Tag Archives: Sports

Man City Will Hope ‘Not To Do a Liverpool’ at Crystal Palace Today

It feels to me like it was the reverse leg of this fixture was the match that really opened the door to Liverpool’s league challenge, when Roy’s men saw off the boys in blue in a thriller with a somewhat shock result of 3-2.

Crystal Palace, like most Roy Hodgson sides, are incredibly well organised and they are comfortably mid-table this season, and have been playing well pretty consistently this season, including against some of the bigger teams.

Manchester City looked sluggish against Tottenham, and remaining in all competitions, with some of the star players blighted by injury will have started to take its toll. Manchester City head to Selhurst Park, (possibly my favourite ground in the Premier League) this weekend and with Liverpool looking to take this right to the wire City can’t afford to let things slide here.

It’s stating the obvious to say a squad of Man City’s calibre should see off Crystal Palace with the minimum of fuss, however, playing Hodgson’s disciplined sides can frustrate teams, and Manchester City have found this season that plenty of opposition haven’t really played against them, more sat back and aimed for damage limitation.

Hopefully this won’t be the case for this game, as it was not the case in the reverse fixture, which saw Crystal Palace capitalise on good fortune and was an excellent game for the neutral, less so the City fan.

Manchester City are two points behind Liverpool with a game in hand, and 14 points clear of third placed Chelsea, who Liverpool are taking on this weekend. Champions League football is signed, sealed and delivered for next season, but I’m sure like many fans of, well, nineteen of the twenty premier league teams, I really want to see City keep well clear of Liverpool.

It’s been a fantastic race between the top two since Christmas, and I’m hoping this will be another exciting, as well as completely crucial game.


Bury Stave Off Administration for Now, Curzon Ashton Boss Mark Bradshaw Talks Cup Chances, Rochdale Making Improvements

This is the EFL and Below Show, your look at all the footballing action in Greater Manchester that doesn’t come from Old Trafford or the Etihad.

Manchester Football Social’s Niall McCaughan is joined by Ian Foran and Aaron Benson of the Football Manc Cave for this week’s podcast.

Bury have struggled off the pitch in recent weeks as financial worries surround the club – is there a light at the end of the tunnel at Gigg Lane?

Curzon Ashton manager Mark Bradshaw chats to us as the Nash chase Manchester Premier Cup success for the first time since 1990.

We reflect on Salford’s promotion ambitions and Rochdale’s chances of safety in League One.

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Acast – https://play.acast.com/s/eflandbelowshow/manchesterfootballsocial-eflandbelowshow-burystaveoffadministrationfornowcurzonashtongaffermarkbradshawtalkscupchances-rochdalemakingimprovements

Itunes – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/manchester-football-social-efl-below-show-bury-stave/id1449475076?i=1000434701033

BBM’s Spell in Charge of Rochdale Should Start With This 11 Against Sunderland

Brian Barry-Murphy was finally confirmed as Rochdale’s next manager at a press conference on Wednesday, being given a two year contract after presiding over an unbeaten run in his four games in temporary charge. Rochdale collected eight points during this time which has seen them get themselves back into contention for survival, in what has turned into quite a battle at the bottom.

His first game in permanent charge sees his side take on their biggest challenge thus far in his tenure, with Sunderland visiting Spotland. Rochdale fans will already have a good idea of the kind of team that will be on show from what lineups they have already seen him pick.

This is my speculation of a potential line up;

Goalkeeper: 1. Josh Lillis

Lillie’s return to fitness has seen the departure of Andy Lonergan back to Middlesbrough. His spell will be fondly remembered by fans for his high quality performances, but Josh’s return should see a stability between the sticks that the Spotland faithful haven’t seen this season.

Right Back: 2. Ryan McLaughlin

Ryan has been plagued with fitness and injury problems since his arrival but still represents Rochdale’s best option at right back at this current time, so hopefully he is able to kick on and avoid the treatment table in the future.

Centre Back: 6. Ethan Ebanks-Landell

I have waxed lyrical about him before so I will try and not go over old ground but for me he is Rochdale’s best centre back and is too good for the level he us currently operating it. One of the first names on my team sheet.

