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League One

Andy Ritchie's Blog 22

16 January 2013

It was a fairytale start for Brian Flynn and Rob Jones as Doncaster Rovers' caretaker managerial team at the weekend as they recorded a 2-1 win at Stevenage. And, after the blow of losing Dean Saunders, it spoke volumes about the character of the team to perform the way they did.

It was a particularly satisfying match for Rob, who scored the winner with a header in injury time at the Lamex Stadium, and I think the result as well as the response Brian and Rob got from the players presents the Doncaster board with an interesting dilemma.

I'm sure the club have already begun the search for a new manager but you could easily make the argument to give Brian and Rob a few more games and see what happens. My inclination would definitely be to suck it and see over the next few weeks and judge on the results.

The fact is, the end of the season is just around the corner. Rovers are well placed in second place and although it's true players often prefer having a permanent manager in place and the sense of stability that brings, there's nothing broken at the Keepmoat to my mind at the moment.

I know Brian would love to get back into management and there are few better out there at unifying a dressing room and getting players on board. He's got more than enough experience for the role and with Rob's youthful enthusiasm, I think the club do a lot worse than give them a chance.

It wasn't a great weekend for Colchester United after their 2-1 defeat to Scunthorpe United. It was ninth loss on the bounce for the U's and after the game Joe Dunne admitted he was considering his own future in the best interests of the club.

I admire Joe for his honesty but you have to worry if he's letting self-doubt creep in. Questioning the decisions you make is healthy but losing faith in your own ability is different. There's also a danger of unsettling the dressing room when they hear the manager talking like that.

Joe won six of his first 10 npower League 1 matches after taking over from John Ward in September and that kind of run doesn't just happen by chance. It's been a tough couple of months for Colchester but there's plenty of time for Joe to recapture that early momentum.

There was more bad news for Portsmouth this week. The High Court hearing that could sort out Pompey's future has been adjourned again and the club have released six players after the end of their short-term contracts.

I've written repeatedly about Pompey's plight but it's also worth sparing a thought for the six players - Mustapha Dumbuya, Jon Harley, Brian Howard, Lubomir Michalik, Luke Rodgers and Lee Williamson - because they could now be facing uncertain futures of their own.

It's true they knew what they were signing up for but they're now out of work. I think Michalik has a move abroad lined up but as far I know, the other five are looking for a new club and even though someone like Brian, a player I know from Barnsley, could walk into most sides in the division there are no guarantees at this stage of the season.

Congratulations to Mark Robins for winning the Manager of the Month award for December. Coventry City were unbeaten in the month and he thoroughly deserves the recognition for the work he's doing at the Ricoh Arena.

Mark's a great lad and I'm not surprised to see he was linked with the Doncaster and Wolverhampton Wanderers jobs. He came out quickly to pledge his future to the Sky Blues and the club will be keen for him to finish the job he's started there.

The big game this weekend sees third-place Brentford host leaders Tranmere Rovers at Griffin Park and with the Bees boasting the best home record in npower League 1 and Rovers the division's second best side on the road this season, it couldn't be better set up for a fascinating game.

Both sides posted 2-0 wins on Saturday, so confidence won't be an issue and I'm not sure I can really separate the two sides.

Brentford have been quietly going about their business in recent weeks without any song or dance and climbing the table, while Tranmere seem to have got over their recent sticky patch and are back on form.

Neither manager will admit it but they'll probably be happy with a share of the spoils. There are easier points to be had before the end of the season and the truth is neither Uwe Rosler nor Ronnie Moore will want to lose any ground to a close promotion rival.

I'm not saying it's going to be negative because it's not really in the two side's make-up to shut up shop, but a point apiece wouldn't be a disaster for either team.

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