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League One

Andy Ritchie's Blog 30

13 March 2013

If you're a regular reader of the blog, you'll know I'm a big Paolo Di Canio fan. There's never a dull moment with him and I wasn't at all surprised that he used his column on the BBC website this week to talk up his chances of landing a job at with an npower Championship, or even Premier League, club.

It's only been a month since he stepped down as Swindon Town manager but as soon as Brian McDermott was sacked at Reading, the rumour mill was alive with talk of Di Canio being installed as the new man at the Madejski Stadium.

Is the Italian ready for the Premier League? He obviously thinks he's got the credentials and there is no better self-publicist in English football at the moment but I have to say I think a move to the npower Championship would make more sense at this stage of his managerial career.

There's no argument he did a fantastic job with the Robins but he's got less than two years experience as a manager. The step up from npower League 1 to the Premier League is massive and however confident he is, he's unproven at that level.

I would take issue with some of Di Canio's comments about players in The Football League though, labelling some of them arrogant. I've no doubt that's true of a small minority but I thought it was harsh to suggest there were a lot of players with an attitude problem.

It's been an interesting week for Coventry City on and off the pitch with the appointment of Steven Pressley as the club's new manager on Friday followed by the news on Monday that the Sky Blues could go into administration next week.

For a purely football perspective, I think Pressley's appointment is a solid one. He did a decent job at Falkirk, he was obviously keen to come to England despite the club's financial problems and four points from his first two games in charge suggest Pressley has so far managed to reinvigorate the Coventry players.

Crewe Alexandra signed Nathan Ellington until the end of the season on Friday. I interviewed Nathan a couple of years ago for Late Kick Off and he was a lovely lad and I wish him all the best at Gresty Road. To be honest, Nathan's career has stalled in the last few years after his prolific spells with Bristol Rovers, Wigan Athletic and West Bromwich Albion but he's still only 31 and could yet have a few good seasons in him.

It's tough for strikers who explode onto the scene early in their careers to maintain that level of consistency and maybe Nathan just needs to fight the right club and the right environment to recapture that kind of form.

He was telling me that he'd converted to Islam and I asked whether he found it hard to train and play when he had to fast during Ramadan. He said he reckoned he played better during Ramadan which wasn't the answer I was expecting.

Congratulations to the Professional Footballers' Association who announced last week that female players from the Super League will be able to become members from the start of next season.

The PFA does some great work but no organisation can afford to stand still and it makes perfect sense for it do move with the times and accept female players. It's a great initiative and recognition that the Super League players face the same issues and potential problems in the game as their male counterparts.

The bad weather put pay to the scheduled Oldham Athletic against Hartlepool United six-pointer at Boundary Park on Tuesday night and if you look at the recent form of the two sides, you'd have to say that the Pools and manager John Hughes will have been more disappointed by the postponement.

John got the job back in November with Hartlepool rooted to the bottom of the table and looking doomed but they've lost just once in their last 10 npower League 1 games and they've now got a chance of getting out of trouble. The odds are still stacked against them but there's hope, which you probably couldn't have said a few months ago.

I was reading some interviews with the the Hartlepool players who said they felt fitter and had more self belief than they did earlier in the season. John's obviously earning his keep on the training ground at the moment and a potential great escape could still be on the cards.

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