Who will be Preston North End’s new manager?

Preston North End are looking for a new manager after Graham Westley was sacked and are hoping that a new manager can improve results.

The club are currently 17th in League 1 only five points above the relegation zone but more worrying for the board and everyone involved with Preston is the fact they have only won one league game since November. The club were hoping for more stability, but this hasn’t happened and it is now the fourth season in a row that they are searching for a new manager. Westley was given a lot by the board because in the summer he was allowed to bring in a completely new squad so he cannot use the excuse that they weren’t the players that he wanted at the club. I expected a lot more from both Preston and Westley this season and am surprised that they are towards the bottom of the league. Westley was in charge for 62 games but could only manage 16 wins leaving him with a win percentage of 25.81% and after his time at Stevenage he probably thought he could get this team back in the Championship. So who will take the job and guide them to at least safety this season?

The favourite for the job is currently Simon Grayson, who has been very successful in League 1 in the past, guiding Blackpool, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town to promotion from the division. He would be a great appointment and even though Huddersfield were on a bad run, I believe he would have kept them in the Championship this season. Unfortunately though for Grayson it does look like he has to drop down into League 1 to get another job as I can’t see many Championship teams giving him a chance yet.

A surprising manager that is linked with the job and is one of the early favourites is Gareth Ainsworth. He is currently player manager at Wycombe Wanderers and even though he does have a decent record of only losing 10 of his 27 games in charge, surely that is not yet good enough to make the jump to a higher division with a team that wants to get promoted. I do like Ainsworth and would want to see him get a chance but I just don’t think he would be the right appointment at the moment. However, he is a former player and had one of his best seasons as a player at the club, getting 11 goals in 38 league games during the 1993-94 season.

Finally, Owen Coyle has been linked with the job and this would be an interesting one because he failed to get Bolton Wanderers back to the Premier League and will have to rebuild his reputation slightly and Preston could be the perfect club for him. It is just a question of whether a manager with Premier League experience with two clubs wants to drop down to League 1.

Others linked with the job are Steven Pressley, Paul Dickov and Gary Megson

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Who will be Notts County’s next manager?

Notts County are looking for a new manager as Keith Curle has been sacked after less than a year in charge.

A defeat to Hartlepool United was the end for Curle and he will be pretty disappointed with this as he had been doing a decent job with the team and they were only five points off a playoff place. Last season they only missed out on the playoffs because of goal difference and the board obviously didn’t want a repeat of that this season. I thought the club would be after a bit of consistency after having six manager since October 2009. Chris Kiwomya is currently the favourite for the job as he is the caretaker manager, however a 2-0 away loss to Stevenage wouldn’t have helped his cause and he probably needs a victory against Crewe to make sure that his name is still in the hat after the weekend. County are 10th in League 1 and if they can put a good run between now and the end of the season then they could find themselves in the playoffs but it certainly won’t be easy. The board will be hoping that the new manager can improve their home form and continue the fantastic away form that they had under Curle.

If the board don’t want to go with Kiwomya then Gary McAllister has been linked with the role recently. McAllister has had two spells as a manager so far at Coventry City and Leeds United. At Leeds he had a pretty good record where he won exactly half of his games. However, he was unable to get the team promoted and was sacked after a string of bad results. Also the fact he has been out of management since 2008 may work against him. He may be a good appointment and could inspire the players
Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League One - Play Off - Final - Doncaster Rovers v Leeds United - Wembley Stadium
A more experienced option could be Gary Megson as he has managed over 600 times in his career so far and has been quite successful. Some people will argue he was harshly sacked by Sheffield Wednesday with the club in the playoffs and if he could replicate his form there then he could get Notts County in contention for promotion. Some County fans wouldn’t be happy with this appointment because his football is not always the most attractive and it has been criticised in the past. I think he could do a good job but it just matters how much emphasis the board are putting on good football.
Gary Megson
A little surprising name linked with the job is Ian Baraclough and although he is a former player, I didn’t expect to see him as one of the favourites, however he is doing a solid job at Sligo Rovers and won their first league title for 35 years. He played over 100 times in both of his spells at the club as a player so he obviously knows the club and will not take a lot of time to settle. His previous spell as manager in England did not go so well, only winning eight of his 34 games in charge of Scunthorpe United.
Ian Baraclough
Others linked with the job are Nigel Worthington, Simon Grayson and Alan Knill.

