Month: May 2014

Cardiff’s Frazier Campbell catches Hull City’s eye

Image

Cardiff striker Frazier Campbell is on Hull City’s periphery.

The FA Cup finalists are looking to add another striker to their books to provide competition to Shane Long, Yannick Sagbo and Nikicia Jelavic with Matty Fryatt possibly leaving in the Summer.

Campbell is reportedly able for around £800,000 and would be keen for a return to the KC Stadium.

During his last stay in Humberside, Campbell netted 15 goals in 34 games when Hull City were a Championship side in the 2007/08 season. 

The former Manchester United forward scored 13 in 48 this campaign, including a brace, one of them the winner, in the Bluebirds’ 3-2 home win over eventual Champions Manchester City.

Cardiff man Campbell has also spent time at Tottenham and Sunderland, as well as a brief loan spell at Belgian side Royal Antwerp.

Advertisements

West Ham keen on Snodgrass

Image

Robert Snodgrass is attracting attention following Norwich’s relegation from the Premiership.

The Scotland International has been on the radar of West Ham United for a while and appears to be available for around £3 million.

Snodgrass, 26, has a hernia problem which may affect his medical should the two clubs be able to agree terms.

The winger has scored six goals in 29 games this season but despite this, the Canaries were relegated to the Championship having only amassed 33 points.

West Ham’s latest target has 15 caps for Scotland and has scored three goals for his country.

Snodgrass arrived in England when he signed for Leeds United in 2008 from Stirling Albion.

He would go on to score 35 goals in 168 games for the Yorkshire club before moving onto Norwich where he has scored 12 in 68 league games.

Brighton target on-loan Arsenal Goalkeeper

Emiliano Viviano is subject to interest from Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Goalkeeper, currently on loan at Arsenal from Serie A outfit Palermo, has not featured for the North Londoners at all, having failed to get ahead of Wojciech Szczesney and Lukasz Fabianski in the pecking order.

Viviano will have to work hard to make an impact at Brighton too with Tomasz Kuszczak the current number one at the AMEX while the Seagulls also have Peter Brezovan and Casper Ankergren on their books.

Six time capped Italian Viviano has not played for parent club Palermo since 2012 as he was loaned to Fiorentina last season where he kept goal on 32 occasions.

Arsenal have the option to make his loan deal a permanent one in the Summer but this is unlikely, even though Fabianski will leave the club at the end of the season, due to the lack of playing time Viviano has had at the Emirates.

Brighton are currently without a manager after Oscar Garcia resigned following the Sussex club losing 6-1 on aggregate to Derby in the Championship play off semi final.

Tim Sherwood, Malky Mackay and Chris Hughton are early favourites to succeed the departing Spaniard.

Angella wanted by West Ham and Southampton

Watford defender Gabriele Angella is attracting the eye of Premier League sides West Ham United and Southampton.

Italian Angella, 25,  arrived at Vicarage Road in 2013 and was one of many to join the Hornets from Udinese – a club owned by the Pozzo family who bought Watford in 2012.

The Florence born centre back only missed one game this season and has picked up a reputation as a goal scoring defender, having found the back of the net eight times for Guiseppe Sanino’s side this campaign.

Angella signed a lengthy five year deal last Summer but a move to the top flight may be too hard to turn down.

He has played in Italy’s top division, making 20 appearances for Udinese between 2010 and 2013, scoring four goals during that period, but in 2013 he found himself at Serie B side Reggina on loan where he played 19 matches, netting just the once.

West Ham have had well documented defensive problems due to seemingly endless injuries, so much so that the club had to loan Roger Johnson from League 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers.

While Southampton have highly rated full backs in Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne, central defence is a problem with Jos Hooiveld scoring three own goals in the 2012/13 season.

