Moving up – going out
January 1, 2000
Rickie Lambert -a Premiership player next season?
We have reached the so called business end of the 2011/12 season. Five of the current batch of Football League clubs will not be with us next season. Three will have made it big time to the Premier League and all the financial gains that go with it; two will be playing non League football in the Conference, with the difficult task of regaining their League status along with a good number of former Football League clubs already there.
The BBC Sport website had remained much the same for years since it was first set up, but just lately there has been quite a revision. The dedicated page for each League club is greatly improved and holds a lot more information. As well as last match reports and next match previews you will find comment and analysis, club stats with trends and squad lists. I find the site is a good place to start for a weekly, or even daily, update.
The competition at the top of the Championship is really hot with Rickie Lambert’s performances being consistently in the news. Yet another three goal haul last Saturday from the former Rovers striker has helped to maintain Saints as favourites to play top flight football next season for the first time since 2005. Rickie picked up the Football League Award for Championship player of the year a couple of weeks ago, and BBC Sport reported as follows:
`Rickie Lambert says his Football League Player of the Year Award on was a huge surprise. Lambert admits he expected his Saints team mate, midfielder Adam Lallana who was also among the nominees, to pip him to the award.
“It’s a big honour and a huge surprise to be honest, I really thought Adam was going to get it,” said Lambert.
Very well done to Rickie; well deserved and a modest and unassuming reaction as always. Another three at goals at Millwall last week took Rickie’s tally to 28 in the League thus far. All at Rovers felt he would perform at Championship level and many of us reckon he will net a few Premier goals if given the chance which now looks very likely indeed. Reading are certainly on a charge and maintained their promotion push at Barnsley last Saturday with a 4-0 away result and securing their ninth win in ten games. Reading manager Brian McDermott said after the game:
“To come to a tough place like Barnsley and win 4-0, I can’t ask any more of my players.”
Shouldn’t think so Brian and one of those players is another former Rovers striker, Jason Roberts, who grabbed the fourth Reading goal late on.
West Ham are desperate to regain their Premier status and will be hoping that Reading have peaked a little too soon. Three games since a loss, yet eight since a win, seems like a drawing habit. Danny Collins scored a last minute equaliser as the Hammers salvaged a point in a frantic finale at Leeds last week. Sam Allardyce had this to say after the game:
“We’re all a little bit edgy but we’re confident we can take the final step and start winning more games than we draw.”
Say it again Sam!
Reading are just the opposite at the moment. Looks like an enthralling run in.
At the other end of the scale, relegation out of the League looks a very close and tense affair. No doubt there will be swings this way and that over the run in period. Two clubs have taken desperate measures following last week’s round of games. Macclesfield and Burton have been in poor form and some would say in free fall whilst Northampton have been on a bit of a run. Looking at the Web stats, the Silkmen were without a win in 14 league games as at last Saturday. The 2-0 defeat at the hands of bottom club Dagenham and Redbridge may have had something to do with Gary Simpson leaving the club and Brian Horton being asked to pick up the mantle for the remainder of the campaign.
Chairman Mike Rance asked Simpson to step down after a 16 game winless run in League Two that left the club only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. Simpson took over at the Moss Rose following the death of Keith Alexander, initially in caretaker charge, but took the role permanently in April 2010. He led the club to their highest finish in six seasons last year. Rance has said sacking Gary Simpson is one of the hardest things he has ever done.
Burton Albion dispensed with the services of manager Paul Peschisolido after the Brewers suffered their sixth successive league defeat at the hands of Torquay. The Brewers lost 4-1 at home against Torquay last Saturday, and had not won a match since 26th December.
“I’m devastated with how things have gone recently but Burton Albion will remain close to my heart and I’m sure things will pick up.”
Perhaps they will, Paul, but two clubs will be more than devastated come the end of the season.