Who will be Ipswich Town’s next manager?

Ipswich Town find themselves bottom of the Championship and are now looking for a new manager after Paul Jewell’s departure.

Already, there has been a lot of talk of who will replace Jewell, with George Burley being the latest to say that he will apply to become the next manager of the club. It would be Burley’s second spell in charge and under him the club had some of their best seasons which included a season in Europe. Also, striker Michael Chopra has said that he would like Alan Shearer as the next manager, which would be quite interesting because it would only be his second job in management and maybe more experience is needed at such a crucial time for the club. They have been on such a bad run lately and some people are putting it down to the fact that they have so many loan players in their squad at the minute and they can’t find the right formula for success. Jewell, had a 34.12% win record at the club but even he is telling other managers to apply for the job, so he obviously feels that there is a lot of potential and he wants success for all the loyal fans.

A lot of names have been put forward, but the current favourite is, Alan Curbishley, who has been out of the game since 2008, and this may actually be a good fit for both manager and club because he has a good record, not only in the Championship but also in the Premier League. The only negative with appointing Curbishley is the fact he has been out of the game for quite a while and the new manager needs to hit the ground running, whereas the former Charlton Athletic manager may take a while to get back into the groove.

Obviously, Mick McCarthy is linked with the job like every other going, but I do believe Ipswich have a genuine chance of getting him because they are a big club and just need someone to steer them back in the right direction, which the former Wolves man has done many times before. McCarthy, has a win percentage of 39.29% which is similar to Jewell but the difference between the two is that McCarthy has done it consistently at a higher level. This man needs to choose his next job carefully and if he can keep Ipswich up this year and then have a promotion challenge next season, his CV will look even more impressive.

Finally, quite a strange one to me is, Gary Megson. In his last job, some people believe he was harshly sacked by Sheffield Wednesday and should still be in charge there but these things happen in football and it wouldn’t be the first time someone got sacked in League 1 and got a job in a higher division, just look at what Alan Pardew is doing at Newcastle United. Megson, has gained promotion from the Championship before and he kept Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League so he wouldn’t be a terrible choice, but I just feel the fans may not be too excited by this appointment.

Others linked with the job are, Owen Coyle, Andy Thorn, Paulo Sousa and Paul Tisdale. So who would do the best job for Ipswich Town?

Who will be Wycombe Wanderers next manager?

After losing three games in a row Wycombe Wanderers and only four points from seven games the club have sacked manager Gary Waddock.

Waddock, had been in charge since 2009 and won promotion to League 1in the 2010-11 season, however they only lasted one season at the higher level and were relegated. They were expected to challenge at least for the playoffs this season even though they lost a few key players and Waddock will be disappointed he wasn’t given more time to turn it round. But, the board have decided that a change is needed and there is still an air of negativity around the ground and will hope that a new man will get them back where they believe they belong.

This job will surely interest quite a few out of work managers and this is the route that the club will most likely take because they will not want to pay compensation to another team for a manager. So, let’s look at the options, the favourite for the job is currently Brian Laws, and this may come as a surprise to some people because he has managed in the Premier League recently with Burnley and it will be quite a big drop to League 2. However, he hasn’t had a managerial job since his sacking at the Championship club in 2010 so he does need to find a way back into English football. Another reason why he may be a good choice is because he has won promotion from this division twice before, both times with Scunthorpe United, so he knows exactly what it takes and which players he will need to achieve promotion again.

