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Clubs close on manager axe record

Premier League clubs are on course to set a new record for the English top flight, as they have not seen fit to dismiss any of their managers so far this season.

It marks a massive change from the norm as in the previous ten seasons there were 25 managerial casualties before mid-November, including such high-profile names as Jose Mourinho, Sir Bobby Robson and Glenn Hoddle.

But, if the axe fails to fall on any of the 20 Premier League managers before December, it will be the first time that has happened this century.

League Managers' Association chief Richard Bevan has welcomed the decline. He said: ''I'm sure the anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25 years at Manchester United last weekend reminds all clubs of what can be achieved with continuity and stability.

''The Premier League has managers with significant experience, which may also contribute to the current stability.

''Since 2001 there has been a peak [of managerial departures] in October and November. But the number appears to have fallen in recent years, and also seems to be occurring a little later.''

Some managers have come under pressure already though, with Blackburn's Steve Kean favourite to go first, despite the public backing of club owners Venky's. Sunderland's Steve Bruce, Bolton's Owen Coyle, Wigan's Roberto Martinez and Wolves boss Mick McCarthy have also seen calls for their sacking so far this season.

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