Barbados Tridents v Guyana Amazon Warriors Betting Tips and Predictions

Barbados Tridents v Guyana Amazon Warriors
Saturday 21 September, 23:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Tridents in the mixer

The Tridents are in the mix for a play-off spot after beating the St Lucia Zouks early on Saturday. They barely broke sweat and having played only four matches, and recorded two wins, they will feel ideally placed for qualification particularly with the Zouks and Jamaica Tallawahs enduring miserable campaigns.

There were contributions from four of their front five with the bat – JP Duminy the odd one out with a low strike rate of 100 – and that's a great sign that they are not reliant on firestarters in the opening berth or one lone hitter.

We can't get too carried away with their bowling effort, though. Not that it's their fault. They bowled out the Zouks for 101. This sounds and looks impressive until you remember that the Zouks are hopeless.

Sandeep Lamichhane, one of our favourite players, and Jason Hodler are dovetailing well. With a decent team ethic they could yet spring a surprise or two.

Visitors need to work on bowling

Guyana boast five wins from five and they are our outright tip for glory and finally ending their record of forever the bridesmaid, never the bride. Of course, it would be typical if they let slip a poor performance to push their outright price out a bit just after we've backed them.

Enough about insecurities and foibles, though. Man for man they are the best team in the tournament and have every base covered from fast openers, middle-order class, late hitters and, crucially, the best bowling attack in the tournament.

It is bowlers who win franchise tournaments and we would be surprised if Imran Tahir, Qais Ahmed, Chris Green and Roamrio Shepherd do not combine for glory.

Last time out against the Tallawahs they produced a strong display, winning by 81 runs. Shoaib Malik was the star with runs, a miserly over, catches, a run out and shrewd captaincy.

Won by the chaser

This is the first match to be played at the Kensington Oval this term. The first-innings scores in the last two tournaments (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 128-2/136-1/195-1/158-1/135-2/165-2/151-2/128-2/147-2.
What is curious about that set of numbers is that all of the 2017 matches were won by the chaser. And all but one of the 2018 matches were won by the team batting first. Guyana have won on their last two visits, bowling out the Tridents for just 59 last season.

No room for Tridents wager

The Tridents are [2.50] with Guyana [1.52}. That is what the prices should be given the form and balance of the two teams.

It's a shame that 2017 toss bias didn't hold because we would have made a case for the Tridents with the toss in their favour. If the ball can hold up a bit off the surface, then Lamichhane is a big threat with scoreboard pressure. Of course, it is tacky then Tridents are in a spot of bother themselves with that Guyana spin attack to the fore. They are to be taken on in a chase if [1.7] Guyana comes.

Lamichhane's time

Lamichhane is expected to go off at around 11/4 with Sportsbook for top Tridents wicket-taker. It would be interesting to see the Warriors given a taste if their own medicince on a spinning wicket. Of course, it could backfire in the short term but long term Tridents will reckon they have a good combination of bowler and pitch to send them shooting up the league. It would be surprising if they don't give Lamichhane what he needs.

Keep an eye on Pooran

We've struggled to find an edge on the Tridents top batter market all season. And the same goes for Guyana. For the latter we're waiting for the right sort of price about Nic Pooran, who has been put in the shade somewhat by Brandon King, Chadrapaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetymer and Shoaib. It's a terrific batting line-up. Shoaib top scored last time but we'll be play Pooran if 6s comes with Sportsbook.

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St Lucia Zouks v Trinbago Knight Riders Betting Tips & Predictions

St Lucia Zouks v Trinbago Knight Riders
Sunday 22 September, 01:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Zouks hopeless

The Zouks produced the sort of insipid and chaotic performance for which they are well known early on Saturday for their first home game of the campaign. They bowled and then batted with the skill, nerve and discipline befitting of a team which is badly run and badly selected.

Their bowlers went round the park, conceding 172. Kesrick Williams took three wickets but at 11 an over he was horribly expensive. Darren Sammy and Obed McCoy, their two most economical bowlers at six and 6.3 an over respectively, didn't bowl their full allocation.

The game was up by the third over when they found themselves 15 for three. Eventually they folded for a pathetic 101 to be hammered out of sight. Colin Ingram, a new recruit to replace Thisara Perera, must be wondering what he's walked into. To add insult to injury, McCoy is now a doubt for this one because of injury.

Visitors need to work on bowling

Trinbago have had some time off to reflect on their first defeat of the season, a Super Over loss to the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. In that downtime they will dismiss it as one of those things or, if they're smart, recognise that their bowling unit is not performing well.

They failed to defend 216 against the Patriots. Against Jamaica Tallawahs, albeit a victory, they conceded 226 and even the Zouks' batting got hold of them, posting 167.

It is possible that after the loss of Dwayne Bravo to a season-ending finger injury, they should have been more ruthless. Instead of picking up Lendl Simmons for the rest of the season, they could have said ‘actually, we need a bowler'. Simmons has at least been in the runs but they are blessed with an embarrassment of riches up front with the bat.