Swindon Midfielder Luongo named in Preliminary Australia Squad

Massimo Luongo of Swindon Town has been included in Ange Postecoglou’s 30 man Australia squad for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

Former Tottenham midfielder Luongo, 21, will he hoping to make the final 23 when that gets officially confirmed by 2 June.

Luongo has made just one cap for the Socceroos, a late substitute appearance in Australia’s 3-4 defeat to Ecuador at the New Den, Millwall in March this year.

He was eligible for three different nations, his native Australia, Italy, the country of his father’s birth or Indonesia, the country of his mother’s birth.

The Sydney born star has made 44 league appearances for the Robins this season, contributing six goals and two assists in the process as Swindon finished two places outside the League 1 play off spots.

Swindon snappped up Luongo for £400,000 last Summer following a brief loan spell towards the send of the 2012/13 season where he scored two goals in seven games.

Australia’s latest International also played nine games for Ipswich Town in the Championship in 2012.

If Luongo is confirmed in Australia’s final 23 man party, he will be the third player to represent Swindon at a World Cup. Alan McLoughlin for Ireland in 1990 and Jan Aage Fjortoft for Norway in 1994 are the other two.

Shrewsbury appoint Micky Mellon as Manager

Image

Shrewsbury Town have confirmed that Micky Mellon will take control as manager following their relegation to League 2.

Michael Jackson will be Mellon’s number two. Jackson, who had taken temporary charge at the Meadow after Graham Turner left as manager in January, failed to keep Shrewsbury in League 1.

Mellon, 42, has only had one previous managerial job, at Fleetwood from 2008 to 2012.

During his time at Highbury, Mellon guided the Lancashire club to the second round of the FA Cup in 2008 and the third round in 2012, the furthest Fleetwood have ever managed in their history.

Fleetwood were promoted to the Conference Premier the following season and after finishing 5th in their first campaign, they won promotion to the football league with a total of 103 points.

The Cod Army were guided up to 4th by Mellon in Fleetwood’s first ever season in League 2 but three defeats in a row saw Mellon sacked.

He then went on to be Barnsley caretaker boss in 2013 for a short period and was linked to the Shrewsbury job, but the Shropshire outfit opted to appoint Jackson instead.

 

Top 10: Best young League 2 players

Image

 

10: Harry Pell (AFC Wimbledon)

Harry Pell has been a key figure for the Dons this season, getting on the score sheet four times for Neil Ardley’s side as Wimbledon secured their League 2 status with one game to spare this time out.

Pell, 22, spent time at five clubs in the past three years before finding himself at Kingsmeadow but looks to have finally found his club in Wimbledon.

He has been the heartbeat of the Dons midfield and was their joint second top scorer this season with Jack Midson leading the club’s scoring charts on 7.

9: Curtis Nelson (Plymouth)

The 20-year-old Plymouth youth graduate has been one of the few sturdy things at the club in recent years. A club regular since the year the Pilgrims suffered League 1 relegation (Nelson just 16 at the time), Nelson has established himself as a key man already, despite his young age, missing just two games this term.

Nelson was given the Argyle armband in April 2013, aged 19, in the club’s win over Cheltenham, in doing so he was the youngest Plymouth Skipper since Norman Piper in 1967.

Plymouth’s young star was called up to the England under 18 squad for their match against Italy in April 2011 and would win the Green’s Young Player of the Year award the same year.

8: Luke James (Hartlepool)

After a stuttering start to his Hartlepool career, Luke James finally found his feet this season. Six goals in 34 games in the previous two seasons has been dramatically improved with the 19-year-old forward scoring 13 in 38 this time out.

Despite Hartlepool’s relegation from League 1 last season, James was named the division’s apprentice of the year in 2013.

The Pools failed to return to the third tier at the first attempt, finishing way down the table in 19th but without James it could have been far worse. Boss Colin Cooper will be hoping that James’ form continues to improve as Hartlepool try again next season.

7: Jed Wallace (Portsmouth)

Portsmouth are not a club who have much to shout about in recent years but Jed Wallace is one person that make the Pompey chimes ring again.

