League One's winners - Beagrie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Peter Beagrie tells us who expects to emerge from League One this season.
Scunthorpe United's veteran midfielder Peter Beagrie stands in for Chris Kamara this week and from his position as a League One player reveals who he thinks will win promotion to the Championship this season. Here the former Everton and Manchester City player Beagrie picks his two sides for automatic promotion and assesses the runners and riders who will hope to join them in the Championship via the play-offs.
Here the former Everton and Manchester City player Beagrie picks his two sides for automatic promotion and assesses the runners and riders who will hope to join them in the Championship via the play-offs.
AUTOMATIC PROMOTION - HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
Southend United and Huddersfield Town are two of the best footballing teams in the division.
Huddersfield have got a very, very young side and we expected them after a successful couple of seasons to level out a bit but they haven't. They have maintained their form and came through a bit of a sticky patch when they were drawn against Chelsea in the FA Cup who have been the curse of League One sides because they did the same to Colchester and my side Scunthorpe.
They came through that tricky period and along with Barnsley they are the most fluent side in the division. If they can maintain that form and keep their main 11 free of injury they can go straight up.
I say they are a young side but they also have Andy Booth who gives them a different option. They like to play football but when they to go direct there is no one better at that level at getting on the end of balls into the box and he has been a revelation for them after many people wrote him off with his knee injuries since his career with Sheffield Wednesday.
AUTOMATIC PROMOTION - SOUTHEND UNITED
Earlier on in the season it was the stronger sides, the more direct sides that scored goals from set pieces, like Colchester and Swansea that set the pace. But as the season has gone on and we have got over the heavy pitches of the Christmas period the likes of Huddersfield and Southend have come to the fore.
At Southend we always knew about Freddy Eastwood and he is a player we at Scunthorpe looked at last year. A couple of people asked me about him from higher divisions and I said 'snap him up'. He has absolutely everything.
We made a bid for him at Scunthorpe. A friend of mine Eddie Howe, who I used to play with at Everton and went on to have a good career at Charlton, was with him at non-league Grays. He told me that Eastwood has something special - he is two-footed, has a great turn of pace and a willingness to take people on. He is one of those strikers that can create something out of nothing and doesn't only profit from the good work of others. Players like those come at a premium.
He has proven that he can go on and step up to the plate in the Championship and I think he has all of the attributes that will make him a Premiership player.
If you take his goals out of the equation, maybe Southend would struggle, but what Steve Tilson has done well is he has got the likes of Wayne Gray and Shaun Goater who are the ideal foil for Eastwood.
Tilson has impressed me with the way he has managed Eastwood because he realises he carries the burden of the side and has taken him out of the firing line on a few occasions which just freshens him up. In a day and age where man management is 90 per cent of football, Tilson has really impressed me.
We knew they were strong, organised and have that goal threat but they also have Mark Gower from the wide position, who is a particularly good player, and Kevin Maher - a Martin Keown look-alike who doesn't mind tackling like him too - is their driving force.
They are a good squad. They have had a couple of injuries at certain times but the players that have come in have done as good a job as the regulars, if not better.
PLAY-OFFS - SWANSEA CITY
I fully expect and Southend and Huddersfield to go up but the third spot will go to the team that runs into form in the right time.
Swansea might be buoyed by their success against Carlisle in the Football League Trophy and hopefully for them there will be no charges brought against Lee Trundle and Alan Tate because that would hit them badly.
Trundle in that division is not just a goal-scorer, he is a talisman for them. He scores important goals for them when they have their backs to the wall, he can produce that little bit of magic that turns draws into wins and over the course of the season he has earned so many points for them that he would be a massive miss for them.
If he stays free of injury and suspension, Swansea will probably sneak into third spot.
PLAY-OFFS - BARNSLEY
Barnsley again are one of those that from a football point of view have been terrific but I just don't think that defensively they are as well drilled as some of the sides that are up there.
PLAY-OFFS - BRENTFORD
Because Brentford have now let slip their games in hand over Southend without catching them I am concerned that they might miss out on automatic promotion. They might have to be satisfied with a play-off spot.
I am just going with a gut instinct here. Again they have a great manager in Martin Allen, a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, and whose players respond to his frankness. He will go on to be a terrific manager in some specific kind of jobs where there is not a lot of money to spend and you need the motivational skill that he possesses.
I am not surprised at the success he has enjoyed at Brentford but I just think of all the sides up there, they are the ones that haven't really had a big blip and come the end of the season one team is going to start on a downward spiral and I am waiting for Brentford to have a poor spell.
And on to this week's email...
FOREST ON FIRE?
Hi Chris, As a Forest fan I have to say what a fantastic job Frank & Charlie are doing and your recognition for there manager of the month award shows how well were are playing under them. With an outside chance of sneaking a late play-off place the City Ground is once again buzzing. The Colchester game on sat is a massive game for both clubs. Can you see Forest getting into the play-offs? Steve, Nottingham..
PLAY-OFFS - NOTTINGHAM FOREST
PETER SAYS: When teams get to the playoffs I always go with the bigger clubs - like Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham last year. Whenever they get to the play-off finals it is the bigger clubs with the bigger support that often tend to well because they are used to the bigger arenas and playing in front of big crowds. I wouldn't back against them.
Some people have been a bit cruel saying that Forest couldn't slip any further down but Frank Barlow and Ian McParland have got the feel-good factor back there when there was a lot dissent in the ranks. They have got every body pulling together in the right direction.
People talk about the tried and tested and the Red Adairs of football - if there is a problem then bring them in - but the fact of the matter is that they are available because they have tried and failed somewhere else along the line.
It is refreshing for them to give a young lad a chance that doesn't have massive managerial experience and it is pleasing to see they are doing well.
THE GOLDEN NUGGET
Hey Chris, I know that QPR's season is over but do you believe that we can mount a challenge for the play-offs next season with Gary Waddock in charge? Thx, Brett.
PETER SAYS:Ahh the old Golden Nugget Gary Waddock! Very much like a friend of mine Stuart MacCall, if he can make the team perform with the pride and passion with which he wore the jersey then I don't see why not.
It does seem to be a bit topsy-turvy down at QPR. Ian Holloway did a fantastic job over the period of time that he was there but time will tell. I will sit on the fence and get splinters with QPR's chances next season.
A RIGHT ROYAL SEASON
Hi Chris, as it was Wigan and West Ham who went up last season and they have done pretty well to stay up this season, how do you think Reading will do? Regards, Gary Angel.
PETER SAYS: Reading remind me a lot of the likes of West Ham and Wigan. They have got a youngish side, particularly West Ham, and what they have got is athletes and, it goes without saying, footballing ability, because they wouldn't be in the Premiership if they didn't have that.
Alan Pardew has brought in the likes of Danny Gabbidon in and Anton Ferdinand through at centre half and there is a lot of mobility there. Matt Etherington, Yossi Benayoun, Nigel Reo-Coker and Hayden Mullins, none of them lack a yard of pace and Reading are the same.
It will be interesting to see how Steve Sidwell does next season because he has been the shining light for them this year and the year before and his very highly rated. The centre forward Dave Kitson, who started of at Cambridge, has got a good touch for a big 'fella', is a massive threat in the air and has good pace as well.
Glen Little seems to have found his footballing home in Reading. The fans loved him up at Burnley but he was a one in three performer and has added consistency to his game and the twin threat down the wing with Bobby Convey is similar to Benayoun and Etherington at West Ham.
Reading mirror West Ham and if they can perform as West Ham have this year then the Reading fans are in for a treat.
Chris Kamara is away at the Dubai Masters.