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League One

Andy Ritchie's Blog 3

5 September 2012

Paolo Di Canio has had his temper tantrums over the years but he was right to deal with goalkeeper Wes Foderingham the way he did this week.

If you don't know the story, Di Canio was unimpressed with his keeper's performance against Preston North End on Sunday, so substituted him midway through the first half. This upset the greatly embarrassed Foderingham, who saw the red mist by arguing with his gaffer in full view of everyone, kicking a water bottle and storming out of the dressing rooms to sit with the fans.

As a player, you've got to try and keep it together. Yes, he will have been angry and upset, but if he wanted to vent his anger at Di Canio he should have waited until after the game had finished. Having a meltdown in full view of everyone isn't really on, even though I'm sure the Preston North End fans loved every second of it.

Personally, I'd much rather my player venting his emotions at being subbed as it shows he's bothered about his pride and performance but there are ways of going about it and I think Foderingham was a bit out of order.

The manager is always right, even when he's wrong. And players need to remember that before having a tizzy fit.

It's great that the pair have kissed and made up, and hopefully that's the end of the matter now. Paolo Di Canio is a very driven coach that expects high standards and, if they didn't know it already, his players will be under no illusions that anyone who dips below his expectations will be substituted or left out, no matter who they are. It could work out in his favour.

Flying high at the top of the table are two sides that I predicted would finish 9th and 23rd respectively and they are Tranmere Rovers and Yeovil Town, who currently sit proudly in their highest position in the club's entire history. Both teams are doing remarkably well and I'm chuffed for the managers, too, who are both great guys.

These two gaffers aren't silly though, and they won't be shouting how good they are from the roof tops just yet. When the suspensions and injuries hit, do they have big enough squads to cope? Perhaps not, as neither enjoy the strength in depth that teams like Sheffield United and Preston, have that's for sure.

For now though, I hope they enjoy their fine form and I'm sure that Ronnie Moore will be pleased at the progress being made by 19-year-old loanee Jake Cassidy, who bagged a quality hat-trick at the weekend. He's got himself a prospect there.

Doncaster Rovers saw how good Yeovil are first-hand on Saturday, losing 2-1 at Huish Park, but their case wasn't aided by the loss of influential winger James Coppinger en route to Somerset.

I'm told that he was on the team bus last Friday preparing for the match only to be told that he had to jump off at the service station and make his way to the City Ground to sign on loan for Nottingham Forest. I've never heard of a story like that. It's amazing, and I have no idea how he got there.

It will have frustrated Dean Saunders no end to lose his player at the last minute but what else could he do? It was a decision taken out of his hands and, with the deadline closing on a Friday this time, I suppose it's the kind of incident that is inevitable.

I wonder if the managers will get together ahead of next summer and ask for the window to be moved forward to earlier in August, before the season starts. It would be a logical step and make life easier but then again it would shorten their summer breaks. Having to focus on preparing a team and signing new players all on the same day does seem to be needlessly hectic.

The npower League 1 is in fine fettle, though, I have to say. From where I'm sat, the standard looks just as high as ever and that will make for an exciting season.

This quality shone through in round two of the Capital One Cup last week where Carlisle United, Coventry City, Crawley Town, Doncaster Rovers, Milton Keynes Dons, Preston North End and Swindon Town all knocked out clubs from higher levels.

How good is that?


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