The boy Don good
Chris Kamara reviews the League Two season so far and hails Paul Ince's impact at MK Dons.
Last Updated: 16/01/08 4:29pm
MK Dons have stood out a mile in League Two this season. Paul Ince's stature as a manager is growing all the time and he has done a phenomenal job with that team.
He has set the standard in that division and he will not expect to drop away from the top, even though they lost to Barnet last week. Straight after that game he insisted his side will not have a performance like that again this season.
The players know how ambitious he is and he is ruthless as well. They've just got rid of Leon Knight because he was not performing for the team, so it's clear that Incey knows what he wants. He's desperate for success and I'm sure he'll get it.
But there have been plenty of strong performances in League Two this season and I can see the race for promotion in this division going all the way to the wire.
Mark Robins is doing a wonderful job at Rotherham in his first year as a manager and Graham Turner has turned Hereford around after a struggle last season.
Dave Penney has got Darlington up at the right end of the league - as you'd expect - and I'm sure Paul Lambert would want Wycombe to be a bit higher in the table, but they are still there or thereabouts.
Lee Richardson and Darren Ferguson are both doing fine jobs in their first full seasons at Chesterfield and Peterborough respectively. Ferguson in particular has got some wonderful players there, as they proved when they beat Accrington 8-2 this week.
Aaron McLean and George Boyd both scored hat-tricks and, no offence to Accrington, but I was really hoping Craig Mackail-Smith would score his third so we would all be talking about the incredible feat of a team scoring three hat-tricks in a game.
But I've been saying for a long time that those three players are better than League Two. They could all make the grade in the Championship and they might yet get out of League Two with Peterborough this season.
And you've got to give all the credit in the world to Sammy McIlroy at Morecambe, who are having a memorable first season in the Football League. At this moment in time they are on the cusp of the play-off positions, which really is unbelievable.
Brentford's improvement under Andy Scott has been absolutely fantastic after a difficult start to the season under Terry Butcher. He's got them flying up the table and after a few good results they are thinking about the play-offs instead of facing going out of the league.
There are plenty of teams who have appeared to be dead and buried at times this season, but have fought back. Lincoln City seemed to be out of it at one stage, but they have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone and Mansfield have also improved.
Wrexham are rock bottom at the moment, but their fans should not worry too much. Brian Little's first job was at Darlington and they went out of the league straight away, but the next season they came back bigger and stronger and that is how he carved out his reputation as a manager.
There's a long way to go and I'm sure Wrexham fans don't want to be talking about going out of the league, but if they do then they should stick with Brian because he'll sort them out.
They've had a whole catalogue of problems there and I feel the heart was ripped out of the club when Brian Flynn left. It has not been easy for the club to turn things around since then.
But overall, I have been impressed by what I have seen in that division this year. You hear people saying there is no quality around in League Two, but there are plenty of good players down there. A lot of these guys are future Championship players and who knows where they can go from there?
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Kammy answers your e-mail...
Hi Chris, I am a Luton fan. Why don't top clubs help struggling clubs like Luton who go into administration? And why is there this silly ten points deduction rule? I think it is all mad and the FA should help clubs instead of ruining them. Thanks, Steve Johnson.
KAMMY SAYS: I agree with you Steve that the 10-point deduction rule is silly and should not be applied across the board. I believe each situation should be considered on its merits. They should sit down and work out why a club is going into administration and not just treat every club the same. There is no way in this world that Luton Town want to be in this precarious position and it's been done by the people who own the club rather than by the people who love the club.
It is a real shame and the thing which is different with Luton is they have players they can sell. Like Kevin Blackwell says, if the administrators hadn't been so hasty, they might not have sold their best players and they might have gone to Liverpool and won in the FA Cup. Then the people taking over the club wouldn't have had to start again with a load of new players and might have been able to get on a run and move up the table.
People expected Liverpool to forfeit the money from the home leg of their FA Cup tie to Luton, but Premier League clubs will argue that their overheads are big and it is not up to them to help smaller clubs out. You can't criticise Liverpool, but it would have been a wonderful gesture if it had happened. At the end of the day you can't expect people to give other people money in any walk of life. You can't force or blackmail big clubs to do that.
It would be nice if the money in football was distributed more evenly between all of the teams - but I do worry that if there was a pot of money, then it might be used as a failsafe and it might be abused. If you give people a safety net they might use it too often and not keep their house in order.
Hi Kammy, I am an Oldham fan and wondered what you think of our chances of making it into the play-offs and perhaps, fingers crossed, to the Championship. Despite the bad start to the campaign that saw the team flirting with the relegation zone John Sheridan seems to, once again, have the club moving in the right direction, regardless of the lack of funds available to him. Proof if needed that miracles can happen! On the back of last season's relative success do you think we have what it takes to mount a late charge and make it all the way? Cheers. Nick from Oldham.
KAMMY SAYS: Oldham are a good footballing team and they are certainly starting to find the goals now. If anything, they possibly play a little bit too much football at times and leave the game a bit too open. They leave themselves vulnerable to counter-attacks from opposing teams. Despite that, the play-offs are a realistic target this season and I'm sure they'll be going for it. John Sheridan is actually on Goals On Sunday this week, along with Andy Ritchie, so I'm looking forward to speaking to both of them about where they want to take Oldham and Huddersfield.
Hi Chris, I am a Carlisle United fan and I was wondering whether we will be able to keep the likes of Joe Garner in our squad to keep us in the race for a play-off place and possibly better. Joe is proving to be an exceptional talent and is most likely in the running to be player of the year and with him being so young and keen it is probable that higher league teams are taking a closer look at him. In my opinion Joe has taken us where we are in the league at the moment. Thanks for your time. Nathan, Carlisle.
KAMMY SAYS: Joe Garner is a terrific player and you can compare him to League One's other man-of-the-moment Jermaine Beckford. Looking at those two, I'd say Garner is a bit cleverer and has a better football brain. His runs and his movement are very good, while Beckford hasn't quite got that because he's only been a professional footballer for two-and-a-half years and is still learning. Garner has come through the ranks and is ahead in terms of thought, although Beckford is superior in terms of raw pace and unpredictability.
Overall, I've been very impressed with Garner and when managers of Premier League and Championship clubs ask me about players to look out for in Leagues One and Two, I've mentioned his name. He's definitely one to keep an eye on and certainly has a bright future.