Tag Archives: EFL

BBM making these 2 tweaks to Rochdale will see them continue unbeaten start against Sunderland, agree?

Rochdale continued their fine start to their 2019/20 League One campaign, as they remain unbeaten after three league matches. The Dale drew 0-0 at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, in a game they should’ve won.

Brian Barry-Murphy has done a fantastic job since taking over at Spotland. The young manager has made a couple of good loan signings in Robert Sanchez and Rhys Norrington-Davies, which has bolstered their defence, while they have a solid midfield to supply Ian Henderson, who scores goals for fun at this level.

They play host to Sunderland tonight, who will be looking for automatic promotion. The Wearsiders earned a last-minute winner at Spotland in this fixture last season. Rochdale will be hoping for revenge and a win that will likely take them into the top six.

Veteran striker Calvin Andrew will be looking for his first start of the season. Perhaps Murphy will play two strikers to try and benefit from Sunderland’s less physical backline. Alim Oxturk and Jordan Willis are quick, good defenders, but perhaps not favourites if involved in a physical battle with a striker like Andrew.

Sunderland’s main attacking threat comes from Aiden Mcgeady on the left side of midfield. Jimmy Keohane has been operating at right-back so far this season, I wonder whether Keohane will play on the right of midfield, and Murphy will play a defender behind him to double up on Mcgeady and stop the threat.

I expect a very good game tonight, if Rochdale can supply Henderson and play like they’ve done so far this season, they can certainly come out of this game with a positive result.

Cook has to start these 2 in midfield tonight if Wigan Athletic are to bounce back

Wigan Athletic will be looking to bounce back following three successive defeats, most recently losing to Leeds United 0-2 on Saturday.

Paul Cook is already suffering from injuries and suspensions. Captain Sam Morsy missed their first three matches with a hamstring injury. Anthony Pilkington and Josh Windass will be missing for the next couple of weeks, while Joe Williams will be suspended for their trip to Middlesbrough, following his red card vs Leeds at the weekend.

This, of course, offers the opportunity for squad players to make a claim to be starters. Lewis McLeod was unlucky to be dropped after his debut performance vs Cardiff City on the opening day. I would be tempted to stick him back in, against Cardiff I thought he offered extra quality in midfield, on the call. Morsy is a ball winner but limited in the attack. While McLeod is very good on the ball and likes to drive forward, perhaps they could form a solid partnership in midfield.

Jamal Lowe will also be pushing for a start. He has come off the bench in all three league games, however, will feel ready to start and make an immediate impact. Lowe has shown promising signs, direct, quick and skilful. I’d like to see him score, just to get him off the mark and give him that confidence to kick on.

Fans have been critical of Cook making too many changes and not knowing his best side. It’s impossible, for a couple of reasons. His squad isn’t fully fit and knowing our luck, probably won’t be all season. We don’t know how good the new signings are, some will settle quicker than others and form partnerships on the pitch. Just give them time, we’ll come good.

Wigan Athletic fans need to give Cook and the new boys time, agree?

There was quite a meltdown following Wigan Athletic’s defeat to Leeds United on Saturday, with some even suggesting Paul Cook is not the man to take this club forward. Outrageous, this early.

We are three games into a 46 game season. Give them 10 games, see where we are in the table and how good or poor performances are, then we can start talking about who has a future here.

A majority of our signings this summer have played very little or no even Championship football – Kieffer Moore, Jamal Lowe and Joe Williams just a few examples. Moore was outstanding on Saturday, that’s a huge positive. We have a striker that bullies opposition defences, Lowe looks dangerous, Windass was brilliant against Cardiff.

Why all the negativity?

I accept Preston was terrible, it was, I was there. The effort, quality, everything about the match was just poor. No excuses, we must do better than that. I was critical myself of Cook last season, particularly his tactics away from home, however at the end of the season I was happy with our position and points total, so he did his job. To reach the next level, yes we need to do better, Cook needs to improve, just give him and the team time.

This current squad excites me, the potential is there. Don’t jump on their backs and expect too much too soon, building partnerships on the pitch takes time. After that Cardiff game, a majority were saying aim for play-offs, now it’s suggesting Cook should go after losing to Preston and probably the best team in the league. Don’t overreact, back the side.

Our next three league games are Middlesbrough, QPR and Barnsley. They are the sort of games we should be picking up points from, not Leeds with 10 men for 70 minutes.

Wigan Athletic fans still happy despite loss to Leeds Utd ‘Just beaten by a good side with a touch of help from the ref’

Wigan Athletic was handed their second Championship defeat of the season after Leeds United defeated The Latics 0-2 at The DW Stadium.

This was Wigan’s first league defeat at home since New Years Day, some record. A shame it had to come to an end against Leeds, I guess they got the revenge they were desperate for.