They cannot say the same with the ball. They lack an overseas x-factor performer and could regret, in the inevitable showdown with Guyana Amazaon Warriors, not saving a bit of the budget back.

Trinbago could go big

This is the second match to be played at the Darren Sammy Stadium this term. The first-innings scores in the 11 (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 172-1/173-2/152-2/196-1/196-1/132-2/204-2/140-2/69-2/226-1/212-2.

With seven scores of more than 170 and five of them more than 190, the wicket is good. So long as Zouks don't get first dibs. They could be shot out for anything.

Chaser could be done for

The match odds market is low in liquidity, hardly surprising because of the mismatch that is likely to unfold. We would expect Trinbago to be no better than [1.50] for this one.

Those are not the sort of odds we play at. Nor do we feel it's right to start pontificating about ways the Zouks can get a foothold. They couldn't manage that on their front porch.

Time to get with Warriors

Colin Munro is our go-to man for top Trinbago runscorer now the secret is out with Kieron Pollard. Pollard was 7s for his first outing of the season and he duly copped. Munro has one win from two.

With a hit rate of 42% last season he's decent value at 11/4. The rise of Simmons is a bit of blow for this market because Munro is having to bat at No 3. Trinbago have kept faith with Sunil Narine as opener. Pollard is 9/2.

Andre Fletcher had the same win rate as Munro last term for the Zouks. But he has been a major disappointment this term and we're cautious about getting involved at 3s. Ingram is 7/2.

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Chelsea vs Liverpool Preview, Prediction and Odds – 22/09/2019

English Premier League 2019-20 preview: Chelsea vs Liverpool – Sunday 22nd September 2019 – Stamford Bridge – 16:30 hrs BST

Chelsea vs Liverpool Preview

The start of the European campaign didn't go off exactly as the reigning Europa League champions would have wanted. Chelsea were humbled 0-1 in their mid-week opener against a visiting Valencia side who never seem to get it wrong at Stamford Bridge.

The humiliation of a home defeat by a not very fancied foreign side was somewhat tempered by the knowledge that their forthcoming Premier League opponents, Liverpool, the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League winners, had to suffer a similar fate away in Italy when they were beaten 0-2 by Napoli.

When it comes to domestic form, Chelsea have put their 0-4 loss at Old Trafford in the Premier League opener to Manchester United behind them and roared back to winning ways with a 2-5 crushing of Wolverhampton away at the Molineux stadium a week ago.

Coach Frank Lampard has been dogged by injuries, though, in the back and midfield, two key men in the form of Anthony Rudiger and N'golo Kante being out of action for some time and in doubt for Sunday evening's clash at Stamford Bridge.

Another casualty for the 22nd September clash is academy find Mason Mount who picked up an ankle injury against Valencia.

The Blues will be looking to the 21-year old Tammy Abraham for goals on Sunday. Abraham netted a sensational hat trick in the Wolves game and in him and Mason Mount Chelsea have a very exciting duo of English youngsters.

In the absence of the injured Mount, Ivan Pulisic, will fill in the role of the attacker. While the Blues' attack holds a lot of promise, the defense has been shambolic at the best conceding as many as 11 goals from their 5 Premier League games so far and against the seriously scary attacking trio of Salah-Firmino-Mane it's going to be tested big time.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have already found the net 15 times in the Premier League in the 2019-20 season so far, winning all 5 games and sitting 5 points clear of reigning champions Manchester City at the top of the points table.

Mohammad Salah looks as sharp as ever, though he may not have been in peak goal-scoring form of late. Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have never been in better form for Liverpool and one can easily bet on either of them or both to score on Sunday.

However, their own defence isn’t too great at the moment and have conceded in 4 of their 5 EPL games, so backing a 3-1 correct score prediction looks a solid choice and making the odds of “both teams to score” very high indeed.

For the Reds, Callum Hudson-Odoi could be part of the squad after coming back from a long knee injury while Divock Origi will be given a late fitness test. Naby Keita will be assessed before the weekend while goal-keeper Alisson Becker remains out for a month at least.

Chelsea probable XI: Kepa, Zouma, Tomori, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso, Willian, Abraham, Pulisic

Liverpool probable XI: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane

Bet365 Winner odds

Bet365 Odds are subject to change and were correct as of 20/09/2019.

Liverpool to win: 1

Draw: 11/4

Liverpool to win: 5/2

Correct score odds

Draw 1-1: 7/1

Liverpool 2-1: 17/2

Liverpool 1-0: 10/1

Chelsea 2-1: 12/1

Liverpool 2-0: 11/1

Draw 2-2: 12/1

Liverpool 3-1: 14/1

Anytime scorer odds

Mohamed Salah: 20/21

Sadio Mane: 6/5

Tammy Abraham: 7/4

Roberto Firmino: 13/8

Olivier Giroud: 15/8

Michy Batshuayi: 15/8

Xherdan Shaqiri: 13/5

Pedro: 11/4

Callum Hudson-Odoi: 13/5

Christian Pulisic: 11/4

Willian: 13/5

Adam Lallana: 7/2

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 11/4

Chelsea vs Liverpool Predictions

Bet365 Odds subject to change and correct as of 20/09/2019.

Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool 14/1

Both teams to score @ 11/20

Over 2.5 goals @ 29/50

Jamaica Tallawahs v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots

Jamaica Tallawahs v St kitts & nevis Patriots
Friday 20 September 01.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Tallawahs tottering

The Jamaica Tallawahs were brought down to earth with a bump by the Guyana Amazon Warriors on Thursday. After recording their first win of the campaign they were desperate for back-to-back victories to prevent their record reading: 1-5.

But they shouldn't get too down. Guyana are by far the best team in the tournament and are untouchable, at the moment, for the Tallawahs. They must focus on scraping together enough wins to get themselves into the play-offs. The Patriots are the sort of team they will be more dangerous against.

Of course, they have lost to this lot, too. After posting a record first-innings score in the tournament against the Patriots earlier, they then conceded the record chase.

Their XI has better balance since then and the inclusion of Afghan spinner Zahir Khan makes them far more competitive. The best news is the return of Andre Russell after a head injury. He produced an excellent all-round display against the Warriors.

Patriots unconvincing

The Patriots have three wins in seven with two in two. And one of them was a monster win, downing the holders and previously unbeaten Trinbago Knight Riders.

Not to be sniffed at, that, even if they needed a Super Over to do it. They were thankful for Carlos Brathwaite producing another ‘remember the name' effort – a 30-ball 64 as Trinbago failed to defend 216.

Patriots are at their best chasing it would seem fair to say given what they have done to Trinbago and Jamaica. Just as well as they have an XI which looks prone to conceding big totals. Their attack is one-paced and they are desperately short of a classy spinner.

In that win over Trinbago they bowled only two overs of spin (Mohammad Hafeez) and they went for 12. Fabian Allen was absent. It seems inconceivable that they can go deep into the competition without such a basic requirement for success in the format.

Reliable for runs

The first-innings scores in the last three tournaments (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 218-1/140-2/267-1/170-2/149-2/157-1/208-1/172-2/178-1/175-2. Guyana's total last time out suggests we should park ideas that the pitch is slowing up.

Jamaica fair bet

The Tallawahs are [1.87] with the Patriots [2.0]. The market is struggling to split the pair.

In terms of results, Patriots should be favourites, not least because of the record chase they pulled off. But in terms of balance, not so much.

We're now inclined to think Jamaica have more appeal because, frankly, they can do more with the ball than the Patriots. A lot more. And Russell's return is such a huge boost for them.

When Jamaica had their one win – against the Zouks – we had a small interest. And we will do so again.

Thomas underrated

Glenn Phillips , the Kiwi hitter, shared honours with Russell against Guyana and he's not getting the respect he deserves for an opener at 7/2 with Sportsbook for top Jamaica bat. Chris Gayle is no fun these days, particularly at 15/8. Even if he did smash a century against his old team in the last meeting. We just can't stomach his unreliability in terms of temperament and are happy to pretend he doesn't exist.

For top Patriots bat, Devon Thomas is suffering from the same lack of respect as Phillips. At 4/1 he's too big. Remember that he opens the batting. Thomas is also 5/4 for over 23.5 runs.

Bowlers disappoint

Statistically, Sheldon Cottrell and Rayad Emrit are best for top Patriots bowler at 3/1 and 10/3 respectively. But both have looked powder-puff this tournament and we're not sure we want to rick hard-earned winning despite the prices being wrong.

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St Lucia Zouks v Barbados Tridents Betting Tips and Predictions

St Lucia Zouks v Barbados Tridents
Saturday 21 September, 01:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Zouks in a state

The Zouks have one win from four. It's the sort of record one would expect for a franchise who have significant ownership issues off the field and, no doubt as a consequence, made some average decisions at the draft. There has been more upheaval since.

They have suffered a player drain. Lasith Malinga, Anrich Nortje and Isuru Udana never made the start. Thisara Perera and Niroshan Dickwella will not make the finish. That left them with only four overseas players – Fawad Ahmed, Najibullah Zadran, Colin de Grandhomme and Hardus Viljoen – so they have moved quickly to add Colin Ingram, the Glamorgan skipper and batter, to their list.

They still look short in key areas, though. Kesrick Williams and Ahmed are the only bowler who will worry the opposition. Likewise Andre Fletcher and Rahkeem Cornwall with the bat. Middle-order ballast has been an issue.

Tridents depleted

The Tridents have also been in the market for players to bolster their squad. Nottinghamshire Outlaws skipper Dan Christian will replace Asif Ali, who has been called for Pakistan duty, as soon as the Vitality Blast Finals Day is done and dusted.

Alex Hales, of course, will be absent for this clash having flown back to join Christian and his county team-mates for the assault on the Blast title. If you think this leaves them short in batting power, you'd be right. The onus is on Shai Hope, JP Duminy and Lebiko Boucher to go big.

They are weak with the ball, too, apart from Sandeep Lamichhane. The Nepal spinner is their most economical and their most potent bowler. Jason Holder is doig okay but there's little in the way of support for these two. There is only one other overseas bowler to pick – Josh lalor. Lalor hasn't quite found his rhythm yet.

