OWLS: Irvine is out

FA Cup 4th Round..Sheffield Wednesday v Hereford Utd......Pictured is under pressure Owls boss Alan Irvine
FA Cup 4th Round..Sheffield Wednesday v Hereford Utd......Pictured is under pressure Owls boss Alan Irvine

SHEFFIELD Wednesday have parted company with manager Alan Irvine after a run of six league games without a win.

An official announcement is expected from the club later today.

With the club lying 12th in League One, seven points of the play-off places, Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric decided to act in the wake of the club’s 5-3 defeat at Peterborough on Tuesday.

Wednesday have not won any of the six league games since Mandaric’s takeover was confirmed, conceding 19 goals. Of those, 15 have been shipped since the launch of a recruitment drive that landed three new defenders.

Teething troubles are not unusual in such circumstances and Mandaric had been trying to strike a delicate balance between being fair to Irvine and acting in time to make promotion still achievable.

Wednesday’s new owner has been genuine about not wanting to make a change, having admitted here last week that he has sometimes been too hasty in the past.

Irvine himself fully accepted that his job was on the line. Of 59 matches spanning just over a year in charge, he has won 24 and lost 22.

Mandaric is likely look to excite fans by ambitiously courting a big name - Martin O’Neill, Sam Allardyce, Kevin Keegan - or go for a younger, up-and-coming manager?

Barnsley’s Mark Robins, a one-time Wednesday player, and Notts County’s Paul Ince, already linked, fit the latter category.

Or what about Gary Megson, a former Hillsborough favourite with a good track record in management who briefly worked under Mandaric at Leicester before walking out for Bolton? Although those circumstances might appear to count against Megson, Mandaric had no hesitation in bringing Harry Redknapp back to Portsmouth after a similar split.

John Sheridan, an Owls all-time great, would be a popular choice after his inroads with League Two leaders Chesterfield, although he has yet to gain experience higher up.

Then there is Gary Johnson, proven at this level and out of work after leaving Peterborough. In fact, there are any number of jobless managers with obvious appeal.

One is Roy Keane, who had an unhappy time at Ipswich but previously led Sunderland into the top flight after a brilliant playing career with Manchester United. Or Chris Hughton, so harshly sacked by Newcastle after promotion last season. And Dennis Wise, who was successful with Millwall and Leeds.

Yes, it is a wide open field. But the one thing you can almost guarantee is that Mandaric will act swiftly.