Tag Archives: league one

Rochdale have to set the achievable goal following quiet preseason

Rochdale’s final UK pre-season fixture was confirmed on Friday with a trip to local neighbours Oldham pencilled in for Saturday 20th July. This adds to Blackburn, Huddersfield and Bradford at Spotland on the 14th, 17th and 27th of July respectively and away trips to Ramsbottom and Hyde on the 24th and 30th of July.

With the new kits released on Saturday ahead of the new season, this is a great time to predict what’s potentially ahead for the Spotland faithful this coming season.

Much is being made about the lack of business or contract news coming from the club so far this summer. Players are still under contract until the 30th of June, and it has become quite common for players to delay contract offers while they or their agents assess all their options and see if a better offer comes in.

It is safe to assume at least half of the players offered deals will sign, namely Matty Done, Jimmy Keohane, Aaron Morley, Kgosi Ntlhe, Ollie Rathbone, Brad Wade, Aaron Wilbraham and the Youth Team’s Lewis Bradley, Harrison Hopper, Florent Hoti and Fabio Tavares.

With Rochdale having a rather large squad last season I do not personally expect an abundance of signings this summer, rather more quality over quantity.

With the right additions, League One can be a lot more comfortable for Rochdale this coming season. A mid-table finish has to be an achievable goal. If they can avoid the many defensive errors and inconsistent performances from certain players that led to Dale struggling last season.

With Brian Barry-Murphy taking the squad to Portugal on July 4th for warm weather training, this will be his chance to assess how well fitness has been maintained over the close season and see where perhaps signings may be needed.

A rundown of the contenders for the vacant Bury job

After Ryan Lowe decided to leave Bury for Plymouth Argyle last week, a variety of names have been swirling around for who might succeed him as manager.

Whoever does replace fans favourite Lowe will have a tough challenge on their hands. With the club back in court on the 19th June, the latest man to take over the managerial reigns could be one in administration, with that being a fairly positive outcome as well.

So which employed or unemployed coach will put pen to paper on a contract leaving them in charge of the League One side?

Keith Hill

A recent fans poll saw that 68% of fans would like to see the former Rochdale manager lead the club out of their biggest financial crisis to date. Having taken close rivals Dale to promotion twice, in 2010 and 2014, on a low budget. Many believe he would be the man to consolidate the Shakers position in England’s third tier.

What’s more, Hill is ‘not afraid’ to try his hand at taking on the challenge that is Bury FC. His most recent season at Rochdale would suggest a look in a different direction with regards to management, however. He was sacked in March at Spotland with the club on the verge of relegation. Their best form occurred when he left.

Ryan Kidd

Arguably the one the fans would want to see take over from Lowe. Head of the academy, Kidd will know just what pain fans, staff and players will have gone through over the past few months as the Shakers went for promotion.

One of previous chairman Stewart Day’s best decisions was to make Lowe permanent manager, after the previous relegation from League One. A decision of this type wouldn’t be far out of place in the current climate. Will any other coach know how bad the financial situation at Bury compared to Kidd?

David Flitcroft

A former manager at Gigg Lane, the Flitcroft era was as dramatic as they come. On a big budget, he guided Bury to promotion in his first full season in charge four years ago.

But truth be told he was never a big hit with the fans, and the majority were glad to see the back of him after a horrific run of results in League One.

Since leaving Greater Manchester, a season at Mansfield ended in failure. After spending a large part of last season in the automatic promotion places, the Stags fell short missing out on promotion with the playoffs. One of the leading candidates with bookmakers but surely a long shot for the full-time manager slot again.

Sit down Bolton Wanderers fans, there is good news!

Sit down Bolton Wanderer’s fans, there’s eventually some positive news. Even though it’s taken forever, a deal has been agreed that will see Football Ventures consortium, headed by Sharon Brittain take full control of the club.

Five final offers were sent to administrators before Wednesday’s deadline, and it was announced on Thursday that they had identified a preferred new owner for the League One club.

