Football League Expert & Columnist
Tom Ince: Peter Beagrie urges Blackpool winger to stay in England
Beags says Tom Ince can make the World Cup if he shuns Ligue 1 and moves to the Premier League.
Last Updated: 24/01/14 11:18am
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 talks Tom Ince, Bolton, Bradford, Walsall, Oxford and Nottingham Forest...
You are a massive fan of Tom Ince but do you think a move to Monaco would be good for him? Thanks, Karl Davis
BEAGS SAYS: As you rightly state, Karl, I am a massive Ince fan but I feel that a move to Monaco would be detrimental to his progression as a player, if not his bank balance. The fickle hand of fate that brought about Theo Walcott's injury has given Tom a real opportunity to gate-crash England's World Cup party, as even though Andros Townsend looks a shoo-in for a wide player's berth and James Milner is a favourite of Roy' Hodgson's due to his versatility, Ince can battle with the inconsistent Aaron Lennon and Adam Johnson. However, I think a transfer to the Premier League would improve those odds more than a money-spinning switch across the channel, so I would tell Tom to ignore France and become a boy in Brazil by staying in England. If a summer in South America comes a tad too soon for Tom, though, I see him earning regular international honours in the future because of his attitude as well as his mentality and self-belief. Ince's departure from Blackpool may be hastened by his father's sacking but no-one can say he hasn't given the club value for money and even during this horrendous series of results that the Tangerines are on, he has not hidden or shirked his responsibilities.
Do you think Dougie Freedman is a dead man walking at Bolton? Tom Foster
BEAGS SAYS: Well, Tom, it must seem to Dougie like he is sleeping on a bed of nails as opposed to a bed of (Lancashire) roses. Bolton have been undoubtedly the biggest underachievers in the Championship this season when you look at their squad and there seems to be none of the spirit or the form that was evident in October and November after an embarrassingly poor start to the campaign. A return of two wins in the last 10 games, including a 7-1 mauling at Reading, cannot give fans like yourself any cause for optimism. I have analysed Wanderers' stats and they scream of a lack of confidence and, more worryingly, a lack of ability to win against good teams - the Trotters have played 15 games against top-half opposition and haven't won any of them, conceding 36 goals in the process. Bolton's record against bottom-half teams reads played 11, won six, drawn four, lost one, which is an identical record to when they score the first goal in game, but there is a fragility when Wanderers ship the first goal, which is debilitating and generates fear. I hazard a guess that the next three games - Cardiff (h), Ipswich (a), Bournemouth (h) - will go a long way to deciding the length of Dougie's tenure at the Trotters, who were one of the pre-season promotion favourites.
How big a miss will Kyel Reid be, and how big a bonus will the arrival of Aaron McLean, be to Bradford? Billy Symes
BEAGS SAYS: Reidy will be a big loss to City having been one of the Bantams' best performers this season but Phil Parkinson has moved swiftly to replace him by bringing in Middlesbrough's Adam Reach on loan. Reach previously starred for Shrewsbury this term and while he doesn't possess Reid's skill, he has pace and athleticism and a hammer of a left foot. Adam has not progressed as I thought he would and lacks a bit of self-belief at times but if the fans get behind him, who knows what he might produce. The validity of the McLean deal depends on the fee paid as there is no sell-on for a player over the age of 30 and I would have liked to have seen Nouha Dicko, who has joined Wolves from Wigan, end up at Valley Parade. Aaron is strong and quick but doesn't have the ability to create something out of nothing like Nahki Wells, though if he can get on the goal trail then all parties will be happy. I will be happy if Bradford can consolidate in League One after flirting with the top six, as the solid foundations City now have can help them move upwards in future.
How good a job is Dean Smith doing at Walsall? Troy Nicholas
BEAGS SAYS: Dean is doing a brilliant job, Troy. After last year's great finish, I put Walsall as outsiders for a play-off place despite the fact they lost scoring sensation Will Grigg to Brentford and have a budget as tight as Olivia Newton-John's leggings. It beggars belief that this is Dean's first managerial opportunity as he is covering himself in glory and building a good reputation. He has got a great blend of youth and experience with his team hard working and organised but they're also good at moving the ball around. Craig Westcarr, Romaine Sawyers and Febian Brandy can turn a game with the drop of a shoulder, while star loanee Milan Lalkovic shows that Dean can spot a player and has the necessary contacts at top teams. A great season for Walsall could be a fantastic one if Dean and captain fantastic Andy Butler can marshal their troops and keep their club on the coattails of more illustrious rivals. That is a seismic task but not impossible given the Saddlers' performance at the weekend which saw them end Brentford's six-game winning run and earn not just a point but praise from journalistic admirers.
OX NEED MORE
Why do you think Oxford have slipped off the pace a little in League Two? Laurence Wilson
BEAGS SAYS: Simple for me, Laurence. Oxford failed to strengthen the squad numerically and in regards to quality while top of the league. Chris Wilder knew the teams around them would boost their ranks and the U's chairman, Ian Lenagan, who is more for promoting youngsters than recruiting from outside, has missed an opportunity to back his manager at a critical stage and capitalise on Oxford's remarkable first half of the season. Yes, United are a big club and well supported but a mid-table budget should only highlight the excellent job Wilder is doing.
SPLASH THE CASH?
Peter, Forest have new owners who are very rich and lots of fans can't understand why they aren't spending big to get up to the Premiership. I think we should be buying Danny Ings, and others to help with the push rather than trying to do it on the cheap and failing yet again. I feel confused because if it was me then I would spend and reap the rewards (and my outlay) in the summer. What do you think? Thanks, The Truth Hurts
BEAGS SAYS: Your chairman when questioned on the lack of activity, despite being in a position where investment could reap huge rewards, has asked for patience. Fawaz Al-Hasawi says there will be one, two or possibly three new faces to supplement the squad and the need for a striker is evident, even though Forest recently put newly-resurgent Blackpool to the sword 4-1. From a Forest fan's point of view, I think it is great to think that after three managers in quick succession, Al-Hasawi has stated that it is solely Billy Davies' decision as to who he brings in, and it is also promising that the chairman wants quality players to come in but also insists that promising youngers like Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles are not for sale. Darlow has replaced Lee Camp between the sticks without breaking a sweat, while Lascelles has been a revelation at centre-half and his partnership with Jack Hobbs rivals that of East Midlands rivals Leicester's pair of former Forest man Wes Morgan and Liam Moore.
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