Championship wrap: Blackburn boss Steve Kean ‘forced to resign’
James Pozzi looks at an eventful weekend in the Championship, which included Steve Kean's resignation at Blackburn
Kean’s dismissal overdue and inevitable
Just last week, this very column mentioned how managers Lee Clark, Darren Ferguson and Steve Kean all looked good bets for the chop. While the former two went against the form book and picked up impressive away wins at Brighton and Hull respectively, it was Kean who was first to fall on his sword. On Friday evening, the Blackburn Rovers manager Kean was “forced to resign” from his post, bringing to end a turbulent 18-month reign at Ewood Park. Although his Rovers side find themselves in the play-off positions having only lost once in eight games this season, the writing had long been on the wall for a manager who relegated the Lancashire club last season and failed to ever win over the club’s supporters since taking over from Sam Allardyce in December 2010. With talk of a successor already beginning, attention has turned to Tottenham coach Tim Sherwood – captain of Blackburn’s 1995 title-winning side – taking the helm. Despite the sometimes farcical issues that have occurred at boardroom level since the Venky’s takeover, Blackburn still possess one of the division’s best squads and currently finding themselves sat in fourth, ensuring the job is sure to remain attractive to many potential managers.
Beckford could blossom under Grayson at Huddersfield
It would be fair to say the career of Jermaine Beckford has stalled somewhat since leaving Everton in 2011. Fresh off a successful four-year spell at Leeds United, where he bagged 72 goals in 126 games for the West Yorkshire club, Beckford’s career was in the ascendancy and a step up to the Premier League seemed a natural progression for this most natural of finishers. Having finished as the club’s top scorer in his first season – albeit with a modest eight goals – Beckford moved on to Leicester in a £4m deal, but his time at the Foxes has been marred by injuries, lack of form and a change in managers, with boss Nigel Pearson seemingly not seeing Beckford as part of his plans. Now on loan at newly promoted Huddersfield till January, Beckford has a chance at reigniting his career at a club with Simon Grayson, a manager he knows well from their promotion winning days at Leeds. Beckford started in his new club’s thrilling 3-2 home defeat by Watford, but with a few more games under his belt, this reuniting of Grayson and Beckford could prove very beneficial indeed to the ambitious Terriers.
Derby come out on top again against fierce rivals Nottingham
Derby clinched their third successive win against East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest in a predictably full-blooded affair at the City Ground on Sunday afternoon. A second half strike from Scottish midfielder Craig Bryson was enough to seal the three points for the visitors in a game that saw six yellow cards and a red for Forest striker Dexter Blackstock. With Forest now falling to their second successive defeat after losing at Leeds last week, manager Sean O’Driscoll faces his first major test since taking charge to address the slide and make sure it does not become a slump. Having acquired new owners in the summer and a recruitment drive that has seen the likes of Billy Sharp, Simon Cox and Dan Harding, and more recently Jermaine Jenas, join the club, the two-time European champions will surely see this season as a golden opportunity to end their 13-year exile from the top flight. Derby boss Nigel Clough’s steady progress as manager continues with the Rams, who will now hope this serves as a catalyst to mount a serious promotion challenge this term, after successive mid-table finishes.
Sheffield Wednesday find themselves in free fall
After making a solid start to life back in the second tier with two wins in their first three games, Sheffield Wednesday have since found themselves in free fall – losing their last five games. After losing 1-0 at a resurgent Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, manager Dave Jones now finds himself under pressure, a situation perhaps exacerbated by the reputation of his chairman Milan Mandaric. Notoriously ruthless with managers at Portsmouth and Leicester City, Mandaric may be forced to act should Jones not improve the Owls’ current form. Having backed his manager and stated his intention to get the fallen South Yorkshire giants back into the top flight as soon as possible, a lot is now riding on tomorrow night’s trip to Burnley.