League One: Evans favourite for Peterborough role…


It would appear that Peterborough United may have just found their new manager.

He comes in the shape of former Boston United, Crawley Town and Rotherham United manager Steve Evans. He has also taken charge of Leeds United before joining Mansfield Town part way through last season.

Possible new POSH boss? Steve Evans

Evans, who is considered to be the favourite to become the next POSH manager, dramatically quit his current job at League Two promotion pushers Mansfield tonight (February 27), and was even spotted watching from the directors box at his prospective new side’s fixture with Walsall at the ABAX Stadium.

He has been backed constantly by punters to take over The POSH after the news of Grant McCann’s sacking on Sunday night.

Former Northern Ireland international Grant McCann was sacked as POSH boss on Sunday night

Since announcing his resignation, along with his assistant Paul Raynor, Evans has been quoted at 1/12 to become the next POSH manager according to SkyBet.

If the rumours are true, it would fulfil a lifelong dream of a man who has supported The POSH since moving to the area 30 years ago, although the club are yet to comment on the possibility of Evans taking charge.


League One: End of the road for a club legend as Peterborough sack McCann…


It is the end of an era at Peterborough United after the club sacked manager Grant McCann late on Sunday evening (February 25).

Chairman Darragh MacAnthony made the difficult decision to sack the former Northern Ireland international to try and give the club’s hopes of promotion from League One a boost.

POSH have recorded no wins in their last seven matches before McCann’s sacking, with the latest of those being a lacklustre 1-1 draw against struggling AFC Wimbledon at the ABAX Stadium on Saturday (February 24).

Relieved of his duties: Former POSH manager Grant McCann

Speaking about the decision, MacAnthony said:  “I love Grant, he is a legend of this football club and always will be, but it has not quite happened in management for him here and it was the right time to part ways.

“I thank him for all his efforts and wish him and his family the very best in the future.”

The club currently sits 10th in League One following Saturday’s draw, leaving them six points outside the playoff places.

Next up for them is the visit of Walsall on Tuesday (February 27) – a game that has already been thrown into doubt due to expected bad weather.

If the game does go ahead, McCann’s assistant David Oldfield will take caretaker charge.

Premier League 2018/19: Clubs vote to close transfer window early…


Premier League clubs have moved to close next summer’s transfer window before the start of the season.

This is because managers have complained that allowing players to move clubs once the season is underway causes disruption to their squads.

Therefore, from next season, the window will close at 17:00BST on the Thursday before the start of the Premier League season.

However, the move was not unanimous and under the new rules, clubs will still be able to sell players until the end of the normal window.

In total, 14 Premier League clubs voted for the change, which was the minimum number needed for the plans to be approved. Five of the remaining six clubs (Manchester United, Manchester City, Watford, Swansea and Crystal Palace), voted against the plans, while Burnley abstained from voting.

Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea were one club who voted to close the transfer window early

The window across Europe runs until August 31, but the Premier League’s move means that while clubs will be allowed to sell their players until that date, the ability to buy players will stop on August 9 for the 2018/19 season.

European leagues and clubs in the Football League will still be able to buy and sell players as normal until the window closes on August 31.

Despite this though, Football League bosses have indicated that they could follow in the footsteps of the Premier League, but will require further dialogue with its stakeholders before a final decision to go ahead with a vote is made.

The early finish will not mean that the Premier League transfer window is shorter than those in Europe and the Football League. It will start earlier and be 12 weeks long, in line with FIFA rules.

However, next summer will be different than normal with the new season following the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will finish on July 15.

Clubs can still do business during the tournament, however they will now have only 25 days, from the completion of the tournament, to complete signings.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will mean Premier League clubs will have a little over 4 weeks to make signings after the completion of the tournament

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane praised the move, saying that it would allow players to concentrate if the window was closed early.

Those views were echoed by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who said: ‘It’s important that we close all that stuff before the championship starts,

‘Players have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Will they be tapped up on the afternoon of a game? It’s not the way to work.”

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also welcomed the move when asked about Barcelona’s interest in Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.

Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed the decision to close the Premier League transfer window early

Speaking before the announcement, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said that he hoped the rest of Europe would follow the Premier League in closing the window early.

He said: ‘If we do it in the Premier League and the rest of Europe don’t do this, still we have a problem,

‘The best is before starting the competitions, stop the transfer window because it’s very silly.’


International Football: England striker Wayne Rooney calls time on international career…


England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football.

The Everton striker was asked by England manager Gareth Southgate to be part of the squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia, but turned down the offer.

