Chris Lepkowski: Valerien Ismael could be sacked by West Brom before Christmas
West Brom may sack manager Valerien Ismael before Christmas, according to Chris Lepkowski.
Albion drew 0-0 with Nottingham Forest on Friday night, leaving them winless in their last four matches.
With 20 games of the Championship season gone, the Baggies are third in the table but eight points behind the automatic promotion spots.
Writing on Twitter, former Birmingham Mail journalist Lepkowski suggested that Ismael is moving closer to the Hawthorns exit door.
“I suspect Valerien Ismael is in territory now where he might struggle to make Xmas if things don’t quickly change,” he said.
“It’ll be the manager who pays the price. It always is. We are now closer to 13th points wise than 2nd. The players will be protected.”
He later added: “Sacking him now would be a huge admission they got it wrong.
“But if attendances drop – which they already are – and the Board start getting it, they’ll be more likely to act. He needs a big result on Saturday.”
Time running out
Things are beginning to turn sour for Ismael in the Black Country.
Promotion was always going to be West Brom’s priority target following relegation from the Premier League last season and at the start of the campaign Ismael looked like the perfect man to achieve that.
Albion did not lose any of their opening 10 fixtures and were top of the Championship table at the end of September.
However, since then they have won just three matches and taken only 12 points from 10 games, leaving them adrift in the race for automatic promotion.
Supporters are losing their patience with the manager’s predictable style of play and there was a noticeably flat atmosphere at The Hawthorns against Forest on Friday night.
The next few weeks are crucial in determining Ismael’s future. West Brom travel to fifth-place Coventry City on Saturday before facing Reading, Barnsley and Derby County – all sides in the bottom four.
If he fails to inspire an upturn in form in that run, it will surely be the end of the road.
In other West Brom news, one Baggies senior player is set for a January exit after a disagreement with Ismael.