Category Archives: EFL

Preston North End looking to bring back 22y/o Man City winger, here’s two reasons why it’s a great move

Man City star, Brandon Barker has been rumoured to be joining Preston North End on loan. According to Football League World, the club is looking at a possible replacement for Callum Robinson.

It was revealed this week that Robinson signed for Sheffield United on a four-year deal. This now leaves them looking for any sort of replacement before the season starts. Now it’s looking like Barker could be top of the list.

The Football Manc Cave has come up with two reasons to why the 22-year-old would be a good move for Preston North End. If you’ve read up on his past or if you’ve just heard of his name, you may know that he has suffered from hamstring injuries. This has put a lot of doubt in the mind of Preston fans, although, if he can stay fit and prove he’s got past those problems, he could be brilliant for the side.

Free Agent

According to Preston Updates, the 22-year-old will become a free agent next year. So let’s say he has a really good season for the Lilywhites and he manages to stay away from any injuries, he could end up being with them permanently. The winger clearly isn’t needed at Man City as he’s been on loan to 4 different clubs since 2015. He is still young and this could be a factor that means he’s ready to prove himself this year.


One of the clubs that Barker has spent his time at in the past few years is Preston and it was only last season. That’s where fans already know his name from. He joined on loan from Man City in 2018 and he even managed to score for them in a game against Morecambe in the Carabao Cup. Surely Alex Neil wouldn’t be looking to snap him up again if he didn’t believe he could be beneficial. This could be a tactical move in only loaning him for the 2019/2020 campaign so that he can persuade the winger to sign a contract at Deepdale going forward.

I’m hopeful that he will stay fit and be a successful loanee to Preston. As well as fans and the club wanting him to do well, he will also be on a personal mission as he’s been called up to England youth in the past.

However he’s only got as far as England under ’20s, so he may be interested in trying to show Gareth Southgate that he’s aiming to break into the first team. The Manchester born player may also be on a mission to prove to Pep Guardiola that he deserves to stay at Manchester City, if he can stay away from physio and bandages.

Good additions? Former Blackburn Rovers & Preston North End players training with Bolton Wanderers

According to EFL Transfer News on thier Twitter page, Craig Conway and Ben Pringle are in training with Bolton Wanderers. Today at the Football Manc Cave, we look at what they could bring to the club in a time of need.

As all Bolton fans know, there’s been so many problems behind the scenes and as they go into League One, they are in desperate need of players. Now it’s being said that former Blackburn Rovers man, Craig Conway and former Preston North End midfielder Ben Pringle are both in training with the Whites.

It’s safe to say that fans will take any signing at the moment. For people who want to know more about the pair, we take a look if they’ll be good additions to the trotters…

Craig Conway

Conway is now 34 years old. He’s comfortable as a winger and has previously played for the likes of Dundee, Cardiff and most recently, Blackburn Rovers. In May, Conway confirmed that he would be leaving Ewood Park after five and a half years when his contract expired.

Now he will be in need of another club as the new season starts and Bolton could be his number one option. Some say he’s too old and past it and he has been known to suffer from injuries quite often, however, Bolton will be looking to take on anyone they can convince to sign. The winger could be a good addition to the side as he’s older and has more experience than most youngsters in the current squad.

Ben Pringle

The 30-year-old midfielder has sure been around. After spending his youth at West Brom, he joined a whole host of clubs from Derby, Rotherham and Fulham to Preston, Oldham and Tranmere. He’s spent a lot of his career on loan to other teams to give him break out opportunities. The ex-Grimsby star also has had a few achievements such as being listed in the 2013/2014 Football League One PFA Team Of The Year. He was also named as man of the match in a game against Bolton back in 2015 when he played for Rotherham.

Again, Bolton fans would be happy to see a signing and he might be someone that can make a difference. Hopefully, instead of a loan spell like he’s used to, he’ll sign a permanent contract if a deal can be made and he may help in getting Bolton back on top again.

Two free agents Oldham Athletic should be looking at – Agree?

Oldham Athletic will be hoping to turn their form around and resurface to League One. These two free agents could help Laurent Banide do it.

