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Matt Holland's Blog 34

10 April 2013

The big talking point in the npower Championship this week has been the emerging candidates for the vacant manager's job at Leeds United. Neil Redfearn is in charge until the end of the season but the speculation about a permanent appointment is already in full swing.

Norman Hunter said the Leeds job wasn't one for a young manager but I don't entirely agree. I understand what he's saying - that Leeds is a huge club with massive expectations that maybe could overwhelm a relatively novice coach - but Neil Warnock was the epitome of experience and it didn't work out for him at Elland Road, did it?

The names of Brian McDermott, Owen Coyle and Martin O'Neill have already been thrown into the ring but I wouldn't rule out someone like Gus Poyet. He might be the least experienced of the four and turned down Reading to stay at the Amex but I think he might be a good fit.

I accept the Leeds job is a tough assignment but for me it' still one of the most attractive in the whole country and there won't be a shortage of managers both in and out of work who would jump at the chance to try and revive the club's fortunes. It's also a great time to get the job because they've been starved of success for so long that the new manager will probably be given a bit more time than his predecessors to turn the ship around.

Saturday sees Millwall take on Wigan in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley and while the Latics will obviously be the favourites, I'd give Kenny Jackett's side more than fighting chance of pulling off an upset. In fact, I'd put it at only 60/40 in Wigan's favour.

The bad news for Millwall is it's not the ideal stage of the season to face the Premier League side. In recent seasons Wigan have played their best football of the year right about now and just one defeat in their last five league games suggests the Latics are once again in good form when it matters most.

The good news is Roberto Martinez's team are still mired in a relegation battle while Millwall are not. Mathematically they can still go down but in reality they're all but safe and that means they can put all their focus and energy into Saturday. Psychologically that could give them an edge.

Millwall have also seemed to reserve their best displays this season for the FA Cup. I thought the adventure was probably over when they drew with Blackburn at the Den in the quarter-finals but they went to Ewood Park and got the win and their victory over Aston Villa in January in the fourth round proves Premier League opposition doesn't hold any major fears for the players.

It's going to be tough but Millwall have a genuine chance.

It's not the first time I've said it this season but just as I thought it couldn't get any more chaotic at Blackburn, the news broke earlier this week that caretaker manager Gary Bowyer had been summoned to India for talks with the owners, forcing him to miss two days of training with the squad.

It really is beyond me what the Venkys thought they were going to achieve dragging Gary halfway across the world with just six games of the season left. They've obviously never heard of Skype or conference calling and the timing of the meeting couldn't have been more bizarre.

Paul Ince made a few headlines last week when he insisted that his son Thomas was worth £25million in the transfer market. A few people suggested Paul had lost the plot throwing out a figure like that but I think he's been slightly misrepresented.

Obviously £25million makes for a great headline but Paul was only doing his job and that job is to ensure Blackpool get as much money as possible in the summer if there were to sell Thomas. They won't get £25million but Paul is setting the club's stall out and trying to establish a strong bargaining position if any bids come in over the summer.

He also made the perfectly reasonable point that Thomas has more goals and more assists than Wilfried Zaha this season and he cost Manchester United £15million. You can't argue with the logic but again Paul was only drawing the comparison to ensure Blackpool can command as high a fee as possible for their prized asset.

I'm sure he liked to keep Thomas at Bloomfield Road but he'll also be hoping to get his hands on as much of the transfer fee as possible if he does get snapped up by a Premier League club.

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