For the past two seasons the spectre of survival specialist Tony Pulis has haunted the Premier League’s least secure managerial positions.
However, with the Welsh wizard safely ensconced at West Brom ahead of the 2015/16 campaign, there is space in the wings for another trusted trouble shooter.
Ungratefully excommunicated from the Boleyn Ground in much the same manner as Pulis was by Stoke at the end of 2012/13, Sam Allardyce has appeared right on cue.
An expert in top-flight survival, the ‘Big’ man has previous when it comes to steering freefalling incumbents clear of the trapdoor from his time at Blackburn.
Bolton and West Ham can also attest to his ability to guide promoted sides back to the Premier League and establish them as long-term fixtures in the division.
Given the latter set of credentials it’s easy to see why QPR are 9/1 favourites to be Allardyce’s next permanent managerial employers.
Yet the R’s only gave Chris Ramsey a three-year deal at Loftus Road in May and by the time they come looking for Big Sam it could be too late.
Leicester (12/1) and Sunderland (16/1) are second and fourth in the betting to be the recently departed Irons boss’ next club and both look ripe for a wintertime managerial change.
Having ridden unlikely runs to survival, they may find the formula impossible to replicate in 2015/16.
Nigel Pearson’s men will find it harder to glean points once their peculiarities have been better studied, while replacing a player of Esteban Cambiasso’s quality will not be easy.
Sunderland, meanwhile, have fallen into a boom and bust recruitment cycle, where new managers provide the impetus for Premier League survival before their beginner’s luck wears off and they themselves are axed.
Dick Advocaat seems particularly certain to succumb to the same fate given the industrial helpings of serendipity that underpinned his Black Cats tenure last term.