Wolves in League 1

Wolves suffered their second relegation last season from the Championship and will now be hoping to stop the slump.
Wolves
To do this they have hired Kenny Jackett and this is a fantastic appointment and although I don’t think Dean Saunders was to blame fully for their relegation he should have never got the job in the first place. But I am much more confident that Wolves will finish towards the very top of the table next season under Jackett. He did a very good job at Millwall winning 130 games and during his time their winning promotion to the Championship through the playoffs. He may not be the biggest name or even the most adventurous appointment but he is exactly what Wolves need right now, a steady and consistent manager that may not excite the fans but he will certainly get the points on the board. I was surprised to see him leave his last job but sometimes managers do need a change and I really do hope it works out for both himself and Wolves. In my opinion it would not be a surprise if at the end of the coming season Millwall get relegated and Wolves get promoted.

Jackett does not have it easy because there are still a lot of players at the club that were there in the Premier League and they will be on high wages and need to leave the club. Karl Henry, Stephen Ward, Roger Johnson and Jamie O’Hara have all been transfer listed. Looking at the players that are still at the club and will stay they should still have a good defence with Danny Batth already experienced in League 1 after a loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday and new signing Sam Ricketts a capable player that can do a job in any of the four defensive positions.

Batth has only played 15 times for Wolves

Batth has only played 15 times for Wolves


The midfield is another story though and is looking a little light of experience so they will have to look towards David Davis who has played quite a lot but has maybe not quite shown his true potential. Anthony Forde is another that will have to play to his potential next season because there could be a reliance on him to create chances. He has played 31 times in his career and I would expect him to at least double that number next season. David Edwards will also be crucial to the team if as expected he stays at the club.
Davis has got 1 career goal in 87 games

Davis has got 1 career goal in 87 games


Next season Wolves could play with a young but exciting strike force with Leigh Griffiths coming back from his loan spell at Hibernian. Griffiths should be very confident after hitting 28 goals in 40 games last season. League 1 will be a different challenge but I think he could replicate this form and fire Wolves to promotion. He could be partnered by Jake Cassidy who has played in League 1 before at Tranmere Rovers and over two loan spells scored 16 league goals in 36 games. Kevin Doyle is still at the club but it may be better for both if he left because he has not had a great time and has not lived up to expectation.
Griffiths has only played in one cup game for Wolves

Griffiths has only played in one cup game for Wolves

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Who will be Swindon Town’s next manager?

Swindon Town may be top of League 1 after beating Tranmere Rovers but they are in search of a new manager.
Paolo Di Canio left the club after new owners were not in place before a deadline. It is such a strange time for him to leave as the club are doing well under him and could have secured back to back promotions however Di Canio had not been happy for quite a while and the sale of Matt Ritchie to Bournemouth was hard to take. It was surprising when he decided to join the club as manager as I thought he would have been able to get a job higher up the football pyramid simply because he is well known. I respect the fact that he wanted to make his name down the leagues and be known as a good manager but his decision to leave does still seem to suggest that his ego is quite big and wants everyone to know that he is the boss and is getting things his way. With a record of 54 wins in 94 games you could argue that he has proved himself and I am sure a few Championship clubs will be interested in him. But onto Swindon and who will be the next manager?

The current favourite for the job is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. I think this would be a strange decision, it may have worked for them last time going for a big name with no experience as a manager but can it work twice in a row? The former Chelsea striker has had a spell as a coach at Nottingham Forest so he will have learned something from manager Sean O’Driscoll but maybe not enough to lead a club battling for promotion. However, there would be slightly less pressure on him and he would get time.

Second favourite and yet again a little surprising is Paul Buckle. He has managed in the Football League before but he has been a little hit and miss. At Torquay United he was very highly rated but when he went to Bristol Rovers, a team that should have been challenging for promotion he wasn’t so successful. He has just recently left Luton Town because of personal reasons that haven’t been disclosed yet and maybe he could become the new Swindon manager and be a success but I don’t think it would be a great appointment.

Finally, Kevin Blackwell has been linked with the job and this at least seems like someone that has experience and could be a good appointment. But yet again, he is currently at Bury and has only won 6 of his 29 games in charge there. Obviously he would have a better squad at Swindon and in the past he has done quite well at both Leeds United and Sheffield United. I am not sure what the fans would make of this because he certainly won’t be as passionate as Paolo Di Canio but maybe he will bring a cooler head to their promotion charge.

Others that have been linked with the job are Mike Newell, Chris Wilder and Dave Hockaday.

