Sheffield Wednesday are now 9/2 to drop straight back down to League One as uncertainty sweeps around the newly-promoted Championship club following Darren Moore's departure.
Less than a month on from their dramatic play-off final success over Barnsley at Wembley, and with excitement rife ahead of a first second-tier campaign in three years, the Owls have remarkably made the decision to part ways with their first-team manager.
The former West Bromwich Albion man was lauded for the job he had carried out in the steel city, bouncing back from the anguish of missing out on an automatic promotion spot to secure a sensational return to the second-tier via the playoffs.
A 4-0 semi-final first leg defeat against Peterborough United was reversed in the most scintillating style on home soil last month, before Wednesday edged past their Yorkshire rivals Barnsley in the Wembley showpiece in equally as dramatic fashion.
However, with the dust still settling on the back of Josh Windass’ inspired last-gasp winner in the capital, the grey clouds have descended back over their iconic Hillsborough home.
Moore’s departure, together with those of his trusted backroom team and head of recruitment David Downes - who has joined Blackpool in a similar position, has severely dampened the previously buoyant mood across the blue and white half of the city.
It was hoped that promotion to the Championship would prove the springboard for one of English football’s giants to ignite a push for a Premier League return (10/1 for promotion), with skipper Barry Bannan recently revealing his desire of leading the Owls back to top-flight for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.
But now, with so many key off-the-pitch positions to fill and with only 14 players with first-team experience on the books, simply staving off the threat of relegation would be an achievement in itself – Wednesday are 16/1 to finish bottom.
Moore’s departure appears to have stemmed from unfruitful conversations with chairman Dejphon Chansiri over the past week, with the pair unable to find common ground on their plans for how best to approach the 2023/24 campaign.
At least 10 new signings are realistically needed between now and the closure of the transfer window in August for the Owls to realistically be competitive throughout the upcoming campaign, and back up their 7/2 odds for a top six finish.
The opportunity to take over the managerial reigns at Hillsborough will carry plenty of appeal for managers both at home and abroad, but the big question – which will likely determine just how the campaign plays out for the club – is to what extent the new manager will be backed in the transfer market.
Only time will tell.
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