Speaking about his decision, the 31-year-old said: ‘Everytime I was selected was a real privilege but I believe now is the time to bow out.’

He scored 53 times in 119 internationals for the Three Lions.

Rooney’s England career…

Rooney’s England career statistics, courtesy of Opta

Rooney made his England debut in a 3-1 defeat to Australia at Upton Park in February 2003.

His debut at a major tournament came as an 18-year-old at Euro 2004, with his last international appearance being last November’s 3-0 victory over Scotland at Wembley, where he was named as captain.

Wayne Rooney in action for England against Scotland at Wembley

This summer saw him rejoin his boyhood club Everton and his international retirement comes days after scoring his 200th Premier League goal in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

Southgate is due to name his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta (September 1) and Slovakia (September 4) on Thursday.

Rooney’s statement in full…
Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 20.10.27

Tributes to a legend…
A number of tributes poured in once the news broke of Rooney’s retirement, not only from current club Everton, but former employers Manchester United and host of England stars past and present, including BT Sport pundit Michael Owen and BBC’s Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 20.14.27Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 20.14.36Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 20.14.56

Premier League: Liverpool reject a third bid for Philippe Coutinho…


Philippe Coutinho will have to wait a little longer for a move away from Merseyside.

Liverpool have rejected a third bid from Barcelona for the Brazillian attacking midfielder. The fee was believed to be in the region of £114m.

Staying put…for now: Liverpool have rejected another bid for midfielder Philippe Coutinho

Just last week, the Reds rejected a £90m bid for Coutinho from the Spanish giants, leading the 25-year-old to submit a transfer request.

The La Liga side have moved for the Brazillian after selling star player and Coutinho’s fellow countryman Neymar to Paris St Germain for a world record fee of £200m.

Barca are eyeing Coutinho as a replacement for Neymar, who joined PSG for £200m this summer

Coutinho has missed the opening two games of the season for Liverpool with a back injury and the club has repeatedly stressed that his isn’t for sale. He is also set to miss the home match with Crystal Palace on Saturday (August 19).

However, Barca have previously said that they are close to signing him.

Coutinho had signed a new five-year deal at Anfield in January and it didn’t include a release clause.

Football: EFL League One – Preview and Prediction…


Three months without competitive, league football finally come to an end this weekend as SkyBet English Football League One action returns.

Optimism among fans, players and management has been renewed, pitches have been relaid, and squads have been rigorously revamped so all that’s needed is the football itself.

It is clear that it’s shaping up to be another exciting season in League One. England’s third tier is packing some serious talent this season, making the race for promotion rather interesting and intriguing. Not to mention the calibre of the sides who have dropped down from the Championship, including former Premier League side Blackburn Rovers and 2015/16 League One Champions Wigan Athletic!

New managers…
Wigan Athletic – Paul Cook replaces interim manager Graham Barrow
Portsmouth – Kenny Jackett replaces Paul Cook
Oxford United – Pep Clotet replaces Michael Appleton

Top five transfers…
1) Luke McGee – Tottenham Hotspur-Portsmouth – Undisclosed
2) Stephen Taylor – Ipswich Town-Peterborough United – Free
3) Kyle Dempsey – Huddersfield Town-Fleetwood Town – Undisclosed
4) Dean Bowditch – Milton Keynes Dons-Northampton Town – Free
5) Bradley Dack – Gillingham-Blackburn Rovers  – £750,000

Former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has signed for Peterborough United

Title odds…
Blackburn Rovers 4/1
Wigan Athletic 7/1
Portsmouth 9/1
Oxford United 12/1
MK Dons/Charlton Athletic 14/1

Relegation favourites…
Shrewsbury Town 5/4
Oldham Athletic 11/8
Blackpool 6/4
Gillingham 13/8
Walsall 5/2

*all odds supplied by SkyBet

Race for Automatic Promotion…
The League One promotion race will be an exciting one, with plenty of teams thinking they can make the all-important top two. Like with every season, the three relegated sides will be hoping that they can bounce straight back to the division above.

It is perhaps hard to overlook both Blackburn and Wigan as certain contenders for automatic promotion back to the Championship. However, the Ewood Park side find themselves in unfamiliar territory, having not played in England’s third tier for 37 years. Fans of the Lancashire club have seen the club’s plight as inevitable as a result of the well-documented ownership of the club by Venky’s who described the club’s relegation to League One as ‘a temporary setback’.

Keeping Danny Graham will be crucial to Rovers’ chance of promotion, however manager Tony Mowbray now possesses a strong midfield core having signed Peter Whittingham from Cardiff City,  the free-scoring Bradley Dack from Gillingham, Ben Gladwin from Queen’s Park Rangers and Richie Smallwood from Rotherham United.