Runs not in short supply

This is the first match to be played at the Darren Sammy Staium this term with the Zouks on the road. The first-innings scores in the last two tournaments (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 173-2/152-2/196-1/196-1/132-2/204-2/140-2/69-2/226-1/212-2. With six scores of more than 170 and five of them more than 190, it's fair to say the track is good. The only inconsistency has been the Zouks' performances. They are more than capable of an absiolute stinker.

Chaser could be done for

At [1.90] and [1.96] respectively, the Zouks and Tridents are tricky to split. That's understandable because they are difficult to trust.

Given the nature of the wicket it could well pay to bat first and go big, allowing scoreboard pressure and suspect batting line-ups to do the rest. Not a whole lot of skill is going to be required defending one would have thought.

As you can tell, we're not falling over ourselves to have a bet here. These are two poor teams and, frankly, we have no clue as to which will be capable of displaying a modicum of discipline and ability.

Time to get with Warriors

Keep an eye on Sportsbook for top Tridents bowler prices. Sportsbook go 5/2 about Lamichhane for honours. He has very little to beat and providing Holder does not underuse him, he should be bang in the mix for honours.

Fletcher is ordianrily a pick but at 10/3 we've lost faith in him for top Zouks bat honours. Williams is not too shabby at the same odds for top Tridents bowler.

With a dearth of value on the specials, though, and a few days off for Guyana Amazon Warriors, it is worth pointing out that they still hold value on the outright market at 17/10.

A knockout berth is almost guaranteed with six wins being enough the last two years (they are five out of five so far). Likewise a top-two finish with only two more wins enough.

Given the strength of their spin bowling – Chris Green, Imran Tahir, Qais Ahmed – it is hard not to see them squeezing the life out of competitors. Those 12 overs of tweak are going to tricky to get away. We suspect that come the final, we will have a 17/10 chance on our hands against the Trinbago Knight Riders.

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Gary O’Brien: Ultra Pride to start this weekend with a win

After all the excitement of Irish Champions weekend it's back to more low-key fare domestically this week, with Gowran Park's Saturday flat card the sole scheduled fixture.

Saturday's solo pick

Winkling out an attractive wager wasn't entirely straightforward but in the end I kept coming back to the solid-looking Ultra Pride in the extended 1m1f handicap at 16:50. Trainer Sheila Lavery and her brother John understandably got a great thrill out of seeing AP McCoy ride Quizical to victory in the Cancer Trials Ireland charity race at the Curragh on Sunday, particularly as Pat Smullen has played such an important role in the yard's excellent progress in the last couple of years.

Ultra Pride hasn't achieved as much as his stable-companion just yet but he has developed into a consistent performer since sent handicapping and got his just desserts when breaking his duck at flat headquarters just over a month ago. The distance on that occasion was 1m2f, and it looked as though he wasn't quite as effective when stepped up a couple of furlongs back at the same venue a fortnight later.

On that occasion the son of Thewayyouare again travelled like a winner for much of the journey before ultimately having to settle for minor honours in a well-contested affair won by Shamad, who seems to have turned over a new leaf of late. That his conqueror was able to defy a 9lb higher mark when following up at York shortly afterwards, making it three wins from his last four starts, says plenty and my selection is 1lb lower now.

Beware Pasley

There are several less exposed sorts lurking amongst the opposition who could prove troublesome, and in particular Pasley catches the eye at the foot of the handicap under Donnacha O'Brien. The title-chasing jockey is set to do 8-12 – though there is the possibility of a pound or two of overweight – on the son of Camelot, who caught the eye on his final qualifying run for a mark when fourth in a seven furlong maiden at Limerick in April.

This return to a longer trip looks sure to suit and he could easily prove to be well-treated off a mark of 63 but on the flip side, inexperience is a potential drawback on this return from a summer break.

Toffee Galore, who shaped quite well on her first start since joining Gavin Cromwell from Archie Watson at Listowel is entitled to improve for that outing and is another to consider, while of the older brigade Lyrical Attraction and Bigger And Better will have their supporters. The latter attracted the attention of the stewards when a never-nearer second at the harvest festival, though an outside draw won't help his cause here, while Jarlath Fahey's mare has already enjoyed a fine season.

Ultra Pride doesn't look to have a great post position himself in stall fifteen but all three of the reserves are drawn inside him so hopefully that shouldn't be a barrier (excuse the pun) to another sound performance from this likeable type.

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Gunmetal can get the Gold

Make sure the price is right…

Price is everything in betting – and don't let anyone tell you any different.

It doesn't matter a jot what you fancy. If you aren't happy with the odds on offer, you have to walk away, or look elsewhere.

Of course, the vast majority of punters do exactly the opposite and chip away regardless – and dare I say it, some tipsters, too – but they will be in for a nasty surprise if they keep a record of their profit and loss. And look at it.

I mention this, in a far too high-handed and superior manner obviously, because it is clear that some prices have long since sailed when it comes to Saturday's racing.

Or least the gangway is in the process of being raised.

To Gulliver or not…?

