Journalist Luke Hatfield does not expect Dean Smith to be sacked if Aston Villa fail to beat Southampton tonight.
The pressure is building on Smith at Villa Park, with his side having not won a top-flight match since September.
What's the latest news at Aston Villa?
The Villans had a mixed start to the season, winning three of their opening six fixtures, but also losing away at Watford and Chelsea.
Things have taken a turn for the worse since the beginning of October, though. Villa lost all four of their games last month, conceding 12 goals in the process.
They were thrashed 4-1 by West Ham on Sunday, and it has recently been revealed that the club's hierarchy have held informal talks with former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca, suggesting that Smith's future at Villa is far from certain.
What has Hatfield said about Smith's future?
Smith could badly do with a win at St Mary's to halt his side's disappointing run of results, but Hatfield believes Villa's owners will stick by him for now if things don't go to plan against Southampton.
He told GIVEMESPORT: “I don’t think we’re at quite the level where it’s one game or bust for Dean Smith. These owners have shown that they’re not knee-jerk owners.
“They’re not going to pull the trigger willy-nilly, they’re going to give Dean Smith that opportunity, I think.”
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Could the Southampton clash be Smith's final game in the Villa dugout?
There is no doubt that Villa are under-performing at the moment, and the majority of the blame for that has to fall on Smith's shoulders.
He may have some credit in the bank after getting the team promoted two years ago, and then re-establishing them in the top-flight over the past couple of seasons.
However, it has been a horrible month for Villa, and a loss against Southampton would be their fifth on the trot.
It may come down to the manner of the defeat if they do leave the South Coast empty-handed. If they show some spirit and push the Saints close, that could be enough to buy Smith some time.
On the other hand, if they are well beaten like they were by West Ham last weekend, Villa's owners could be left with little option but to relieve Smith of his duties and look for a fresh start under a new manager.
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