Football League Expert & Columnist
Peter Beagrie on Peterborough's Dwight Gayle and Bolton's Kevin Davies
Peterborough's Dwight Gayle, Bolton's Kevin Davies and Scunthorpe's survival hopes... here's Beags.
Last Updated: 11/04/13 4:03pm
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 discusses Peterborough, Bolton stalwart Kevin Davies, Scunthorpe's survival hopes and more...
A BIT OF AL-DWIGHT
Hi Peter, Peterborough may end up getting relegated, but have you been impressed with their ability to find and nurture players from the lower divisions or non-league, such as Dwight Gayle? Thanks, Craig Herron (Peterborough fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Peterborough are revelling in the pressure-cooker environment at the foot of the Championship and have embarked on an excellent eight-game unbeaten run that should ensure the relegation fight goes right down to the final game of the season, which for Posh will be away at Crystal Palace. Onto your question, Craig, and I have been very impressed by the loan/transfer policy of Darren Ferguson (pictured) this season but still believe that without real finances Peterborough will continue to yo-yo between the Championship and League One. Dwight Gayle, though, has been a revelation; he has hit the ground running - and, boy, can he run! The 22-year-old has been right in the goals, banging in 12 in his 24 appearances since joining from Dagenham & Redbridge, which is a brilliant return. Gayle is grabbing his chance with both hands and has not dwelt on his release from Arsenal as a youngster; he scored 57 goals in a season for Stansted, and 43 while on loan at Bishop's Stortford from the Daggers. He has retained that hunger, energy, pace and trickery at the Posh and if he continues to listen and learn, he will have a very bright future. Good luck for the rest of the season, Craig.
Hi Peter, John Ward has really turned things around at Bristol Rovers. How has he been able to do it and can Rovers make the play-offs? Thanks, Kevin Armstrong (Colchester fan)
BEAGS SAYS: The 4-1 defeat to Bradford ended any hopes of a glorious finish for the Pirates, but Ward has made Rovers harder to beat and much more organised, which was particularly evident in victories over top sides likes Exeter and Port Vale and away from home. Bristol's travelling record has been their Achilles heel, leaking 38 goals in 21 games, but John is a very good coach and the work on the training ground has worked; it might be monotonous but it is imperative to a team's consistency. There are certainly positive signs at the Memorial Stadium ahead of next season.
END OF THE DAVIES?
Hi Peter, What do you make of Bolton's decision not to offer Kevin Davies a new contract? I think he is past his best and it is the right time for the club to let him go. Thanks, Jonathan Kent (Bolton fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Hi, Jonathan, I think the time has come for Kevin to reflect on some brilliant memories at Bolton - equalising against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the Uefa Cup, appearing and scoring in the 2004 League Cup Final - and accept that the current management cannot guarantee him regular first-team football. Kevin, who accrued a solitary England cap, has led the Bolton frontline and captained the team with courage and professionalism for years, displaying the type of tireless work-rate that left his fans wishing they had another 10 of him on the pitch and opposition supporters wishing he played for them. Davies has never been a 20-30 goal a season man but he has been the perfect foil to others, taking the bumps and bruises and causing mayhem in the penalty area. I am glad that Bolton have agreed to give Kevin a testimonial so that fans, despite probably agreeing with Trotters boss Dougie Freedman that a younger model is needed, can pay homage to a man who has worn a Wanderers shirt with pride.
A MILLERS TALE
Hi Peter, Will Steve Evans' position come under threat if Rotherham do not get promoted? Thanks, Liam Daniels (Rotherham fan)
BEAGS SAYS: That's the nature of the beast at Rotherham, Liam. The Millers are serial favourites for promotion and following a huge turnaround of players are still searching for the magic formula, but don't let dark thoughts enter your head just yet as the Yorkshiremen can still claim an automatic promotion spot. Burton are there to be shot at and if Rotherham can replicate the sort of performance they put in against Exeter, which garnered them a 4-1 win, League One football is certainly attainable. Early goals are vital at this stage of the season - they settle the scorers down and put pressure on the opposition - and United are at their best when teams come at them, as it allows them to play their fluid, pass-and-move style and gives Daniel Nardiello (pictured) more space to operate in. If Rotherham and Bradford don't go up automatically, what price an all-Yorkshire play-off final?
Hi Peter, I'm a big fan of Simon Grayson and think Preston have done well to get him as their new manager. Do you think Leeds and Huddersfield would be in better positions if they had stuck with him? Cheers, Nathan Kanellis (Charlton fan)
BEAGS SAYS: That is a great question, Nathan, and, yes, I think both Leeds and Huddersfield would be in better positions had they retained Simon's services. After getting both Yorkshire clubs promoted, Grayson was not given the financial backing to build teams that could match the prerequisites of the boards: promotion for Leeds and survival for Huddersfield. It is, therefore, no coincidence that Neil Warnock and Mark Robins have experienced the same frustrations Simon had, with Leeds, in particular, continuing to sell their best players and bringing in inadequate replacements. I do, though, understand that for all clubs in the Championship it is a fine balancing act between progression and financial stability and you only have to look Charlton to see how easy it is to get on a downward spiral. Enjoy the comfort of mid-table respectability under Chris Powell, Nathan.
Hi Peter, Can Scunthorpe stay up in League One?Thanks, Andrew Cotter (Scunthorpe fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Scunthorpe can stay up but they won't if they don't become harder to beat; eight defeats in the last 10 and six in the last seven does not make for good reading, while they have a terrible record against teams in the top half. The Iron continue to leak far too many goals at home, too, with only Carlisle's 40 conceded on their own patch beating Scunny's 36, and that is something Brian Laws (pictured) must address if his side are to have any hope of staving off relegation. Oldham have failed to capitalise on United's failing, though, taking just two points from 12, so it looks like it will now be a direct duel between the two for the final spot in the drop zone. Oldham have a game in hand, a far superior goal difference and better fixtures, including matches with doomed Bury and struggling Shrewsbury. Scunthorpe, meanwhile, play three of the top nine in their run-in, which reads Walsall (h), Bury (a), MK Dons (a) and Swindon (h), and staying up will be a big ask given the current form and it seems like my old club are set for a return to the fourth tier of English football.