JOB security is an abstract concept in football management, particularly at the wrong end of the table, but Michael Appleton insists the only pressure he feels comes from within.

The Oxford United head coach was due to be up against Rob Edwards at the Kassam Stadium tomorrow, but despite only taking over in May, the Tranmere Rovers boss was sacked on Monday after the side slipped bottom of the table.

Hours earlier, Nigel Worthington resigned at York City.

The departures leave the U’s as the only club in Sky Bet League Two’s bottom five who have not wielded the axe in the first dozen games.

For some with itchy-trigger fingers the awful 5-1 defeat at Cambridge United last Saturday, which saw the U’s slip to 91st in the Football League, would have been grounds to make a change.

Many managers talk about the importance of staying on an even keel – not getting too high when results are good and avoiding feeling too low in barren times.

Few do it as effectively as Appleton, whose tone has been measured throughout the campaign, whatever the situation.

Yesterday was no exception.

“It’s my job to make sure I keep everyone in a positive frame of mind,” he said.

“I can do that quite naturally anyway because I don’t bring myself to worry too much.

“You’ve got to stay professional and do the right things.

“You’ve got to make sure you keep a focus about you.

“As soon as you start losing focus and you get caught up in all the hysteria, I think players read into that.

“If I start showing signs of that they will as well, so that’s the last thing I want.”

He added: “As long as we stick to our principles and I don’t deviate from that too much, then do I worry about it and feel vulnerable? Not really.

“The only pressure I have is what I put on myself and my personal pride.

“That was the only thing that took a pounding on Saturday.”

Appleton’s appointment was the first act made by chief executive Mark Ashton and chairman Darryl Eales when they took over in July.

That close connection means he is likely to be given more time than others to turn fortunes around.

The trio are in close dialogue, but Appleton has not sought any reassurances over his position – and nor would any be welcome.

Appleton said: “Those conversations are a bit cringey.

“When you hear people say about the dreaded vote of confidence it’s incredible, you think to yourself that people say things because they think they have to say it.

“I don’t get involved in that too much, I deal with the facts.

“We are where we are, things have to be better and hopefully they will be.”

He added: “We’re all men and at the end of the day we’re in a position we don’t want to be.

“We’re a quarter of the way in and come Christmas we want to be, and we should be, in a much better position.

“It’s up to myself, the players and the coaching staff to make sure that happens.”

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