Given our free weekend, and lack of action of late, we thought we’d do a quick roundup of the latest news across League One.
Cowley Defends Loan Capture
Starting at Portsmouth, Danny Cowley is having to defend players once again. Earlier this season, he leapt to the defence of former Imps stopper Josh Griffiths, who was coming in for criticism from supporters. It’s now the turn of Josh Koroma, who scored four in four for Pompey in September but has since struggled in front of goal.
“Josh Koroma is very composed as a player and that means he has that moment extra,” Cowley told The News. “It allows him to be very calm and execute technically. Sometimes people get the wrong perception of those type players. It’s so unfair and so untrue.”
It feels a little like the situation with John Akinde, a player who still gets slated for his time with the Imps now but was integral to our League Two title-winning team of 2019.
Former Imp Goes Under The Knife
Another former Imp in the League One news this week is striker Tyreece John-Jules. Remember him? He signed in Michael Appleton’s first window and had previously been tipped to make the grade at Arsenal. Injury-hit loans at Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster have followed before he rocked up at Ipswich this season. It seems his luck is still out; he’s now injured for the Tractor Boys, and has recently returned to Arsenal for rehabilitation. He’s suffered a tear in his hamstring and is now expected to be out until February.
“Tyreece has had surgery to repair his hamstring so will spend a period of time now back at Arsenal for the initial period of his rehab, which makes sense on a few different levels,” Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna said as per Football London. “He’ll re-join us in a few weeks when the medical teams agree on the handover of the rehab, but the injury is typically one with three or four months of recovery.”
So, it isn’t just us that suffer injury problems. Who would have thought it?
League One Boss Under Pressure
It was very obvious back in October that Charlton were not in a good place; they’ve got a squad of players that should be doing much better, but they’re struggling at the wrong end of the table. That could spell trouble for Ben Garner – he’s apparently under pressure at the Valley already, in the words of reporter Alan Nixon.
Garner, who was lured from Swindon in the summer and took a couple of players with him, might have one safety net – the cost of firing him. Nixon notes it would take a “massive payoff to move him out”, something the club may not be willing to act upon immediately. However, after being held 2-2 in the FA Cup by League Two side Stockport, failure to pick up significant points against Cheltenham, Morecambe and Bristol Rovers before Christmas could leave them with a bold decision to make before the transfer window opens.
The Addicks are six points off the play-offs in 14th but do have a League Cup tie to look forward to against Brighton in December. Their cause hasn’t been helped by a three-match ban for striker Jayden Stockley, nor his paltry return of three goals in 19 appearances this season.
Like Charlton, Oxford are one of those teams you’d expect to be punching a little higher than they are. They’re locked on the same number of points as the Addicks, albeit with a slightly better goal difference, but manager Karl Robinson is (as usual) not happy. “We need to get rid of negative energy from ourselves first and make sure we put in positive performances and win games – then all of a sudden things start turning around,” he said ahead of his side’s game against Exeter City this weekend, a game which has set up a lucrative FA Cup Third Round tie against Arsenal.
However, Robinson’s transfer moves in the summer have not worked out. One player he handed a new deal to, Alex Gorrin, was linked with the Imps, but he’s since been out injured for much of the campaign. Striker Sam Baldock has also missed much of the season, and both have been huge misses for Robinson. “Gorrin and Baldock were given new deals because we needed some sort of players in the building that knew what we were doing and had been part of that squad that had been successful with the points tally the year before.”
In addition, summer recruits Josh Murphy, Kyle Joseph and Yanic Wildschut have all had significant spells on the sidelines. “Injuries are part and parcel of the game and I think when you make these decisions, you always know players are vulnerable to being injured – it’s a contact sport,” Robinson added, in advice that maybe some City fans might like to remember if we get another spell where players are out.
The gift that keeps on giving – Joey Barton has, once again, been ranting at his own players. He perhaps has a right; they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Boreham Wood this weekend, losing 2-0 at home in what Barton calls the lowest moment of his career (he must have a blank around February 2017). He laid into some of the Bristol Rovers players on display, claiming they shouldn’t be footballers based on their outing.
“Their f****** feet won’t hit the ground if they think that’s the level of performance.,” he started by saying. “The FA Cup is great and we want to have a good cup run and visit some grounds. I don’t give a s*** about it because I’ve played in all these places. Are we going to win the FA Cup? Absolutely not. Could we take the fans on a journey and the team on a journey? Yeah, so I’m disappointed in that regard.”
He went on to add, “I don’t like losers; I don’t like spending time with losers. Of the group that lost for us in the first period when I took over, 40 of them have exited the building, staff included. You get a short time on this planet. I don’t like spending time with people who don’t care about what they do and don’t apply themselves correctly in every single moment of their life.”
There was some ex-Imps involvement in the game, only Rovers’ third defeat in 15 outings. Bruno Andrade spent the entire match on the bench, but former loanee David Stephens scored the second of Boreham Woods’ first-half goals, prompting Barton to make four changes at half time.
Dale Vince, Forest Green owner and chairman of Ecotricity, the energy company recently accused of failing vulnerable customers, has been calling the FA hypocrites. His side wanted to wear ‘Just Stop Oil’ t-shirts ahead of their FA Cup tie with South Shields but were stopped from doing so by the FA. He wrote a letter to FA chief Mark Bullingham, which he shared with the world, claiming the FA were guilty of hypocrisy. I don’t like Vince or Forest Green, but he does have a point.
“Just Stop Oil is an environmental campaign and slogan,” he wrote. “The people behind it and those that support it are apolitical. They seek the ending of exploration for new sources of fossil fuels, because of the energy crisis.”
He claims that being prevented from wearing the T-shirts mirrored the situation in Qatar with One Love armbands, something the FA spoke out about.
“The FA have been highly critical of FIFA for not allowing the wearing of the OneLove armband and for the ‘unlimited’ sanctions that the FA and England team faced if they ignored that advice. This situation mirrors the situation we found ourselves in a few weeks ago, except in this case, the FA played the role of FIFA. In England, where the FA has jurisdiction, it banned our intended act of solidarity, and we also faced unlimited sanctions.”
Don’t you hate it when Dale Vince is right about something?