach Steve Morison into the hot-seat.

November was pretty trigger-happy as we saw Markus Schopp exit Barnsley, who appointed Poya Asbaghi. Middlesbrough parted ways with veteran Neil Warnock and lured Chris Wilder back into management, then Wilder's old side Sheffield United swapped his replacement Slavisa Jokanovic for U23s boss Paul Heckingbottom.

UniBet have now reopened the Championship Sack Race market, which we’ve had a little gander at below (scroll to bottom of page for full odds).

Championship Odds

Project Ismael in doubt?

After a stunning showing at Barnsley, Valerien Ismael was prized away in the summer to West Brom where he’s been tasked with implementing his high-press philosophy and orchestrating an instant return to the Premier League.

After 20 games he has the Baggies in 4th, however the club’s form has faltered of late while there have been reports of player fall-outs which have combined to put the heat on the manager, who has one win in six matches and no wins from the last four. The goals have dried up too, whereas Ismael’s tactical blueprint seems to have gone awry in recent weeks.

West Brom previously sacked Darren Moore - March 2019 - when they were 4th in the Championship, although it would still come as a surprise if they wielded the axe on the 4/1-priced Ismael given that he was handed a stonking four-year contract in the summer. He needs to get the automatic promotion push back on track though.

Championship Winner Odds

Watford
WIN PROB: 18%
1
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9/2
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9/2
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4/1
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4/1
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4/1
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4/1
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4/1
Burnley
WIN PROB: 13%
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6/1
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6/1
Norwich
WIN PROB: 9%
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9/1
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7/1
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Sheffield United
WIN PROB: 11%
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7/1
West Bromwich Albion
WIN PROB: 11%
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8/1
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7/1
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7/1
Middlesbrough
WIN PROB: 9%
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7/1
Blackburn
WIN PROB: 5%
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Millwall
WIN PROB: 4%
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Coventry
WIN PROB: 4%
1
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Luton
WIN PROB: 3%
1
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Swansea City
WIN PROB: 3%
1
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Stoke City
WIN PROB: 3%
1
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Sunderland
WIN PROB: 2%
1
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Preston
WIN PROB: 2%
1
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Queens Park Rangers
WIN PROB: 2%
1
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Cardiff
WIN PROB: 2%
1
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Hull City
WIN PROB: 2%
1
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Huddersfield
WIN PROB: 1%
1
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Blackpool
WIN PROB: 1%
1
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Bristol City
WIN PROB: 1%
1
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Wigan
WIN PROB: 1%
1
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Birmingham
WIN PROB: 1%
1
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Rotherham United
WIN PROB: 1%
1
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Reading
WIN PROB: 0%
1
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Each Way Terms
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Odds correct as of 2022-08-13 21:58 Odds subject to change.

Bowyer and Ferguson far too short at 7/1

A run of two points from a possible 21 between mid-September and mid-October raised alarm bells at Birmingham. Lee Bowyer then picked up three wins in a row, before falling to back-to-back defeats, only to pick his troops up again with a draw against Coventry and a big three points against Blackpool.

"A lot of things have been going against us,” Bowyer said after the Blackpool win. “It feels like people are against us. You can either roll over and use it as an excuse, or you can just fight and stick together. We went for the latter and thankfully we got the three points. It was a gamble going to a back four, but it was a gamble that I was prepared to take. Thankfully it paid off."

The victory moved the Blues up to 14th and Bowyer will now look to build momentum over the festive period. The manager - who has been hindered by multiple injuries - will want money to spend in January, but will he get it? At 7/1 he’s far too short in this market, and it would be a shock if he left anytime soon.

Darren Ferguson is also priced at 7/1, and while his side are stuck in the relegation zone after 20 games the fact that he signed a new long-term contract two weeks ago - to 2025 - tells you all you need to know. He’s not going anywhere.

A shambolic run of form could change that but for the moment he has the full backing of chairman Darragh MacAnthony. Ferguson does however have work to do at both ends of the pitch as he bids to revitalise his troops over Christmas.

