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League One

Andy Ritchie's Blog 4

12 September 2012

The big news in npower League 1 this week was Harry Redknapp's return to Bournemouth as an unpaid advisor. Plenty of managers with Harry's CV and years of service would probably put their feet up and take it easy for a while but he must be a glutton for punishment and was obviously desperate to be involved with football again.

Whatever you say about Harry, he's pure box office wherever he goes and the news definitely helped raise the Cherries' profile. It's a club that's very close to his heart having played for and managed them and it was probably inevitable that he'd pitch up at Dean Court in some capacity sooner or later.

Bournemouth were quick to stress that Harry's arrival would in no way affect the manager and I'm sure he's no threat to Paul Groves and his job. Paul is a young manager learning his trade and the chance to pick Harry's brain is a fantastic opportunity. Personally, I'd love to be in Paul's situation and have someone like Harry on hand to dispense advice and give me the benefit of all his years in the game.

I've been lucky to have had a couple of chats with Harry recently on the golf course and he really is a fantastic bloke. He's brilliant company, his passion for football is remarkable and I'm sure Bournemouth will benefit for however long he's involved with the club.

It might not be that long, though, because it's surely only a matter of time before he's offered a job he finds impossible to turn down.

In other news, Coventry have announced this week they are to interview nine candidates for the vacant manager's position at the Ricoh Arena and it's pretty obvious they are determined to get the appointment right.

A list of nine possible replacements for Andy Thorn is certainly thorough and I'll be interested to see who they go for. The bookies' favourite at the moment is Oxford United's Chris Wilder but I'm sure the Sky Blues received a lot of quality applications, probably within a couple of hours of Andy getting the sack, and I still wouldn't be surprised if a big name emerges from the pack.

An interesting story from the weekend was reports that 19 Premier League and 12 Championship scouts descended on Gresty Road to watch Crewe Alexandra's Max Clayton in action against Tranmere Rovers. The lad's only 18 but is already turning a few heads and it will be interesting to see how he copes now he's obviously on the radar.

Attention from the big clubs at that age could unsettle a young player but he couldn't be at a better club than Crewe, who take a lot of pride in their reputation for nurturing young talent before selling them on.

As manager, Steve Davis went through all this last season with Nick Powell before he eventually signed for Man United and he's the right man to keep Clayton's feet on the ground and focused on what he's doing now. I'm sure he will be telling him not to worry about what might happen in the future and concentrate on his next game for Crewe. Everything else will take care of itself.

Another Crewe youngster in the news was Harry Bunn, but sadly it was for all the wrong reasons after he suffered a knee ligament injury in the Tranmere game. Harry's on loan at Gresty Road from Man City and although I believe the final diagnosis is yet to come, it's looking like the injury could end his season.

Harry's dad Frankie is one of my best friends in football after we played together at Oldham Athletic and I can only wish Harry a speedy and full recovery. He's only 19 and it's horrible to see young players picking up such serious injuries so early in their career.

Depending on what day of the week you're reading this blog, Portsmouth's immediate future may or may not be resolved. It emerged on Monday that a third party, a Middle East Consortium, had registered an interest in buying the club, and we'll have to see what happens next.

The clock's ticking for Portsmouth and I hope they get a deal done in time. Whatever the outcome, The Football League will have to carry out all the due diligence checks on potential new owners and I hope they're very diligent indeed.

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