Championship Analysis – Managerless Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley suffer defeats
Barnsley remain bottom and Sheffield Wednesday above the Tykes on goal difference after both were defeated in Saturday’s clashes with Burnley and Nottingham Forest respectively. The clubs have yet to replace David Flitcroft and Dave Jones, who were axed last weekend, with Owen Coyle from Wigan Athletic following them a day later.
As it stands Mickey Mellon remains caretaker manager at Oakwell, although Flitcroft is backing his former assistant to take the reins full-time. “He [Mellon] has an incredible and insatiable appetite for football and I couldn't think of a better person to keep the team in the league,” Flitcroft very generously commented before the fixture at Burnley. No other manager is believed to have entered the frame, and Mellon enjoyed success with Fleetwood, taking the club from non-league into League 2 in the 2011/12 season, leaving him a viable candidate.
Sheffield Wednesday have been more active in their search for a new boss, although so far have left Stuart Gray in charge after failing to land their first choice of Rotherham manager Steve Evans, as well as Neil Warnock, a potential move that was understandably fiercely opposed by Owls fans who knew all too well that the fiery character supports Sheffield United.
Wigan have succeeded in their quest for a new manager, landing Uwe Rosler from Brentford. Rosler was in the stands as the Latics were beaten 2-1 at Millwall and will take full charge on Monday. Wigan have certainly underachieved so far in the Championship this season, albeit having to straddle domestic and European competition, and Saturday’s defeat was their fourth on the trot in the former, leaving the club in 14th place. The Latics still have a game in hand over those above them, but unlike a month ago are now well off the pace in the promotion battle. However, whether chairman Dave Whelan’s open admission that the sacking of Coyle cost the club in the region of £500,000 was brave or stupid is for the fans to debate.
It’s been a fruitful seven days for Yeovil, who followed up a shock 3-0 win at Watford with a 1-0 victory over Blackpool in midweek and on Saturday came back from 2-0 down to gain a point against Charlton. Manager Gary Johnson was, however, understandably disappointed as a win would have seen his team climb out of the drop zone at the expense of the Addicks.
Blackpool’s defeat to Yeovil on Tuesday was soured further by three red cards and despite Paul Ince, who himself had only just returned from a five-match stadium ban, slating the offenders after that game his team clearly didn’t learn the lesson as they had a further two players sent off on Saturday in a 5-1 thrashing at Derby. Both clubs epitomise the current play-off battle, with Blackpool slipping outside despite sitting seemingly comfortably in fourth position just two matches ago. Derby’s win propelled them into the top four. The Rams are the division’s form team, having won seven of their 10 fixtures since Steve McLaren succeeded Nigel Clough.
The automatic promotion race is as tight as ever, with Burnley returning to the top after their win over Barnsley, taking advantage of QPR’s failure to beat Blackburn and Leicester’s second successive defeat, which dropped the Foxes to third.
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