Is Gunn right man for job?

The statistics confirm it - Bryan Gunn's reign as Norwich City manager has been more successful than his predecessor, but it may not be enough to keep him in the job.

The statistics confirm it - Bryan Gunn's reign as Norwich City manager has been more successful than his predecessor, but it may not be enough to keep him in the job.

Most fans and pundits saw the City goalkeeping legend's appointment - someone who had no football management experience - as a gamble at a crucial time, after Glenn Roeder led the club down a worrying yet familiar path before his sacking in January.

And as City's Championship status hangs by the thinnest of threads, the City board will still have one hefty managerial decision to make ahead of the summer, whether relegation or the holy grail of safety awaits against Charlton at The Valley on Sunday.

Gunn took charge with hopes of instigating a revival of fortunes following an ill-fated 27 games under Roeder, who brought 26 points from his 27 matches in charge, an average of 0.96 points per game.


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Gunn's record to date, starting with the 4-0 mauling of Barnsley, has hit an average of 1.11 points from his 10 games in charge.

Both managers had two consecutive wins and similar four-game unbeaten runs this season, while Roeder suffered three consecutive defeats. Gunn sits on two ahead of Sunday's Charlton clash.

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It was hoped topping Roeder's record would be enough for Gunn to see Norwich safe, and the City legend has admitted he wants the job beyond this season.

The comparison between the two is probably fairest, taking into account the similar playing squads, resources and circumstances for each.

But there is no denying both managers have played their part in what - in all likelihood, Sunday will confirm - has been a disastrous season for the Canaries.

Apart from leaving many City fans resigned to League One football next season, Monday's 2-0 home defeat to Reading confirmed two things.

The Canaries' nine wins at 'Fortress' Carrow Road this season is their lowest total in the second tier for 10 seasons.

And more strikingly, the Reading loss was City's ninth at home - something the Canaries last recorded as they finished bottom of Division Three South in 1956/7.

There have been plenty of seasons with fewer than 46 games in between, but that statistic sits brashly alongside the possibility of third tier football for the first time in 49 years.

Take Gunn's own record out of this season's context and into the slightly wider history of the club, and it slips well behind.

Compared to his seven predecessors, who all took change with Norwich in the second tier, only Bryan Hamilton won fewer points from his opening 18 games; 18 points compared to Gunn's 20.

Ironically, Roeder's introduction last season measures up well, joining Bruce Rioch, Martin O'Neill and Mike Walker in reaping at least 30 points from his first 18 matches, perhaps offering the hope a manager's reign can get much better - as well as worse.

It may also be harsh to judge Gunn on such a relatively short space of time, and before we find out whether a miracle will arrive in SW7 at the weekend.

Sunday's Championship finales at The Valley and Home Park - where City's only relegation rivals, Barnsley, need just a draw against Plymouth - could still produce the glorious moment Gunn's appointment was designed for.

And with fellow City legends Ian Crook, Ian Butterworth and John Deehan in the wings, a vast majority of Norwich fans were willing to get behind his line-up.

But with City as short as 1/12 to be relegated on Sunday, and the City board having admitted their past mistakes - Roeder and the equally unsuccessful Peter Grant - for many fans, pinning hopes on 'one more new boss' may be taken as fiddling while Rome burns.

The statistics do not lie, but they also do not tell the full story, and another manager paying the price for what many supporters see as the board's failings, this time, may not be good enough.

What the statistics say…

2008/9 Championship campaign to date

PWDLPtsPPG

Roeder277515260.96

Gunn18558201.11

First 18 Division One/Championship games in charge:

PWDLPts

Bryan Gunn1855820

Glenn Roeder1886430

Peter Grant1864822

Nigel Worthington1865723

Bryan Hamilton1846818

Bruce Rioch1895432

Mike Walker1895432

Martin O'Neill1886430

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