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Matt Holland's Blog 6

26 September 2012

It's been one of those weeks when the npower Championship managers rather than their players have been in the spotlight and although no-one has collected their P45 in the last seven days, there are one or two whose futures are looking a little more precarious after the weekend

At my old club Ipswich Town, Paul Jewell is definitely under the cosh. The team lost 2-1 at Portman Road against Charlton Athletic to leave Town in the bottom three and there's inevitably been plenty of speculation about Jewell's position. The chairman Marcus Evans has gone on record saying his job is safe for the moment but the waters have been muddied by his friendship with Harry Redknapp. The vote of confidence is good news for Jewell but having a name like Redknapp's bandied around by the media as a possible replacement clearly isn't.

To be fair to Evans, he has given his managers time. Perhaps Jewell has had slightly less financial backing as his predecessors as the club looks to balance the books but I don't think you could accuse the chairman of lacking a bit of patience in the past.

I met Evans about 18 months ago and I know he consulted Redknapp (as well as Tony Pulis) before he appointed Jewell but I don't think it necessarily follows that the former Spurs boss will get or even want the job should it become available. I certainly think Redknapp believes he's got one more Premier League job in him.

The stark reality for Jewell is that results and not Redknapp are his big problem. It's a results business and he's under pressure simply because he's got one win in seven so far this season. Unfortunately for him, Ipswich's next two league games are away to in-form Barnsley and top-of-the-table Brighton and Hove Albion and, while they're two daunting games, two victories would buy him an awful lot of time.

We've now reached the stage of the season where the npower Championship table is finally beginning to take shape. Chairmen and owners are now looking at their clubs' results and coming to their own conclusions how things are working out. That's why Jewell is under the microscope.

Speaking of Barnsley, the Tykes had a magnificent 5-0 win at Birmingham City on Saturday but there are still question marks about Keith Hill because the club are in discussions with potential new owners and there's talk that should any deal go through, they will want to bring in their own management.

Of course, it's the owners' prerogative to appoint whoever they like but it would be seriously harsh on Hill if he was victim of changes off the pitch rather than a lack of success on it.

It happened to Sean Dyche at Watford. By anyone's standards, he did a decent job at Vicarage Road last season but when the club changed hands, the new owners sacked him in the summer and brought in Gianfranco Zola. There's little room for sentiment in football but it does feel particularly unfair when a manager loses his job as a result of politics rather than how his team actually performs.

Barnsley were tipped to struggle this season and it's difficult to see how Hill could have done any better so far.

It was also another bad week for Steve Kean, who it seems is still public enemy number one at Blackburn Rovers despite guiding his side to third. Managers usually come under pressure when the team loses but Ewood Park this season is proving the exception to the rule. Sections of the crowd were firmly on his back after Friday night's 2-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough and personally I'm at a loss to see what he can do to win over the supporters.

It was a happier weekend, though, for Owen Coyle at Bolton, as his side beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at Hillsborough to lift a bit of the early season gloom at Wanderers, and for Simon Grayson at Huddersfield Town.

I don't think anyone would have predicted Huddersfield would be beating Blackpool at Bloomfield Road to move into second in the table by the end of September. It was an unbelievable result and you've got to give the manager a huge amount of credit. The partnership of Lee Novak and James Vaughan up front looked potent for the Terriers and to go away to an in-form Blackpool side and score three was amazing.

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