The most obvious case in point is Gulliver in the Ayr Gold Cup at 15:50. He was 16/1 in places on Monday but he is now half that price after being tipped up by anyone with a column during the week.

Some of those were happy to row in with him at 8/1, and I suppose you have to take each case on its merits and not be swayed by long-gone, ante-post positions.

And there is no doubt that Gulliver does hold obvious claims. Well, as clear-cut as you get in a 25-runner 6f handicap, despite the horse actually being 1lb badly-in at the weights.

He has pretty convincing claims even if you ignore his Curragh run last time – he is only 2lb higher than when beating Great St Wilfrid consolation race winner Growl convincingly in a 18-runner field at York in June on quick ground – but his Ireland third to Buffer Zone, who heads the betting here, last weekend sealed the deal for many, it seems.

We all tend to get seduced by a fast-finisher but it was clear he would have shaken up the comfortable winner there with an uninterrupted passage, and he is now 4lb better off.

The dilemma we now face with him is not only the price but his inconsistent profile.

After that York win, he finished 15th of 15 on his next start (on soft ground admittedly), but that was the third occasion he has trailed in last after winning his previous outing (and he has actually failed to beat a horse home on seven starts in his career).

He may be a very small saver for me – I really am still dithering as I write – but I can't have him as my main bet.

Gunmetal a value bet with plenty of places

Arecibo, Intisaab and Growl do look very solid place contenders – the former is priced accordingly, but the latter is a fair price at 25/1+ – but I think headgear could be the key to finding the winner of this race.

Hey Jonesy was very nearly the pick in his initial visor – the stable have won this race three times in recent years, and he looks a big player back to 6f off a falling mark – but the horse who has the honour of my being my premier selection is Gunmetal at 18/1 each way, six places (the 25s went early on Friday), with the Betfair Sportsbook.

He may not prove to be ideally drawn in 23 but I can't get overly-concerned by how the race may pan out, and this is a horse who ploughs his own furrow when on song anyway, as he showed when making all to beat a certain Dakota Gold by 2¾-lengths in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last season.

That win came off a mark of 97, and he remains of interest of 101 here.

Granted, I would obviously like him to be racing off his current, correct mark of 97 – this is an early-closer and he would have been racing off 4lb lower were this is a normal handicap – but I can live with that at the price.

Especially, as the first-time blinkers could see him spring back to form.

He has been below-par of late but he ran a couple of blinders off a 2lb higher mark than this at York and the Wokingham earlier in the season – he did best of those on the far side at Ascot, from off the pace – but the headgear is a very interesting angle for him.

David Barron is a fair 13 from 101 with this option in recent years, but it is also the horse's family history that interests me.

His half-brother Kensington won nine of his 10 races in headgear, while another, Scuba, won three of his four starts in blinkers (including first-time-up, with the other success coming in a visor).

So the signs are there that this could be a good move, especially as conditions looks ideal for Gunmetal, namely 6f and fast ground, as well.

So I hope to see another gushing Oisin Murphy interview with Matt Chapman on ITV just before 4pm on Saturday…

As for that Gulliver saver, I am happy to fly solo with Gunmetal. I will probably kick myself but it wouldn't be the first time.

Go to war with Waarif

I may as well stick with Ayr now, and the 1m handicap at 14:00 is the opener on ITV there.

Barron, trainer of Gunmetal, obviously has a major chance here with Kynren and things could well easily drop right for him for the first time since September 2017. He looks rock-solid at around 3/1, and is by far the most likely winner.

Irreverent is another horse who has halved in price since the start of the week and it is interesting that Richard Fahey has seen fit to put cheek pieces on the horse even after his win last time.

He's clearly a big runner here too, but I kept on coming back to last year's winner Waarif (below) at 10/1 each way with the Betfair Sportsbook. That looks a very generous offering.

Waarif 1280.jpg

He did us a 12/1 favour when winning this contest in heavy ground last season but he looked to have rather lost his way this term after a good spell in midsummer, the highlight of which was a Windsor 1m fast-ground defeat of recent dual subsequent winner Bless Him off a 1lb higher mark than this (though that good run of form also included a good second here).

But he signalled that he could be back in his business after four lacklustre runs with a 2½-length fourth to Davydenko at Doncaster last time, and he is set for a bold showing here on that evidence.

Get Knotted my Silver selection

The Ayr Silver Cup at 14:40 is next up and I like Get Knotted at [17.0] or bigger.

A lot of people will have him pegged as a York specialist and better over 7f, but a study of his record would contest that take.

He actually finished a head second in this very race in 2016 (off a 9lb higher mark) and you could argue that his best career effort also came over this 6f trip.

Furthermore, his record at this course is very good – form figures of 1310624, with the fourth being in the main event last year (off a 10lb higher mark) – and he shaped pretty well over 7f at Haydock last time when getting no racing room until the race was over.

I like the chances of this ground-versatile seven-year-old.

Newbury thoughts

I don't have a betting opinion in the Firth Of Clyde Stakes at 15:15 – I agree that Orlaith is the right favourite – so off we trot to Newbury.

