Stoke City are on a dismal run of form in the Championship under head coach Steven Schumacher, having lost four games on the spin, putting the side within touching distance of the relegation zone.
The Potters have been on a steady decline in recent seasons but now face a real possibility of being relegated to England’s third tier for the first time in over 30 years. The side’s only win of 2024 so far came against bottom-of-the-table Rotherham United.
Alex Neil started the season in the dugout at the Bet365 Stadium but was sacked after 16 months in charge back in December, with the club sitting 20th in the table following a dismal 1-0 defeat at home to fellow relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday.
Over a week later, Schumacher was named as the new head coach, having guided Plymouth Argyle to promotion last season and helping them reach a higher place in the table than Stoke City. The 39-year-old signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the former Premier League outfit, keeping him at the club until 2027.
Unfortunately, Schumacher’s time with Stoke has been a disaster thus far. The struggling side have picked up merely two victories in 10 matches and have lost half of their games under his tutelage.
Speaking to Football League World, EFL pundit Carlton Palmer has admitted that he is worried Stoke may not be able to avoid the drop but believes Schumacher is still a “very good manager”.
“Stoke crumbled to another defeat at the weekend, and you worry about their survival. They are on 32 points.
“I think Schumacher is a very good manager and Stoke have to be patient. I think they will stay up, it’s going to be close, they’ve got to dig out a couple of results.
“But I think if Stoke stay up and back the manager, he will revamp the squad and I think he will kick on next season,” he continued.
Steven Schumacher calls on the Potters to show the bravery needed to bounce back following defeat to Blackburn. pic.twitter.com/E16kKhN47V
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) February 10, 2024
“But of course, at this stage in the season, when you are losing games and you’re on that downward momentum, of course there is a worry.
“I think that Stoke will stay up and it’s just about getting through to the end of the season and bringing in better quality players.”
Across the last four matches, no team has picked up fewer points than Stoke City after four consecutive defeats for the strugglers. Schumacher’s men are now knee-deep in a relegation battle and desperately need to get some points on the board.
Up next for the Potters is Queens Park Rangers. A defeat to the London club will draw the two sides level on points with one another, but a victory for Stoke at home would alleviate some pressure on their shoulders. This is the very definition of a relegation six-pointer.