Football League Expert & Columnist
Football League: Peter Beagrie talks Wigan, Charlton and Millwall
Peter Beagrie expects Wigan to be busy in January and Ian Holloway to bolster Millwall's survival bid.
Last Updated: 21/01/14 12:26pm
The former winger, who played over 770 games, representing clubs in all four tiers of the English footballing pyramid, including Manchester City, Everton, Bradford, Sheffield United, Scunthorpe, and Grimsby, forms part of the Sky Sports punditry team for all the big matches in the Championship, League One and League Two.
So if you have a poser for Peter, whether it's about your team, a player, match or incident that has caught your eye, or a wider point on the Football League, send it in.
Read below for this week's column where Beags explains why Wigan will be busy in January, where Charlton need to strengthen, and why Ian Holloway can have a positive impact at Millwall...
Which Championship clubs need to do the most business in January? Thanks, Carl Fisher
BEAGS SAYS: That's a great question, so I'll start at the base of the division and work my way up. The bottom six need a goal scorer to have any chance of improving their position; yes, Barnsley, Yeovil and particularly Millwall concede shedloads of goals but in the mini-league they are in, they need three points from games against their nearest rivals because draws will see them get cut adrift. Bolton and Middlesbrough, who are vying for the position of biggest underachievers in the Championship, need a commanding, old-fashioned, head-it, kick-it, make-the-right-decision centre-half to help them stop conceding numerous comic-book goals, while Wigan and Leeds need at least two or three good acquisitions in order to produce second halves of the season anywhere near good enough to seal a play-off place. Leeds' priority is a wideman and Wigan, who may lose Jean Beausejour to Hull, require a left-back, a centre-back and a striker with pace and power. Of the top six, I suggest Leicester and Ipswich will be the happiest with their squads, but Derby are already proactive on the transfer front and QPR, Nottingham Forest and Burnley (aside from Sam Vokes and Danny Ings) all look shy in the striking department. However, because of league placing, injuries and available funds, I expect Wigan to do a fair amount of transfer business in the hope of gate-crashing the play-off party.
GIVE YANN A HAND
Charlton have just been taken over, so hopefully we will now have some money to spend. Where would you advise Chris Powell to strengthen his squad so that we can secure our Championship status? Thanks, Nathan Brown
BEAGS SAYS: Thanks for your question, Nathan. If Chris is given the opportunity to strengthen the Addicks' squad - he has vocalised concerns about his position following the recent takeover - them I'm sure he would like to add a creative wide midfielder and a goal scorer. Apart from the losses to Burnley (3-0) and Leeds (4-2), Charlton have been reasonably defensively sound compared to some of the other teams in the lower third of the division, but only the bottom three have scored fewer and therein lies the problem. Yann Kermorgant's injury came at a bad time as I feel he is your one outstanding player, what with his strength in the air and reliability into feet. If Powell can find a strike partner for the Frenchman who has Simon Church's work-rate but a better goal-to-game ratio, it would be a massive benefit. However, the impact made by Hull loanee Cameron Stewart when he was given plenty of the ball cannot be underestimated; widemen take pressure off their team's back four by carrying the ball while also creating space for strikers by stretching defences and Cameron is very good at that. I'm sure Chris would have liked to keep him as he looks to make his side a more potent attacking threat - but Stewart has sealed a move to Leeds.
OLLIE, OLLIE, OLLIE
What sort of manager do Millwall need? Thanks, Martyn McKay
BEAGS SAYS: Hi Martin, since you sent in your question Millwall have appointed Ian Holloway, which came as no surprise to anybody. However, one of the suggested reasons why he left Crystal Palace was because he didn't want to compromise his attacking style and I thought the Lions could have done with a Tony Pulis-type to try and bring a semblance of order to a defence which has been inexplicably sieve-like, conceding 49 goals, a Football League high. But Ollie's personality fits with that of the Londoners and his ability to take pressure off players and create a camaraderie and spirit could give your club a shot in the arm and boost your relegation fight. On a final note, I had to look twice at your name as I thought this question was posed by Malky Mackay looking for advice!
Hi Peter, If every League Two side was able to get their best XI on the park, who do you think would win the division? Phil Petrie
BEAGS SAYS: Hi Phil. At the start of the season, two of my three favourites for promotion were Chesterfield and Fleetwood, due to their recruitment over the summer. Both clubs are on a sound footing financially and their quality facilities allow them to attract players who could and have operated in higher divisions, plus the emergency loan system has seen them assemble better squads than many of their rivals. Scunthorpe, though, have vastly-experienced former Premier League and Championship players, like Andy Dawson, Matt Sparrow, Marcus Williams, David Mirfin and Cliff Byrne, who have returned to the club where they made their name. So it's a toss-up between Chesterfield, Fleetwood and Scunny with regards to a best XI. Scunthorpe have golden oldie Deon Burton (pictured) partnering 13-goal young gun Sam Winnall up top, Chesterfield gave a host of experience in Gary McSheffrey, Ritchie Humphreys and the best player in League Two, Gary Roberts, while Fleetwood probably have the greatest depth. The Cod Army have Ryan Cresswell and Mark Roberts at the back, Steven Schumacher and Antoni Sarcevic in midfield and David Ball, Jamille Matt, and big Jon Parkin to choose from in attack, while they have made a very exciting loan signing in the shape of Sunderland's Mikael Mandron, a 19-year-old who excelled in the under-18s last year by scoring 12 times in 13 games and was duly promoted to the under-21s. A real livewire with pace and trickery, League Two defences be warned.
GOOD LAD, BADLY ADVISED
Wolves' Wayne Hennessey allegedly refused to play for Wolves against Gillingham. Is that something you would ever excuse a player for doing? Thanks, Dean Wright
BEAGS SAYS: Well, Dean, it's all about circumstances as far as I am concerned. If a player is not in the right frame of mind due to personal or family reasons it is counterproductive to select him but in this case it was thoroughly unprofessional of Wayne to refuse to play because of transfer speculation and the fear that a deal could be scuppered by any potential injury. Hennessey is paid handsomely by Wolves, plus the club have supported him and provided him with the best medical care in his rehabilitation from a cruciate knee injury sustained in April 2012, so this will be looked upon as a very selfish act - but I know Wayne to be a very good lad and think he was ill-advised by a third party, so his apology to Wolves boss Kenny Jackett should spare him any ill-will from the Molineux faithful. Wayne must keep his head down and use his recent loan experience at Yeovil wisely to repay Wanderers and ease his conscience.
Hi Peter, Derby are on a bit of roll but I agree with what you said in one of your Christmas blogs about how difficult it will be for us to do better than we are. So do you think we could do with at least one more season in the Championship before we get promoted? Cheers, Scott Wilson
BEAGS SAYS: Happy New Year, Scott. From a development point of view another year in the Championship would give your vibrant, hungry, young side the experience needed to have a better chance of Premier League survival. Derby's revival under Steve McClaren owes much to the stability brought by Nigel Clough and a bit of refinement, better coaching and a few pacey new recruits to complement the talent already at Pride Park has suggested that a club with a fantastic fan-base and infrastructure is capable of knocking on the door of the top flight until the very last minute of time added on in the away match with Leeds on the final day of the season. Playing devil's advocate, Scott, you can never look a gift horse - or, keeping with the animal theme, a cash cow - in the mouth. The Premier League offers £120million+ and a chance to give your youngsters top-level football with your team, as opposed to somewhere else, and that is something I think you would take, isn't it?
Send your question to Beags using the feedback form at the bottom of this page or at the base of any of Peter's articles...