Time running out for Grant
Under-pressure West Ham United manager Avram Grant has just three games left to prove to the board that he is the right man for the job.
The future of Grant, who has managed just one Premier League win this season, was plunged into further doubt following a spiritless 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday.
With the club rooted to the foot of the table, the board will reluctantly be forced to axe the manager they appointed in June, unless he can quickly turn things around.
A well placed source, with connections to Upton Park, told ESPNsoccernet : "The board don't want to sack Avram because it's not really his fault. There isn't the stack of money needed to buy enough players. Much of the team is left over from last season.
"But, it cannot go on for much longer. The club need six points from their next three games to stand a chance of survival. There is still a feeling the club won't go down, but time is running out for Avram to prove the club should stick with him, and the belief he can turn it around and the Hammers can stay up."
Former Chelsea boss Grant might now be left with just a one-game buffer for defeat, and another abject performance in front of their own fans against bottom three club Wigan on Saturday would leave the manager in a precarious position.
An away trip to Sunderland follows the Wigan clash and a home match against Roberto Mancini's Manchester City round off the trio of Premier League fixtures.
Co owners David Gold and David Sullivan appointed Grant as successor to Franco Zola and are loathe to ditch him so soon into his four year contract, according to ESPNsoccernet's source, but the team's position has become dire, and if they lost at home to Wigan on Saturday they are in danger of being cut a drift.
With the consequences that the Hammers will look doomed to relegation before the end of November, the Board might be forced to act with the fans already calling for their favourite Paolo di Canio, with many walking out before half time at Anfield.
But Di Canio has no managerial experience and while he could be brought in to aid Grant or assist a replacement, the problem is finding the right candidate in mid-season.
A new manager might not be able to do much better with such a limited transfer budget, with Grant chosen for the task at the east London club following his success at Portsmouth in the FA Cup despite the club being in administration.
So far the board have stood resolutely behind Grant with Karren Brady going as far as saying prior to the Liverpool game that the club won't sack their manager.
However, such was the limp and woeful display at Anfield, where the Hammers have not won since 1963 but were expected to at least put up a fight, the tide is going against Grant.
With the club still £85 million in debt, the January transfer window will be spent trying to bring in new players on a small budget while shipping out some top players - such as Matthew Upson, who has declined a new contract and who would be a free transfer at the end of the season.