The Latics travel to Middlesbrough and Charlton now, before facing Barnsley back at home at the end of the month.

Let’s see how Wigan fans reacted to their side’s loss at the weekend…

2 weeks of the transfer window left, what do Rochdale need to do

Rochdale have enjoyed a solid start to their season, taking five points from their opening three league matches, and beating Bolton 5-2 in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

The Dale won their opening day fixture at Tranmere Rovers 2-3, with striker Ian Henderson grabbing two and loanee Rhys Norrington-Davies netting on debut. In their opening game at Spotland, Rochdale drew 1-1 with Doncaster Rovers and 0-0 yesterday. It’s been a good start to the season, how far can Brian Barry-Murphy take them?

It’s a big two weeks for them into terms of the transfer window. Rochdale needs to add depth to a good starting 11, to be competing at the right end of the table come May. They have arguably the best goalscorer in the division, Henderson, however an injury to him would leave them light on goals.

Also, although they’ve scored nine goals in three matches, they’ve still conceded five which is a worry. Obviously if you sacrifice defensive thoughts to score more goals, you are likely to concede more, however Murphy may be looking to sign a central defender to help steady a leaky defence.

I think Rochdale have an exciting team, a manager that wants to succeed and is supported by the fans. They’ll have a good season, however, their lack of depth does worry me, when you look at teams like Sunderland and Portsmouth, in comparison. If Murphy can perhaps poach a couple of loan players and pick up a couple of permanent signings to bolster his options, particularly in defence, then Rochdale will be well prepared for a shot at the play-offs.

Twitter reacts: ‘Goodbye Bury’

Fans are growing tiresome after another Bury FC fixture is postponed due to ‘outstanding evidence regarding a number of financial commitments has still not been provided by owner Steve Dale.

Bury have been unable to compete in four League One fixtures and one EFL Cup game so far. They wither away in the 24th spot on minus twelve points.

Bury fans are furious. Many stating that they just want football to watch, as of right now, they have none.

The Bury FC side of Twitter looks like a mourning ground. Many fans of many clubs are leaving their condolences for the historic club.

It may well be the case that Bury follow suit of many clubs that have found themselves in a financial crisis. This would result in one of England’s most cherished football clubs disappearing or plummeting down to non-league football.

Curzon Ashton made a fantastic gesture for Bury fans, showing how football can provide the kindest of acts…

Hopefully, Bury can pull through this dilemma. Though it looks like their season and their club, maybe coming to an end.

Leeds United hunting for revenge against Wigan Athletic today

Oh, Gavin Massey runs down the wing for me. The Leeds United documentary is out on Amazon now, watch it for the meltdown when Wigan Athletic destroyed Leeds’ promotion charge.

Stuart Dallas says Leeds are “chomping at the bit” to face Wigan tomorrow. The Latics pulled off a shocking victory on Good Friday despite being a man down for 76 minutes and conceding the opening goal. You couldn’t write it.

I’ll be honest, I thought Leeds deserved to go up last season. They were the best team to visit the DW Stadium, by a country mile. It was like playing a Premier League team. However, Sheffield United stuck with them all season, won 0-1 at Elland Road and held their nerve in the run-in.

Leeds lost their star striker Kemar Roofe to Anderlecht in the summer but did strengthen with the loan signings of Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah. Their squad is full of talented, technical players that will dominate most Championship sides. Wigan has to be up for the fight today and attack Leeds with pace and confidence. If we turn if like we did last week at Preston, it’ll be a cricket score, although I’m confident that won’t happen at home.

I’m expecting a feisty affair today. Leeds will bring 75,000 fans, Sam Morsy is back and Leeds will do everything to beat us. We’ve got a very good home record, while Leeds are still the best side in the league in my opinion. The first goal is massive if Leeds grab an early lead they are brilliant at keeping the ball. Whereas, Wigan score a lot of goals at home and might just shock a few. Game on.

BBM should set up his Rochdale back 4 like this to frustrate Shrewsbury & take the 3 points

Rochdale have enjoyed a good start to the season, The Dale won their opening game 3-2 at newly-promoted Tranmere Rovers, before drawing against Doncaster at Spotland.

A hidden gem

Robert Sanchez joined in the summer from Brighton and Hove Albion. The youngster has started the opening three matches, and despite conceding seven goals, it’s looking like Brian Barry-Murphy has found his number one for the season. Sanchez spent time on loan at Forest Green Rovers during the 2017/18 campaign, so will be looking to impress this time around in a higher division.

Jimmy Keohane will operate at right-back again, the versatile Irishman has played a number of positions since signing for Rochdale last summer. A reliable player that will do his job pretty much anywhere on the pitch.