After many disappointing years as an Oldham Athletic fan, there is faith in Laurent Banide to succeed as a completely new approach is to be taken. Banide is the first manager from outside the UK & Ireland to take charge of The Latics since the foundation of the club.

In his first press conference, the Frenchman stressed the importance of harnessing youth talent, which demonstrates his motivation to provide a bright future at Boundary Park. However, Banide needs a stronger squad to turn these projections into reality.

The market is hectic. But Oldham could seek to find a few gems in free transfers, with the market closing in around six weeks. Here are two Banide should be looking at…

Amine Linganzi

French-speaking midfielder Linganzi has recently been released by Oldham’s neighbours Salford City. The 29-year old’s career in both England and France has seen little action on the pitch, making the player likely to accept a squad rotation role. Linganzi can solidify the midfield and improve the variety of player that Banide has at his disposal.

He will be keen to achieve a high league finish to show his ex-teams what they’re missing. As well as allowing Banide to focus on youth by bringing in experience who will require less coaching.

Chris Eagles

Many will remember Chris Eagles from his top tier EFL days with Manchester United, Burnley, and Bolton. With over 200 games in the Championship and over 70 in the Premier League, the wealth of quality and experience Eagles would bring is massively more valuable than the £0 fee Oldham would have to pay.

Again, by bringing in quality and experienced players, Banide’s focus on youth can increase. As well as the youngsters learning from players who have been around the block.

If Oldham wants to see the League One any time soon, they need quality. One of the many things Chris Eagles can offer to Laurent Banide, as well as a great understanding of English football, something the manager is lacking himself.

2 League One free agent’s Bury should be looking at

Amid financial woes, Bury FC should focus on these two free transfers to give them a lifeline in League One next season.

The beginning of the League One season could be a solemn time for Bury. Bury will face a 12 point-deduction when the league gets underway, according to BBC.

However, in a season where staff suffered late payments and the future of the club itself was under scrutiny, Bury saw promotion by finishing second.

New manager Paul Wilkinson has an uphill battle to face. But the resilience of Bury and their fan base could help see the team survive relegation.

Despite this, though, Bury need improvements to their squad as they cannot rely on faith alone. In an attempt to strengthen the squad, Wilkinson should look at these two free agents…

Paul Taylor

31-year-old striker Paul Taylor has been without a club since January 2019. His contract with Doncaster Rovers came to an end and is surely desperate to get back onto the field. The Englishman has featured across man English teams, accumulating 89 Championship appearances and 87 League One appearances.

Taylor has 23 goals and 8 assists in the EFL, a disappointing figure from over 175 games. However, Taylor will be keen to make a mark on his return to football, and if he can bag over 10 goals as a squad rotation player, the chances of Bury surviving relegation will surely increase.

Stephen Hendrie

At only 24 years of age, Scotsman Stephen Hendrie has had 195 career games worth of experience. The left-back has played 70 Championship games and 36 League One games, he knows the English Football League.

Being young and currently unsigned, Hendrie will be itching to prove himself in a starting eleven and make a mark on the squad. Should he successfully aid Bury in their battle to remain in League One, the club would have no doubt about extending his contract. Unless he catches eyes elsewhere.

Wigan Athletic closing in on Portsmouth’s 24y/o winger

According to Portsmouth News, Wigan Athletic are on the verge of signing Portsmouth attacker Jamal Lowe, for a fee in the region of £3 million.

Dan from The Football Manc Cave looks at how he will benefit Wigan’s side.

Paul Cook gave the 24-year-old his first opportunity in the EFL, after signing the attacker from Non-League side Hampton and Richmond Borough in 2016.

After rarely featuring during the 2016/17 season, Lowe scored a brace at Notts County to help Pompey clinch promotion to League One. On the final day of the season, Lowe scored again in a 6-1 win over Cheltenham, which meant they won the League Two title.

Cook left that summer to join Wigan. Since then, Lowe has played a majority of games for Kenny Jackett, usually out on the right wing. This year, he scored 15 league goals and also a great goal in the Checkatrade Trophy Final vs Sunderland, which Portsmouth won on penalties.

Lowe is a very good player. A constant threat with his pace, directness and goalscoring. He deserves to be playing at a higher level, that along with the pull of working with Cook again is too much to turn down.

