Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Matt Holland's Blog 20

3 January 2013

It was a day of contrasting fortunes for two npower Championship caretaker managers on New Year's Day with Gary Bowyer masterminding Blackburn Rovers' 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest, while David Flitcroft couldn't do anything to stop Barnsley slipping to a 2-1 defeat at Peterborough United.

I wrote about Blackburn and Henning Berg's sacking last week and since then Barnsley decided to dispense of Keith Hill's services, leaving Flitcroft in temporary charge at Oakwell as they look for a new manager.

The old theory that a change of manager can revitalise a side certainly seems to be true in Blackburn's case with two wins on the bounce for Rovers since Berg was relieved of his duties, but so far it's business as usual for struggling Barnsley.

With the Tykes bottom of the npower Championship table, I suppose it wasn't a huge surprise when Hill was sacked. He had been under intense pressure for weeks but the club were a lot of people's pre-season favourites for relegation and Hill had limited financial resources to work with which I think puts the side's recent performances into a little bit of perspective.

Bowyer has already ruled himself out of the running for the job at Ewood Park despite picking up six points in the space of four days and the big question is the right man for Rovers out there and, more importantly, is he available?

If he's not, Bowyer may have to reluctantly keep the seat warm a bit longer until the owners can find what would be the club's third permanent manager in one season.

It was an unhappy New Year's Day for Middlesbrough and Tony Mowbray after the team's 3-1 defeat at Derby County but maybe more worrying was the news that Marvin Emnes missed the match with a hamstring injury, joining Seb Hines, Andre Bikey, George Friend and Faris Haroun on the treatment table with exactly the same injury.

I can't say I'm an expert on hamstrings because I was never quick or explosive enough to ever injure one but it does seem strange to have so many players ruled out with the same problem. Mowbray has admitted he's going to look into the situation and after two defeats in their last four league outings, the Boro boss will be keen to keep all his players fit and healthy.

The New Year of course means the start of the January transfer window and sooner or later it's going to be the moment of truth for a number of the npower Championship clubs when Premier League sides come calling for their best players.

A lot of people will be watching to see whether Crystal Palace can hold onto Wilfried Zaha but it seems at the moment that Tom Ince's rumoured return to Liverpool from Blackpool is closer to becoming a reality, although the two clubs are yet to agree all the details.

As I understand it, Blackpool weren't happy with Liverpool valuing the player at £6million but I'd say that sounds a fair price for the 20-year-old. He certainly fits the new Liverpool model of buying young talent for the future and is the kind of player who would benefit from Brendan Rodgers' coaching philosophy.

My only worry would be whether he played often enough at Anfield. He left Liverpool in 2011 in search of first-team football and he's blossomed at Bloomfield Road as a result but he's still at the stage of his career where he needs to be on the pitch and learning his trade. He'd certainly be learning from some great players at Liverpool if he does go back but it would be a shame to see his career stall if he didn't get enough match time.

Advertisement block