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‘Tis the season to get sacked from a Premier League job

Premier League coaches, whose sides are at the wrong end of the table, can expect no festive goodwill whatsoever from trigger-happy chairman. Following two years of giving nobody the sack in December, 2013 saw four managers given their cards in and around Christmas.

This month could prove to be a similar story with just three points separating the bottom six after 14 games. Who is in danger of losing their job then? Coral football experts found themselves asking the same question, and here’s our take on ‘the sack race’.

Nigel Pearson (7/4)
Steering Leicester City to the Championship title must seem a distant memory for Pearson. The East Midlands outfit now prop up the Premier League table with just 10 points and are on a run of nine without a win, losing seven.

Pearson has the King Power group from Asia backing his club, but will he be entrusted with further funds to revive Foxes fortunes? Maybe not, as main summer signing Leonardo Ulloa looks like being a flash in the pan. Since his brace in mid-September, the Argentine striker has failed to score and it’s no coincidence Leicester’s form has dipped as a result.

Owners from the Far East have proved tough to please. Just look at Vincent Tan. Pearson’s namesake Nigel Adkins could be facing a similar fate in the Championship now that Reading have been taken over. There have been rumours lately that Tony Pulis could be parachuted in to save the Foxes, and they may be not without substance.

Following his reported altercation with fans and saying critics of the club should stay away, Pearson is under real pressure and makes for a worthy favourite in the next manager to leave market.

Alan Irvine (9/4)
West Bromwich Albion head coach Irvine’s position was safe while Saido Berahino was scoring. His goals have dried up, however, with none since the end of October and now the Baggies are on a run of four straight defeats.

It was around this time last year that ruthless Albion chairman Jeremy Peace got edgy and handed fellow Scottish boss Steve Clarke his P45. While he was a victim of his own success, steering the Baggies to an eighth-place finish in 2012/13, the same cannot be said of Irvine.

His appointment was met with bewilderment by The Hawthorns faithful, and a return of 13 points from 14 games is poor. There are four sides worse off than West Brom, though, but we advise Irvine to be worried.

Harry Redknapp (8/1)
Contract talks for QPR boss Redknapp were shelved following the club’s poor start to the season. His Hoops are heavily reliant on Charlie Austin’s goals, which have happily been plentiful of late. They have helped the west London club pick up seven points from a possible 18.

Tony Fernandes could choose to promote from within, as Glenn Hoddle is part of Redknapp’s backroom, but would he want to give up his cushy punditry positions with ITV and Sky Sports?

Eventually, Redknapp is going to retire, but his immediate future will be ensuring he survives in the Loftus Road hotseat long enough for the media to dust off their best wheeler-dealer and leaning out of car door window cliches for the January transfer window. QPR may wait and see, so punters should do the same.

Paul Lambert (10/1)
Having lost another assistant in Roy Keane, Aston Villa boss Lambert is a lone ranger at present. The trouble is the West Midlands outfit are the lowest Premier League scorers with just eight goals all season so far.

Villa owner Randy Lerner is looking for a buyer and, if he finds one, that is Lambert’s biggest worry. Will he be trusted with a big budget, having worked with relatively tight purse-strings in his managerial career so far? Lambert wouldn’t be any potential new owners’ choice, and more often than not, existing coaches get their cards when major investors change.

To be fair to him, though, injuries and suspensions have decimated an already small squad at Villa Park. If anyone expects them to be pushing for Europe, like the club was under Martin O’Neill, is deluded, because the exorbitant spending of that era is over. In our view, then, Lambert only needs to look over his shoulder as and when Lerner sells his stake.