FL72 Review: Garry Birtles on Gianfranco Zola's Watford exit and more
Every Monday night, the Sky Sports experts will review the weekend's Football League action on FL72. Check out Garry Birtles' thoughts on the latest round of fixtures...
Last Updated: 18/12/13 10:52am
GARRY SAYS: Watford are on a terrible run of form, can't win at home for love nor money, and don't have strikers finding the net like they did last year. After last season's heroics you expected them to kick on and go one better this time around, but when you get stuck in a losing rut like the one they are in, which has included defeats to teams at the bottom like Yeovil and Sheffield Wednesday, it is very difficult to get out of it. It is sad to see Gianfranco go because he is a good guy, a true gentleman and has so much respect from everybody in football, but there are lot of jobs in football around at the minute and let's hope he gets back into the game quickly.
Derby's surge up the table
GARRY SAYS: Everything is in place at Derby and Steve McClaren has acknowledged how good the squad his predecessor Nigel Clough left him was, but the run they are on at the moment is absolutely fantastic and the belief they have is astonishing. They have so many creative players and are spreading the goals around - Chris Martin is top scorer but they've also got Will Hughes, Craig Bryson, Conor Sammon and Johnny Russell chipping in - so they have a big, big chance of getting promoted automatically. They only know one way to play football and it's working at the moment under a manager whose record speaks for itself.
Birmingham's six-game unbeaten run
GARRY SAYS: Lee Clark deserved the chance to keep things going when Birmingham were out of sorts and now things have turned around, and they really dug in to get a 2-0 win at Bournemouth. I think Lee and his assistant, Terry McDermott - who is always very bubbly and positive - will want to be up there; I know they are 15th at the moment but if your aim is mid-table you don't deserve to be in a managerial job and you have to say to your players 'we can do this' or 'we can get in contention'. Ipswich are slowly moving up the table under Mick McCarthy and Birmingham could follow suit and put a really good late run together.
A winning beginning at Wigan for Uwe Rosler
GARRY SAYS: New managers are often there because the team is losing games and on a bad run of form so it is never easy to win your first league game, but Uwe was, and will be, helped by on-loan Man United youngster Nick Powell, who is confident and has bags of ability. Callum McManaman, too, who scored the winner against Bolton, can be a real match-winner; he can run at defenders, which I often think is a dying art in today's game, and should make a real difference for Wigan. Plus, Uwe has seen that his side have the right mentality; they could have let things slide when Bolton came from two down to make it 2-2 but they responded.
Mark Warburton's strong start at Brentford
GARRY SAYS: No matter what level you're at it is important to get a victory in your first game in charge and when you get yourself a clean sheet as well it makes you feel a lot better, so Mark will be very pleased and he now has something to build on. Rosler left Brentford in very good shape but it's now up to Mark to take them a little bit further and it's good to see [former Sheffield United boss] David Weir, who has been named as assistant manager at Griffin Park, back in football. It's important to keep ex-players in the game in whatever capacity as they have so much to offer, and I think David will be a big help to Mark in his first role in management.
Delight for the Dons but woe for Wolves
GARRY SAYS: Karl Robinson is a doing a great job at MK Dons; he has no money to spend and a very, very young team, but they play good football and to go to Molineux and get a clean sheet and win the game is fantastic. Wolves boss Kenny Jackett, however, has questioned the appetite of his players after two defeats in a row, but they are second in the table to Leyton Orient by right and even though you think they should walk League One, some good teams have been down there - Manchester City, Nottingham Forest to name but two - and struggled to get out of it. It's not easy but I'm sure Kenny will be looking for a reaction against Rotherham.