With Mark O’Haire lording it up in Germany all weekend, Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) picks out some pointers from the weekend football.
Leeds Fail To Look Inside
Leeds were well-backed to suffer relegation this season and that gamble looked on the button with Dave Hockaday struggling at the helm early in the campaign. The Yorkshire side were 21st when Hockaday left on August 28th and the signs didn’t look good. To plug the gap, Massimo Cellino looked to academy coach Neil Redfearn. Redfearn didn’t disappoint, in fact he excelled. Four league games in charge produced three wins and a draw and Leeds climbed from 21st to 12th in the Championship table. Yet despite that, Cellino has ignored Redfearn’s claims for the position full-time and turned to Slovenian Darko Milanic.
Milanic was a big success managing Maribor in his native land but found a stint at Sturm Graz in Austria a lot harder as he took the club to 5th place in the league. Milanic’s first game in charge of Leeds was a 2-0 home defeat to promoted Brentford and while it’s early days, it’s disconcerting to see the run that Redfearn built come to an end. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to keep Redfearn in the post? Surely he deserved a proper crack at the job?
In the league this season Leeds have taken three points out of 15 without Redfearn and 10 points out of 12 without him. Hmmm. You can back Leeds at 7/1 with Bet365 to go down this season.
Time To Give Hamilton Some Credit
One team that haven’t been given the credit they deserve in the mainstream media this season are Hamilton Academicals. Alex Neil’s side shocked Scottish football back in May by getting the better of Hibs in their promotion/relegation play-off but over four months on, the only surprise is that the game was so close.
The Accies have picked up 17 points out of 24 so far in the SPFL this campaign. They’re unbeaten since the opening day, went to Tannadice and got a draw, smashed last year’s runners-up Motherwell 4-0 on Saturday and now boast the best top-flight start (after 8 games) for a promoted club for 57 years!
On Sunday they face a struggling Celtic side fresh from a Europa League match three days earlier and are 12/1 to win with Bet365.
Is Slade The Right Man For Cardiff?
It’s only a matter of time now before Cardiff appoint Russell Slade as their new manger, but is he the right fit for the club? The avuncular 53 year-old has never managed at a level as high as this and his overall record has it’s blips as well as triumphs.
Slade made his name at Scarborough and then took Grimsby to the League Two play-offs in 2005/06 after an average season the year before. His spell at Yeovil is remembered for taking them all the way to the League One play-off final in 2007 but it’s worth recalling they finished 18th and 17th during the next two campaigns. When he left the club in February 2009, the Glovers were in 16th position in the table. Slade then took charge of Brighton for six months and lost 16 of his 32 games while in charge. Leyton Orient came calling and there’s no doubting he was a success there, taking the side to the League One play-off final earlier this year.
Slade comes across as a great guy, but after having issues with the new Leyton Orient hierarchy, I’m not sure how he’ll be able to deal with Vincent Tan. As someone who’s backed Cardiff at 40/1 for relegation in early-August, I’m comfortable with this appointment.