While they’ve strengthened the midfield, Rovers appear to be lacking in the defensive area of the pitch. Goalkeeper David Raya Martin is the club’s current first-team keeper following Jason Steele’s departure, while Championship side Sheffield Wednesday are interested in Charlie Mulgrew.

Blackburn begin their campaign away ay at Southend United on Saturday (August 5).

Keeping hold of Danny Graham will be the key to Blackburn’s title hopes

Wigan manager Paul Cook knows all about what it takes to achieve promotion after wining the SkyBet League Two title with Portsmouth last season. The Latics have been busy over the summer signing the likes of Chey Dunkley and Gavin Massey although potentially losing want-away striker Omar Bogle will maybe hurt them.

Wigan kick off their season with a trip to Milton Keynes on Saturday (August 5).

The race for the playoffs…
One team who will be happier than most to see a team promoted is Bradford City. The Bantams have been beaten by newly promoted Millwall in each of the past two League One play-off semi finals and were left heartbroken this time around courtesy of a Steve Morison goal five minutes from time at Wembley in May.

The 2017/18 season is the club’s fifth at this level and manager Stuart McCall’s main task is to get the squad looking forward to those dizzy heights again. However the task is made even more tricky by the departures of a number of key players such as Mark Marshall (now at Charlton) and defenders James Meredith, Stephen Darby and Rory McArdle, who have joined Millwall, Bolton and Scunthorpe respectively.

However, Bradford should still be play-off contenders again. They have a particularly strong home record at Valley Parade, having gone unbeaten at home last season, albeit with a large number of draws.

Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final
Can Bradford City finally get that promotion?

Southend missed out on the play-offs by a single point last season, but could be in line to clinch a place this term. Manager Phil Brown is another in the league who has experience of winning promotion after taking the Shrimpers up from League Two in the 2014/15 playoffs and even took Hull into the Premier League way back in the 2007/08 season.

Up until now, they have so far managed to keep most of their squad intact and have also made a number of additions, with Michael Kightly, Stephen Hendrie and Michael Turner arriving at Roots Hall.

Milton Keynes Dons are another club out to better their position from last term. Despite losing seemingly key players in George Baldock and Nicky Maynard, manager Robbie Neilson has made some fantastic loan signings with Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Aaron Tshibola both arriving in Buckinghamshire.

Relegation Scrappers…
Gillingham survived the drop last season by the skin-of-the-teeth, and have now seen the departure of star striker Bradley Dack to Blackburn. Seemingly poor recruitment over the summer may mean that it will be tough for manager Ady Pennock to turn things around.

Like Gillingham, AFC Wimbledon have lost key players over the summer. Jake Reeves has joined Bradford, while Tom Elliot has signed for cross-city neighbours Millwall. The Wombles also failed to score in eight of their last none games last season and the way they start the season this time around will be the key to their survival.

AFC Wimbledon frontman Tom Elliott has joined Championship newcomers Millwall

One club in the league who have a particularly low budget is Walsall. This means that they may have to punch above their weight to avoid the drop. There are also doubts among the clubs fans as to whether manger Jon Whitney is fully equipped to guide the club to survival.

Shrewsbury Town narrowly escaped the drop last season and despite conceding the fewest goals of any of the bottom seven clubs last term, goalkeeper Callum Burton’s move to Sky Bet Championship team Hull City could leave them vulnerable again.

Surprise Teams…
Portsmouth could be seen as surprise League One title contenders. Paul Cook’s former side now possess a manger who has experience of winning promotion from the league in the form of Kenny Jackett (promotion winner twice with both Millwall and Wolves). New additions Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Brett Pitman and Luke McGee all have invaluable experience of the league, with the latter having signed a permanent contract from Tottenham Hotspur after a loan spell with Peterborough United last term.

Despite ongoing unrest among the club’s fans last season which saw the club meander to a 13th-place finish, Charlton Athletic have been done shrewd business both on and off the pitch this summer. Manager Karl Robinson has brought in Lee Bowyer and club captain Johnnie Jackson into his coaching staff and has been organising his squad in preparation for his first full season at The Valley. He has also secured the season-long loan of Jay DaSilva from Chelsea, who impressed with the Addicks last term.

They have, however, lost Nicky Ajose who has joined Bury on loan. The Shakers are another surprise team this season. Despite losing top scorer James Vaughan to Championship newcomers Sunderland, they have a straightforward, ready-made replacement in the shape of Jermaine Beckford. Not only is Beckford a proven talent at this level, but manager Lee Clark also has a decent record in League One.

