Coventry sack Dowie as Robson awaits fate

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The Independent Online

In the old days, extended FA Cup runs used to be the saving grace for managers under pressure. No longer, as Iain Dowie and Bryan Robson can testify.

Despite Coventry City meeting with West Bromwich in the fifth round of the Cup this weekend, Dowie was sacked yesterday with his side in 19th place in the Championship, four points above the relegation zone, following their 1-0 defeat at Preston on Saturday – their fifth loss in six League games. At Sheffield United, who face Middlesbrough in the Cup on Sunday, Robson is set for talks with the club's hierarchy.

Coventry's assistant manager Tim Flowers and Bob Dowie, Iain's brother, another member of the backroom staff, have also left the Ricoh Arena, with Frankie Bunn and John Harbin placed in charge of team affairs for tonight's Championship match at home to Cardiff City.

Dowie, 43, took over at Coventry last February, replacing Micky Adams, who was sacked the previous month. The former Northern Ireland international, had been out of work after leaving Charlton in November 2006. He had been in charge at The Valley for just six months but paid the price for a poor start to the Premier League season. He had joined Charlton in May 2006 from Crystal Palace, whose chairman, Simon Jordan, then sued Dowie for misleading him about his reasons for leaving.

Coventry finished 17th last season but this term have failed to repeat the performances which saw them beat Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford in the Carling Cup and thrash Blackburn Rovers 4-1 at Ewood Park in the FA Cup. In 49 games in charge, Dowie won 20, lost 21 and drew eight.

The club, who moved into a new stadium three seasons ago, avoided going into financial administration and a mandatory 10-point deduction in mid-December when a consortium headed by the former Manchester City player, Ray Ranson, took over the club.

Robson, meanwhile, is seeking another great escape at The Hawthorns tonight as pressure mounts on the Sheffield United manager. Robson played for and managed West Bromwich, helping them secure Premier League survival on an emotional final day of the 2004-05 season.

Now he returns to the West Midlands as manager of the Blades and in desperate need of a victory, with fans calling for his sacking after a disappointing home draw against 10-man Scunthorpe on Saturday left the team 17th in the Championship and without a win in the League since 12 January.

Robson is set to travel to Belgium for talks with United's plc chairman, Kevin McCabe, tomorrow in a bid to sort out the turmoil at Bramall Lane, but he will not have improved his popularity by insisting that the club's fans contributed to the team's failure to win on Saturday.

"The fans were on my back and the players' back very early on in the game," Robson said, "and I felt that if we had had a better support at the weekend then we might have gone on to win the game.

"When they're criticising myself, it really is [passed] on to the players and I don't think it helped their performance at all."

Managerial Departures: The season's sackings and resignations

13 Aug 2007 Neil McDonald (Carlisle)

29 Aug Martin Allen (Leicester City)

9 Sept Ronnie Jepson (Gillingham)

20 Sept Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)

26 Sept Martin Foyle (Port Vale)

1 Oct John Gregory (QPR)

2 Oct John Ward (Cheltenham)

8 Oct Peter Taylor (C Palace), Willie Donachie (Millwall)

9 Oct Peter Grant (Norwich City)

15 Oct John Schofield (Lincoln City)

16 Oct Steve Thompson (Notts County)

17 Oct Sammy Lee (Bolton Wanderers)

25 Oct Gary Megson (Leicester City), Martin Jol (Tottenham Hotspur)

5 Nov Chris Hutchings (Wigan Athletic)

8 Nov Steve Cotterill (Burnley)

13 Nov Paul Simpson (Preston North End)

19 Nov Steve Bruce (Birmingham City)

21 Nov Ian Holloway (Plymouth Argyle)

26 Nov Billy Davies (Derby County)

27 Nov Paul Sturrock (Swindon Town)

11 Dec Terry Butcher (Brentford)

21 Dec Lawrie Sanchez (Fulham)

9 Jan 2008 Sam Allardyce (Newcastle United)

14 Jan Chris Casper (Bury)

15 Jan Kevin Blackwell (Luton Town)

24 Jan George Burley (Southampton)

28 Jan Dennis Wise (Leeds United)

11 Feb Iain Dowie (Coventry City)

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