Football League Expert & Columnist
Birmingham may be short of money, but Peter Beagrie says they should be faring better in the Championship.
Last Updated: 29/01/13 10:16am
Peter Beagrie is here every week on skysports.com answering YOUR Football League questions.
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, make sure you send it in.
Read below for this week's column where Beags gives his take on Birmingham's travails, Fraizer Campbell's Cardiff switch and John Coleman's sacking from Rochdale...
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DARK DAYS FOR BIRMINGHAM
Hi Peter, What do you make of the situation at St Andrew's? Cheers, Steven Cale (Birmingham City fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Stability and Birmingham have not often gone hand in hand. Blues used to be run by the Kumar brothers, when big investment never materialised due to their businesses going into receivership, and while there was relative normality for the club when under the stewardship of Davids Sullivan and Gold and Karren Brady, that trio were replaced by Carson Yeung, Hong Kong's version of Walter Mitty, who was arrested for money laundering, meaning the Blues are now haemorrhaging money, and have revealed that they will sell any of their first-team squad at the right price. Star strikers Bob Latchford and Trevor Francis have been sold in the past to balance the books and if a proposed takeover by former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini does not bear fruit, I think that will happen again this time. An asset like Marlon King (pictured) could go, as could the underperforming and exorbitantly-paid Nikola Zigic, though as both are 32, they would not command a big fee - but Jack Butland and Nathan Redmond would. Birmingham have been the biggest underachievers in the Championship so far this season, in my opinion - a big statement when you consider the form of Wolves, Blackburn and Bolton - and the fact that Blues have won just one game from a losing position this season and recorded four back-to-back loss sequences, shows a lack of character, spirit and application and for that reason, I think a squad that is good enough to be in the play-off shake-up will finish closer to the bottom three than the top six.
CONCERNS FOR COLCHESTER
Hi Peter, Could you tell me why Colchester are on such a bad run? Also, who do you think we should sign? Thanks, Jordan Allston (Colchester United fan)
BEAGS SAYS: An eight-game winless streak at the start of the season was quickly forgotten due to five wins from the next six, during which time the U's kept four clean sheets. However, one shut-out in the last 13 games has seen Essex troop register a paltry three points from 39 - and lose their last nine games on the spin. I think Colchester lack experience in vital areas as well as creativity and for that reason I see the United, who have netted just nine goals on the road this term and lost at home to relegation rivals Scunthorpe last time out, struggling to stay in the division. Clinton Morrison and Freddie Sears will score goals if given better service, while the permanent signature of Jabo Ibehre (pictured) from MK Dons may be the catalyst to push Colchester up the league and secure League One safety, though they will need an experienced centre-half and to hold on to the sough-after Anthony Wordsworth, too.
A SUPERB SIGNING
Hi Peter, Cardiff have just signed Fraizer Campbell for a very reasonable, in my opinion, £650k from Sunderland. Do you think he will be a good addition to Malky Mackay's squad? Thanks, Rhys Lewis (Cardiff City fan)
BEAGS SAYS: As Malky has signed Campbell, you can rest assured that he will be an asset, as the Cardiff boss' transfer dealings have, without doubt, been the reason City sit 10 points clear at the top of the Championship. Fraizer (pictured) has a proven track record in the second tier, having starred for Hull during the promotion season and laying on the winning goal in the play-off final against Bristol City for Dean Windass, and I think it is a snip acquiring a 25-year-old England international for the fee you mentioned, Rhys. I think Mackay is responding to narrow 1-0 wins over Leicester, Millwall and Birmingham and a goalless draw with Ipswich, and the ages of Heidar Helguson and Craig Bellamy by capturing Campbell, who has the ability to play central or out wide. The best bit of business Mackay has conducted, though, is trying Peter Whittingham down to a new contract, no doubt via the promise that the midfield maestro could captain the Welshmen in the Premier League should they get there, which is looking extremely likely at the minute.
ALL CHANGE AT SPOTLAND
Hi Peter, Do you think John Coleman was unlucky to lose his job as Rochdale manager? Barry Hastings (Accrington Stanley fan)
Hi Peter, Sheffield United have slipped eight points behind the automatic promotion places in League One after failing to win any of their last four games. What do you put the slump down to? Thanks, Mike Galloway (Sheffield United fan)
BEAGS SAYS: These are times of concern for Danny Wilson and his boys as United had reached the halfway stage playing well and in a great position to kick on and cement an automatic promotion place, but Doncaster, Brentford and Swindon have now bypassed the Blades, who now sit fifth and have Bournemouth on their tails, too; it is going to need a massive effort from the Yorkshiremen to avoid the potential heartache of the play-offs once more. It has been evident of late, during losses to lowly Hartlepool and resurgent Yeovil that they are playing with pressure and need a tonic, which may or may not be in the shape of a win or good performance against Reading in the FA Cup. I was worried when United registered more than one goal just once in their opening nine fixtures, but am more concerned now as their four defeats have come in their previous 12 matches and this current four-game winless streak has seen them ship eight goals. There are plenty of games to go but anything short of six points from the next two, at home to Coventry and Crawley, will heap more pressure on my former club.
Hi Beags, Neil Warnock is an amazing manager but I think his contract should be terminated and we should get a new, young, manager in who can take us to the Premier League. What do you think and who could that young man be? Also, could Luciano Becchio cut it a team like Norwich or Wigan? Cheers, Morgan Spencer and Em Kem (Leeds United fans)
BEAGS SAYS: I will comment on the first part of your question, even though I don't think it needs answering, as I expect Warnock to be at Elland Road until the end of the season at least. However, Nigel Adkins (pictured) will be in the minds of many Championship chairman; the recently-axed Southampton boss has many recent promotions, both with the Saints and Scunthorpe, plays attacking football and is a media man's dream. Plus, if Leeds want to look outside of the box, Brentford boss Uwe Rosler could be a candidate; the German is tactically astute, has tremendous attention to detail as far as preparation is concerned and is incredibly driven. Like I said, though, the Whites should maintain Warnock's services - and loosen the purse strings so that he can sign a game-changing wideman, something Leeds have lacked since Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel departed. Becchio, who has handed in a transfer request, is having a very good goal-scoring season - 19 in all competitions at the time of writing - and is big and strong, too, but I don't think he is a Premier League player; his link-up play is not good enough and he is a couple of yards short of pace for the top division.