Football League Expert & Columnist
Peter Beagrie blogs on Dean Saunders and which players QPR should pluck from the Championship.
Last Updated: 10/01/13 3:35pm
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 Wolves' appointment of Dean Saunders and which Championship stars QPR should try to sign...
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Hi Peter, Dean Saunders has not managed a club like Wolves before, so what has he got to do to win over the fans and the players, and with the apparent disharmony in the dressing room, will he have the experience to cool things down? In your opinion, is he ready for such a step up? Thanks, Paul Purchase and Lee Craddock (Wolves fans)
BEAGS SAYS: Dean is very honest and straight to the point and was always a pivotal part of every dressing room he has been in during his long and successful playing career, so he will have no problem communicating his ideas and will tell the players feeling sorry for themselves that they owe the club performances. The Welshman will make it abundantly clear to his squad that they must get with the Saunders programme quickly or they will be replaced, as after a quick pan around the dressing room, he will be aware that this squad is massively underachieving. Dean's appointment makes sense and I think he will garner more points for Wolves over the rest of the season than they have accrued over the first half of it under Stale Solbakken, while he will make the fans believe in the club again. A goal scoring centre-forward and reliable centre-half wouldn't go amiss, though!
WHAT THE ECK?
Peter, What do you think of the saga at Nottingham Forest over the past couple of weeks? Do you think they were right in sacking Sean O'Driscoll and appointing Alex McLeish? Also, if you were the Nottingham Forest manager, who would you buy, loan and sell to get us into the play-offs? Thanks, Andy McIntyre (Nottingham Forest fan)
BEAGS SAYS: I don't think anyone thought the Forest hierarchy were right to sack Sean O'Driscoll as he had amassed a squad of real quality which was beginning to find its feet. I know all the players appreciated Sean's understated manner and coaching methods and genuinely believed that he would be in a better position than anyone to launch an assault on the promotion places. Why Alex McLeish? Because he has that invaluable thing on his CV: a Championship elevation. He also has Premier League experience which Forest chairman, Fawaz Al-Hasawi, would say makes him a visionary and McLeish an excellent long-term appointment. But I never like to see managers get the sack, particularly when it is not justified, and I believe Forest were a couple of fleet-footed wingers away from being virtual play-off certainties.
Hi Peter, Bradford are looking for a player to compete with James Hanson for the forward role. 'Jimmy' isn't prolific in front of goal (and probably misses too many chances), but he wins lots of headers and his work rate is excellent. If you were in Phil Parkinson's shoes, who would you be targeting in this transfer window as the alternative to Hanson? Thanks, Wayne McManus
BEAGS SAYS: For a short-term goal guarantee that could get Bradford out of League Two, I would have gone for Northampton's Adebayo Akinfenwa, whose physicality would work well with the sprightly Nakhi Wells. Plus, if Wells was injured or suspended, can you imagine the nightmare that would be posed for defenders with Hanson and Akinfenwa getting on the end of crosses from the wingers and set-pieces from City midfielder Gary Jones? However, Bradford have just snapped up Andy Gray for a second time following his release from Leeds and his experience will prove crucial in what is surely going to be a nail-biting chase for the play-off places in League Two.
WHERE SHOULD DONNY TURN?
Who do you think would be the best man to succeed Dean Saunders at Doncaster and help us push for promotion? Thanks, Ryan Thompson (Doncaster Rovers fan)
BEAGS SAYS: The smart money is on Mark Robins and Steve Lomas, who have both been heavily linked with the post. Robins has already managed in the Yorkshire area at Rotherham and Barnsley done a remarkable job at current club Coventry. The Sky Blues are playing good football and, most importantly, picking up results, having won six and drawn two of their eight League One games prior to the New Year's Day loss to Shrewsbury to move 15 points clear of the drop zone and just five from the play-off places. Lomas (pictured), meanwhile, has after a slow start excelled at St Johnstone, winning the SPL Manager of the Month award for September and, at one point, lifting the Saints second in the table behind Celtic. However, Doncaster chairman John Ryan, who I'm told has whittled down the shortlist to five names, will be hoping for a seamless transition from Saunders but I don't think will want to shell out any of the compensation they received from Wolves for Saunders - believed to be between £200-400,000 - so I will be very interested to see who is charged with carrying on Saunders' sterling work.
WILL HE STAY?
Hi Peter, Hi Peter, I was wondering what you think of Derby youngster Will Hughes, and do you think it is best for him to remain at Derby at this stage of his career, help push the Rams into the Premier League and then develop in the top division with us? Thanks, Joey Donay (Derby County fan)
BEAGS SAYS: I am a massive fan of Hughes and think he has the temperament to back-up his talent. He has dictated the play against top sides and experienced players, which belies his youth and physique, and has been the vital link between defence and attack in the centre of midfield - but Nigel Clough rates him so highly that he often plays further forward. It is vital that he is allowed to mature and develop under a manager that gives him the freedom to express himself and any move now would be detrimental to his career. Derby have a lot of talented youngsters - Michael Jacobs, Jeff Hendrick, John Brayford to name but three - and even if Derby don't go up this year, the experience they are gaining will be invaluable and will help the club push on again next term.
CHAMP-ING AT THE BIT
Hi Peter, Which two or three players could QPR realistically get from the Championship to help them stay in the Premier League? Thanks, Emma Sullivan (QPR fan)
BEAGS SAYS: If I was managing a club in the bottom six of the Premier League I would take a gamble on Charlie Austin. As regular readers of this column will know, I picked him to be the Championship's top scorer at the start of the season and he hasn't disappointed; quick, strong, brave in the air and a devastating finisher he has taken every step up the footballing ladder in his stride and is a cross between Rickie Lambert and Grant Holt, two men that have had no problem making an impression in the top flight. I would also take one of the best two full-backs in the Championship: Derby's Brayford, who is the personification of consistency, pacey and good on the ball, and Burnley's Kieran Trippier (pictured), who has provided a conveyor belt of crosses, created more goals than some wingers and never stops rampaging forward. Finally, I would take Cardiff midfielder Peter Whittingham; he has always delivered since his £350,000 move from Aston Villa in 2007 and his wand of a left foot has contributed 56 goals and 44 assists in the last three-and-a-half seasons. Thanks for your question, Emma, and let's hope Harry "Houdini" Redknapp can pull off another great escape.