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Has Pearce run out of time?

Following on a little from Mr Banks review of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Wigan, the comments section was filled by many of you calling for Pearce to go - with you naming (surprisingly?) Bobby Robson named as a favourite to take over (albeit in a short term capacity).

It now seems that fans patience has finally worn thin with Pearce, with a depressing last few months punctuated only by the glimmer of a Wembley appearance on the horizon, something which until the last couple of weeks has certainly deflected away from the miserable league form.

The normally reflective Pearce has also come out today to bemoan the 'lack of investment' over the past three seasons - something he does not normally criticise outright despite the obvious frustration it must cause:

"Over the last two or three years, the fact we have not
speculated as well as we should have done financially is probably catching up
with us a little bit."

He has also suffered the blow of losing two talented and trusted members of the coaching staff in Tim Flowers and Frank Bunn over the past week or so, and it is no great secret that he did not endear himself to his employers with the mess created over his appointment to the England under-21 managers position.

Do not now be surprised then if Pearce is now gone sooner rather than later.

The timing of making such a move is now crucial given the impending Blackburn cup game followed by the league games against Chelsea and Middlesbrough. I think it is a racing certainty he will be gone in the summer - heading off to the under-21 position full-time, but I believe that the board may be thinking of acting now to give the club a jolt to shake it out of the current malaise it is in, with the hope of safeguarding Premier league status and maybe, just maybe getting to the FA Cup final.

The danger is by making a move at this stage, you run the risk of causing unrest within the squad, and then having a situation where the new man comes in and has so little time to impose himself and methods on a squad. Conversely, a short-term boost of a couple would be all that is needed to virtually ensure survival.

It is inconceivable that we will be able to prise a manager away from another club at this stage of the season so it would be a caretaker who comes in until mid-May (and it won't be Steve Wigley) before targeting the next 'full-time' manager. The list of potential candidates out there is by far from exhaustive and I don't see any of the 'big names' risking damage to their reputations by actually taking us down.

By the process of elimination this means that a caretaker apointment would probably not be the sort of name that fans would be happy with and would also represent a huge risk undertaken by the board for whom it would be a financial disaster if we were to be relegated given the inevitable fall in value to the club in the midst of takeover talks.

A lot can happen in a week - whether it politics or football, and by this time next Sunday we could have given ourselves a real shot in the arm for the rest of the season by beating Blackburn in the FA Cup.

It remains to be seen though as to whether Stuart Pearce will still be in charge to oversee proceedings.