Wherever a team is in the second tier, it is never far away from the drama and tension of relegation or promotion issues – or their implications, just ask Barnsley, Bristol City and Hull.
At Oakwell, David Flitcroft has taken charge of struggling Barnsley on a permanent basis.
Bottom club Bristol City sacked Derek McInnes on Saturday night and Sean O'Driscoll, the former Nottingham Forest manager who had rejected an approach from Barnsley, has been tipped to take over.
Flitcroft was appointed caretaker manager following Keith Hill's departure last month and after defeat at fellow strugglers Peterborough in his first game in charge, the Tykes have clinched back-to-back victories.
A late goal saw off Burnley in the third round of the FA Cup and they then secured their first home league success since September with an uplifting 2-0 derby win over Leeds on Saturday.
A club statement said: "It is clear that David has the passion, personal dedication and the commitment of the players that are essential if we are to maintain our Championship status. We ask that all those who care about Barnsley FC show unity and get behind David."
The turmoil at Barnsley and Bristol City will be familiar to Steve Bruce, who is trying to rebuild his reputation at Hull after his departure from Sunderland in 2011. Against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday there was drama from a late corner kick – and he had been there before, too.
Perhaps the Old Trafford old boy had a feeling in his bones when he was asked on Friday, after receiving the poisoned chalice of the Championship manager of the month bubbly for December, about the two towering headers – the second "in Fergie time," as he put it – that salvaged Manchester United the 2-1 victory against Wednesday which paved the way for their first Premier League title back in 1993. "It's the horrible games you remember," he replied. "As a manager I got beaten 5-1 at Newcastle."
After the giant leap forward of the eight match unbeaten run that had taken Bruce's purring Tigers up into second place in the Championship table, a 3-1 defeat was a reminder of those dark days in charge of the pussyfooting Black Cats. There was no personal disaffection aimed at the man who has succeeded in resurrecting Hull City and his own managerial reputation these past few months – unlike the dog's abuse he took from some sections of the Sunderland crowd before his departure from the Stadium of Light. Still, there were stifled boos of frustration after an abject performance that cost Bruce's side the opportunity to close the gap on Cardiff at the top.
"We have to bounce back," the Hull manager said, but it will be tricky. His team face an awkward FA Cup third-round replay at Leyton Orient tomorrow before going to Peterbrorough in the league on Saturday and may have to bring in a goalkeeper on emergency loan after Eldin Jakupovic suffered concussion following a knock to the head when he dropped a Wednesday corner over the line for the visitors' second goal.Reuse content