The Championship sack race is heating up with Gianfranco Zola, Dougie Freedman and Billy Davies among the favourites to face the axe.

Zola, who led Watford to the playoff-final last season before losing to Crystal Palace, is under immense pressure after only one win in 11 games, leaving the Hornets eight points off the playoffs. 

The 47-year-old has seen his side lose five home games in a row, and says he's considering his options.

He told reporters: "I love what I do and I'm responsible for what I do - and I know that if I'm not doing a good job, I do something else.

"That's what I have to consider. I love being here, but I want to be helpful - and if I'm not, someone else will be.

"The fans have always been supportive and good to me, but this is a game where you need to get results and not just play good football."

Saturday's defeat to relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday has only made matters worse for Zola, who by showing doubts in himself through his recent interviews, is half-opening the door and inviting another prospective manager in.

Rivalling the Italian in the sack race is Bolton's Dougie Freedman, who, after reviving their 2012/13 season and seeing them to the fringe of the playoffs, is currently in 16th position, 11 points from the top six.

The former Palace boss spoke recently about the need for owners to remain loyal to managers, probably a hint to his own.

"The demands to get into the Premier League makes chairmen make decisions which, in hindsight, might not have been the right one," Freedman told the BBC earlier this month.

"It happens every season. I don't think statistics will tell you otherwise."

Bolton supporters are growing in frustration at their league position, and hope Freedman either departs, or kicks on later on in the season and revives The Wanderers, similar to last season.

The last manager most likely to get the boot is Nottingham Forest's Billy Davies, as they sit on the fringes of the play-offs, in seventh position.

Davies last week dismissed rumours of a bust-up with Chairman and Owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi, despite no rumours in the first place.

The Scot signed two Champions League players in the summer (Kelvin Wilson and Djamel Abdoun), along with two likely to play at the World Cup in Brazil (Gonzalo Jara and Eric Lichaj) and expects major backing in the January transfer window.

The ex-Derby man's antics off the pitch have created more headlines than the football played on the pitch, a symbol of the way things have been going at the City Ground.

With the backing the Forest hierachy gave Davies, they were expecting to be placed higher in the table and he may not be given time to rectify it, if the treatment of Sean O'Driscoll last season is anything to go by.

The race to unemployment is continuing in the Championship with Chairmen more than ready to wield the axe, to give the new man time to assess the squad before the January transfer window.

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