Unfortunately, they are not blessed with the big fields of Ayr, and that inevitably impacts on their punting attraction.
Well it does for me anyway.

The eight-runner Group 3 sprint at 13:45 makes about as much appeal as being an attentive waiter for Boris Johnson and Laura Kuennsburg in a romantic candle-lit soiree, and I am happy to let the old boy Desert Encounter win the 1m3f Group 3 at 14:20 for the second time without my cash.

He probably isn't a bad price at around the 6/4 mark, mind you, in his current nick.

I was torn about getting stuck into the Mill Reef at 14:55 as I can't have the second favourite Mystery Power under his 3lb penalty – and that Superlative Stakes win was in a poor Group 2, for all it came in a decent time – and, as much as I like Haydock winner Pierre Lapin, he is now 3s from 8s earlier in the week.

I'll admit to having a personal each-way nibble at Firepower at 33s as it is interesting that Clive Cox pitches him into a Group 2 here off a lengthy break since a modest showing at Royal Ascot.

But it is very hard to articulate a convincing case for him on paper – he looked a bit wayward earlier in the season, so being given time to strengthen up and a first-time hood could pay dividends – and so I can't really put him this well-regarded sort up as a bet (you have to persuade your reader), for all that I wouldn't be in the least surprised were he to figure in a very winnable race.

The solid each-way chances are Shadn and Malotru and the latter, fourth in the Gimcrack, is probably the safest win and place conveyance at 6/1, But this is another race I can leave alone.

Chief can execute a win

Forest Of Dean is 5lb well-in the 1m2f handicap at 15:30 and deserving of his price of around 11/4, but Exec Chief is worth an each-way investment at 20/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook, who are paying four places.

I do like a Saeed bin Suroor horse in first-time headgear so Great Example was considered, but Chief Exec is basically twice the price and that was obviously the clincher.

He blew out here in April (when carrying my cash) but he was previously unbeaten at this track in two starts and he has been largely consistent this season, including when seventh at Goodwood last time.

Dropped 2lb since, he is on his lowest mark since just losing out to the gambled-on Petrus at Doncaster on his reappearance, and his best turf efforts have come at and around this trip on decent ground.

Good luck.

This post first appeared here

Labour’s Brexit position – electoral suicide or smarter than it first appears?

A core lesson of recent times is to never take political trends and outcomes for granted. To consider counter-intuitive arguments before betting on what appears to be obvious.

For example, seven weeks before the 2017 general election, there was much talk about the end of the Labour Party. They lagged 20% behind in the polls, their leader was historically unpopular and were thrashed in the local elections. By polling day, they'd smashed every campaign precedent, won more votes than for 16 years and denied the Tories a majority.

Polls make grim reading for Corbyn

Their starting position is not as bad this time but expectations are low. They trail by up to 14% in national polls (to be fair, Comres have the deficit at just 1%) any Corbyn's approval ratings are consistently pathetic. Worse, yesterday's Ipsos Mori poll showed the Lib Dem surge I predicted on these pages back in May gathering steam.

Everything my life has taught me about British politics points to a hefty Tory win. The right-wing vote is solidly Tory even in a bad year, whereas their opponents are usually split. Labour and Lib Dem vote shares correlate to a large extent, dating back to at least the eighties. Labour do well when their smaller rival does badly, as in 2017.

Lib Dem revoke policy gets a poll boost

Now, on the defining issue of the day, they risk being usurped. The Lib Dems had a clear anti-Brexit message which paid off in the local elections and they just made it even clearer. Their position is to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit – supported by a surprisingly high 41% to 38% against in YouGov's latest.

In contrast, Labour have painfully constructed a policy that might paper over cracks within the party, but feels impossible to sell, hard to distill into a paragraph, let alone a soundbite fit for our age.

They will demonstrate respect the referendum by negotiating a Brexit deal different to the one Theresa May failed to get through parliament, and then put that deal up against Remain in a second referendum, during which Corbyn would remain neutral. Kevin Maguire summed up the general consensus.

I'm inclined to agree but, at least to play devil's advocate, maybe it is a smarter policy than it first sounds.

First, let's deal with the reality. Without saying precisely what would be on the ballot paper, Remainer calls for a ‘People's Vote' have always smacked of opportunism. That may explain why the Lib Dems have gone for revocation instead.

Labour position is logical if hard to sell

One logical choice is Remain v No Deal, but a party claiming the latter represents armageddon can hardly put such an irresponsible outcome on the ballot. So instead, the alternative to Remain would have to be either May's Withdrawal Agreement or a newly negotiated deal.

Given that Labour are adamant that the former is a disaster for jobs, it is logical that they would find a different deal. As noted back in February, their plans are far more in tune with EU thinking and therefore realistic. The question is whether voters consider that seriously or just dismiss at as opportunism.

Probably the latter. Perhaps the policy could be sold by a great communicator with sizeable public trust. Not Corbyn. He could say the grass was green and more than half the electorate would disagree.