Centre Back: 3. Kgosi Ntlhe

Kgosi has been a revelation since his return from injury and has played his way into the starting 11 with a couple of impressive performances, chipping in at both ends with important tackles and goals.

Left Back: 39. Joe Bunney

Sadly, potentially Rochdale’s weakest position with only two real options there if Kgosi plays centrally. I would favour Joe Bunney there over Matty Done but neither are traditional left backs.

Right Midfield: 7. Stephen Dooley

Someone who hasn’t featured frequently under BBM yet but a player I believe should come into the team, as his dribbling and marauding runs down the wing could be vital at unlocking opposition defences.

Centre Midfield: 14. Oliver Rathbone

Another one who has greatly impressed since his return from injury, always giving 100%, and bringing a consistent energy and drive to the team from the middle of the pitch. Another of my easy picks.

Centre Midfield: 27. Ethan Hamilton

I rate Hamilton highly as he is another loan player I think will be operating at a loftier level next season. He complements Rathbone nicely and isn’t short on talent or passion.

Left Midfield: 19. Bradden Inman

Seems to have been in and out of the team a lot this season, never being able to hold down a regular spot, but I see him as one of Rochdale’s better wide options. He plays in a similar mould to Dooley and I think Rochdale will benefit from his creativity and dribbling.

Centre Attacking Midfield: 40. Ian Henderson

I don’t think much needs to be said as to why his inclusion is important with him being Rochdale’s top scorer this season. Without his goal tally of 17, Dale would surely be relegated already. It is impossible to underestimate his influence.

Striker: 18. Aaron Wilbraham

Another player who has played himself into a starting spot under BBM with his recent match winning brace against Scunthorpe. He looks set for a prolonged run in the first team in a season in which he has struggled to find consistency.

Subs: Wade, MJ Williams, Done, Keohane, Camps, Adshead & Andrew

(I am currently unaware of Zach Clough’s injury status but if fit I would expect him to take one of the spaces on the bench).

Heartbreak for Stockport County, Rochdale’s Survival Chances and it’s Too Early to Hand Out Awards!

This is the EFL and Below Show, your weekly look at all of the footballing action in Greater Manchester from outside of the Premier League.

Niall McCaughan from the Manchester Football Social is joined in the studio by Ian Foran and Aaron Benson from the Football Manc Cave.

Stockport County were within minutes of a Wembley final in the FA Trophy but came agonisingly short in a tense affair at Edgeley Park – County commentator Chris Ridgway joins us to chat Stockport’s season so far.

Rochdale picked up a valuable 3 points at the weekend and are still in with a great shout of staying in League One for another season – and the lads fume of the premature awarding of ‘Manager of the Season’ accolades!

ITUNES – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/manchester-football-social-efl-and-below-show/id1449475076?mt=2&i=1000433673276

ACAST – https://play.acast.com/s/eflandbelowshow/manchesterfootballsocial-eflandbelowshow-heartbreakforstockportcounty-rochdalessurvivalchancesanditstooearlytohandoutawards-

TWO Key Fixtures For Rochdale in April to Avoid Relegation

Following Dales win last week over Scunthorpe, Rochdale will be looking to increase their three game unbeaten run under temporary manager Brian Barry-Murphy.

At the time of writing it is unknown whether Andy Lonergan will have his emergency loan extended by another week, but his solid displays between the posts has been a major contributory factor towards Dales recent upturn in form and results.

Looking ahead to April there are two crucial games which stand out as absolute must wins to have a chance of staying up.

19th April – Rochdale vs Wycombe

The first big game in April for me is the home game against Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers. This is a very winnable game in my opinion, especially because by this point I expect Wycombe to be safe and with a place in the play offs looking highly unlikely for them, this could be very much a nothing game to them.

This can only be to Rochdale’s advantage as they need every possible assistance to take three points from this game.

27th April – Rochdale vs Southend

Later the same month Rochdale are again at home to the currently managerless Southend United. Who dismissed Chris Powell this week following their defeat to Peterborough United, the culmination of a run of 10 games without a win. Rochdale and Southend are both struggling at the foot of the table so this is a must win game for both sides which, could lead to this being a proper old fashioned bottom of the table scrap.