The 20-year-old midfielder finished as top scorer at Fratton Park with seven goals and was also the third highest provider with four assists, missing just one game this campaign.

He earned a call up to the England Under 19 squad in 2013 and this season’s form will have Wallace targeting the Under 21’s next time out.

JW

6: Zeli Ismail (Burton Albion, on loan from Wolves)

Ismail has not been in the game long but he has been quick to make an impression on fans up and down the football league.

Following Wolves’ relegation to League 1, Kenny Jackett insisted Ismail would be part of his plans, but despite featuring nine times at the start of the campaign, he was loaned out to League 2 Burton Albion in January.

The loan would soon be extended to the end of the season and Ismail’s two goals and consistent performances secured the Brewers a League 2 play off spot.

Wolves Winger Ismail also spent time at MK Dons in 2012/13, making seven appearances.

5: Antoni Sarcevic (Fleetwood)

The Cod Army have been nothing short of brilliant this season, and if Fleetwood move on to brighter shores via the play offs then Antoni Sarcevic will take a lot of the credit.

League 2’s equivalent to Adnan Januzaj (Sarcevic is eligible for England, Italy and Serbia), the 22-year-old has impressed at Highbury since his summer move from Conference Chester.

The Manchester City youth product leads both the scoring and assist tally for Fleetwood this season with 13 goals and setting up five, no doubt attracting the attention of opposition clubs.

If Sarcevic does move on, Fleetwood will be hoping there is plenty more fish in the sea.

4: Sam Clucas (Mansfield)

A success story of Glenn Hoddle’s academy for released players in Jerez, Clucas has proved his worth by shining in Mansfield Yellow this season as the newly promoted to the football league club have secured their status for next term.

Clucas has finished top of the class. The 23-year-old is the club’s top scorer this season with eight goals from midfield from a total of just 37 shots, all of which have been on target, along with the two assists to his name.

Not bad for someone who was working in Debenhams in 2009.

3: Rhys Murphy (Dagenham and Redbridge)

Murphy has struggled since his 2012 release from Arsenal but now finally looks to have found his form.

The former Republic of Ireland Under 21 International never made the grade in North London and had two unsuccessful loan spells at Brentford and Preston, failing to score in 10 games in the two moves.

He had better luck at his first club since his Arsenal release, netting seven in 28 for Dutch second tier side Telstar but it is Dagenham where he has finally shown what he is capable of.

13 goals in 32 games meant that Murphy was voted the fourth best player in League 2 this season.

2: Scott Hogan (Rochdale)

Scott Hogan’s Rochdale career has not been conventional to say the least.

First signing for the club in 2010, Hogan was released at the end of the season without making an appearance for the Dale. After spending time at six clubs in three years across the non leagues including the likes of Woodley Sports (21 goals in 27), Stocksbridge (seven in 16) and Hyde (three in 11), he found himself back at Spotland

17 goals in 29 games for Rochdale saw him voted the third best player in League 2 this season, something Hogan would not have expected when he failed to score in five games for Halifax Town in 2011.

1: Sam Winnall (Scunthorpe)

League 2’s top scorer has had to wait for his moment in the spotlight. Overlooked at Wolves, making zero appearances in four years to then scoring just nine goals in four loan spells (seven of which at Burton Albion), it was bold for Scunthorpe to pin their promotion hopes on Winnall.

He has repaid the faith though, hitting 23 goals in 42 games as Scunny returned to League 1 at the first time of asking, finishing in third place.

Danger lies for the future of the Iron though, Winnall is only tied down to a one year contract so could find himself at another club next season if he is not signed on quickly.

SW

Top 10: Best young League 1 players

Image

10: Dele Alli (MK Dons)

The first, and youngest, member of this top 10 list, Bamidele Jermaine (Dele) Alli is a real star in the making. A third tier regular at the tender age of 18 (having been 17 for the majority of the season), making 26 appearances for Milton Keynes this season and scoring six goals in the league along with two assists does not go unnoticed.

