Gary Bowyer appointed Salford City Manager

The former Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer has agreed to become the new boss of Salford City until the end of the 2020-21 season. 

The 49-year-old is set to become Salford’s third manager of the campaign after Richie Wellens was sacked on Monday having been in charge for just four months.  

Wellens had led Salford to victory in the EFL Trophy 2019/20 final a little over a week ago, as they were able to overcome Portsmouth. It was his performances in the league, however, that proved the ex-Swindon manager’s undoing and prompted Gary Neville and ‘Class of 92’ to sack him.  

Bowyer is currently set to take charge of Salford’s remaining 11 games before returning to Derby to resume his role as their Under 23s boss.  He is going to be assisted by former Manchester United Coach Warren Joyce, who has also had spells as manager with Wigan Athletic and Melbourne City, and ex-Manchester United and Everton midfielder Darren Gibson.   

Following his appointment, Bowyer said: 

I’m delighted to be here, I’ve got to first and foremost thank Wayne Rooney, Darren Wassall at Derby County for being so helpful to allow me to come here. Obviously today is a case of meeting the players and setting the expectations of what we expect of them from now until the end of the season.

“We want them to be playing aggressive football both with and without the ball, and have a right good go at these remaining 11 games. We have an opportunity like everybody else in this league to try and force our way into the reckoning to try and get into the play offs and see if we can do that.”

During his playing days Bowyer played as a full back for Hereford United and Rotherham United, but he had to retire early due to injury.  He was, however, part of the successful Miller’s side who won the EFL Trophy in 1996.  

As a Manager, meanwhile, one of his main highlights so far has been winning promotion from League Two with Blackpool via the play-offs in 2017.  

Indeed, that is something that Neville and the Class of 92 will want Bowyer to emulate with their Salford side who are six points outside of the play-off places following there 2-0 loss to leaders Cheltenham Town.  His first game in charge will be against fellow play-off hopefuls Exeter City this weekend.  

Can Salford still achieve promotion to League One this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below….   

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The Guardiola Effect

With Portsmouth appointing Danny Cowley and his Brother Nicky as new coaches yesterday and having watched their interview, It was hard not to start thinking of the Guardiola Effect.

In case you haven’t seen the interview, the Cowley brothers were asked how they like their teams to play football.

The answer …

With a High Pressing line, attacking on the front foot and fast, giving the opposition no time to think

Having listened to this, the mind started to wander towards Pep Guardiola. You see his teams have played that way for years. The results are obvious. Trophies!

Now you can argue that he has brought success, but there are many negations for that, because players still have to perform. Although, if you were in charge of a team that had very very rich owners giving you a blank cheque book to buy the best, then I challenge you to not buy them.

Its this transition caused by Guardiola, that has led a number of managers to follow suit. Some examples are: Mauricio Pochettino, now at Paris St Germain, Maurizio Sarri, formerly of Chelsea and Juventus and Jurgen Klopp, of… Oh Yes, Liverpool.

Now these are some more famous examples. Each of course would argue that he has his own ideas behind that philosophy. Lets, however, look closer to home for some more examples of The Guardiola Effect.

In the Championship, Darren Moore now at Sheffield Wednesday, while in League One: Grant McCann at Hull City, Russ Martin at MK Dons. More on MK Dons in a moment. Mark Robinson at AFC Wimbledon and finally Darren Ferguson at Peterborough All of these are managers who, are adapting the Guardiola effect.

Now when you actually stop and think about it, the principle is very simple. Your team has two parts of its game. In Possession and Out of Possession. Simply put, when you lose the ball your have to win it back again and keep control of it so you can dictate the pace of the game and wear the other team down.

Ultimately, you want to be playing in your opponents defensive area, which is your final third because attack is the best form of defence.

Make Sense?…

Games of Football are won by scoring goals and not conceding them. This was embodied by Guardiola’s teams at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Manchester City

If you concede more than one every game, then clearly you are not going to be very successful. This brings me on very nicely to two team who through the years, do this very well.

First cast your mind back, waayy back to the mid-eighties. Wimbledon, love them or loathe them, played the game this way. In those days they played the POMO game – Possession Of Maximum Opportunity.

It was successful, though they bypassed the midfield and relied on winning second balls, they gained lots of promotions this way and won an FA Cup Final in 1988 against Liverpool thanks to a Lawrie Sanchez goal.

Bolton Wanderers, years later under Sam Allardyce, were also as successful playing like this. Now fast forward to date and this current season. Currently in League One, MK Dons under the guidance of Russ Martin, they are arguably playing the most successful brand of football throughout the Football League.

They play possession based football, which week in week out causes their opponents no end of problems and Martin’s side invariably win the stats charts by miles compared to other teams.

MK Dons, play the Guardiola Effect very well, wearing teams down and it is no coincidence that they often score last minute goals, simply because the other team are tired from trying to win the ball back.

The transition is fairly smooth and the opposition very rarely get to touch the ball. A testament to how effective this style of play is demonstrated by regular appearances of MK Dons players’ names appearing in the League One Team of the Week.

Now they may not win promotion this season, but the play-offs are a possibility along with Portsmouth. They will be strong favourites for automatic promotion, possibly even as champions next season from League One.

Whether Portsmouth do get Promotion this season via the play-offs, due to the Guardiola effect remains to be seen, but it will be an exciting period in PO4 for the next 12 games.

So, who else will the Guardiola Effect… Affect?

DONS Youth Show The Way

AFC Wimbledon’s Youth side last night showed the Senior Team just how to win a football match by beating Burnley 1-0 in the FA Youth Cup at Plough Lane.

