Roy Hodgson could be sacked by Crystal Palace if they lose to bottom club Sheffield United in their next Premier League game.
Palace take on the Blades in six days’ time and need a positive result to keep their manager in a job. The Eagles have won just one of their last 10 Premier League fixtures to slip to 15th in the table, just five points above Luton in the final relegation spot.
Palace were also dumped out of the FA Cup by Everton in a third-round replay. Hodgson, who is the oldest manager in the Premier League at 76, is out of contract at the end of the season, but Palace chair Steve Parish could decide to make a change sooner.
It’s believed Parish is considering appointing either Julen Lopetegui or Steve Cooper to replace Hodgson if results don’t improve immediately. Both managers are currently available and so is Graham Potter, who was linked with the Palace job in the summer.
Defeat to Sheffield United at Selhurst Park would be unthinkable for Palace. The Blades, Burnley, Luton and Nottingham Forest – Palace’s main relegation rivals – have all improved in recent weeks, while Brentford now have Ivan Toney back after he completed an eight-month gambling ban imposed by the Football Association.
Everton are Palace’s other relegation rivals, but they are only near the bottom after receiving a 10-point deduction for breaching the Premier League’s financial rules. Everton could receive another points deduction for the same reason yet, and so could Forest.
Yet Palace can’t afford to rest on their laurels and sleepwalk into the relegation zone. The Eagles re-appointed Hodgson last March to replace the struggling Patrick Vieira and ease them to safety. Hodgson did that and was awarded with a new one-year deal.
But the former England boss is struggling to get a tune out of Palace this season, forcing Parish to consider his options. Former Real Madrid and Sevilla manager Lopetegui guided Wolves to Premier League safety last season before leaving Molineux in August.
Cooper did a remarkable job to lead Forest from the bottom of the Championship into the Premier League but was axed in December. Potter is credited with transforming Brighton from relegation candidates into European contenders.
Hodgson hit out at reporters after being questioned on his future last month. He said: “I’ve been in management for 47 years. I’ve got a CBE for services to football. My answer to you is that makes no difference to me at all. To suggest that it should is disrespectful.
“I think about the match. You can’t affect the outside noise. When you’ve been in football as long as I have you understand that. My attitude is I’m employed to do a job to the best of my ability. If there are people that want me to leave the club, they can tell me.”