Lib Dem policy is very divisive

Nevertheless, this week's developments have rather altered the election dynamics. Max Liu made some good points on Sunday about the electoral risk of revoking Article 50 and their representatives aren't faring well defending it on the media. To mock their claim to be ‘democrats' is an easy hit.

In taking this path, Jo Swinson seems to be concluding that the election will be all about Brexit, and that the country is so polarised that it will prefer the two extreme options. No deal Brexit (assuming that is the Tory policy) or cancel it.

The Lib Dems will doubtless sweep hardcore Remainers but they are giving their brand a toxicity like never before. Consequently, they will draw the main fire from angry Brexiters and be legitimately accused of being happy to divide the country.

Labour will appeal for national unity

Labour on the other hand will argue they are the only party concerned with uniting the country. My guess is that plenty are open to that message and will increase during what will be a bitterly divisive campaign. It might pacify some of the hostility from Brexiters towards them and help defend dozens of vulnerable seats in the North and Midlands.

As in 2017, Labour will do everything to make this election about more than Brexit. Hard in this media environment but not impossible. They have made some excellent broadcasts of late, covering much broader themes about ownership, investment and class.

Such ads, shared widely on social media, will form a critical part of this campaign. Labour firmly believe that their dramatic 2017 surge was a by-product of fairer media coverage under election laws, superior social media operation and massive advantage in terms of activists.

Moreover, Labour are the natural beneficiaries of the inevitable reaction against the far right and opposition to austerity. Don't dismiss either dynamic. Politics is about much more than simply Brexit.

Tories vulnerable to tactical alliance

Maybe, just maybe, they surprise again. Another core dynamic of UK politics is anti-Tory sentiment. The potential for a three-pronged tactical assault remains – meaning they lose big to the SNP and to Lib Dems in Remain-voting areas that have been historically dominated by the Tories. Surrey, Oxfordshire or Dorset, for example.

If Labour's ‘national unity' stance is enough to hold their own in the swathe of Lab/Con marginals, they could end up with the most seats. More plausibly, the biggest party in a vast coalition, because the Tory/DUP numbers no longer work.

Much stranger things have happened. This last hung parliament scenario is precisely why I'm on Corbyn at [4.3] to be Next Prime Minister after Boris Johnson as a trade.

Bet on UK politics here

Prime Minister after Boris Johnson
Year of Next Election
When Will Next Election Take Place?
Most Seats at Next General Election
Brexit on 31/10/2019
Second Vote of No Confidence in 2019
No Deal Brexit in 2019
Article 50 to be Revoked
Brexit Date
First to Happen – Brexit or General Election?

Follow Paul on Twitter and check out his website, Political Gambler.

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Bench options and big name nous to decide Sunday showdown

Ireland v Scotland
Sunday, 08:45 BST
Live on ITV

It's weird that something as trivial as the weather on a given day could play such a large role in determining the outcome of a game that two teams have been building towards for the guts of four years.

Joe Schmidt is a decent forecaster but not for the first time in this Rugby World Cup lead-up, unforeseeable factors have taken a spanner to his best-laid plans: having emerged from four warm-up games largely unscathed, Ireland have ahead of their key pool opener against Scotland lost three key backline figures – all bona fide starters – in Robbie Henshaw, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney.

To his credit, Schmidt has assembled a squad during this World Cup cycle whereby Ireland are well-enough stocked in the majority of positions that to lose a frontliner could hardly be considered terminal; this was one of his predominant goals after an injury-ravaged Ireland were savaged by Argentina at the quarter-final stage four years ago.

Kearney absence a big blow

But with Will Addison at home, Joey Carbery still not quite match-fit and Racing 92's Simon Zebo out in the cold due to IRFU policy, Kearney's absence at 15 is especially glaring.

In comes Leinster flier Jordan Larmour at full-back, and with the greatest respect to the prodigious young talent, up will go Scottish hopes of a minor upset in Yokohama. Larmour is vastly less experienced than Kearney and decidedly less assured in defence; even for Jacob Stockdale and Andrew Conway out wide, it's a blow not to have the security blanket of Kearney sweeping up behind them – that's how good a game-reader he is, and a testament to his athleticism at 33.

Despite suggestions throughout the week that the game would be played beneath torrential rain – there were even reports at one point that the fixture was under threat – it would now appear as though Sunday in Yokohama will be for the most part dry, and drizzly at worst.

In an overall sense, drier conditions and harder ground suit Scotland's propensity for electrifying counter-attack whereas in swamp-like conditions, Ireland would have had even more cause to stick the pill up the jumper and try to bludgeon their way towards a win – a tried and tested formula against Gregor Townsend‘s Scots.

But if it does stay fairly dry, Schmidt – even if not by choice – is deploying a back three which could make hay for the men in green. Larmour in particular, who will doubtless be targeted by the boots of Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, could have a field day; he remains one of the most dangerous counter-attackers in world rugby and while there is uncertainty around his positional awareness in defence, there will be more uncertainty in the minds of Scottish defenders as to what he intends to do once he gets ball in hand.

Up front holds the key

And yet, like most 50/50-ish games before it, Ireland and Scotland's pool opener will largely be decided up front.

