After just four months in charge of Championship side Wigan Athletic, manager Warren Joyce has found himself looking for a new job with Wigan still in the relegation zone, despite the fact they were in the same situation before the arrival of the former Manchester United coach.
The former Bolton and Preston midfielder took charge of a team in dire straits as they had only managed one win all season under former boss Gary Caldwell.
However, things did not dramatically improve when the new regime began as Joyce could only muster 6 wins in 24 games, a win percentage of 25%. Even bottom side Rotherham United have scored more goals than The Latics, a fact that is quite shocking given the year that The Millers have had.
This year meant to be a chance for Wigan to show how they had recovered from two relegations since 2012/13 but it looks like they are heading back to League One despite the fact they were only promoted from the same division last season.
Joyce was trying to build a future at the DW Stadium with signings such as Marcus Browne, James Weir, Callum Connolly, Jamie Hanson, Jack Byrne, Mikael Mandron, Omar Bogle and Ryan Tunnicliffe. All players are under 24, a lot on loan and some fresh out of their parent clubs’ youth team.
This was a problem for the now former manager; he was signing young players who were not ready for the fight of their lives in the Championship.
Seasoned professionals such as goalkeeper Matt Gilks and centre-back Alex Bruce were drafted in, but the lack of experience across other positions left Wigan in a real predicament.
You know it is a real problem when you have to sack two managers in one season, and Sharpe will be wondering where he went wrong in appointing Joyce. However, he has been right on both occasions. Sacking Caldwell was a tough decision due to the success last season, but it was the correct one. However, replacing him with an inexperienced manager to help his side avoid relegation was a strange decision.
The performance against their relegation rivals was another major factor for the former Hull man’s departure after four months. Losses to Blackburn and more recently Bristol City were damaging to the North West side meaning that Sharpe could not take any more. He was left feeling that the club was now in a perilous position.
The home performances this season have been abject, dour and downright poor. Wigan only managed one home win under Joyce, and they failed to score in 8 out of 11 games at the DW. It is understandable why the action was taken especially with many fans expressing their discontent via boos, social media and not wanting to buy a season ticket next year.
All in all, it was the correct decision taken by the Wigan hierarchy with such an important run of games left until the end of the season. It was the wrong time for Joyce to take over a side who needed quick results given he has an impressive background of working with youth teams. However, he may find it hard to get a new job, similar to his old pal Mike Phelan.