Those six goals makes him the third highest goalscorer at Stadium:MK and his impact would have both surprised and delighted his boss Karl Robinson who is a young Manager himself.

Alli has already got International recognition, with nine England Under 17 caps to his name.

Despite being so young, Alli has already scored his first senior hat-trick in a 1-3 away win at Notts County.

“He’s one of the most gifted 17-year-olds this country has ever seen” Robinson announced at the final whistle. High praise indeed.

9: Luke Freeman (Stevenage)

Stevenage’s go to man for success is former Arsenal man Luke Freeman.

The 22 year old winger is the Boro’s third leading scorer with six strikes and the club’s main provider with a further six assists. Freeman sadly couldn’t save Stevenage from the drop back down to League 2 but without him the Hertfordshire club would not have been as close to survival as they were.

Dartford born danger man Freedman is attracting attention from clubs in the higher divisions and following Stevenage’s relegation, it seems even more unlikely that he will stay at Broadhill Way.

8: Matt Tootle (Crewe) 

It would not be a list of young talents in League 1 without a Crewe player, would it? The Alex’s esteemed youth academy that has developed talents such as Leeds United’s Luke Murphy, Dean Ashton, Nicky Maynard and most notably Manchester United’s Nick Powell, has found another gem in Matt Tootle.

A Crewe regular since 2009, the 23-year-old has already notched up over 150 games for the Gresty Road club and has been an ever present, not missing a single game as the Railway Men avoided relegation from League 1 for a second successive year.

If Tootle keeps this sort of form up, don’t be surprised if the latest export from Alex’s Academy goes on to bigger and better things like many before him.

7: Harry Maguire (Sheffield United)

In a season that has seen Sheffield United perform well below what they are capable of, Jacob Harry Maguire has been a rare consistent performer at the back and was one of the key men during the second half revival under new boss Nigel Clough.

Thanks to Clough and also to Maguire’s performances at the heart of the Sheffield defence, the Blades soared from relegation fears to finish just one place outside the play offs in 7th along with an FA Cup run that would see them eliminated 5-3 by Hull in the Semi Finals.

Maguire has been a key figure at Bramall Lane since 2011, missing only nine league games in the last three seasons as Sheffield United seek to return to the Championship after three disappointing seasons in League 1.

With an ever improving Maguire, next year might just be their year.

Image

6: Nouha Dicko (Wolves)

11 August 2013 and Nouha Dicko comes on as an 86th minute substitute for James McCarthy at Wembley as Wigan go down 2-0 to Manchester United in the Community Shield. Fast forward eight months and he’s at Wolves in League 1.

Dicko had spent a brief loan spell in Wolverhampton last season, four appearances, all off the bench, one goal. Not enough as Wolves found themselves in the third division having been in the top flight two years previous.

Five goals in five goals for Rotherham United from November to January was all it needed to convince Kenny Jackett to bring Dicko back to the Midlands and the Frenchman’s goal scoring form has not slowed down with him netting 12 in 19 for Wolves as they powered to the League 1 title.

The winger/striker, who is also eligible to play for the Mali international team scored two goals on his return debut at Molineux, a 3-1 home victory over Bristol City while he also grabbed a hat-trick in a 6-4 win over Rotherham, showing no love for his former club.

21 year old Dicko finished the season as Wolves’ second top scorer, with only one behind Bakary Sako on 13. Not bad for a bloke who only joined in January. Wigan could yet rue letting this boy go.

5: Moses Odubajo (Leyton Orient)

Arguably the division’s surprise packages this season, Leyton Orient have sealed themselves a play off spot thanks to a number of quality performances from their young squad.

None more so than from 20-year-old midfielder Moses Adubajo. The Leyton Orient club graduate scored 10 goals from midfield this season and added six assists to his season tally.

