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Posts Tagged ‘ Ian Holloway ’

Premier League Preview: Jose’s Blues Are The Boys To Beat

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With the new Premier League season fast approaching, it’s hard to look beyond an old foe of many managers and fans alike from stealing the limelight once the season gets underway.

This summer’s transfer window and indeed all of the summer’s talk has been shaped around three men, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Arsenal’s pursuit of the Uruguayan, Wayne Rooney and his transfer request and Spur’s Gareth Bale who is being courted by Real Madrid.

One team, with the exception of a handful of Rooney rumours, has slipped under the radar as they plan to wrestle back a title that they won back to back in 2005 and 2006, and they have Jose Mourinho back to steer them there. Continue reading

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A League Of Its Own – A Tribute to English Football’s Second Tier…

bdLet’s face it, the Premier League title race is over. There will be no Manchester United collapse. There will be no squeaky bum time. There will be no Agueroooooooooo. The crown sits squarely on Sir Alex’s crusty head, and we’re yet to breach the vernal equinox.

But fear not, there is still entertainment to be had watching Sky Sports desperately trying to inject excitement into the proceedings. Flailing like a wounded goliath, they insist that Chelsea and Spurs are locked in a death battle for 3rd place. Hmm. That would be a battle to avoid a couple of extra games in the Champions League next August then. Tense stuff. Continue reading

Five League of Ireland Stars Who Could Make It Abroad

The League of Ireland has become a haven for talent in recent years with stars such as James McClean, Seamus Coleman, Keith Fahey, Shane Long and Kevin Doyle becoming mainstays of the Irish national team.

Other potential talents such as Daniel Kearns, Ben McLaughlin and Eoin Doyle have also been plucked from the League, with the former duo earmarked as Irish stars of the future.

There has been something of a rapid transformation in recent years as the talent emerging from the League is greater than ever before.

Here Irish News Review details five potential stars that soon could be making waves abroad.  

Chris Forrester

Pats star Forrester is widely considered the most talented player in the League of Ireland and it’s not hard to see why. The Dublin native has been linked to numerous clubs in England and Scotland, with Sunderland, Hibernian and others believed to be among potential suitors. Forrester is something of a football genius and at such a young age he is yet to reach his full potential. His dribbling skills, command of the ball and overall eye for goal are something to be witnessed. Few can say they have faced the tricky Forrester and won the battle. Forrester may well be off to pastures new this off season and he will be more than ready for anything foreign soil has to offer. There is no doubt the ex Bohemians star is a future Ireland international.

 Ronan Finn

Shamrock Rovers PFAI player of the year nominee is one of the most gifted and well rounded individuals in the League of Ireland and has been for some time. The ex UCD star was linked to Hibs this week, along with Forrester but Pat Fenlon has revealed his January priorities lie in tying down three current players he has on loan. Some reports have suggested Finn recently turned down a move to Crystal Palace, the reasons remain unknown but it is a very questionable decision given the current form of Ian Holloway’s Eagles. A January move to England looks extremely likely for Finn but his destination remains a mystery. Many would argue Finn is on a different level to Paul Corry, another ex UCD star who recently moved to Sheffield Wednesday and has impressed thus far. Expect Finn to light up the Championship in the next year at least.

 Stephen McLaughlin

Few could have dreamed that Derry City would have an automatic replacement for the immaculate James McClean when the star departed the Brandywell for Sunderland. But Stephen McLaughlin stepped up to the plate following McClean’s departure and the Derry star is one of the most gifted wingers the League of Ireland has ever seen. Declan Devine will do extremely well to hang onto him and it’s widely expected he will be the subject of much interest come the transfer window. McLaughlin certainly possesses a bright future and the cup final winner is another star with the potential to represent a national side, be it Ireland or Northern Ireland, in the not too distant future.

Ryan Brennan

Drogheda United have defied expectations this season and managed to finish in a staggering second place position, thanks in large part to the Brennan brothers, of which Ryan has the most potential. 2012 was a defining season for Ryan who shone as the Drogs mounted a surprisingly serious title tilt, emerging from the shadows of his brother Killian, who endured a less than spectacular season at Shamrock Rovers. Ryan possesses everything a manager looks for in a winger. His rise from Monaghan United and the First Division to the lofty heights of the Premier Division under the guidance of Mick Cooke has been something special. But his rise to stardom is far from over. Ryan Brennan is definitely another player who will no doubt be at the forefront of some manager’s thoughts and his rise to prominence will develop further with a move abroad.

Kevin Feely

Bohemians starlet Kevin Feely has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks with Everton been known admirers of the Kildare natives talents. Charlton Athletic have also shown an interest, inviting the former Kildare GAA minor player over for a second trial in the coming weeks. The 19 year old enjoyed a solid season in the League of Ireland and has earned high praise from Bohs manager Aaron Callaghan.

Reid Heads Blackpool Exodus

Exiled Ireland international Andy Reid is among 11 players released by Blackpool as they brace for their return to the second tier of English football.

