Dave Jones was dismissed as manager of Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, a decision which will have come as little surprise to most Wednesday fans and it is a sign of the state the the team is in that few will be overly disappointed.
Jones helped Wednesday to promotion from League One in the final third of the 2011/12 season and the form that the team displayed under him deservedly bought him some time when the Owls went on two appalling runs of form last season. They ultimately survived to maintain the Championship status but their start to this season has left them in an even worse position than they found themselves in at the same stage during the last campaign.
1 win from 16 league matches has cost Jones his job and the truth is that although Wednesday have held the lead in a number of games and drawn a fair few there has rarely been any confidence that the draws would be turned into wins or the leads would be maintained.
In September Wednesday held a half-time lead against Yeovil, who had been reduced to ten men. The visitors found an equaliser in the second half and despite being a man short they looked more composed and more likely to find a winner. A heavy defeat at Birmingham was followed with a home loss against newly promoted local rivals Doncaster.
4 consecutive draws stopped the rot a little but Wednesday didn't really look like winning any of those 4 matches then a resounding win at home to Reading gave the impression that a corner might have been turned. Since that solitary win over the season the Owls have played 3, lost 3, conceded 6 and scored just 1.
The Owls have become heavily reliant on loan players such as Roger Johnson, Matt Fryatt and Connor Wickham. New players recruited in the summer such as Nuhiu and Maghoma have failed to make an impression while Helan and Zayatte has been far from consistent.
In central midfield the Owls opted to offer new contracts to the likes of Coke & Prutton and retained Semedo. More recently they have resorted to fielding McPhail and Olofinjana who have been signed on short-term contracts. The midfield looks woefully short of pace and lacks any goal scoring threat.
Wednesday's success during the second half of last season was based largely on becoming hard to beat but they are yet to keep a clean sheet this campaign and goal keeper Chris Kirkland, who has been one of the few players to earn any consistent praise this season was dropped from the starting line up last weekend.
Players such as McCabe and Maguire have found first team opportunities limited with rumours questioning their work rate/attitude. Some would contest that it is the job of the management team to get the best out of such players, not only in matches but also during the rest of the working week. Maguire was sent on loan to Coventry last week and promptly popped up with 2 goals on his debut.
With thirty league games still to be played the Owls still have plenty of time to drag themselves out of trouble but Milan Mandaric now has an important decision to make in appointing the right man to help them do so.