It used to be the threat of relegation that made chairmen twitchy and had managers looking over their shoulders as winter days began to lengthen into spring. Nowadays the threat of not winning promotion can have a similar effect. These two clubs, both of whom sacked their managers last month, are cases in point.
Sheffield Wednesday were third in League One when they ditched Gary Megson, which was extraordinary even for Milan Mandaric. Megson's last act had been to supervise a 1-0 win over Steel City neighbours and promotion rivals United.
County were not so well placed when they parted with Martin Allen but he saved them from the drop last season despite having only seven games in which to do it. He had them third in October, their highest League position for 12 years, and while a less successful run followed they had won two from three and were by no means out of the running when he was told to leave.
Allen's departure cleared the way for Keith Curle to become the sixth manager at Meadow Lane in the 25 months since the Lincoln businessman Ray Trew began to unravel the tangled mess left behind by Munto Finance. It is hardly a recipe for stability but there is no quibbling yet with his latest appointment. This result is a setback but County are in the play-off places and after five wins and a draw it is their first defeat in seven matches under Curle.
Nor can it be argued, so far, that the replacement of Megson with Dave Jones at Hillsborough is a mistake. The 55-year-old has three wins from three so far, the latest secured by second-half goals by Ryan Lowe and Gary Madine, after which the home side rallied but could manage only a late reply on debut from Lloyd Sam.
The result leaves Wednesday outside the automatic promotion places but only on goal difference and Jones appreciates his good fortune. "It seems the chairman had made up his mind before the derby win," he said. "I'm lucky in that I was the one chosen but you still have to win the games."
Notts County (4-4-1-1): Nelson; Freeman, Stewart, Chilvers, Sheehan; J Hughes, Bishop (Bencherif, 87), Mahon (Burgess, 67), Harley (Sam, 57); Judge; Forte.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Bywater; Buxton, Batth, R Jones (Llera, 17), Bennett; Antonio, Lines, Semedo, M Jones (Prutton, 83); Madine, Lowe (O'Grady, 76).
Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)
Man of the match: Antonio (Sheffield Wednesday)
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