 The former Sunderland and Spurs star who has not featured for Ireland since a bust up with manger Giovanni Trappattoni in 2007 made only five appearances as Ian Holloway`s men were relegated to the Championship. 

The 28 year old Dubliner had joined the Tangerines in January but found his chances at Bloomfield Road limited.

 Reports coming from the North West have indicated that Wigan Athletic, who narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the season may be willing to take a punt on the Dubliner.

The Tangerines have also released Richard Kingson, Marlon Harewood, Jason Euell, David Carney, Paul Rachubka, Danny Coid, Malaury Martin, Rob Edwards, Salaheddine Sbai and Ishmel Demontagnac.

“Blackpool Football Club would like to thank all of those players departing for their efforts and wishes them all the very best for the future,” read the club’s website. 

Elsewhere, Bolton Wanderers have released former Irish international Joey O`Brien.

Premier League Preview

This weekend`s fixture list throws up some exciting derby matches as the Premier League resumes following last week“s FA Cup third round matches.   

 

West Ham V Arsenal

 

With the backing of their tremendous fans, the Hammers may well pull off a result in what would appear to be Avram Grant`s last match in charge. However, Arsenal will be eager to avenge their recent results, with a 1-1 FA Cup Draw with Leeds and a 1-0 defeat to Ipswich in the League Cup semi final leaving Gunners fans aggrieved.

 

Verdict: Draw

 

Liverpool V Everton

 

This Merseyside derby always serves us a tense battle and Kenny Dalglish will be eager to get his first win as Liverpool manager over their arch enemies. He will have to do so without the services of the influential Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Dalglish will be hoping his side can improve on their disastrous midweek performance, where Blackpool came from a goal behind to beat the Anfield side for the second time this season.

Everton manager David Moyes will be hoping like Blackpool, that his side can do the double over Liverpool this season. However Everton may well struggle for goals as top scorer Tim Cahill is away on international duty with Australia. Expect the home side to edge this one with Fernando Torres putting his critics to shame.  

 

Verdict: Liverpool

 

Spurs V Man Utd

 

Man United travel to Spurs on Sunday for what should be an intriguing tie. United will find it tough against Harry Redknapp`s men and their unbeaten record in the Premier League this season faces a real threat.

 

Spurs will definitely frustrate the Red Devils, with a draw the most likely outcome.

 

Verdict: Draw

 

Chelsea V Blackburn

 

Chelsea host Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge as they aim to put together a steady run of results following their desire form as of late. Roque Santa Cruz`s return to Lancashire will boost Steve Kean`s men and they will certainly be up for this match. However with their inconsistent form this season Rovers may just fall short.

 

Verdict: Chelsea   

 

Man City V Wolves

 

Roberto Mancini`s men will be aiming to crank up the pressure on Manchester United at the top of the table this weekend but they must not underestimate a Wolves side, who have beaten both Liverpool and Chelsea in recent weeks.

Mick McCarthy`s men will travel to Eastlands in a confident mood but the relegation candidates may well fall fowl to Edin Dzeko, with City`s new 27 million striker the catalyst for a title tilt.

 

Verdict: Man City   

 

Stoke V Bolton

 

Bolton travel to the Britannia Stadium this weekend hoping to maintain their push for  Europe. While the Trotters have produced some outstanding displays this term they may well come unstuck against Tony Pulis` men. A draw is the most likely result.

 

Verdict:Draw  

 

West Brom V Blackpool

 

Ian Holloway`s side will roll into the Midlands this weekend in confident mood after putting Liverpool to the sword in midweek. Blackpool have every reason to be confident ahead of this match as West Brom are on an alarming slide down the table after their early season exploits.

 

Verdict: Blackpool

 

Wigan V Fulham

 

Wigan will be eager to start putting more points on the board as they currently sit second bottom. A win over Mark Hughes` men may well move them out of the relegation zone but they must rely on results elsewhere. Fulham will provide stiff competition for the Latics as they are in a similar position. Should Roberto Martinez`s side win they will jump above the Cottagers but this match has draw written all over it.

 

Verdict:Draw

 

Sunderland V Newcastle United

 

Sunderland host their fierce rivals in the second Tyne Wear derby of the season, with manager Steve Bruce still smarting after the Geordies thrashed the Wearsiders earlier this season.

 

Sunderland may well fall short again with key players missing through injury and suspension. Newcastle are no different with Andy Carroll set to miss out yet they still possess the quality to to the double over their neighbours.

 

Verdict: Newcastle  

 

Birmingham City V Aston Villa

 

These two sides meet at St Andrews with only a point separating them. This season has proved to be a frustrating one for both sides as they languish in the bottom half of the table. For Birmingham, its been a case of lacking goals while for Villa it has just been one long slide under Gerard Houllier. Birmingham look set to appease their goal drought with the signing of Spurs striker Robbie Keane while Villa are in the market for some new players, with Jean Makoun of Lyon undergoing a medical at Villa Park.

The incentive is their for both sides but Alex McLeish`s men may prove too strong for Villa.

 

Verdict: Birmingham City

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