Football League Expert & Columnist
Peter Beagrie blogs on Bristol City's struggles, Ian Holloway's Palace switch and the back-three system.
Last Updated: 08/11/12 5:24pm
Peter Beagrie is here every week on skysports.com answering YOUR Football League questions.
The former winger, who played over 770 games, representing clubs in all four tiers of the English footballing pyramid, including Manchester City, Everton, Bradford, Sheffield United, Scunthorpe, and Grimsby, forms part of the Sky Sports punditry team for all the big matches in the Championship, League One and League Two.
So if you have a poser for Peter, whether it's about your team, a player, match or incident that has caught your eye, or a wider point on the Football League, make sure you send it in.
Read below for this week's column where Beags gives his take on struggling Bristol City, Ian Holoway's switch to Crystal Palace and the merits of the back three...
Send your question to Beags
1. Mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Use the feedback form at the bottom of this page
NOT SMOOTH FOR McINNES?
Hi Peter, Do you think that Bristol City have given Derek McInnes enough time in the managerial hot-seat and he should be replaced? If so, who do you see as a contender for the post? I would like to see Harry Redknapp, but can't really see that happening? Bob Wear (Tottenham fan)
BEAGS SAYS: As a Tottenham fan, Bob, I thought you would have been advocating Harry Redknapp to come back to White Hart Lane, not touting him for the as-yet-unavailable Bristol City manager's post. Derek McInnes and his team are on a disastrous run of six defeats on the spin after conceding two more goals on Tuesday night to a Birmingham side who had scored only five goals in their previous seven home games. Just to highlight City's deficiencies, Birmingham, who clinched their first home win in five, had 20 shots at goal and McInnes described the performance as embarrassing for himself, the players and fans who were subjected to it.
One point off the bottom and four from safety is not a surprise as a lot of their frailties were there last season and I always thought they would struggle this term without major defensive additions. Even at this early stage of the season the alarm bells will be ringing in the boardroom and the men in charge have a dilemma: do they back the manager and allow him to make signings, or opt for a change and give the new man funds. There are a lot of points still available and a lot good managers out of work, but I would give Derek five more games, starting with Sunday's six pointer at newly-promoted Charlton, who will be buoyed by a 5-4 victory against Cardiff on Tuesday evening.
Hi Peter, Who do you think has been the best loan signing in the Championship so far this season? Thanks, Mark Davies (Burnley fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Many teams flood their squads with loan players, rightly or wrongly, but the loanee I think has made the biggest impact on the way his team plays is Josh McEachran of Middlesbrough. The 19-year-old, contracted to Chelsea, has found the correct club with a style to suit him and, let's be honest, he is not going to break through into the Blues midfield as the moment with the world-class players they have in that area. Boro boss Tony Mowbray has a happy knack of getting the best out of young players and giving them the freedom to express themselves. McEachran is just one of the reasons why the Teessiders are soaring at towards the top of the Championship and has formed a brilliant partnership in the centre of the park with Grant Leadbitter.
POSH TO PROSPER?
Hi Peter, Peterborough had a dreadful start in the Championship this year but with a recent turn around in results, do you think that we have a chance of staying up? Most fans don't expect Peterborough to win the league but we do expect us to become one of those teams that won't always be one of the favourites to go down. Nicky Williams (Peterborough United fan)
BEAGS SAYS: I don't think it is impossible that, if they survive for a couple of seasons, Peterborough can become a firm fixture in the Championship, even with their limited fan base and resources. Other teams have done it against the odds and the way Darren Ferguson sets up his teams to attack is very brave, but the fact they are still searching for their first draw this season suggests to me that it is going to be another hard slog. It is a quandary for most football fans; would you rather be in League One and winning most weeks, or competing in the most competitive division in the world? Over to you, Nicky...
Hi Peter, What do you make of Ian Holloway's switch from Blackpool to Crystal Palace? Does it make sense to you? Gavin Edwards (Aston Villa fan)
BEAGS SAYS: It makes perfect sense to me, Gavin, from both a personal and professional level. Ian enjoyed the ride of his life at the Pleasure Beach club, with promotion, relegation and play-off final heartache against a West Ham side they could have - and should have - beaten. Holloway brought fast-flowing football to the Tangerines and success beyond their wildest dreams but, as I mentioned last week, has been left frustrated by a lack of funds and a dip in performance level and accepted the opportunity to leave before all the good times could have turned sour. The promise of a four-and-a-half year deal at a club in the top three and a vision sold to him by the owners of the Eagles was too much to resist, while the biggest draw of all was the chance to be nearer to his family; for me, the move was a no-brainer. I think all Blackpool fans will give him their blessing and count theirs that he arrived when he did, while Palace supporters will feel anything is possible under Holloway's tutelage, especially now that they do not need to sell star assets like Wilfried Zaha. Ian's teams are as entertaining as one if his pre or post-match interviews and I wish him luck in his new and exciting challenge.
THREE AND UNEASY
Hi Peter, What are the main benefits and drawbacks of playing with a back three? Garth Morris (Fulham fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Garth, if you were a Man City fan you would say there are no benefits of a back three as Roberto Mancini's men have looked terrible playing with ine! The three centre-halves must be footballing ones as they will invariably be charged with instigating attacks and Napoli, who have quick and skilful defenders, are the masters of the system. However, very often you are left with a spare man and this means defenders can end up marking space and not players, while picking up midfield runners becomes a problem. My preferred formation is 4-4-2, where when one full-back attacks, the other joins the two centre-halves to form a back three anyway. 4-4-2 means you can pinpoint who should be marking who and have at least six players involved in attack.
GARY'S BRIGHT BREWERS
Hi Peter, As a Charlton fan, I like to keep an eye out for our ex-players. Gary Rowett, whose career with the Addicks was blighted by injury, seems to be doing well as Burton Albion manager. Do you think he can get the club promoted from League Two? Michael Robinson (Charlton fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Hello, Michael, and many thanks for your question. I had the pleasure of playing with Gary, albeit briefly, at Everton before he went out on loan to Blackpool and I joined Man City. He was a quiet and unassuming lad with a good footballing brain but he never struck me as management material, but, after serving as Paul Peschisolido's assistant at Burton for three years, was handed the reins at Albion in May this year. Gary has led Burton to a top-five position in League Two and got them playing attractive football home and away. Can he get them promoted? That remains to be seen as many of the pre-season favourites are occupying the top-10 positions, but with one loss in their last 10 and a highly competitive squad, the Brewers will never have a better chance.
Make sure you have your say on the issues mentioned by filling in the feedback form below and then tune into this weekend's Football League fare as Middlesbrough host Sheffield Wednesday (7.30pm, Friday, Sky Sports 1 HD) and Leicester entertain Nottingham Forest (12.30pm, Saturday, Sky Sports 2 HD).