They passed the main criteria: Proof of funds for the next two years. Passed the EFL approval, and the group also agreed to inject £1 million into re-building the playing squad ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

The Trotters, who will start next season on -12 points. They have also released a list of the 14 players that will remain contracted to the club next season, which includes goalkeeper Ben Alnwick and Irish international Josh Magennis.

From a Wigan fan, I was genuinely happy when I read this news. It would’ve been devastating if we’d never play again. It’s a guaranteed six points a season if you ever get back to the dizzy heights of the Championship.

In all seriousness, Bolton is a club that deserves better. The fans have stuck with the club through doom and gloom, and I hope you can get a side together that you are proud of watching again. Times like these really separate real supporters from the part-timers. If you are still following Bolton next season, I tip my hat to you, and wish you all the success.

What are Gillingham getting after signing ex-Man Utd player Matty Willock

Former Manchester United player Matty Willock has signed for Gillingham on a two-year deal. Gills manager Steve Evans fought off a host of other clubs to land the highly-rated midfielder, who arrives with glowing reports.

After signing, Willock said:

“I’m delighted, I can’t wait to get going and I’m excited to meet my new team-mates and begin playing.

“I’ve been on loan for the last two years so I wanted to carry on with my development, play men’s Football and I thought this was the perfect opportunity.”

Fair play to the youngster. Leaving Man United and joining Gillingham shows he wants to play first-team football, and he’s prepared to start in League One. It’s a very interesting signing, it could be a masterstroke from The Gills, especially on a free.

What could they potentially be getting from signing Willock…

The League One Paul Pogba

The 20-year-old has a similar physique to Paul Pogba and judging from a four-minute Youtube video, a similar playing style too. Willock, albeit in youth games, looks to just saunter around the pitch and dictate the match. I imagine he’ll be playing without fear and in fact, relishing the opportunity to express himself.

Just from reading on Twitter, Gills fans are very excited by the signing, and they have every right to be.

A matchwinner

Willock looks like he possesses the ability to produce ‘a bit of a magic’ whether that’s scoring a screamer, or dribbling through five players. Most League One matches are tight contests, and having a player that can ‘win the match on his own’ is massively important. Maybe The Gills have found their gem.

Tom Eaves has been offered a new contract to stay at the club, manager Evans will be hoping he gets the chance to partner the two and pushes for a playoff position.

The 2 Rochdale wonderkids who should be given more game time next season

Rochdale finished their 2018/19 campaign in League one at 15th place, but who can manager Brian Barry-Murphy rely on to better their next season?

There’s a couple of young players that Rochdale may benefit from seeing in their pre-season squad to see how they cope. Ramsbottom, Blackburn and Bradford are just three teams on the list of friendly’s before their league matches start, and here are two teenagers I think should get a look in…

Bradley Wade

The 17-year-old keeper is very young to be getting started in the first team, but every player must start somewhere. Wade has been a product of Rochdale’s youth and has been with the club since he was 15. He’s been on the bench a few times although it would be good to see him in the first team at some point, just to see how he manages. It’s always nice to see a keeper breakthrough the ranks and given the right guidance, could be a great back up for a few seasons.

Daniel Adshead

Another 17-year old who has come through Rochdale’s youth teams. He was 14 when he started training with the first team, which is impressive. He’s also played for England’s under 18’s 3 times.

In September 2017 he also became the clubs youngest ever player to start for the club in an EFL Trophy game, Adshead was only 16 at the time. I think he’d benefit from some more starts but could be a great midfielder for Rochdale. 

2 Bolton Wanderers youngsters who could have a major impact on the club’s 19/20 season

You could literally scroll through all the bad off the pitch news for Bolton Wanderers. Furthermore, yesterday morning the club has released a list of players either contracted to the Club as professionals or third-year scholars. 

The list has revealed that only six senior players remain but with that being said, could any of the youngsters come through for the team?

There’s still a while before the new season starts. With Bolton being relegated last season, along with all the financial struggles, there’s a chance that the list could get smaller if some players gain interest from other clubs.

I’m a Bolton fan myself and along with others, I am glad to see that cuts have been made with some players. We need to start small and build again, with players who have the passion to play for us.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t play for free either like some players experienced last year. However, now that there’s some new ownership news coming to light, I would like to think we can return to the team we used to be. With the players we have got, however, which youngsters could make an impact on the season if they stay?