Another manager linked with the job is former Sheffield Wednesday manager, Gary Megson. Many people believe he was harshly sacked as their manager as the team were performing pretty well and were comfortably in the playoff places, although in the end it did turn out to be a good decision as the team got promoted, he still deserves a lot of credit as he signed a lot of the players. His style of football is usually criticised too as it is very long ball and feeding off the scraps which could be a good thing in League 2 and may work to the teams advantage, however, if Wycombe don’t have the players then the fans will have to accept a transitional period while they get in the right players to play his tactics.

Finally, Paul Ince could be in the running for the job, and it just shows that Wycombe can attract good managers because all three of these have managed in the Premier League at one point. Ince didn’t have the best of times at Blackburn Rovers but he has proved in the lower leagues he can be a success with both Macclesfield Town and MK Dons. His win record of 43.37% is not bad either and if he can replicate this at Wycombe then he would surely get them challenging for the playoffs at least.

Sheffield Wednesday are promoted to the Championship

Sheffield Wednesday have gained promotion to the Championship after defeating Wycombe Wanderers on the last day of the season.

So where to start, everyone at the club deserves praise from chairman Milan Mandaric all the way down to the fans who were terrific again on Saturday and just proved that their club deserve to be in a much higher division than League 1 and even put most Premier League teams to shame.

But I am going to start with former manager Gary Megson and first give him praise because in my opinion he deserves a lot of credit for what he has done at Sheffield Wednesday, when he joined the club the players did not understand what playing for Sheffield Wednesday meant and that is the reason why they finished in the bottom half of the league. So in the summer he got rid of a lot of deadwood and players that couldn’t handle playing for such a massive club and brought in players that were wanting to fight for the shirt and give the supporters a Sheffield Wednesday team that they would be proud of and in my opinion made the signing of the season in Jose Semedo. At the start of the season the fans probably would have been happy with the playoffs but there was a chance that the team could finish in the automatic spots so Mandaric had a tough choice to make as it didn’t look like Megson could deliver it.

But fair play to Mandaric, he allowed Megson to take charge of the Derby which was a risk but Wednesday came out on top and everyone got to see how much it meant to Megson when being ridiculed by the United fans he lifted up his shirt and showed them his badge. It was a wonderful moment you just don’t see anymore and it was his passion that got Wednesday that far and it will have hurt him that he was sacked but fast forward a few months and he can have no complaints.

Megson is and always will be a proud Wednesdayite

Dave Jones came in and used everything that Megson had given the team and adding to it by changing the style of play but he always knew that if times were tough in a game he could switch to more of a direct approach as his players could do that. He brought in  Nile Ranger and Keith Treacy to help in the promotion push and they all played their part in getting the team promoted with Ranger and another loan signing Michail Antonio scoring the goals on the final day. What more can you say about Dave Jones he only dropped four points and won manager of the month twice, has there been a better start as a manager?

Onto the players and they deserve credit too because they could have let their heads drop and just been happy with a playoff place especially when United had games in hand and were on a good run but they stuck at and kept going. It was a fantastic effort in the end and they were playing with confidence and gave the fans everything they wanted and more.

I am very happy for Wednesday and their fans because they continually support their team even though there has been very little to shout about in a long time. To make it even sweeter for them they stopped Sheffield United getting promoted so could the season have gone any better? Even Sheffield United’s opponents enjoyed Wednesday’s promotion

How has Dave Jones changed Sheffield Wednesday’s style of play?

Sheffield Wednesday beat Preston 2-0 which sounds quite comfortable but they were made to work for their three points and Dave Jones will be very happy with his team.

Jones likes his players to keep the ball on the floor

So, what has Dave Jones done to make Sheffield Wednesday into a free scoring side as they have scored in every game he has been in charge and have looked a lot more threatening in recent weeks. First of all though, I would give some credit to Megson for this as he brought in the players who are able to play a long ball game and if things aren’t going well you need other options, especially when the passing game isn’t working and you can’t break down a defence. A lot of teams come to Hillsborough and just sit back and try and get a draw, like what Preston did, and they will succeed if their team is organised and committed for a full 90 minutes against a passing side unless there is a moment of brilliance from someone and sometimes the long ball can cause confusion and is good to have both options.

