Rooney on borrowed time at Derby, as bookies predict he will be the next Championship manager to go

Former Man Utd striker is favourite to be the next Championship manager out of the door, while pressure mounts on Hull, Peterborough and Middlesbrough bosses.

Love it or hate it, the managerial merry-go-round is now just as much of a part of modern soccer as big-money transfers and clubs releasing new kits every season.

It's not to everyone's taste, with many fans harking back to days when managers were given time before the axe fell. Now, however, it's all about instant success, and nowhere is that more true than the Championship.

English soccer's second tier is among the most competitive in the world, and as such, is one of the harshest environments for managers. Succeed, and the riches of the Premier League await. Fail, and it's the gloomy depths of League One.

Chris Hughton has already paid the price at Nottingham Forest and he certainly won't be the last.

Planet Sport takes a look at six Championship managers on a knife-edge and the odds on them being the next to depart.

Wayne Rooney (Derby County)

Wayne Rooney Derby boss Sep21

Derby's financial strife is well-documented, and after the club entered administration, they sit on minus two points. Owner Mel Morris even went as far as to apologise publicly for their off-field woes, but will he - or any prospective buyer - look to dismiss Wayne Rooney?

The Rams have been defeated just twice in the league, and are unbeaten at Pride Park in all competitions, with a particularly impressive 2-1 victory coming in their last game against high-flying Stoke City. Prior to the points deduction they were sitting pretty on ten points. Not only had Rooney got this unlikely band of brothers well ahead of where they should be, but he's also adored by the fans.

However, last season they only escaped relegation by the narrowest of margins and even if Rooney isn't shown the door at Pride Park, he could still choose to walk.

Grant McCann (Hull City)

Grant McCann Hull Sep21

Promoted Hull's return to the Championship could hardly have gone any better on their first outing, a 4-1 thrashing of Preston at Deepdale, but things have stagnated since. Northern Irishman Grant McCann is now looking over his shoulder, especially with an owner like Assem Allam.

Allam has appointed eight managers in his 11 years at the helm of the Tigers, including McCann, and it could soon become time to act to prevent the East Yorkshire club, currently in 23rd, becoming cut adrift.

Following that victory in Preston, McCann has just two more points, in the form of goalless draws at home to Bournemouth and away to Swansea amid a run of six games without a goal.

The euphoria of promotion is beginning to wear off, and the Tigers desperately need points.

Darren Ferguson (Peterborough United)

Darren Ferguson Peterborough boss Aug21

Hull returned to the second tier as champions over the summer, and they were accompanied in the automatic spots by Peterborough. However, both are now struggling to bridge the gap to the division above, and under Sir Alex Ferguson's son Darren, Posh also reside in the bottom three.

Ferguson is in his third separate spell at the Weston Homes Stadium, having been re-appointed in January 2019, and does have prior experience of losing his job after guiding the team to promotion.

That happened during his first spell, as he was sacked in November 2009 despite overseeing back-to-back promotions.

Posh secured a valuable 3-0 win over Birmingham in their last outing, ending a five-match winless run that had seen them ship 13 goals. However, they have just one other win to their name - a 2-1 defeat of Derby - and have conceded the second-most number of goals in the league. Hardly ideal when you're fighting for survival.

Frankie McAvoy (Preston North End)

Frankie McAvoy Preston boss Aug21

From Ferguson, we move on to another Scot, in the shape of North End boss Frankie McAvoy, who replaced compatriot Alex Neil at the Deepdale helm in March. He comfortably guided the Lilywhites to a mid-table finish, but with this season now eight games old, they currently occupy a spot far too close to the drop zone for comfort.

McAvoy was initially Neil's interim replacement in what was his first ever role as first-team manager of any club, but took the role permanently after winning five of his eight matches in charge. Considering he is 54, it's a little surprising to consider his lack of experience, but he has been content to shadow Neil as his assistant.

Is the sudden limelight having an adverse effect? He enjoyed beginner's luck with his spell at the end of last season, but, barring two victories before the international break, Preston have largely struggled to turn draws into wins. Could a change in the dugout begin to lift them clear of any relegation concerns?

Slavisa Jokanovic (Sheffield United)

Slavisa Jokanovic Sheffield United boss Aug21

It was a quite baffling decision by Sheffield United to part company with Chris Wilder at the end of last season. By that point, they were dead and buried, and keeping Wilder with both eyes on an immediate return to the top flight seemed the most sensible course of action.

If the reports that Wilder fell out with owner Prince Abdullah bin Mosa are correct, then Blades fans need to be worried, both because it suggests they have a volatile owner, and because no owner should be getting close enough to team affairs to fall out with the manager.

Regardless, former Watford and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic is the man tasked with returning them to the top flight. However, things have not gone to plan so far, with just two wins, and a position of 15th.

A win over Hull last time out has given Jokanovic breathing space but they can ill-afford to lose much more ground on the front-runners.

Neil Warnock (Middlesbrough)

Neil Warnock Middlesbrough manager Aug21

One of the most well-known faces in English soccer's second tier, Neil Warnock is currently in charge of his 14th club, having taken the Riverside reins in June last year.

He led Boro to a perfectly respectable 10th last season, with hopes of being able to kick on this time around.

Despite Warnock being known as a man well versed in the art of promotion from the Championship, Middlesbrough currently sit 16th, with an identical record to Jokanovic's Sheffield United.

At the age of 72, is the vastly experienced Warnock nearing his sell-by date?

Sacking a man like Warnock would come at any club's peril, but if Boro are brave enough to do it, it's a risk that may very well have the potential to bring big rewards. Both for the club and for punters.

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