Luca Connell

The 18-year-old wonder kid has been brought through Bolton’s youth since 2010, and he can play as a defender and as a midfielder. The talented teenager made his debut for the trotters in January 2019. It was in an FA cup tie in which he came on as a substitute.

He was started against Bristol in the same cup later that month, and he impressed when he assisted Mark Beevers in the only Wanderers goal. Connell was eventually rewarded with a league match start against Reading, and now his scholarship has been extended for a year. He’s even played for the Republic of Ireland’s under 17’s, 18’s and 19’s.

I think he is exactly what Bolton needs with the skill at his age, and he has the passion for the club after staying with them for so long. However, Celtic are reportedly looking at the teenager, and with other Premiership clubs also supposedly looking into a deal with Connell, it wouldn’t be surprising if he took an offer. 

Dennis Politic

Fans may argue with me about this suggestion, but the 19-year-old was with Salford City on loan up until early this year, and the midfielder managed 2 goals in 9 appearances for the club.

He’s yet to play for Bolton’s first team, but the Romanian may get a look in now that the squad has been reduced. The only problem he may face is that he came back from Salford with a shoulder injury. If he can get past that, maybe he could be a huge part of Bolton’s new season. 

Opinion: Bolton Wanderer’s must take two options following retained list

After all the other things that have gone on behind the scenes at Bolton, the club has now published a ‘Retained List’ of 14 players.

This list includes third-year scholars, meaning that as well as the first team squad being decimated, the youth set-up that arguably the club should be building around for the upcoming season due to their financial constraints, has also been near enough destroyed. With the clubs top prospects such as Harry Brockbank out of a contract.

The reason that most of these players contracts have expired, is that while the club is in administration till at least Friday, when, barring no hiccups, the new owners will be announced. So you would hope that at least some players will resign after then, but it doesn’t look very promising with other clubs circling and cherry picking players.

Even some of the players on the retained list are targets for other clubs, such as Goalkeeper Ben Alnwick and Midfielder Erhun Oztumer. Meaning that should these players leave, at least the club will get a fee that hopefully under the new ownership would go back into the squad.

If you are looking at the bright side, at least Bolton has some players remaining, a nucleus to build a team around for League One. Should all of that 14 stay, then add a few free agents and loan signings, plus maybe the new owners will splash a little cash then Bolton will at least be able to field a team and compete.

But with other teams getting their business done early, it is seeming more and more likely that unless Bolton can spend some money and attract good players. Then the 12 point deduction to start the season may just be one thing too many for the new owners.

The news may be more promising after Friday when hopefully, a few more players can resign for the club to get back to us then.

What can Laurent Banide Bring to Oldham Athletic Next Season

Is it a fresh start or the same old for Oldham Athletic?

Oldham Athletic have announced that the former French Monaco manager Laurent Banide, would be taking charge of the League Two team who only achieved a 14th place finish in the EFL League Two by the end of the 2018/19 season.

Since the departure of Lee Johnson in February of 2015, Oldham Athletic have appointed 10 different managers, including the likes of Stephen Robinson, Frankie Bunn, Pete Wild and even a month-long spell for the Manchester United legend and Oldham Athletic boyhood fan Paul Scholes, in the hopes of brightening the future of the club. If Banide can last a full season with Oldham Athletic, he would be the longest-serving manager at the club since Lee Johnson.

Banide got the spot as coach of Monaco in 2005 after being involved in the coaching staff since 1993, meaning he has accumulated almost 15 years experience of managing at a competitive football level and over 25 years of coaching experience in general. With his most recent ventures taking him to manage at the top level of football in countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

A big contrast to the recently appointed and disappointed Paul Scholes, who had no managerial experience, Oldham Athletic’s chairman Abdallah Lemsagam says, “He brings a lot of experience to this club and I’m looking forward to working alongside him in the 2019/20 campaign”.

Oldham Athletic were relegated to the lowest tier of the English Football League at the end of the 2017/18 season, and with another sub-par season in their new competition, it is evident that a new approach was needed.