On the other side, Rochdale look to have found a gem in the loan signing of Rhys Norrington-Davies from Sheffield United. The left-back has already chipped in with a goal and an assist in the opening two league games and just provides an extra attacking option to Barry-Murphy. It’s important that full-backs add that width and quality into the box, particularly when you have a striker like Ian Henderson, who usually profits from opportunities.


Jim McNulty provides that experience and leadership needed in central defence. At 34, the defenders best years are probably behind him. However, his leadership skills and influence off the pitch, are priceless to The Dale. He will be partnered by new summer signing Eoghan O’Connell, who signed from Bury. The Irishman made 31 appearances last season and has headed to Rochdale hoping to continue the solid form that saw them promoted to League One.

Shrewsbury Town is one of the hardest places to go in League One, however, The Dale are the underdogs and are scoring goals, I give them a big chance of getting a result.

With Wigan Athletic’s midfield looking like this, Leeds Utd stand no chance

Wigan Athletic host Leeds United tomorrow, with both hoping to bounce back from disappointing results.

The Latics lost 3-0 to Lancashire rivals Preston North End, while Leeds drew 1-1 at Elland Road against Nottingham Forest, in a game they largely dominated.

I thought we lost the game in the midfield last week, whether that was down to personal or Paul Cook not matching up against Preston’s three-man midfield is another question.

Anyway, let’s have a look at how I think our midfield may look tomorrow against Leeds.

Wigan’s Midfield

Sam Morsy will come straight back into the side after he missed the first three matches with a hamstring injury. A vital part of our team will enjoy a big match vs Leeds on return. He just leads by example, with his pressing, energy and desire. A massive miss at Preston. Alongside him, I’d go with Joe Williams. I thought he was very good during mid-week vs Stoke City. A tough tackler who will support Morsy in midfield. I feel we need more protection to our defence, if we play 4-2-3-1, that’s four attacking players on the pitch. That’s enough to hurt teams, the two behind them are there to recycle the ball, and win it back when you lose it.

On the right side, I’d go with Jamal Lowe. Again, he impressed me against Stoke. Gavin Massey will be pushing for a start, but I just feel like a big-money signing (in Wigan terms) will give that crowd an extra lift. Lowe has bags of pace and energy, what a time to score your first goal, hint hint.

On the other wing will be Michael Jacobs. Although he was poor at Preston, everyone was. Jacobs was outstanding on the opening day vs Cardiff City, so deserves another chance now he’s back to full fitness. One of the players who are brilliant at home, playing higher up the pitch, away from home he seems to struggle due to that lack of blistering pace.

In the central attacking midfield spot should be Josh Windass. He ripped Cardiff apart on an opening day win, grabbing a goal and assist. At Preston he seemed to play as a second striker, it didn’t suit him as we had nobody to play him through on goal. Windass is better dropping deep and running at defences with pace, I expect Moore to make his home debut and link up well with Windass.

It’s boys v men for Bolton Wanderers again this weekend against Tranmere Rovers

Both Bolton Wanderers and Tranmere Rovers are looking for their first win of the EFL League One season in this bottom of the table match up.

Should Bolton Wanderers not have received a twelve-point deduction at the beginning of the campaign, they would be ahead of Tranmere Rovers. But as it stands, Tranmere sits in 20th on zero points and Bolton sit in 23rd with minus eleven.

The Football Manc Cave brings you the Tranmere v Bolton match preview, where we will discuss the form of each of side and what this game means to them going into it…

Bolton Wanderers

In the two league games and one cup game that Bolton Wanderers have played, it truly has been boys vs men.

Suffering from significantly less possession and shots on target than each opponent, the Wanderers did well to salvage one point at home against Coventry. On their own soil, they had to hold out for a point in a game that saw 24 shots go against them and 7 for. If this is how Bolton plan to survive the season, the die-hard Wanderers fans will be in for a very slow and drawn out season.

In the EFL cup, the Wanderers managed to score for the first time in over four months, with two against Rochdale. Ronan Darcy and Dennis Politic were the scorers in the 5-2 defeat.

Tranmere Rovers

Tranmere Rovers haven’t seen much success either. They have lost both league games and their EFL cup tie against Hull City, 3-0. Despite this, the Rovers showed signs of being able to dominate the game over a decent side. They just need stamina and confidence, which a big win over Bolton Wanderers could give them.

Rovers were promoted to League One last season after finishing sixth and winning the play-offs. This will make survival in this league even more difficult for them and increasing the gap between themselves and Bolton Wanderers is incredibly important.


Despite the valiant efforts of Bolton Wanderers, they are being overhauled in every single game. It appears the class and experience of the vigorous League One is far too much for these youngsters, who have been forced to take an unhealthy leap in their careers. Although Tranmere Rovers finished sixth in the league below last season, their quality will likely surpass Bolton’s.

Bolton will back to the wall, praying for a point, so expect a late winner or shock draw.

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