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Championship

Matt Holland's Blog 3

5 September 2012

As soon as Steven Fletcher tweeted "my heads gone", I knew he'd be leaving Wolverhampton Wanderers and so it proved as a number of the npower Championship's star turns made the step up to the Premier League before the close of the transfer window.

You can't ever blame a player for showing ambition but some do handle transfer speculation better than others. I was always pretty relaxed myself, blanking out rumours to concentrate on playing, but not everyone is able to take that approach. Some lads get itchy feet and want to push through moves and if they don't happen it affects their morale.

Ian Holloway was discussing that this week, explaining that Thomas Ince wasn't the least bit disturbed by links with bigger clubs, letting it all go over his head - while fellow winger Matt Phillips was anxious and frustrated by Blackpool's reluctance to let him go.

We're all made differently, so there's no point being judgemental, but what I will say is that there's no point in moping about what might have been now. The window is shut and if a player wants to earn himself a transfer in January he's going to have to knuckle down and reproduce the form which created the interest in the first place. If Phillips does that, both he and Blackpool will be winners.

Jordan Rhodes made the most eye-catching switch in the division and, at £8million, the pressure is on him to perform for new club Blackburn Rovers.

It's a massive fee. When you consider what Fulham paid for Dimitar Berbatov - albeit an older player - the outlay is very brave on Blackburn's part, but I do think he's a very good young player.

What makes him stand out from the crowd? It's unquestionably his movement. Technically he's excellent, he's decent in the air and knows how to finish but Rhodes isn't a player that's particularly fast at all, so it's his clever intuition in and around the box that marks him out as special.

Jordan Rhodes reminds me of my old Ipswich team-mate Marcus Stewart. Neither can out run defenders but over three yards a switch flicks inside them to create the space they need to score goals.

Even though the Scot has switched from one npower Championship club to another, Blackburn are a club that's more likely to be promoted and, as their spending power suggests, they have strong ambitions to do it right away. He'll be in the spotlight because of his price tag but I do think he's the kind of striker who will handle it well.

After 13 years at Wolves, it was sad to hear that Terry Connor has cut his ties with the club this week.

When a new manager comes in, and results don't go your way right from the start, you often see somebody from the old regime pay the price and unfortunately for Terry that's what's happened to him.

On reflection, he may wish he'd never taken the manager's seat as caretaker once Mick McCarthy was sacked. It didn't go well for him, and it must have been hard to go back to life as a number two.

We saw a similar situation at Norwich City a few years back when Bryan Gunn, a true club legend that had worked in all areas of the club, agreed to take over as first-team boss, only to be sacked a short while later and then never return. He's since moved up north and is no longer involved at all at Carrow Road, which is a pity.

It's a shame for all concerned but I do hope that Terry Connor will always be welcomed back to Molineux as a guest with open arms, as he deserves it.

Last word this week goes to Ipswich Town goalkeeper Scott Loach, who produced the save of the week at Portman Road on Saturday.

With the scores level at 2-2, he faced a late spot-kick from ex-Norwich City striker James Vaughan, and produced a truly sensational stop to deny him. What makes his save all the sweeter is that Scott is a die-hard Ipswich Town fan, and has been all his life, so he will have been extra thrilled to have saved the shot from an East Anglian 'enemy' of sorts.


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