Peterborough United could also be dark horses in terms of the play-off fight this term. Like many other teams, The POSH have been busy in terms of recruitment, bringing in a range of different players to try and avoid yet another season in England’s third tier. They include free-scoring Ricky Miller from Dover Athletic and former Stockport County star Danny Lloyd. Fans can expect a good season if the gamble on these prolific non-league goalscorers pays off.

New Peterborough United striker Ricky Miller in action for Dover against Cambridge United

Projected final table…
1) Blackburn Rovers
2) Wigan Athletic
3) Portsmouth
4) Bradford City
5) Fleetwood Town
6) Peterborough United
7) Doncaster Rovers
8) Scunthorpe United
9) Northampton Town
10) Milton Keynes Dons
11) Bury
12) Charlton Athletic
13) Oxford United
14) Rochdale
15) Bristol Rovers
16) Southend United
17) Rotherham United
18) Plymouth Argyle
19) Blackpool
20) Shrewsbury Town
21) Gillingham
22) AFC Wimbledon
23)  Walsall
24) Oldham Athletic

Players to watch…
Danny Graham (Blackburn Rovers)
Striker Danny Graham is a proven goalscorer not only in League One but higher levels of the Football League too. He will surely be favourite to take the league’s top scorer award.

Will Grigg (Wigan Athletic)
Once the subject of the infamous ‘Will Grigg’s on fire’ chant, League One defences may still be slightly fearful of the Wigan striker. Grigg may have only scored seven goals for the Latics last season, but his record at this level is far better, having netted 28 times during the club’s 2015/16 title winning season.

Ricky Miller (Peterborough United)
Despite being banned for the first six matches of the campaign, Peterborough striker Ricky Miller could be another player to watch this term. The free scoring, former Dover Athletic forward netted 42 times in 43 games last season and was crowned the National League’s Player of the Year. He also has previous League experience when at Luton Town.

Non League: Ilkeston FC wound up by High Court over unpaid debt…


Northern Premier League football club Ilkeston FC  have been wound-up by the High Court over an unpaid debt of £14,438.

The club was only formed in in 2010 following the liquidation of Ilkeston Town and had a troubled 2016/17 season as they fought financial difficulties.

They were temporarily suspended by the league before the season started for not paying creditors. Players have not been paid since December.

Chairman Nigel Harrop plans to appeal the decision, according to BBC Radio Derby.

Harrop had announced, shortly before Monday’s hearing in Liverpool, that he had struck a takeover with All Eight Sports Management.

However, his plea for more time to settle a debt owed to, office equipment hire firm, Hire Intelligence was rejected by District Judge Smedley.

Ilkeston FC in action against Leicester City in a pre-season game

This is the second time in seven years that the Derbyshire town’s football club has been wound-up.

Former Conference North club Ilkeston Town folded in 2010 owing £50,000 to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The new club, Ilkeston FC, were admitted into the Northern Premier League Division One South for 2011/12, and have been playing at the same ground as their predecessors – the 3,029-capacity New Manor Ground.

After a play-off final win against Leek Town, the club immediately won promotion to the Premier Division and even recieved a financial boost in 2014 when Che Adams – now at Birmingham City – was sold to Sheffield United.

Despite this, debts mounted and the club was relegated in April after a turbulent season, marred by protests against Harrop’s ownership.

EFL Championship: Huddersfield promoted following shootout victory at Wembley…

Promoted: Huddersfield Town will play in the Premier League next season

Huddersfield Town have been promoted to England’s top flight for the first time since 1972.

The West Yorkshire club saw off opponents Reading in a tense penalty shootout at the iconic Wembley Stadium on Monday afternoon (May 29).

The win was a second consecutive shootout win for the Terriers after they defeated Sheffield Wednesday on spot kicks in the semis.

Christopher Schindler won the tie after Reading’s Liam Moore blazed high over the bar and Jordan Obita saw his kick saved by Town goalkeeper Danny Ward.

The game finished 0-0 after 120 minutes after a number of chances were missed by both sides. The most notable of which was Huddersfield’s Izzy Brown missed an open goal from close range early on in the game.

The win capped a memorable year and a remarkable reversal of fortunes for Huddersfield. The club finished 19th in the Championship last season and the club can now expect a windfall of at least £170million over the next three seasons by winning promotion.

The famous Wembley Stadium arch lit up in the colours of EFL Championship playoff winners Huddersfield Town

They will feel that they deserved the win on the balance of play after creating the two clearest chances, both of which came in the opening 10 minutes.