It’s a signing that will get the fans excited, for sure. Big money for us, so the pressure will be on him to deliver. Fair play to the owners, they’re backing Cook. Lowe is a man in demand so we must be offering him a fair whack of wages. Let’s hope he does the business and scores plenty of goals.

Two League One free agent Rochdale should be looking at – Agree?

Rochdale could improve their squad ahead of the 19/20 EFL League One campaign, for free!

Rochdale will be looking to progress from last season’s position, where they finished 16th in League One. The Dale narrowly escaped relegation by four points in the congested bottom half of the table.

Manager Brian Barry-Murphy will be well aware of the faults and strengths of his squad. Rochdale fans are due a successful and competitive league run, and next season could be the one.

In an inflated market, purchasing players can be a difficult task. Especially for lower league clubs.

In comes the concept of free transfers, players who have let their contract run down in hopes to seek a new challenge, and here are two that could solve Rochdale’s problems.

Lee Cattermole

Cattermole has been with Sunderland for the past 10 years. This summer, his loyalty to the club came to end as his contract ran out. The 31-year-old defensive midfielder saw Premier League, Championship and League One action with the North-East club.

In the 18/19 League One season, Rochdale conceded the most amount of goals in the campaign, at 87. The introduction of Cattermole would provide an experienced and solid midfielder who’s priority is the defence.

His knowledge of the game, partnered with leadership qualities, could see Rochdale’s defence become much more organised. The vocal Englishman would sit ahead of them, ultimately resulting in a more solid structure and fewer goals will be conceded.

Grant Ward

Currently injured, but set to be available in August. Grant Ward is a 24-year-old wide midfielder who has 134 games worth of experience at Championship level. With 10 goals and 18 assists in the competition.

Should Ward have a season of full fitness in a league slightly less quality than he is used to, he can provide Rochdale with the spark they need to turn defence into attack.

By bringing in defensive-minded leader Lee Cattermole, and a hungry to prove himself, Grant Ward, the balance of Rochdale could be massively improved come the start of the EFL League One campaign.

It’s a case of trailist & error for Bury FC

Nobody who follows the comedy show at Bury FC will have been surprised by Saturday’s teamsheet at non-league Nantwich Town.

The Shakers began their season with a 1-1 draw and for a period in the second half had the lead.

Nobody quite knows where this season will end for Paul Wilkinson’s side, although one thing we can all guarantee is that it won’t be short of drama.

And all the fun and games began around 2 pm on Saturday when the team sheets were handed out.

Every player listed was noted as a trialist, summing up perfectly the current situation at Gigg Lane.

Owner Steve Dale made a rare appearance at the Weaver Stadium on Saturday, spotted wearing a club coat sat next to former Cardiff City manager Dave Jone who is helping run the football side of the business.

The club is still for sale, although no take-over looks to be completed any day soon.

Jones did suggest light at the end of the tunnel though, saying ‘The club is safe, you will have a club come the start of the season. I have never lied to a supporter’.

Jordan Archer was the mystery man on the scoresheet, yet The Dabbers bounced back through Joe Mwasile.

The Shakers next friendly is a week on Wednesday against championship outfit Blackburn Rovers. The Lancashire club will no doubt provide a stern test for whoever wears the white and blue shirt.

The quantity of trialists on show next week is an interesting question and a teamsheet not to be missed.

2 reasons why Wigan Athletic are looking to Nottingham Forest versatile defender

According to The Sun journalist Alan Nixon, Wigan Athletic are lining up a bid for Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa.

Here at The Football Manc Cave, we look at what Darikwa would bring to the DW Stadium if he made the switch north.

The 27-year-old was part of the Burnley side that was promoted in the 2015/16 campaign. However, he didn’t feature at all in the following season, so signed for Nottingham Forest back in the Championship.

He has featured regularly for The Midlands club, playing 58 games in two years. Although, Wigan may offer the Zimbabwean first-team football, which could tempt him into switching clubs. Also, Forest has recently appointed Sabri Lamouchi as their new manager, perhaps he has his own transfer targets and doesn’t see Darikwa as part of his plans?