Premier League clubs have been alerted to the goal scoring midfielder’s achievements with Tottenham among the clubs reportedly after his signature this Summer and if Russell Slade’s side fail to cross the promotion line then it may be difficult to keep hold of Odubajo.

Image

4: Callum Wilson (Coventry)

Few would have predicted how much of an impact Callum Wilson would make this season following a poor showing this time last year. His total of one goal in 11 last season became 21 in 36 after just a year.

Wilson enjoyed a prolific partnership with Leon Clarke in the first half of this campaign but while Clarke’s goals dried up as he switched Midlands allegiances, Wilson continued to flourish.

21 goals makes Wilson the joint third top scorer with Rotherham’s Kieran Agard, some achievement for a man who missed ten games and being part of a side with -10 points at the start of the season. On top of that, every match being theoretically an away trip with Coventry playing their “home” games 33 miles away at Sixfields in Northampton.

Coventry finished the season in a very respectable position of 18th considering their points deduction and small squad, in addition to losing Clarke midway through the season. Without Wilson, it could well have been a very different outcome.

3: Britt Assombalonga (Peterborough)

Powerful striker Britt Assombalonga has proved to be the signing of the season in League 1 this term. A relative risk by Darren Ferguson to sign him as the Zaire forward had never played third tier football, and had never scored for Championship Watford (playing five games).

Five goals in five for Conference side Braintree Town in 2011/12 and 15 in 43 for League 2 Southend the following season though was enough to convince Ferguson Jnr to snap up Assombalonga for a club record fee, which is unknown, but the 21-year-old proved he was worth his weight in goals, notching 23 in 40 games.

He would turn out to be a villain to Swindon fans, first netting on his Posh debut at London Road in a 1-0 win over the Reds and then leveling the scores in the JPT second leg to force the tie into penalties. Peterborough won to book a spot at Wembley.

Assombalonga would keep up his JPT scoring habits, slotting home a penalty in Posh’s 1-3 win over Chesterfield to win the competition for the first time in their history.

The former Watford man will be looking to show the Hornets what they have let go next season with Peterborough looking to bounce back to the Championship at the first attempt via the play offs. Should Posh earn promotion, they have a certain Ferguson risk to thank.

2: Alex Pritchard (Swindon)

Out of the four loan signings from Tottenham (a further two joining permanently), one young Hotspur stood out from the crowd. So much so that on Tottenham’s first game since Pritchard’s return to North London he was named on the bench away to West Ham.

Voted the second best player in League 1 and short-listed for the football league young player of the year award, the tiny midfielder clearly has a huge future ahead of him.

The 5 foot 6 inch winger ended his time in Wiltshire with six goals to his name, one of them being a fantastic free-kick away to MK Dons, something he is fast picking up a reputation for.

Pritchard may find himself back out on loan next season, quite probably a division or more up from this term with QPR reportedly keen on him but the 21 year old has expressed his desire to prove himself at Tottenham after signing a two year contract  in January last year to quash interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

One thing is for sure is that he will be fondly remembered by Swindon supporters and the feeling is mutual. Pritchard calling this “the best season of my career”. Hopefully many more to come for the England Under 20 International.

1: Adam Forshaw (Brentford)

League 1’s player of the year, Adam Forshaw has been exceptional in the Red and White of Brentford, contributing eight goals and four assists from the centre of midfield as the Bees recovered from the sting of losing out on promotion on the final day of last season.

Brentford also had to show mental toughness to bounce back after then suffering more heartbreak that season, losing the play off final to Yeovil.

The Griffin Park faithful finally saw their side gain promotion to the Championship thanks largely to Forshaw’s performances and Manager Mark Warburton keeping the ship steady midway through the season following Uwe Rosler’s departure to Wigan in early December.

