Who should be the next Leeds United manager?

Leeds are looking for a new manager after club chairman Ken Bates decided to sack Simon Grayson even though the club are only four points away from the playoffs. Leeds are a massive club and should be aiming for promotion but they have to be more realistic and Grayson has done a good job especially as this is only their second season back in the Championship.

Grayson dealt with a few problems during his time at the club and lost key players like Bradley Johnson and Jermaine Beckford who would have added more quality to the squad. He never seemed to complain too much about the boards transfer policies even when club captain Jonny Howson was sold in the last transfer window. The former Leeds player had a very impressive record as manager winning almost 50% of his games in charge of the club and it is difficult to see who will replace him and do a better job.

But there are a few candidates with Neil Warnock now available he would seem like one of the favourites to take the post. However, his connections to Sheffield United may put him off the idea of managing Leeds. But, he has a tremendous record in the Championship and can get teams promoted as he has shown with both United and more recently QPR. He would not be a popular choice though as the Leeds fans have never really liked Warnock and I can’t see them taking to him unless he produced instant success.

Lee Clark is another man linked with the job as he has done tremendously well with Huddersfield in League 1 yet again this season but one thing that would worry Leeds is even though he gets praised for the way his team play football and avoid defeats, he still hasn’t guided them to a promotion which is remarkable as they went 43 games undefeated. The best managers make brave decisions to win games but it seems like Clark would rather take a point than risk going for all three.

Former Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies should also be considered for the job because he seems to get the best out of players and his teams always finish near the top of the table and it is not surprising when he leaves a club they begin to deteriorate. Forest were finishing in the playoffs every season under Davies but now he has left they are struggling in the Championship. He also overachieved at Preston and also led them to the playoffs.

So, Warnock would be a very good choice but not a popular one with the fans however success brings popularity and if he got them promoted then there wouldn’t be a single Leeds fan complaining. I would like to see Davies get the job because he wasn’t treated fairly at Forest and with the right backing he will make Leeds into a team that challenges for promotion. Also if he gets Leeds into the Premier League he will have a better chance of keeping them up than with his previous club Derby County.

Norwich City’s hard work and team spirit pays off again

Norwich have finally kept their first clean sheet of the season with a gritty performance against Chelsea and it helped them to a fantastic point in a fantastic season. In my opinion Norwich have been the surprise package in the Premier League and this is down to their team spirit and hard work. They are essentially a team built of ambitious Championship and League 1 players with another in Jonny Howson close to joining the club from Leeds.

Looking at the team they were rightly favourites for relegation but the bubble still hasn’t burst from two consecutive promotions. Paul Lambert deserves great credit for bringing this team together and making sure everyone single player knows their job before they even step foot on the pitch. But if he wants to improve the team it surely has to be in the defence although the team performed superbly against Chelsea they have at times looked awful when defending.

In attack, they have two players who will battle for every ball and chase down every lost cause. It must be a nightmare to play against Steve Morison and Grant Holt because they do not give defenders a moments rest and when they come off the pitch they will probably discover a few bumps and bruises. This is not to say they are dirty players because they are clearly just very honest and committed professionals who will do anything to secure three points. They are both very good in the air and when the team is under pressure they know they can send the ball slightly longer as these two will have a good chance of relieving the pressure off the defence and make the ball stick up front.

Which allows the midfield to push forward and create chances and in Anthony Pilkington they have someone who can pick a pass or deliver an inch perfect cross with his left foot. He has also chipped in with a few goals this year which is a bonus but he also always provides plenty of cover for his full back when the team is defending. In the centre of midfield they have Bradley Johnson who has been linked with a call up to the England squad and although this is unlikely, he has deserved his praise this season. Alongside him against Chelsea was David Fox who does the simple things brilliantly and just keeps the game ticking over and very rarely gives the ball away. He just sits in front of the back four and doesn’t mind getting the ball even when he is under pressure, he doesn’t put in many tackles so he is similar to Michael Carrick in that respect.

The defence can be shaky but in Kyle Naughton they have a very good full back and was probably going to have a good career at Tottenham until Kyle Walker came along this season. But the rest of the defence could do with improving although Russell Martin deserves a special mention as he has performed admirably at both centre back and right back.

John Ruddy in goal has also been linked with an England call up and was given man of the match against Chelsea as he produced a few good saves in particular a brilliant save from a Fernando Torres effort.

Paul Lambert in my opinion deserves manager of the year and Norwich deserve all the plaudits coming their way. However, Blackpool were in a similar position last year and they ended up getting relegated so maybe it is too early for Norwich fans to be celebrating. They have enough togetherness in the squad to stay up but this is when promoted teams get found out and teams work out how to beat them. Norwich need to get to 40 points as quickly as possible and this point against Chelsea could be priceless come the end of the season.