Pressure mounts at Blackburn for Ince

Blackburn manager Paul Ince faces a difficult week as he tries to focus on football while speculation about his future continues to spiral out of control.

A sixth successive Barclays Premier League defeat, 3-0 at Wigan, at the weekend extended their win-less run to 11 matches and has only increased the pressure on Ince.

His position is certain to be a matter for discussion at Ewood Park this week after chairman John Williams expressed his disappointment with the performance at the JJB Stadium, which left next-bottom Rovers five points from safety.

"After all the signs coming out of Brockhall (Blackburn's training ground) this week, I was led to believe we would get a top performance," Williams said.

"Without taking anything away from Wigan I have to say I was very disappointed with what I saw."

Williams added in the Lancashire Telegraph: "The worry is the league table is beginning to stretch out and now we need two wins just to get back among the pack at the bottom."

Ince tried to remain positive after Saturday's humiliating display, which saw his confidence-shot team concede two goals inside the first 12 minutes.

However, even if he survives this week he knows his team have to beat Premier League newcomers Stoke on Saturday.

"We know it is a massive game for us. If we win that one it sets us up nicely for Sunderland (on Boxing Day)," said the Rovers boss.

"It can't get any worse. As far as we are concerned there is no pressure on us, everyone expects us to go down, lose every game.

"We will see what happens."

Successors for Ince's job are already being touted around with former Rovers boss Graeme Souness seemingly the new favourite.

Alan Curbishley, Burnley boss Owen Coyle and Sam Allardyce have also being linked.

However, even if the Blackburn board were to admit they got it wrong in appointing Ince to his first top-flight job just four months ago a return for Souness would be an interesting choice.

The Scot is certainly not a fans' favourite having jumped ship to join Newcastle in 2004, with the manner of his departure understood to have left some at the club unimpressed.

Allardyce is an even less likely solution having been passed over for the job in favour of Ince in the summer.

Yesterday the former Bolton and Newcastle manager virtually ruled himself out, especially as he has one eye on the managerial vacancy at Sunderland.

"As far as I am concerned, there was a chance that I talked to Blackburn when it was between me, Paul Ince and Steve McClaren," he said yesterday.

"But that has been the sum total of any contact between me and Blackburn since then. There's nothing in it at the moment."