Onto Dave Jones, what has he actually done for Wednesday or is it simply just the honeymoon period a lot of managers get when they take over? Well to me what he has done is brought in his own style and made the players play his way from the off. He plays with two out and out wingers which straightaway forces back the opposition and makes their fullbacks reluctant to push forward as much. When you have Michail Antonio on one side and Jermaine Johnson on the other you know that if these players have the ball they will take on the opposition and create chances especially on a counter attack.

Jones has also brought in Nile Ranger who is a very good player but maybe has an attitude problem at times. Ranger, is direct and has pace to burn which just adds to teams ability to counter attack. Something that may have been missing under Megson, as his tactics were to keep the pressure on hopefully the opposition will crumble. I cannot imagine Jones playing David Prutton out of position on the wing as Megson did because it wouldn’t work with his style of football.

Gary Madine scored both the goals and looked very impressive throughout linking up the play well. He probably enjoys the way the team are playing now because he doesn’t have to challenge as much in the air anymore and can receive the ball into feet and have a lot of runners going either side of him. But yet again, Megson’s style of football probably taught him a few things and his second goal showed that with it coming from a long throw and him making a good run and attacking the ball powerfully.

Rob Jones picked up a yellow card which means he is now suspended which could be a blessing in disguise in my opinion as he does look to send it long too often whereas his partner against Preston, Miguel LLera, looked to play it out from the back and it was clear to see which way was more effective. With Danny Baath also having a great season and more of ball player than Jones, he may find himself frozen out of a Dave Jones side.

Sheffield Wednesday’s new manager Dave Jones

Dave Jones has been given the Sheffield Wednesday job after the club decided to sack their manager Gary Megson.

It was an interesting decision it itself to sack Megson who had just led his team to victory against Sheffield United, however club chairman Milan Mandaric had already decided to sack the manager after his team got beat away to Chesterfield. He said he did not want to ruin the Sheffield United game for the supporters and this is why he kept Megson in charge for it. So, at least he allowed Megson, the Wednesday fan himself, enjoy a victory over their biggest rivals which must be a moment he will never forget especially as more than 36,000 were at the game.

But, football moves on quickly so let’s have a look at Dave Jones, he has always been a respected manager and has always got his teams to play good football. He was most recently at Cardiff City where he was sacked because he failed to get them promoted. This might seem a bit harsh as they finished in the playoffs the year he got sacked but they failed to get promoted and it probably hurt that little bit more that Swansea did. He was very well received by the Cardiff fans and he had a good win percentage of nearly 42% at the club and did get them to an FA Cup final which is a very good achievement for a Championship side.

He did achieve promotion to the Premier League with Wolves and the Wednesday fans will be happy with this as they beat Sheffield United 3-0 in the playoff final. Jones, was however also sacked from this job after having an appalling season in the Premier League followed by just four wins from 15 games on their return to the Championship. He knows what it is liked to get sacked and with Mandaric in charge, who likes to sack managers, this will probably only end in one way. The Owls will only hope that this happens when the club are at least in the Championship and he has taken them as far as they can go.

The new man at Hillsborough needs to hit the ground running and get some victories under his belt as the fans may not take to him as quickly as they had done to Megson. Yes, Megson did play a long ball game but this was expected as all his teams have played that way and now it might be difficult for the players to get out of this mindset. But, Jones encourages passing football and it won’t happen overnight but when it does click all of his teams have played fluent attacking football and have been one of the most entertaining teams in the league. However, looking over his track record it hasn’t always brought success and this may be a bit worrying. Wednesday should finish in the playoffs but when a new manager comes in, the players step it up to impress and if they string a very good set of results together they could still end up in the top two.

Sheffield Wednesday sack Gary Megson

The Sheffield Wednesday fans must be distraught after hearing the news that manager Gary Megson has been sacked, especially when they beat city rivals Sheffield United in their previous game.

