League Insider - England

Graeme Bailey considers Bothroyd's call-up to the England squad

Bothroyd: A worthy call-up?

Ferguson: Preston fans not happy

Jay Bothroyd has become the first Championship player to be called up by England for more than three years.

Bothroyd's emergence as an international candidate came to fruition over the weekend following days of speculation that he was set to be called up.

And, indeed, Fabio Capello named the Cardiff City striker in his squad for the friendly with France on Wednesday.

Bothroyd became the first player from the Championship since David Nugent in 2007 to be handed a place in an England squad - although Ben Foster, then on loan at Watford, was also a regular inclusion that year.

At 28, Bothroyd could have conceivably thought his international ambitions - with England at least - were over with a call-up to Jamaica looking decidedly more likely.

But being the Championship top scorer looks to have swayed Capello - obviously ignoring that fact that Bothroyd has scored just 70 goals in some 278 league appearances, and it was not until 2009 that he managed to break into double figures for the first time in his career. His Premier League career is three goals in 37 top-flight appearances and probably another indication of why his call-up has come as such a shock.

Now this is no slight on Bothroyd, or Cardiff City - but you can only question Capello's motives. The Italian had watched Kevin Davies dominate Tottenham's defence just the week before, yet this was deemed not good enough - obviously he was more impressed with Bothroyd's brace at Scunthorpe United.

Despite the rights and wrongs of the call-up, Bothroyd should be applauded. From being ditched by Arsenal at youth level, to playing for lowly Perugia in Serie A, he has taken an extraordinary and unusual route to where he is today - the leading marksman outside the Premier League.

And no matter if he plays at Wembley or not, Bothroyd, Cardiff City and the Championship can be proud to have a player in the England squad - whether it be justified or not.

Sack race

The sack race is well and truly on, with Darren Ferguson and Gary Johnson looking like they are very much leading the field.

Strangely enough there is a connection with Johnson now in charge at Peterborough, where Ferguson built his managerial reputation as he turned Posh into a Championship side.

Since Ferguson's departure from London Road, things have gone pear-shaped for himself and Peterborough.

Ferguson took charge at Preston just weeks after leaving Peterborough, but North End are currently propping up the Championship and time may not be on Fergie Jnr's side.

Likewise with Johnson, who earlier in the month was said to be considering his future. He has strenuously denied this, but the weekend's 5-1 drubbing at home by Charlton will do little to stem the rumours.

Johnson and Ferguson are both good managers as they have proven with their former clubs, Bristol City and Peterborough respectively, but that may not be enough to see either prolonging their stays with their current sides into 2011.

And talking of jobs, surely now is the time for Hartlepool to make a decision on their new permanent manager. Mick Wadsworth is still interim boss of the League One side following Chris Turner's departure in August.

Wadsworth has shown up well and the weekend's 3-1 win over runaway League One leaders Brighton was surely one of the results of the season in any division, and surely enough to convince the board at Victoria Park that he has plenty to offer their club.


Buy one get one free was seen in English football in unique fashion at Macclesfield this week.

The League Two club, who traditionally have one of the lowest support bases in the Football League, handed out a free ticket to everyone who turned up for their game with Aldershot at the weekend.

The ticket is for their match with Cheltenham Town on Tuesday. Not only just over 1,500 turned up for the Aldershot game, but the real sign of success will come with the second fixture when it is hoped many new fans will be introduced to the Moss Rose.