Everton reserve player of the year 2012 Forshaw, 22, was linked with a move out of West London in January but committed his future to Brentford stating “My aim is to get promoted with Brentford. I’m really enjoying it here.

“I feel I’m gaining a lot of experience playing regularly. Last year was a massive learning curve for me.”

Bees fans will be hoping Forshaw shys away from speculation for a second successive season in the Summer and stays on at Brentford with the club looking to establish itself as a Championship side.

Forshaw will very much be key to any chances of that.

Image

Chelsea 0-0 Norwich City: Chelsea uninspiring in dour home draw.

Image

A tame match at Stamford Bridge finished 0-0 which all but ended Chelsea’s already slim title hopes and was not enough for Norwich to have a realistic chance of avoiding relegation to the Championship this season.

A number of penalty shouts were the main talking points of the game, mainly from the home side.

The first one coming five minutes into an uninspiring first half when Michael Turner barged Demba Ba in an off the ball incident inside the box.

Norwich’s shout for a spot kick came when Martin Olsson went down six minutes later.

Ashley Cole won the ball with a pinpoint sliding tackle but Olsson was taken out by John Terry on the follow through, starting penalty claims from the Canaries. Both calls for a penalty ignored by Referee Mike Swarbrick.

Andre Schurrle would be the first player to claim for a penalty in the second period when he was brought down by Alex Tettey but again, referee Swarbrick adjudged the ball was won fairly.

Eden Hazard was the final man to call foul when a wild Ryan Bennett swing caused the Belgian to tumble but on second viewing no contact was made and Hazard fell due him trying to avoid Bennett’s lunge. Demba Ba was ruled out for offside anyway due to the ball coming into his periphery following Hazard’s touch.

Image

David Luiz was the man who would have the main chance of the game when three minutes into the second half he rattled the bar with a ferocious strike after Branislav Ivanovic’s pull back set him up from distance.

Robert Snodgrass had the visitor’s best opportunity when he broke on the counter attack but he took the ball to too tight of an angle and had his shot blocked by Gary Cahill.

The match ended with Hazard coming close, a shot of his palmed away from danger by John Ruddy after the young player of the year jinked away from a few Norwich defenders and then letting fly. Substitute Fernando Torres’ follow up was wayward.

Chelsea were the team more likely to open the scoring in the first 45, largely due to Schurrle. The German hitting a pair of shots at Ruddy from the edge of the area along with setting up Terry for a corner, the Chelsea captain could only head straight at the England international however.

Schurrle’s main contribution though came just after the half hour mark when he picked up a Nemanja Matic pass, turned past Bennett and hit a shot against the outside of the post.

Today’s result leaves the Blues one point off the top two although Liverpool and Manchester City have a game in hand while this result doesn’t help Norwich either. The Norfolk club two points behind Sunderland while the Black Cats boast a game in hand.

Nile Ranger released by Swindon Town

Swindon Town have announced via a club statement that Nile Ranger has had his contract terminated by the Wiltshire club with immediate effect.

Ranger, 22, had a disciplinary meeting with Swindon Town yesterday and it has been decided that he will leave the club.

The decision to release the former Newcastle United striker is made following recent CCTV footage released by The Mirror newspaper that shows the striker appear to strike a woman three times before kicking a door.

Ranger has had the charges of assault dropped but is still on trial for criminal damage, to which he pleads not guilty.

This follows a string of incidents involving the forward including drink driving and a long rape trail, where Ranger was cleared. Along with numerous football related misdemeanour’s such as a repeat failure to turn up to training.

“Following on from yesterday’s disciplinary meeting with Nile Ranger and his PFA representative, Swindon Town Football Club can confirm that both the Club and Nile Ranger have mutually agreed to a termination of Nile’s contract with immediate effect.” read the club statement.

He was in good form for Swindon this season, scoring 10 goals in 28 appearances but missed the end of season with a hamstring injury that he suffered on 14 February against Colchester United.Image