The team has been together for a few years now and they successfully took the game to their Premier League counterparts. The result was all the more enjoyable because Burnley are a Category One Premier League Youth set up unlike AFC Wimbledon.

In another twist of irony, the game at Plough Lane last night was AFC Wimbledons Youth sides first appearance at the Stadium

In addition, it also came some 46 years after the original Wimbledon Travelled to Lancashire in the FA Cup and defeated Burnley 1-0. The goal on that memorable occassion was scored by Mick Mahon.

Fast forward to the present day, however, and it was Wimbledon who took the game to their Premier League opponents.

In yet another ironic twist, The Dons formation for last night’s game was a 3-5-2 formation. Yes!!!… the very same much maligned formation the first team were playing before Glyn Hodges left by mutual consent.

On this occassion the 3-5-2 formation was made up like this: Three central defenders, two holding midfielders-to give cover to the back line while also allowing the left and right sided central defenders to provide overlaps for the midfield, four midfielders, which comprised two wing backs and two central midfielders, one of which was an attacking midfielder and finally one lone striker.

From the outset The Dons took the game to Burnley and were unlucky not to be leading at the break.

It should also be pointed out, that AFC Wimbledon’s youngsters are no strangers to getting good results. In the past they have also won significant victories against Newcastle and Chelsea.

They have also won a trophy this season by beating Rotherham on their own patch, courtesy of a goal from Matthew Cox… Their Goalkeeper, who used to to play, of all things… Rugby!!

Last night, however, he was just one of the stars as Wimbledon scored their 81st minute winner through Paris Lock.

What is clearly very evident, is that the Youth team are showing the Senior Team the way forward and are in a lot of ways better to watch than the seniors, though that is a matter for another day.

For now though, the Dons Youth March on!

Portsmouth aPPOINT Danny Cowley as new boss

Portsmouth FC, who are currently looking for a new manager, have gone strangely quiet on this topic in the last few days. Joe Gallen, was the Interim coach for Tuesday night’s game at Peterborough.

The club, however, say they have had a number of applications, but despite their being several names linked to the job, two appear to have rules themselves out completely. Those being Neil Harris and Daniel Stendel. This was on the basis of the appointment Portsmouth are keen on, which is short term until the end of the season. While both Harris and Stendel, wanted longer term contracts.

All of which has apparently left the path clear for the Cowley Brothers. Danny and Nicky Cowley, who have been out of work since leaving Huddersfield. It is understood the club have held extensive talks with the pair and have named them as new coaches of Pompey until the end of the season.

It is not understoood what role if any Joe Gallen will play in the new set up. Gallen has been Kenny Jackett’s right hand man, for several years, but in the wake of Jacketts departure, he was put in sole charge. And judging by the way he donned more formal clothing on Tuesday sees himself as a candidate, but with the Cowleys set to be appointed it might be a different picture.

Fan Excitement

Will the Cowleys appointment give the fans excitement? They certainly were not the coaches that perhaps many were expecting, however, they are still none the less very successful at lower league level

Every club they have been with since starting out at Concord Rangers they have improved and more importantly from Portsmouth’s view, achieved promotion to a higher league.

Their last notable success was with Lincoln City, before the Cowleys’ appointment Lincoln were a non-league side, but under the Cowleys they got promoted back into the Football League & subsequently gained promotion to League One.

This success attracted Huddersfield Town to come calling. The Brothers then left Lincoln, who at the time were riding high in League One to take over at the Yorkshire based club. Sadly for them despite saving The Terriers from relegation, the Cowleys were sacked and have been out of work ever since.

Success

Right now though they may not star names as some other managers are, but if they bring success to Pompey and achieve promotion to the Championship then the Fratton Faithful will be very happy indeed!

The brand of football the Cowleys will bring to Pompey is expansive and attacking so you can be sure given the talented squad the South Coast club have, in my opinion if not automatic promotion, then at the very least the play offs are a certainty. Either way though it is going to be a very exciting end to the season for the club.

Do you think Pompey will be promoted to the Championship at the end of the season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…..

Theatre Of Dreams for United Women

Manchester United Women are set to play their first ever match at Old Trafford. United’s match against West Ham will be moved to The Theatre of Dreams instead of their usual home venue of Leigh Sports Village.

A gap in the Old Trafford schedule has allowed the switch to take place. The match is scheduled to take place on Saturday 27th March with a 11.30 am kick off.

United are third in the FA WSL and are currently chasing a Champions League place. The Red Devils still have an outside chance of catching league leaders Chelsea.

The match will be played behind closed doors so United will be unable to welcome their supporters but the move shows the club’s commitment to their women’s side.

United Manager Casey Stoney told manutd.com:

“Playing at Old Trafford will obviously be a special moment in the history of this team and it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the women’s game, which has seen huge growth over the last few years.

“We, of course, will miss our fans. They are such an important part of this club and we have felt their amazing support from afar throughout the season.

“We are all eager to get them back in the stands as soon as possible and hope that there will be many more opportunities to play at Old Trafford in the future.”

Chief Operating Officer, Collette Roche added:

We are thrilled to be hosting our women’s team at Old Trafford. The international break this month created a gap in this season’s relentless programme at the stadium and we all agreed that this was the right time to welcome Casey and her squad to Old Trafford.

“We would have loved for fans to able to be there to witness this moment, but that time will come. For now, our preparations are in full swing as we set the stage to host our match with West Ham United next week”.

United to will travel to play fourth placed Arsenal on Friday 19th March before heading to Old Trafford the following week.

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