Wigan have become the latest Sky Bet Championship club to sack their manager having ended Warren Joyce’s reign just four months after it started.
After Norwich axed Alex Neil on Friday and Derby dispensed with Steve McClaren on Sunday, Latics followed suit in removing Joyce from his post with the club four points adrift of safety with only nine fixtures remaining.
Wigan, who have placed assistant Graham Barrow in temporary charge for the remainder of the campaign, won only six of their 24 fixtures under Manchester United’s former reserve-team boss Joyce.
The 52-year-old left Old Trafford to sign a three-and-a-half-year contract with Wigan on November 2, with chairman David Sharpe noting at the time that the deal’s length was “a measure of how highly we rate him”.
His work at United, where he helped nurture the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, had impressed Sharpe, though his era started off in disappointing fashion as Reading found themselves 2-0 up five minutes into Joyce’s first game in charge.
He was backed in the winter transfer window as eight new players arrived on deadline day alone but, having taken charge of a club in the relegation zone, Joyce was unable to steer them away from trouble.
Last year’s League One champions failed to score in eight of their 11 home fixtures under Joyce, and Saturday’s 1-0 loss to relegation rivals Bristol City at the DW Stadium proved the final straw.
“It is unfortunate that we have made this decision but, with the team in such a perilous position in the league, we need to act now because we cannot afford to fall any further behind,” Sharpe told Wigan’s official website.
“Warren was appointed with the future in mind in terms of developing players, but preserving our Championship status is the absolute priority and we have a duty to do whatever gives us the best chance of doing that.
“Results and performances have simply not been up to standard often enough in recent matches and, although we acknowledge the difficulties faced in managing a team in a league where we are competing against clubs with much larger budgets, the nature of some of our recent defeats, especially against close rivals, has fallen short in terms of what we as a club, and all our supporters, expect.”