West Brom manager Tony Pulis is fighting for his job as he faces a backlash following poor form and opposition from fans.
With his job hanging ever more in the balance, a crunch-time home clash against Chelsea coming after the international break could prove vital for Pulis to remain in charge at the Hawthorns.
The Welshman has secured only two wins from the last 20 league games and Saturday’s defeat at Huddersfield has cranked up the pressure, with the West Brom boardroom now set to face a huge decision later this month.
John Williams, the club chairman, is unwilling to dismiss Pulis, with him guiding West Brom to tenth in the Premier League last season.
Pulis has a close working relationship with Williams, and is also thought to have the backing of Chinese owner Guochuan Lai, who also recognises the job Pulis has done in steadying the club and bringing together a talented squad.
However, there is deep concern among the board over results, performances and the growing resentment from supporters.
Should the game against Chelsea on November 18th not produce a result that changes the fan’s opinions, Pulis’ tenure at West Brom could be cut short just six weeks before the third anniversary of joining the Birmingham-based club.
Whilst the game hasn’t been put to Pulis as a must-win, there is a sense that should the team’s display not reflect a sign of a resurgence in form, the atmosphere around the ground could be as important as the scoresheet.
The club spent over £30m in this summer’s transfer window, with the marquee loan signing of PSG midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak making a significant dent in the wage bill, and high optimism over another season of progress.
But whilst the start of the season was promising, both results and general team performance has left a lot to be desired as of late, with the Albion fans who travelled to Huddersfield calling for Pulis’ dismissal.
Our current form is so bad that by the time we sack Tony Pulis the only man that will be able to save us from relegation will be Tony Pulis.— Foxy Stoat (@BeardyBiff) November 4, 2017
Whilst Pulis holds the impressive record of never having been relegated, there has been significant anger directed at him from the fans, who take issue with anything from his his style of play, team selection or substitutions.
This now means that the game against Chelsea is likely to be a make-or-break game for Pulis’ job at the Albion, who look to secure their first league win since August 19th.