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Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021

Under pressure: 5 managers who need a big 2017

Gordon Strachan, David Moyes and Mick McCarthy are among those who need to turn things around.

Gordon Strachan

Source: Tim Goode

It’s all gone a bit sour for Scotland and Strachan since their 1-0 loss to Georgia in September 2015 which, combined with their home draw against Poland and Ireland’s win against Germany a month later, ultimately cost them a spot in the playoffs for Euro 2016.

Their World Cup qualification campaign has continued in a similar vein, a win against Malta followed by a home draw against Lithuania, and successive 3-0 away defeats to Slovakia and old rivals England.

Scotland are fifth in their six-team group and will need a substantial points haul from their first three qualifiers of 2017 — home ties against Slovenia and England and a trip to Lithuania — to rescue any hope of qualifying for Russia.

Mick McCarthy

Source: EMPICS Sport

He may have guided Ipswich to a seventh-place finish in his third full season in charge earlier this year but the end of 2016 has been a struggle for the Tractor Boys.

McCarthy is yet to guide Ipswich to a top-six finish in the Championship but the pre-season hope had been that 2017 would be a year when the club could secure a Premier League return.

However, a disappointing start to the 2016/17 season has put the former Ireland manager under pressure to haul the club back into the reckoning for the playoffs.

Marcel Koller

Source: Ronald Zak

The Austria manager is another who has gone from dizzying heights to looking over his shoulder in a matter of months.

Picked as the ‘dark horses’ by many in Euro 2016, on the back of an unbeaten qualifying campaign, Austria limped home from France with their tails between their legs.

Koller’s side began their World Cup qualifying campaign with a positive away win against Georgia but a subsequent home draw against Wales, a defeat away to Serbia and October’s Vienna loss to Ireland have left them with a mountain to climb.

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With away games to Ireland and Wales among their next three fixtures, the pressure is mounting on Koller to turn things around.

David Moyes

Sunderland v Arsenal - Premier League - Stadium of Light Source: Owen Humphreys

Moyes’ Sunderland had a much-needed turn of fortunes at the start of November but the reality is their dreadful start to the campaign will likely see them scrapping for survival until May.

The former Manchester United and Everton boss is facing a daunting run of fixtures over the festive period and early in the new year.

Another lengthy winless streak would see pressure build on the Scot in no time and perhaps leads to calls for another Sam Allardyce-type rescue mission.

John Caulfield

Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

From the outside looking in, Caulfield is doing an excellent job with the squad he has. Cork City are firmly established as the country’s second best side, behind one of the greatest teams the League of Ireland has produced.

This year’s FAI Cup win undoubtedly brought joy to Cork City fans but the feeling on Leeside indicates that a league title is needed sooner rather than later.

Three successive second place finishes are struggling to sate fans of the club who haven’t been champions since 2005. And Shamrock Rovers are widely expected to close the gap on Cork City following their extensive recruitment during the off-season.

Another year without a title could prove one too many, even during a time when Dundalk will likely go from strength to strength.

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