Widely rated as a hot prospect, Darren Ferguson has quickly become something of a Jonah. 13 months ago he left Peterborough bottom of the Championship table. He finds himself there again.
It might not be his fault. It could be argued that in both cases he has been in charge of the least talented squads in the division; Peterborough could not make the step-up from League One while Preston look very limited, even in comparison with their fellow strugglers.
Another disappointing departure would harm his reputation enough to put off other Championship clubs from hiring him. For the sake of his career, he desperately needs to turn things around. With little money to spend and a tough division to compete in, it looks a big ask.
Will he be there in May? No.
Last year, Roy Keane could legitimately say that this wasn’t his side. A year later, though the excuse doesn’t wash and there has been limited progress. His squad might be young but fans and board expect more than a “transition year”.
It will come down to Keane’s personality. He has previous on the storming out front, both as a player and a manager. If he decides to stick at it then I think the board will show a fair amount of patience. But he looks like a man who has almost had enough.
Will he be there in May? Probably not.
With just 16 goals in 19 games, no side have been less sharp than the Blades. This is a side that is used to always challenging in the top half.
Teams in relegation scraps often turn to experienced bosses. That does not bode well for the novice.
Will he be there in May? Will hang on, just.
Brian Laws (Burnley)
It might seem slightly odd to list the manager of a side sitting just 3 points out of the play-off places. Laws though has never quite convinced since taking over at Turf Moor. He did have a tough act to follow in the hugely respected Owen Coyle.
Burnley are not a jerk reaction sort of club. There is, however, a belief among those in charge that a rapid return to the Premier League is possible. If they drift away from play-off contention, a change might come.
Will he be there in May? Tough one to call – might well be replaced in the Summer.