Before these two games though Rochdale face the trip to Accrington in a rearranged game on Tuesday the 9th of April. The Wham Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Rochdale in the past, so any points would be a welcome edition to Dale’s strive for League One survival.

I have already previously discussed the importance of the rescheduled Accrington game, in a previous article. An air of positivity has slowly been creeping back amongst the Spotland faithful and long may it continue

Huge Win For Rochdale Edges Them One Point Off Safety

Rochdale took another step towards League One safety on Saturday with a 3-1 win against Scunthorpe United at Spotland (Crown Oil Arena).

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Goals coming from the in-form Kgosi Ntlhe, and a brace from the veteran Aaron Wilbraham being enough to secure the 3 points. Wilbraham’s double saw him become the oldest player since Steve Claridge back in 2005 to achieve this in a League One match, and also the oldest player to score in the league this season. Taking his total consecutive seasons in which he has scored at least 2 goals to 21, which is very impressive.

The after effects of the result also saw a strange coincidence, as the day after the game, Stuart McCall was sacked as Scunthorpe manager, exactly 12 months to the day after Graham Alexander suffered the same fate after losing points against Rochdale in a 1-1 draw.

Most significantly for Rochdale though, the win, coupled with the fact they were the only team to win in the bottom half of the table, with Plymouth and Bristol Rovers drawing and Accrington, Scunthorpe, Shrewsbury, Southend, Walsall, AFC Wimbledon & Bradford all losing.

This has seen them gain significant ground and now know a win in their game in hand would see them out of the drop zone. Unfortunately, that game in hand is away at relegation rivals Accrington, and is now sandwiched between a tough week with Sunderland visiting Spotland and a tricky trip to Fratton Park either side of it.

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But as Dale caretaker manager Brian Barry Murphy has said “we are playing on a game to game basis” so up next is a trip to Priestfield to take on Steve Lovell’s Gillingham who currently being in 12th position. This will be no easy task, although with Dale taking seven points from three games since Brian Barry-Murphy, Tony Ellis and Lee Riley took charge – the new management team will be hoping this new found consistency will help in taking another stride towards League One safety.

Was Rochdale’s Next Manager at Spotland?

Following Tuesday nights less than inspiring 0-0 draw against fellow strugglers Oxford United, rumours have begin to circulate on various unofficial Rochdale AFC forums and social media discussion groups that ex-Ipswich manager Paul Hurst was seen at Spotland (Crown Oil Arena) last night.

Hurst is a man I have written about before in connection to the Rochdale job. He had a lengthy 15 year playing career, making 438 appearances for Rotherham, where he met his joint manager Rob Scott.

The two teamed up to start their management career with Ilkeston Town in which they took them from 9th to 2nd, winning promotion to the Conference North through the play offs. They shortly left due to the clubs worrying financial situation.

Rob Scott followed him to Boston where they once again earned promotion to the Conference North, as well as winning the Northern Premier League Challenge Cup and the Lincolnshire Senior Shield.

Next up was a move to Grimsby where he eventually separated from Scott after being 2 years together in the role. He eventually went onto achieve promotion with Grimsby, guiding them back to the Football League after a 6 year absence.

His success at Grimsby was noticed by Shrewsbury where he took up the managerial position in October 2016. Leading them to an ultimately unsuccessful play off final at Wembley, against the side who he featured for throughout his playing career – Rotherham.

This saw him move up a league again to Ipswich, but he was unable to ever really get a run going and won only once in his opening 14 league games and lost on penalties to Exeter in the EFL Cup. A run which saw him sacked after just 5 months, the shortest managerial reign in Ipswich history.

His sighting at Spotland has seen a shift in the betting market as seemingly people have been getting their money on him. He was 10/1 3rd favourite for the job with Sky Bet on Tuesday night. Yesterday morning he had come into 5/2 2nd favourite. Current caretaker Brian Barry-Murphy is now 3rd favourite at 3/1 with Ian Evatt still favourite but drifting from 4/5 to 6/4.

Could Hurst be the man to keep the Rochdale in League One?

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