League Insider - New duo

Rob Parrish takes a look at the talking points from the Football League in our weekly feature.

Mowbray: Much to ponder

Ince: Magpies challenge

Tony Mowbray and Paul Ince stepped back into the cauldron of Football League management at the weekend and immediately discovered that the temperature had been raised.

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Middlesbrough hero Mowbray was greeted with a rapturous reception at the Riverside on his return to the club he served with such distinction as a player, while Paul Ince was warmly welcomed by Notts County fans at Meadow Lane, despite the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of axed Magpies legend Craig Short.

All appeared to be going to plan for both men in the early stages of their respective meetings with Bristol City and Southampton, but by the full-time whistle they had nothing to show for their efforts, and could only adopt the beaten manager's mantra of pointing to the positives after debut defeats on home soil.

Ince, who was sat in the stands at Meadow Lane as he served the final game of a touchline ban carried over from his time in charge of MK Dons, elected not to speak to the media, with assistant Alex Rae facing the press on his behalf. If the duo mould a team based on their respective playing styles, it will certainly not be short on commitment.

The former England international must also hope he is afforded a luxury not bestowed on predecessor Short, or many other managers in professional football. Time.

Ince has signed a contract which should see him stay in charge for this term and the next three seasons, but it is worth remembering that former Meadow Lane defender Short was a mere 13 games into the three-year contract he had penned in the summer before chairman Ray Trew decided a change was needed with the club too close to the drop zone for his liking.

The 43-year-old Ince knows only too well how success is often demanded instantly, having been given only 21 games at the helm of Blackburn Rovers in 2008 before being ushered out of the exit door with the club flirting with Premier League relegation.

Ince pointedly refused to discuss any potential promotion push for County this season, instead electing to focus on steadying the ship and safety. A wise move when you have inherited a side in the wrong half of the table and are working for a chairman who has proved himself to be trigger-happy.


The key to long-term success in football is stability and both Ince and Mowbray must be given time, the support of their respective chairmen and patience from supporters, with the latter much more assured of all three given his ties to the club.

Saltburn-born Mowbray graduated from watching Boro on the terraces at Ayresome Park to captaining the side that secured back-to-back promotions into England's top-flight despite the club having to be reformed in 1986 having gone into liquidation.

His efforts during his 419 games for the club before moving on to play for Celtic will always be remembered and respected by the Teesside faithful, but there remains an area of concern which must be addressed immediately to ensure harmony throughout the club.

Mowbray has inherited a squad largely constructed under the miserable year-long reign of Gordon Strachan, who he ironically replaced at Parkhead in the summer of 2009, with the Scot having brought to Boro a number of players deemed surplus to requirements under the new man with the Bhoys.

Any players who do bear a grudge must swiftly put that to one side as chairman Steve Gibson is likely to back his new appointment in the January transfer window, and should space need to be made in the squad to accommodate arrivals then those who are not onside with the boss will be closest to the exit door.

Having lost his first home game against a fellow Championship struggler, Mowbray now has a week to rouse his troops before rock-bottom Crystal Palace arrive at the Riverside on Saturday, where another defeat would see Boro replace the Eagles at the very foot of the table.

Ince, meanwhile, faces an immediate challenge with the Magpies as they travel to Hartlepool on Tuesday evening only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, but due to the congested nature of the League One table just six points from the play-offs.

One manager who did enjoy immediate success this weekend was Hereford's caretaker Jamie Pitman, with the Bulls responding to the news that their interim boss would remain at the helm until at least January with a 5-0 romp away to Stockport.

What do you make of Mowbray and Ince's appointments? Should Pitman get the Hereford job on a full-time basis? Have your say using the form below.