FL72 Review: Garry Birtles praises Norwich and Forest but fears for Fulham and Leeds.
Every week, Sky Sports experts will review the Football League action on FL72 Review. Here are Garry Birtles' thoughts on the latest news...
Last Updated: 25/08/14 4:54pm
Stuart Pearce’s fine signings are the key to Nottingham Forest’s flying start
GARRY SAYS: Stuart Pearce is a great hero at the City Ground, but it doesn’t always mean that he’s going to be a great manager, but he’s started off the campaign with terrific signings. He’s brought players who have come in and are scoring goals straight away and that’s what you want as a manager; you live and die by your signings and how well they do. Michail Antonio has come from Sheffield Wednesday and has scored four already. There’s Britt Assombalonga for £5million, Matty Fryatt and Chris Burke. Fryatt is the sort of striker that will score you goals if the service is good. You have to keep playing him and Stuart realises that. Last season was bitting and bobbing. Certain players were being played and then being rested and different systems were being played. This time pre-season has gone well and all of the league goals have been scored by Stuart’s signings. You can’t get much better than that.
Blackburn’s Jordan Rhodes would be a good signing for Hull
GARRY SAYS: I think Hull will definitely come up with the money and you can’t deny somebody the chance to play in the Premier League. I know Gary Bowyer would love to keep him there, but everybody wants to play at the highest level possible and to try and stop somebody doing that would be unfair. I feel for Gary because he has done a great job at Blackburn Rovers. For the goals he’s scored you would have thought he’d be worth a lot of money and he is one of those players that everybody wants in the side. Sometimes he’s out of a game for a long period of time, but comes up with the goals and that tells you what a good player he is. It’s easy to switch off and then a chance comes your way and you miss, but the goals he scored are spot on. He has every goal in his locker.
The players look unhappy at Fulham after losing 5-1 to Derby
GARRY SAYS: Fulham were pretty poor. They lost possession in midfield and gave Derby a few chances that they probably shouldn’t have done. It’s a massive crisis. When you come out of the Premier League you are one of the favourites to go back up, but you have to get that Championship mentality. You can’t feel sorry for yourself or think it’s going to be easy – and they have found out. They are rock bottom and they need to get a result sooner rather than later. The players aren’t happy about what’s going on there. They are being brought in to train at 7am, 11am and 5pm and not touching a ball until the 5pm session. Last season they had an 11-a-side after one of the games. Players take this on board and they’re not very happy. You know what player power can do now and if players aren’t happy they will make their feelings known and they can get managers sacked.
Massimo Cellino’s comments about Dave Hockday’s future aren’t helping Leeds on the pitch
GARRY SAYS: As a player I’d be wondering what’s going on, reading things like that in the morning newspapers. You wonder what’s the future? To say what he is saying just confuses the issue for everybody and to blame himself for not giving the manager enough money to bring the players in to start the Championship season beggars belief. It’s such an early phase in the season and everything needs to be in place to get Leeds into a position hey can challenge from. None of this is helping anybody.
Norwich’s Lewis Grabban should be applauded for winning the East Anglia derby – and his attitude afterwards
GARRY SAYS: How strange is it to see a local derby this early in the season? You don’t normally see them until October or November, but the one this early stirred up the juices in that part of the country and to win it by the odd goal was sweet for Norwich. Lewis Grabban did fantastically well for Bournemouth and I read afterwards that he wasn’t satisfied with his performance. He went straight back home and had a look at the game because he felt he should have scored a hat-trick. That is absolutely brilliant, it’s not enough to win the game with the only goal, you want to do better. Going home and analysing your performance is outstanding.
New hot shot Kyle Vassell can get Peterborough in the promotion mix yet again
GARRY SAYS: Kyle Vassell has got four goals already this season and that brings its own pressure. He’s following Assombalonga, who was so prolific for Peterborough and everybody will be watching him to see what he does. He couldn’t have got off to a better start and once you’re in a run of form it feels like it’s impossible to miss. The big question will be if he goes through a lean period. I think they can continue under Darren Ferguson. The consistency is there, they always finish around the top six, they won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last season, so they are not without success. Darren has always put them in a position. Of course you’re going to have a bad run and injuries can cause you to stutter a little bit, but he has kept them there and thereabouts and in contention.