He was a fans favourite because of his history with the club and you could see his passion and determination to succeed with Wednesday, he even admitted himself that he is a better manager than League 1 and this was the only job he would drop down to do. His style of football wasn’t the most expansive but the fans didn’t care and the long ball game was sending the club in the right direction. Yes, chairman Milan Mandaric probably did want automatic promotion this season but you have to take other things into consideration, when he took over he inherited a team with a lot of players that did not really care for the club and only wanted to pick up their pay cheque. But he has instilled a sense of belief and willingness to perform in front of thousands of Wednesday fans every week.

The goal celebration from Chris O’Grady against the Blades shows that the players were right behind him and wanted him to continue. Player power is a big thing in football now and over the years that has been a lot of discontent but this team all seemed to be pulling in the same direction and Megson was spearheading this and the squad was following his lead. This filtered down to the fans who affectionately called him the Ginger Mourinho and everything seemed right at Hillsborough but this sacking may have a detrimental effect on their season if they choose the wrong man to replace him.

Milan Mandaric will not be the most liked person in Sheffield today and there will be people that call for him to sell up and leave but he did save the club and if he thinks that the club aren’t performing how they should be, then he has the right to sack the manager. One thing you do need as a chairman is the fans on your side and communication with the supporters has improved dramatically since he took charge. However, this is not saying a lot as it has been very poor for a number of years now. His decision to put a Wednesdayite in charge was seen as a master stoke as he kept on pleasing the fans but it is a disgrace that Megson wasn’t even allowed a full season in charge, the team are in the playoffs and could possibly finish in the automatic places. I hope he know what he is doing or it could be another year in League 1 and yet more money out of his own pocket.

Megson deserves a lot of praise as he always conducted himself properly no matter if the team won, lost or drew and it is a great credit to him for that. But looking at the other side he did so much for Wednesday, he reduced a massive wage bill and got rid of a lot of deadwood and brought in a squad that was capable of promotion which it clearly wasn’t when he arrived. Finances are crucial in football and I thought of all people Mandaric would have understood this but obviously third isn’t good enough for him.

I hope Megson gets back into football and does a good job somewhere else because he is a very capable manager. In my opinion, you do not sack a manger that has his team in the playoffs no matter what but if Wednesday end up getting promoted then the new manager will be praised and will be a fans favourite himself which just shows how quickly football progresses.

Sheffield Wednesday team against Sheffield United- My opinion

The big game is finally here and Gary Megson has some very big decisions to make, how much does he want to win the game or is it more about not losing for the Owls.

A loss would surely end any chance of finishing in the automatic places and Wednesday would then have to face the dreaded playoffs which are always difficult to predict. Therefore this is the last chance the club have to really put pressure on the Blades and I am going to choose a team which I think would be capable of winning the game

Goalkeeper- Nicky Weaver- Tough choice between him and Bywater but out of the two I just think Weaver has more big game experience and will want to win as he is a fan just like the majority will be at Hillsborough. He is the better shot stopper but maybe his communication isn’t the best. He gets the shirt for me as he is very consistent.

Right Back- Lewis Buxton- Possibly the only position on the pitch that not one person would argue with. The best fullback in the league, very solid in defence and provides a good attacking threat when he overlaps.

Left Back- Reda Johnson- Most improved player in the squad by a mile and although not originally a left back, he is the best at the club. His tough tackling has made him a fans favourite this season but can be a bit rash at times so I do expect him to get booked.

Centre Back- Danny Batth- The young loanee from Wolves has performed to a very high standard and is looking better and better every time he plays with him gaining more experience. Needs to stand up and be counted though as he could be in for a tricky afternoon against the Blades strike force.

Centre Back- Miguel LLera- This was a difficult one as Rob Jones is club captain but I just think at home against anyone in this division when teams will sit back you need one of your centre backs to be comfortable on the ball. This is exactly what he gives you and is no worse than Jones at defending anyway.

