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Irvine and Warnock should both be wary of chairmen wielding winter axe

Premier League chiefs made it to Christmas without sacking anyone this term so far, but the season of goodwill may be about to run out.

Coral make West Bromwich Albion head coach Alan Irvine their odds-on 4/7 favourite to be the next top-flight boss to go, following a Boxing Day battering on home turf by reigning champions Manchester City.

Scottish gaffer Irvine, who worked on David Moyes’ coaching staff at Everton, is pretty sanguine about his own prospects. When asked whether if he would stay in charge of the Baggies, he said: “The chairman [Jeremy Peace] will make a decision as far as that is concerned.

“I can’t control it. Can I be confident about it? Not necessarily, because I don’t know what the thinking is. All I can do is work as hard as I do and keep on trying to get the right kind of performances and results.”

But Irvine, who has steered Albion to a single win in eight since November 1st, is not the only one with good reason to be worried. While West Brom remain above the bottom three, Crystal Palace lost to a revitalised Southampton and Hull City’s late winner at Sunderland sent them into the relegation zone.

Eagles boss Neil Warnock is a tasty 10/3 to leave his post next, but is targeting signings in the January transfer window. “It’s going to be one of those seasons that go right down to the line,” he said.

“The January window is a very important one for us, as it was last season. We do need options on the bench and we need that little bit more up top. We’re working as hard as we can.”

Palace are in real peril, following a single Premier League victory in a dozen games. They are about to lose influential captain Mile Jedinak too, who is representing and also skippering Australia at the Asian Cup on home soil.

Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson completes the front runners at 4/1, but has held on to his position despite propping up the table. Defeat at home to Spurs means the Foxes are six points from safety.

“We are finding life very tough because the margins are so tight,” said Pearson. “To stay here we have to up our level and resilience and I have every faith in the players to do that.

“We have to make sure we remain positive of what we are capable of. We have to keep knocking until the door yields. We’ve been blighted by a little bit of loss of a form and injuries. It’s been difficult and it’s still going to be difficult.”

East Midlands outfit Leicester have now slumped to six straight defeats and have just one win in 14. If Pearson has survived this poor run, then the Foxes’ Asian investors may back him with funds in the winter window.

Apart from Irvine, Warnock and Pearson, Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet, an outspoken critic of his club’s recruitment policy, and Hull City boss Steve Bruce come next as join 16/1 shots to leave their posts.