Joyce eyeing play-off push

Gary Neville wonders if Roberto Mancini will still have a job

next summer if he fails to follow up last season’s Premier League

title triumph with Manchester City.

Mancini finds himself under pressure heading into Sunday’s

Manchester derby, more because of their failures in the Champions

League than on the domestic front.

Victory over United at the Etihad Stadium would put them on top

of the table on goal difference and they go into the game as the

only unbeaten side in England’s four divisions.

But combining their European troubles with the recent arrival of

chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki

Begiristain, Neville feels Mancini’s position is anything but

secure.

“Roberto Mancini deserves more time but it is not a ridiculous

suggestion to think City would not consider making a change if he

doesn’t win the league,” said Neville at a Football Writers’

Association Forum in Manchester.

“Whilst he continues to be successful he should stay in his job

but it does feel like one day (Jose) Mourinho or (Pep) Guardiola

will end up there.

“They have a new chief executive and a new director of football

who presumably have the ear of the owner.

“It might be three or five years but eventually they will want

to stamp their mark on the club and Mourinho and Guardiola have to

be pretty high on the list.”

Neville also believes Sir Alex Ferguson will continue as United

manager for some time and does not feel the possible departure of

Mourinho from Real Madrid this summer will hasten his exit.

“Whilst he wants to carry on, Sir Alex will not stand aside for

anybody. He will decide when he doesn’t want to do it anymore,”

Neville added.

“He is not the type of person who would just step aside so he

could watch someone else manage his football team. It has been Alex

Ferguson’s last season for 15 years now. Unless it is the best kept

secret in the world, nobody knows other than him.”

Stanley head to Burton on Sunday having won just one of their

last six League Two meetings, five points shy of the top seven and

nine above the drop zone.

But they travel to the Pirelli Stadium yet to taste defeat on

the road since Leam Richardson replaced Paul Cook as manager and

captain Joyce insists the Reds should be looking up the table.

“We’ve mentioned that (inconsistency) between ourselves,” he

said. “Our home form is not as strong as it has been in the past,

not as consistent as we’d like it to be.

“Our away form is pretty good to be honest. We’ve beaten a lot

of the bigger clubs at the top of the league, so if we can get a

bit more consistency in our game…

“That comes with experience. We’ve got a lot of young lads in

the team.

“We’re just trying to go on a really good run of form. We’re not

far from the play-offs.

“League Two is a really tight league and two or three wins can

send you right up towards the top of the league.”