Ever since the founding of the beloved Greater Manchester club, Oldham Athletic have never had a manager from outside of the UK and Ireland, Banide is the first.

Oldham Athletic’s new approach shows a degree of determination and professionalism, can Banide’s wealth of managerial experience take Oldham Athletic back to League One and beyond? And short of appointing the likes of Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho, if Banide can’t improve this Oldham squad, then who can?

It will be an interesting 2019/20 season for Banide and Oldham. Can they adopt stability or will Banide join the long list of managers who failed to last a full season with Oldham Athletic?

Two Attributes That Bolton Wanderer’s Erhun Oztumer Could Bring to Hull City

Another day another big transfer rumour, this time it’s Bolton Wanderers midfielder Erhun Oztumer who is rumoured to be on his way out of the troubled club.

If rumours are to be believed, the man who featured for the Trotters 18 times last season is a wanted man, with Charlton Athletic and Hull City both interested in his services.

Oztumer only joined Bolton in 2018 from Walsall on a free, but with all the issues going on behind the scenes at Bolton they seem to be looking to cash in on the midfielder. With both Hull and Charlton playing their football in the Championship next season, it is realistic that Oztumer may be available for a cut-price fee, and for a man with his experience at this level, it could prove invaluable.

Things aren’t all rosy at Hull City however, manager Nigel Adkins recently turned down a new contract and is set to leave when the current one expires at the end of this month. Therefore, no guarantee’s can be made for Oztumer should he move there, perhaps whoever is brought in will want his own players and it could jeopardize his move.

With Hull looking his likely destination, we took a look at what Oztumer could bring to the mid-table Championship side…


Although Oztumer isn’t the biggest of players at 5″3, his career has seen him fight his way back into the Pro game, via the fourth division of Turkish football. Therefore, the 28-year-old is constantly fighting to prove to everyone that he belongs and is good enough for the Football League.

Having experienced Non-League football, Oztumer has some of that grit that can only come from playing on mud-baths for next to nothing but the love of the game, something which a few clubs need a little bit more of.

Composure on the ball

Oztumer has a wand of a left foot (YouTube it) is very composed with the ball and can be a tricky player to deal with given his low centre of gravity. Therefore if a team keeps the ball on the floor and plays, he can be a real asset from his attacking midfielder role, moving the entire team forward with one pass or run.

This issue comes when teams starting playing the long ball similar to what has happened at Bolton, at only 5″3 Oztumer will compete, but is never going to be favourite against some of the giants of the Championship such as Ryan Shawcross.

Opinion: Is a Move To Ipswich Town The Wisest Move For Bolton Wanderers’ Harry Brockbank

It seems then like everyone is wanting out at Bolton Wanderers, the latest to be linked with a move away is the 20-year-old defensive prospect, Harry Brockbank.

Despite only making three appearances for struggling Bolton in the Championship last season, a host of Championship and League One clubs are after the young centre back, with Ipswich being the latest link. Ipswich finished bottom of the Championship last season, but are already assembling a good squad to try and rebound straight back into the second flight.

The young defender, who is capable of playing at right back, centre back and defensive midfield, would be a great addition to any squad due to his versatility and raw talent, he is the kind of player that managers love and can build a team around.

After impressing many teams during his Bolton debut against now Premier League Aston Villa, the young full-back can leave the team on a free due to the clubs off-field issues. However, if he wants guaranteed first-team football, then perhaps him staying for one more year at his home side wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. It’s a chance to get some more experience under his belt before being a squad player in the same division.

For Ipswich this move would be a great deal, signing a potential star full back for the years to come, get him some game time in League One ready for if they do go back up. Even if they then sold him on, signing the young lad on a free makes business sense.

For Brockbank, I think it all comes down to game time, if whether it be Ipswich or wherever he moves, can guarantee the game time then, by all means, he should go and play his football at the right end of League One. However, if he is just going to be a squad player then perhaps it would better him to stay at Bolton, yes they are likely to go down again due to starting the season on minus 12 points, but at least he is likely to play the vast majority of games.

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