Left Midfielder- Mike Jones- This was a tricky one but I believe Megson should attack and play with two out and out wingers, pin back the opposition and go for the victory. Try and get in as many crosses as possible and who knows maybe this game will kick start his career at the club.

Centre Midfield- Jose Semedo- Another one that is not really up for debate, a candidate for signing of the season in League 1 never mind player of the year just at Wednesday. Could be crucial against the Blades midfield as whoever wins this battle will probably win the game.

Centre Midfield- Chris Lines- I would go for Lines because he can provide attacking quality from the centre but can be slightly inconsistent and sometimes games pass him by. In a derby there can be no passengers so it could be a risk but when you are at home you need to go for it. Megson may go for Prutton if he hasn’t been shifted to right of midfield just add extra steel in there but I think that is too negative so Lines gets the nod.

Right Midfield- Michail Antonio- Quick winger who will be looking to impress from the off. He will look to put in a lot of crosses and take on his defender so hopefully he will get involved and gets the crowd going every time he touches the ball. This could one of the most memorable debuts if he puts in a good performance and the team get the right result.

Striker- Gary Madine- Yes he is out of form but he is the top scorer and looked good before his injury. Maybe this is the sort of game that will get the fans back on his side and get back to scoring goals at a consistent rate. Sometimes he doesn’t look that bothered but surely when he sees the crowd before kickoff he will realise how big it is and put his all in.

Striker- Ryan Lowe- Another questionable decision but there is no doubt that when he is confident he will score goals at this level. I believe he just needs better balls from out wide instead of long balls from the back and he will produce the goods. He is an intelligent player and Madine will combine better with him as Chris O’Grady is too similar and that partnership hasn’t worked that well.

That is the team I would choose and there may be a lack of communication at the back with no real talkers in there which could prove costly but just because you can communicate well does not mean you will help anyone. Darren Purse was a perfect example of this, good leader, poor defender. The lineup is attacking and it should be the crowd will get right behind the team and the players will respond positively and it will hopefully spur them onto victory.

Sheffield Wednesday sign Reading winger Michail Antonio

Sheffield Wednesday have signed 21 year old winger Michail Antonio to help get their promotion charge back on track after a miserable couple of weeks.

The winger has signed on loan from Reading until the end of the season after it was revealed that Jermaine Johnson is currently struggling with an injury which could keep him out of action and with the Sheffield Derby just round the corner, the Owls fans know they need some creativity in the midfield if they are to beat the Blades at Hillsborough and this is exactly what Antonio will give them. Megson would have loved to have been able to play both the wingers as they would have scared the life out of any defence in the division with their direct running and pace.

The young winger has played in League 1 before with both Southampton and Colchester and performed quite well, impressing in many games and looking like he could make the difference in crucial games. The fans of every club have taken to him very well even though he has only had short spells there with managers wanting to take him off Reading permanently. But the Royals have rejected any enquiries as they see him as a player with massive potential and one for the future at their club.

He is at Wednesday now and they will be hopeful that between now and the end of the season he can replicate what Ben Marshall did in the first half of the season. He does have the potential and will not be worried about playing in front of large crowds as he has already experienced these in his short career so far. This season he has played 16 games in League 1 and scored four goals which isn’t a bad record for a winger and shows that he can put away chances when he gets the opportunity and is not only in the team to provide assists.

The player and club will be hoping that the team can get themselves into the automatic promotion places by the end of the season but if they don’t and have to go through the playoffs then it could be another chance for Antonio to score on a big stage because he has already scored one goal at Wembley when playing for Southampton in the JP Trophy final in a comfortable 4-1 victory.

The Owls fans needed a lift more than anyone before the Steel City Derby and hopefully this transfer will excite them and make them more confident of victory. The last few weeks have been close to disastrous but maybe this can be the catalyst to a brilliant end to the season and dispel any rumours that Milan Mandaric is losing patience with Gary Megson.

It is getting closer and closer to the big kick off and now United have another player to worry about which they didn’t expect and may have to change their game plan so Antonio doesn’t have a debut that the Wednesday faithful will be talking about for years to come.