Are any managers in a vulnerable position this Christmas?

In truth, there aren’t too many managers under serious pressure at the moment, meaning a departure before Christmas appears slim. Things can change quickly of course, especially in the cauldron that is the Championship.

Wayne Rooney (11/1) continues to do a commendable job at Derby, who are rock-bottom after a 21 point deduction. He’s refused to let his head drop amid multiple setbacks and will continue to showcase his trademark fighting the spirit. The danger for the Rams is another club could come knocking for his services - he’s a 14/1 shot for Everton if Rafa Benitez leaves.

Poya Asbaghi (14/1) has only just been appointed at Barnsley, where he has a huge job on his hands. He’s taken a point from two games but will need to start carving out wins soon before the Tykes slide further adrift of safety. Considering he’s been in the job for all of two weeks, it would be an almighty shocker if he was to be axed anytime soon.

Veljko Paunović could be worth keeping an eye on out at 20/1. Reading were hit with a six-point deduction which now puts them in a relegation dogfight, although they’ve just come off the back of a fantastic win at Swansea.

If we’re purely going on current form then Gary Rowett’s (50/1) Millwall have failed to pick up a win from their last four games which leaves them six points off the play-off places. Nathan Jones (30/1) is another manager who’ll be looking to spark his side back into life after one point in four games.

Considering there aren't many managers feeling the heat right now, 18/1 for no more departures could get a few nibbles. Although given that we still have over half the season remaining it's a very unlikely outcome.

Next Championship Manager To Leave Odds - via Unibet

4/1 Valérien Ismaël

7/1 Lee Bowyer

7/1 Darren Ferguson

11/1 Wayne Rooney

14/1 Poya Asbaghi

14/1 Grant McCann

14/1 Steve Morison

16/1 Frankie McAvoy

16/1 Nigel Pearson

18/1 No The Championship manager to leave

20/1 Veljko Paunović

30/1 Neil Critchley

30/1 Nathan Jones

30/1 Russell Martin

33/1 Paul Heckingbottom

40/1 Carlos Corberán

40/1 Chris Wilder

50/1 Steve Coope

50/1 Gary Rowett

70/1 Tony Mowbray

70/1 Mark Warburton

75/1 Michael O'Neill

75/1 Mark Robins

100/1 Scott Parker

100/1 Marco Silva

Championship Table
League Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD PTS
1. Fulham 46 27 9 10 106 43 +63 90
2. Bournemouth 46 25 13 8 74 39 +35 88
3. Huddersfield 46 23 13 10 64 47 +17 82
4. Nottm Forest 46 23 11 12 73 40 +33 80
5. Sheff Utd 46 21 12 13 63 45 +18 75
6. Luton 46 21 12 13 63 55 +8 75
7. Middlesbrough 46 20 10 16 59 50 +9 70
8. Blackburn 46 19 12 15 59 50 +9 69
9. Millwall 46 18 15 13 53 45 +8 69
10. West Brom 46 18 13 15 52 45 +7 67
11. QPR 46 19 9 18 60 59 +1 66
12. Coventry 46 17 13 16 60 59 +1 64
13. Preston 46 16 16 14 52 56 -4 64
14. Stoke 46 17 11 18 57 52 +5 62
15. Swansea 46 16 13 17 58 68 -10 61
16. Blackpool 46 16 12 18 54 58 -4 60
17. Bristol C 46 15 10 21 62 77 -15 55
18. Cardiff 46 15 8 23 50 68 -18 53
19. Hull 46 14 9 23 41 54 -13 51
20. Birmingham 46 11 14 21 50 75 -25 47
21. Reading 46 13 8 25 54 87 -33 41
22. Peterborough 46 9 10 27 43 87 -44 37
23. Derby 46 14 13 19 45 53 -8 34
24. Barnsley 46 6 12 28 33 73 -40 30
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