It’s time for another round-up of the latest League One news, starting with a villain from earlier in the season.
Tom Nichols Under Fire
Bristol Rovers at home was a tough game to watch; our players were clearly affected by the upheaval and played badly. They weren’t alone, the Gas seemed uncomfortable on the ball and unlikely to score. It had 0-0 written all over it.
At least it did until Tom Nichols jumped into Neal Eardley and threw himself to the ground for a penalty. the fans cheered him as they scored and went 1-0 up, but they’re not cheering him now.
In fact, he came off during their 2-0 defeat against Bolton to a round off boos, so much so manager Graham Coughlan had to spend time with him on the sideline in a show of solidarity. “Tom’s a strong character,” he said after the game. “I’m in there with him and I’ll take as much of a battering as anybody.”
Nichols has been with the Gas for a few seasons now, but misses lots of opportunities and is often barracked by the fans. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I might have felt sorry for him.
Keith Hill Wants Bolton Leniency
Another situation in which we suffered earlier in the season was fixture congestion. When we made our trip to Doncaster in the league, they’d had a free weekend courtesy of Bolton cancelling their fixture due to player welfare concerns. It was all a bit dubious after a couple of heavy thrashings and the row is still going on.
The FA are likely to punish Bolton with a points deduction, but they’re fixed on still playing the game. Doncaster, who feel they’ve been wronged by not getting the chance to pump five past the kids, feel they should just be awarded the points. Keith Hill, the Bolton manager, thinks that it would be harsh to punish this Bolton setup as they’re different from that of a month or two ago.
“I still believe, me personally, that any judgement on the current football club would be harsh,” he said. “I really do because, and again without getting political, the people responsible for the postponements are no longer, probably, at this football club.”
It wouldn’t be harsh; they have to be treated as a single entity and punished but as for Doncaster wanting the points, that’s ridiculous too. The game was postponed, not cancelled and they should stop trying to grab more benefit from the situation. They already faced a tired Lincoln, twice.
James Henry Signs New Deal
Whilst we’re on the page full of people and situations that have irked me this season, let’s touch on a new two-year deal for Oxford striker James Henry. Why has he ground my gears this season? He scored as Oxford beat us 6-0 and played a blinder. Mind you, everyone in yellow and white played a blinder that day, I’m told.
Henry has been their leading scorer for the past two seasons and has previously played for Wolves and Millwall. He’s penned a deal that also offers a third year as an option, which pretty much ties up his future.
“It was an easy decision, I’ve loved my time at Oxford and I’m really enjoying my football right now,” he said. I bet he enjoyed that sunny afternoon at Sincil Bank immensely.