Bolton vs. Sunderland: An EPL Match That Features Two Struggling Managers

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2011

BOLTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Bolton Wanderers Manager Owen Coyle reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea at the Reebok Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Bolton, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland square off this weekend in an English Premier League match that at the start of the season could have had potential to be a match with two teams looking to reach the top 10 of the table, but now it is a battle of two relegation contenders.

Fans and critics alike have been calling for the sacking of the manager for both teams for a few weeks now, and the losing manager in this match at the Reebok could actually be sacked.

Owen Coyle led Bolton to a 14th-place finish last season but it should have been a more successful season for the Trotters. This season, Bolton were predicted by some to be in the relegation zone and some predicted Bolton to finish in the top 10.

The former prediction was the correct one, as the Trotters have had a lack of goal scorers with Johan Elmander leaving for Galatasaray and with Daniel Sturridge returning to Chelsea after being on loan at the Reebok Stadium for the last six months of last season.

Coyle has also lost star midfielder Stuart Holden due to injury for most of the season and may lose defender Gary Cahill in January to a transfer.

The Trotters got back on track last week with their first win since the season opener as they beat Wigan. If they continue to win, Coyle's job may be safe for now, but if the losing continues, Coyle may be shown the door.

Steve Bruce is in even more trouble at Sunderland.

A late-season slide last season almost dragged the Black Cats into the relegation zone but they survived and finished 10th.

This season, more of the same has continued at the Stadium of Light, even with Bruce bringing in over 10 new players to the club over the summer.

While Bruce did bring in a ton of squad players, he lost arguably his two best players as Jordan Henderson left for Liverpool and Asamoah Gyan went on loan to UAE club Al-Ain.

The Black Cats only have one win this season, a 4-0 blowout of Stoke that was thought to have turned the tide at the Stadium of Light a month ago but did not.

Three losses and four draws in the rest of the season's matches have seen Sunderland drop to 17th in the table, with rumors of the former Wigan boss of being sacked.

Either scenario is not a good one to be in right now, and both managers could be fired by the end of the calendar year. This match on Saturday is crucial for both managers so that they can get their season back on track.

Coyle has a better chance of saving his job than Bruce, but that does not mean he is on the hot seat as well.

While both teams will most likely battle to stay afloat in the Premier League for another season, their managers may not be around to help keep their current club from relegation.