Nottingham Forest produced arguably their performance of the season in coming from a goal down to beat Leeds 4-2 on Boxing Day, yet it cost manager Sean O’Driscoll his job.
Following one of the most bizarre sackings in living memory, Alex McLeish has been installed as short as 1/10 to replace the former Doncaster chief and remains largely unopposed in the betting.
Middle East investment saw Forest rise from relegation candidates of last season into the promotion reckoning ahead of the current campaign and after initial teething problems early doors following an influx of new arrivals, the club now find themselves right in the play-off shake up.
Sitting in eighth, just one point outside the play-off spots, it’s hard to say that O’Driscoll was doing a bad job in a highly competitive division and, after just five months in the position, he has every right to feel aggrieved by the club’s decision.
His seemingly nailed-on replacement brings a trio of Premier League, trophy-winning and Championship promotion experience to the club, but his exploits in the top flight with Birmingham and Aston Villa make him a far from inspirational appointment.
An alternative that’s sure to set pulses racing at the City Ground is Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo.
The Italian can be backed at 5/1 to beat McLeish to the punch, yet his departure from Chelsea came in similarly unfair circumstances to the outgoing Forest boss and the fans would surely welcome his arrival.
He can also say he’s been there and done it regarding Championship promotion and such a glamorous appointment would surely interest the Forest owners and their lofty ambitions.
Whether Di Matteo himself would be prepared to accept a job in England’s second tier after getting his hands on club football’s most coveted prize just seven months back is a different matter. It would be an almost unprecedented fall from grace but the promise of untold funds to spend may twist his arm.
Elsewhere in the betting, Roy Keane is a 10/1 shot to return to the club where he made his name and recently axed QPR supremo Mark Hughes can be had at 12’s. Meanwhile, Billy Davies is at long odds of 20/1 to return for a second stint at the City Ground and the son of Forest’s favourite son, Nigel Clough, can be backed at 33/1 to make the switch from their bitter rivals Derby County.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date