German defender Michael Hefele headed off target following an Aaron Mooy freekick, before Brown missed in the ninth minute.

This now leaves Reading, who finished four points and two places higher than the Terriers in the final league table, to reflect on a fourth play-off final defeat.

Managerial reaction…
Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner: ‘I’m one of the most happy men on the planet today. I’m so proud of this group of players, what they’ve done over the whole season.

‘There was no doubt about whether we were able to handle the atmosphere. After what they did in the semi-final, I thought the circumstances wouldn’t be a problem.

‘This competition is really hard. If you win it you like it, but my thoughts are as well with the other three teams which had unbelievable seasons, especially Reading.’

Reading manager Jaap Stam: ‘It’s always hard if you lose, even if it’s a league game or whatever. What we achieved this season is great. We’ve made progress, we finished in the top six and we played in the play-off final.

‘The boys have done what they’ve been doing all season, trying to give everything to get the maximum out of the game.

‘We got to the shootout, where it’s basically a lottery. What’s important for me is that the players took responsibility. They knew what they needed to do.

‘Of course everyone’s disappointed that we haven’t won and we haven’t gone to the Premier League. We need to give it another shot next season. It’s hard but that’s how it goes.’

Team lineups…
Huddersfield Town: Danny Ward, Tommy Smith (Martin Crainie 88′), Michael Hefele, Christopher Schindler, Chris Löwe, Jonathan Hogg, Elias Kachunga (Colin Quaner 66′), Izzy Brown (Kasey Palmer 98′), Rajiv Van La Parra, Nakhi Wells

Subs not used: Dean Whitehead, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Joel Coleman

Reading FC: Ali Al-Habsi, Thiago Ilori, Liam Moore, Joey van den Berg (Jordan Obita 64′), Chris Gunter, George Evans, Danny Williams, Tyler Blackett, John Swift (Liam Kelly 100′), Jan Kermogant, Lewis Grabban (Gareth McCleary 74′)

Subs not used: Roy Beerens, Joseph Mendes, Adrian Popa, Anssi Jaakkola

Playoff Latest: EFL League One semi-final round up…

Scunthorpe United 2-3 Millwall (Millwall win 3-2 on aggregate)

Star of the show: Millwall’s Steve Morison (Photo credit: Rex Features)

Millwall have booked their place in the League One playoff final after coming from behind to beat Scunthorpe United in their playoff semi-final, second leg at Glanford Park.

Steve Morison played a starring role for the Lions, who had fallen behind thanks to Ivan Toney’s tap-in, heading them level on the stroke of half time.

He then set up team-mate Lee Gregory to allow his side to take a 2-1 lead.

Stephen Dawson’s strike set up a nervy finish, even though a deflected shot from Morison gave the away side some breathing space.

Neil Harris’ side will now face Bradford City on May 20 for the right to be promoted to next season’s Championship. The Bantams were the same side they beat at the semi-final stage last season.

Having been held to a 0-0 draw in the first leg at The Den, Millwall looked to be falling short when Newcastle loanee Toney, fired the Iron ahead at Glanford Park.

Having made it 1-1 moments before the break, 33-year-old Morison proved to be the difference between the two sides after the restart, first cutting inside to tee up his strike partner Gregory, before scoring his 18th goal of the season to send The Lions through to the final.

Fleetwood Town 0-0 Bradford City (Bradford City win 1-0 on aggregate)

Through to the playoff final: Bradford City (Photo Credit: PA)

Bradford City will face Millwall for the right to be promoted to the Championship after a 0-0 draw at Fleetwood saw them win through to the final 1-0 on aggregate.

Bantams forward Charlie Wyke nearly headed his side in front, however his effort from Mark Marshall’s cross found it’s way onto the post from two yards in the first half.

Fleetwood’s Ashley Hunter twice headed straight at Bradford goalkeeper Colin Doyle as the hosts struggled to create any clear-cut chances.

Bradford’s player of the season Marshall, almost scored with a fortuitous first half ricochet as he managed to chase down a long ball through the middle of the park.

However, he was beaten to the ball by Fleetwood’s goalkeeper Alex Cairns, although his clearance catapulted off Marshall and skimmed the bar.

The hosts showed more urgency after the break, however Bradford’s centre backs Rory McArdle and Nathaniel Knight-Percival dealt with everything thrown their way.

Billy Clarke screwed one shot high and another wide, while Marshall tested Cairns with a near-post effort as the Bantams comfortably held on.

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