August Players and Managers of the month

The first awards of the seasons have been announced and they are the player and manager of the month awards in the Football League.

First, let’s look at League 2 and the winner of the manager of the month award went to Martin Allen who has had a fantastic start to life as manager of Gillingham. The club are sitting top of the table after five games with 13 points and if they can continue this sort of form they will comfortably win promotion back to League 1 although it is early days yet and anything could happen. Allen finished the last season very well keeping Barnet in the Football League so it is no surprise at a club with a bigger budget he is surpassing expectations slightly. Player of the month for League 2 has went to Oxford United captain Jake Wright and the defender has been in impressive form so far this year helping Oxford start the season very well winning their first three games and only conceding one goal. Unfortunately for them their form has dipped slightly but I believe they will be in the promotion shake up come the end of the season.

In League 1 the awards went to a player and the manager of Tranmere Rovers as they also started the season very quickly and have surprised a lot of teams already. Ronnie Moore is in his third spell at the club as manager and are still unbeaten in League 1. They have already scored 11 goals and only conceded 2 so their goal difference is already very healthy (some of these have came in September but it is still worth noting). They were seen as outsiders for the playoffs this year because they don’t have as big a budget as some teams but that hasn’t stopped them so far and they may be a shoe in for the playoffs if not more. Andy Robinson won the player of the month award after scoring a hatrick against Carlisle United. The 32 year old has been named in the team of the year in League 1 twice before so he is no stranger to the division and will need to continue to be as influential in the coming months if they want to get out the league.

The Championship awards followed the same pattern as the league before as both the awards went to player and manager of the same club. Blackpool were the beneficiaries of the awards and Ian Holloway is looking to guide his team back to the Premier League. He is still doing a magnificent job in my opinion as they had no right to get promoted in the first place and after losing so many players has still managed to challenge at the very top of the league. Holloway is an entertaining man on the sidelines and his team are very attacking on the pitch so they are a perfect combination and he seems to get the best out of every player. One of these is Thomas Ince who was linked with moves away in the summer and it is no surprise after his performances in August. In the first three games the young winger scored four goals and got four assists so there doesn’t need to be any explanation why he won it really.

Shrewsbury Town are promoted to League 1

Shrewsbury Town will be playing in League 1 next year despite a final day 3-1 defeat by AFC Wimbledon but that won’t stop the fans celebrating a fantastic season.

Shrewsbury Town will be proud of their season and finished with 88 points

Graham Turner had just won the April manager of the month award and would have been hoping to end the season on a high but it wasn’t to be and he will be looking forward to competing in a higher division next year. He will be proud of his team’s home record this year as they have gone unbeaten and won 18 of their 23 games while only conceding 12 goals. It was their home form that has got them promoted with their away form being slightly inconsistent, only winning eight games and losing 10 of them so if they want to succeed next year and avoid relegation they will need to improve on this, although if they win eight games away from home next year I would expect them to stay up.

But onto the players and they need all the experience they can get as moving up a division is never easy and there could be some strong teams in League 1 next year although the club will be happy that both Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday got promoted. Maybe the fans and players were hoping they would not as they would love to visit those stadiums. But they do have players that have been there and done it before like defender Shane Cansdell-Sheriff who came through the Leeds United academy and went on to play for Tranmere Rovers for a couple of seasons. He has played 36 of their league games this season and his versatility could be very important next season with him able to play at both left back and centre back. Also three goals from him this season have been an added bonus.

Midfielder Nicky Wroe has impressed me whenever I have seen him play this season and I remember him coming through at Barnsley where I thought he would become a mainstay of their side for many years to come especially after playing 35 times for them in the 2004-05 season. But unfortunately it didn’t quite work out for him, so now the 26 year old is working his way back up the leagues and scored four goals in his 37 appearances this season. He can grab a goal from midfield and he may be slightly disappointed with his return but if he gets the chance next season I think he will get a few more goals.

The top scorer James Collins will be looking forward to next season as he has proved that sometimes leaving a Premier League side, in Aston Villa, where he was never going to get a chance and joining a team in the Football League can really kick start your career. He has impressed this season and will be hoping to build on his growing reputation next year and show even more teams they should have took a risk on him.

It will be difficult for Shrewsbury next year but they have the foundations of a good squad as I haven’t even given a mention to winger Mark Wright who can grab goals from the midfield and also Matt Richards who is too good for League 2. Also adding the firepower of Marvin Morgan there is a real chance they will surprise a few teams next season and they have the experience of Graham Turner in charge and he will not allow his team to give up without a fight and will make them battle for every point.