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Curbs coming up fast in the sack race

PUBLISHED: 15:57 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:29 05 October 2010

WEST Ham manager Alan Curbishley is under pressure before a ball has even been kicked in anger, writes JOHN HYDE. The Hammers boss is third favourite for the annual sack race – the betting market for which Premier League manager departs first. His odds

WEST Ham manager Alan Curbishley is under pressure before a ball has even been kicked in anger, writes JOHN HYDE.

The Hammers boss is third favourite for the annual 'sack race' - the betting market for which Premier League manager departs first.

His odds have been set at 6/1 by leading bookie Coral, behind only newly promoted pair Stoke's Tony Pulis and Tony Mowbray of West Brom.

That makes Curbishley (pictured) the most likely to go from last season's Premier League managers, despite guiding his team to a respectable tenth place in May.

A spokesman for Coral said: "The owner at West Ham has pumped a lot of cash in. Curbishley didn't have a great amount of luck last season but with players like Ashton back it's now time to prove his worth.

"Other clubs like Blackburn and Man City have new managers who will be given a fair chance, while the likes of Roy Keane and Steve Bruce are very established and well thought of at their present clubs.''

"The main thing will be the start. If they win the first couple, his odds will double as it's a very volatile market, but he's certainly under more pressure than most."

Hammers fans are also likely to be scrutinising Curbishley after a second half of the season that offered little excitement.

The West Ham board has denied the manager is under pressure to sell, but he has only been able to bring in one potential first-teamer, Valon Behrami, this summer (see page 47).

Curbishley arrived at Upton Park in December, 2006 and guided West Ham to a remarkable escape from relegation in his first season.

He has won 27 of his 70 matches so far, losing 29 and drawing 14

Forest Gate-born Curbishley was a former player with the club, making 85 appearances before moving on to join Birmingham City for a £225,000 fee in 1979.

He enjoyed continued success in his first managerial job at Charlton, where he was in sole charge for 10 seasons, having become joint manager along with Steve Gritt back in 1991.

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