FL72 Review: Andy Hinchcliffe reflects on the Football League weekend
Andy Hinchcliffe on life at Leeds and the impacts made by Stuart Gray, Uwe Rosler and Kenny Jackett.
Last Updated: 05/02/14 3:23pm
ANDY SAYS: I don't think Brian McDermott has been treated particularly badly by Leeds - it's the prospective owners that have treated him disgracefully, in my opinion. I've met Brian on a couple of occasions. He's an honourable man, he's a manager with great integrity and I think he's just been totally disregarded in terms of his position at the club. The whole thing should have been handled very, very differently. He is proud to be Leeds manager and he wants to stay there. The way that Massimo Cellino dealt with McDermott upset the players, the staff and certainly the fans.
Leeds had been on a really poor run of form before the Huddersfield game. I saw them when they played against Sheffield Wednesday and conceded six goals but I'm hoping Saturday's game was a response from the players to show how much they care about McDermott. They went a goal behind but they came flying back and Ross McCormack was outstanding. The players went out there and said 'right, we're going to show what Brian means to us'.
Stuart Gray is proving a bright spark at Sheffield Wednesday
ANDY SAYS: Sheffield Wednesday are a massive club with a fantastic fan base and you'd probably think that a big-name manager would walk in there once Dave Jones left, but they gave the job to Stuart. I think Milan Mandaric looked at the situation and gave the job to a very good coach thinking 'can he manage as well? Can he do a good job?' Stuart, in many ways, has surprised even himself. The squad has really responded to his style of management.
In modern football man-management is absolutely crucial and he's a very good coach. If he's able to get his point over to players in the right way and get them to respond, then you don't need to be shouting and ranting and raving in the dressing room. Given the turnaround in Sheffield Wednesday's form since Dave left, it shows that what Stuart is doing is certainly working. A couple of players have come back to Wednesday, which is a master-stroke. Chris Maguire has really knuckled down and been excellent since his return.
Uwe Rosler is building fantastic team spirit at Wigan
ANDY SAYS: Uwe is doing an incredible job at Wigan. He's got a lot of talented players at his disposal. They conceded fairly early against Charlton but they kept going. They've got great perseverance. Uwe did a terrific job at Brentford - he built a great team spirit there. He's gone to Wigan and he's doing the same. They are playing excellent football and they've got players who can play key goals at key times. They've got a couple of games on the rest of the teams around them and I think they're a team that, given the mentality they've got, could push on towards the play-offs. That's all down to Uwe. He's taken over a club that was in a decent shape and they are working really well together.
Kenny Jackett fits right in at Wolves
ANDY SAYS: When you look at the fact that Kenny had Kevin Doyle and Leigh Griffiths at the start of the season you wouldn't expect his best two striking options now to be Leon Clarke and Nouha Dicko. Doyle has been on the bench for the majority of this season and Griffiths has scored a fair number of goals, but both of those players have now left the club. Dicko has scored four goals in seven games now and has found a home at Molineux.
This is why Jackett was the right choice for Wolves this season. The expectation on them was enormous; they needed a hard-headed manager who would do whatever is necessary to get them promoted. They let a couple of top-quality strikers go but brought in the right ones as replacements and he's been proved to be right so far. Kevin McDonald scored the first for Wolves against Brentford from midfield; he's like a quarterback for them. If you allow McDonald time and space to play he can really control the tempo of the game.
Millers continue to make headway
ANDY SAYS: Rotherham have got some ground to make up, as have Preston. They are playing great football and they're scoring goals; they've got strikers in form as well, so if anyone is going to challenge Wolves, Brentford or Leyton Orient they could well threaten. But it is going to take some run of form to make up the eight-point gap they are currently facing. Alex Revell scored a beauty against Orient to win the game. It was a very tight game and one that Rotherham needed to win to close the gap on the sides above them. He's a striker in form, as he proved by finishing with so much composure in the late stages of the game.
At the moment I'd have to go with Brentford and Wolves for the automatic promotion spots purely based on the squads that they have. I've been amazed by what Orient have done. Russell Slade has a smaller squad but he's kept them together; he's had very few injuries and suspensions and they're playing great football. But look at the squads and the managers that are in charge at Brentford and Wolves and I think those two are really nailed-on to go up.
David Connolly could make the difference at Oxford
ANDY SAYS: The top of League Two is so tight - seven points separate the top seven - that every manager is looking for that element that gives them the edge. Could David Connolly score the 10 goals that make the difference? He's 36 years old and the legs may not be as quick as they used to be but his brain is razor sharp and his movement in between defenders is great.
In the bottom half Portsmouth are struggling. I remember talking to Guy Whittingham at the start of the season about how the season was going to go and everyone was thinking that they would walk the league but he knew this was not going to be easy for them and that's exactly how it has proved because they are big fish in that league and it's a tough league. Northampton look adrift at the bottom but Torquay, with this win over Portsmouth courtesy of Billy Bodin's goal, have really made it very tight down the bottom. Torquay have given themselves a chance of survival but there's still a long way to go.
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