What could Wigan fans expect to see if he moved to the Latics…

Physicality and pace

Darikwa is very much a modern-day full-back, possessing the ability to both attack and defend. An athletic player, with great pace and height. I watched a lot him during the season in which Burnley was promoted, and he was one of the best full-backs in the league that season. Likes to bomb forward and deliver crosses into the box, however, his pace allows him to get back and defend. Darikwa can also operate in midfield, which will tempt Paul Cook even further.


I expect Nathan Byrne to be our starting right-back next season, although I said that this time last year and Reece James rocked up to the party. So, who knows. Even still, Byrne and Darikwa are both good Championship players – it’s important to have that competition for places.

As I mentioned above, Darikwa is a versatile player. We are short in central midfielder, it wouldn’t be ideal, however, I’m sure he has all the attributes to do a good job in midfield. At the moment, it’s just an enquiry. It’ll be interesting to see if Wigan really push to conclude a deal.

‘£2m is a steal’ Wigan Athletic looking to complete the move for Everton 21y/o

According to the Liverpool Echo, Wigan Athletic are on the verge of completing a deal to sign Everton defender Antonee Robinson on a permanent deal.

Dan from Football Manc Cave looks at whether it’s a good deal for the Latics.

The 21-year-old American international spent last season at the DW Stadium during a season-long loan, in which he made 26 appearances for the club.

Paul Cook was full of praise for Robinson throughout the season and is working hard to sign the left-back and more new faces, ahead of the new campaign which starts on August 3rd.

Admittedly, I wasn’t a massive fan of Robinson in the first part of the season. I remember watching him at Brentford away, Ollie Watkins ran circles around him all day. He looked a rabbit in the headlights, with no defensive abilities at all.

Although he was young and experienced, I thought he’d make a better winger as he’s got electric pace and good delivery into the box.

Injury comeback

The American suffered a leg injury on international duty, since returning he was outstanding. One of our best players in the run-in, without a doubt. He defended much better, read the game well, looked stronger in the tackle and braver to challenge. Just a complete transformation. Maybe I was too quick to judge. However, I think most Wigan fans doubted his defensive capabilities too in the early parts of the season.

It says a lot about his character. The youngster clearly worked hard off the pitch, recognised his frailties and worked to improve his all-around game. Straight away, that’s the sort of players you want at your club. Willing to learn, work hard and improve.

Robinson has the potential to be a very good left-back, the pace he has is frightening. Still only 21, he’ll be a starter next season if this deal does go through, and I expect him to just keep on improving. For £2 million, it’s a steal.

3 players that should use pre-season to impress for Salford City

As Salford City head into their new and exciting League Two campaign. The Football Manc Cave have selected three players who will be aiming to impress before the season starts.

Graham Alexander’s team managed to secure promotion from the National League to League Two at the end of last season via the playoffs. I think it’s safe to say that all of the team, including new signings, will all be out to impress and aim for another promotion.

Salford won a pre-season friendly 4-0 this week against SAK 1914. There’s been no confirmation of goal scorers yet, although newly signed players have been seen with the squad.

With that in mind, here are 3 players that will want to show they can step up and prove, that they’re worth taking a chance on this coming season.

Oscar Threlkeld

The Bolton born man spent a lot of his career shuffling between Bolton Wanderers and Plymouth Argyle. He’s only signed for the Ammies this summer and fans are excited to see him in action. Threlkeld will be looking to break into the squad as soon as possible. He’s very versatile, as he’s a known midfielder who can also play in defensive positions. I think he’ll make a big impact on fans and the team next season.

Joey Jones

Previously being a part of Arsenal, Leicester City, Yeovil Town, Woking Town and Eastleigh. The 25-year-old will be looking to make an impression. Salford hasn’t been strangers to signing players this summer, so he will have a fight in his hands if he wants to get games. If he can get the chance to prove that he is worth being in the Salford defence, he will want to go all out as he’s been subject to a lot of free transfers over the years.

Mani Dieseruvwe

A player who has been in the squad for a few years now. He broke into the squad last season in the team’s campaign to win promotion. I imagine he will now be hungry to prove that he’s worth a shot, whether it be bringing him off the bench in desperate times or starting him. Salford had another friendly with Atherton recently, where Dieseruvwe scored the only goal of the game. I think he’s trying his best to put his name out there already.

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