In the back row, Schmidt (pictured) has opted for a fairly conventional combination of Peter O'Mahony (6), Josh van der Flier (7) and CJ Stander (8), each of whom are strong over the ball and each of whom are capable of producing the type of fist-pumping ‘come-on-to-jaysus' turnover on the deck that can shift the energy of a game.

But Scotland are well stocked, too, in that department: John Barclay (6), Hamish Watson (7) and Ryan Wilson (8) will fancy their chances of winning the ground battle and, as a collective, probably offer more ballast with ball in hand.

Man for man, I'd give Ireland the edge in the tight five by way of the fact that Tadhg Furlong and James Ryan are two of the best players in the world in any position, and their supporting cast aren't too shabby either.

Key to Schmidt's attack is the line-out, of course, through which all things are made. Ireland's will come under intense pressure early doors and caller Iain Henderson will have a task on his hands to keep things ticking over as smoothly as possible.

If Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray and co. can dismantle Ireland's lineout, Scotland will win this game, plain and simple. But the fact that Schmidt opted to leave Devin Toner at home, while it heaps further pressure on the line-out, would suggest to me that Schmidt has the utmost confidence in its ability to function fluidly without him.

Two key factors

With little to separate the two sides from 1-15, I see the game ultimately being decided by two other key factors: the bench, and big-game nous.

At full-tilt, the Scots certainly have the capacity to go toe-to-toe with Ireland in nearly every area, but it's going require the type of collective effort that will see their players sucking in air on the hour mark, hands on heads, minds in orbit.

And then they're going to see Dave Kilcoyne come onto the pitch.

The Munsterman has always been a massive carrier but during the warm-up games for this World Cup turned into something altogether more demonic. He's mowing opponents down with and without the ball, so much so that there is a case to be made for his being worthy of a start over the also-excellent and in-form Cian Healy.

In a slugfest, and among tired limbs, Kilcoyne could ruin lives and give Ireland serious impetus.

Add to the equation Andrew Porter, Jack Conan and Chris Farrell – three units noted for their ability to breach the gainline – and an absolute nuisance in the wily Tadhg Beirne, and it's difficult not to fancy Ireland to eventually blow the house down after an hour's worth of huffing and puffing.

Crucially, too, this Ireland team – steered expertly by their half-back pairing of Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, who exemplify the point – is composed largely of winners.

That might seem simplistic on the face of it, but when push comes to shove with a game in the balance, teams who are accustomed to winning tend to get the job done. Teams who are accustomed to falling short of expectations tend to panic, overthink and make bad decisions.

Ireland showed against Wales in the warm-ups that for all their recent shortcomings, they haven't forgotten how to grind one out. And so the forecast for Sunday is a hard-fought, narrow Ireland win, but Scotland can cover the eight-point handicap.


For more from Gavan and the rest of our Pod Nations Predict panel, check out our Rugby World Cup podcast

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Are Man City in a defensive 'crisis' after shock Norwich defeat?

Match of the Day 2 pundits Martin Keown and Jermaine Jenas discuss how the loss of Aymeric Laporte and Vincent Kompany from Manchester City's defence has left Pep Guardiola with a ‘mini-crisis' at the back, and how midfielder Fernandinho could be the answer to their defensive problems following their a 3-2 defeat to Norwich City in the Premier League.


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No Laporte, no Kompany: Are Man City in a defensive ‘crisis' after Norwich defeat?


PGA Championship: Danny Willett and Jon Rahm lead as Rory McIlroy makes cut

Willett's round of seven under was only matched by Billy Horschel
BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth: (Second round)
-11: D Willett (Eng) J Rahm (Spa); -9: J Rose (Eng), H Stenson (Swe), C Bezuidenhout (SA) -7: B Horschel (US), P Casey (Eng)
Selected others: -5: R Ramsay (Sco), A Johnston (Eng), F Molinari (Ita); +1: T Fleetwood (Eng), R McIlroy (NI)
Full leaderboard

Danny Willett shot a seven-under-par round to share the halfway lead in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The Englishman, 31, carded six birdies and an eagle to reach 11 under, the same mark as Spain's Jon Rahm.

Justin Rose is tied for third on nine under, while Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy just made the cut, shooting three under to reach one over overall.

“I didn't really do much the last couple of weeks and some things start to creep into your game,” said McIlroy.

The 30-year-old, who won the Fed-Ex Cup in August, added: “I'm happy to be here for the weekend. I had to battle hard out there just to be here. I'm proud of myself for hanging in.

“Plus one, obviously the leaders are way up there, but the conditions are going to be tricky.

“The course is getting firm. If I can shoot seven-under tomorrow, get myself to minus six, you never know… I went low on this golf course before, so I feel like I can do that.”

Willett continues fine form

Round two of the European Tour's flagship event could not be fully completed because of bad light and five players will conclude their round from 0715 BST on Saturday.

Willett's fine round was further evidence of his return to form having slipped to 462 in the rankings in 2018.

The 2016 Masters champion is now ranked at 58 and his mark of seven under on Friday was only matched by American Billy Horschel, who is seven under overall.

“I'm probably not back to my best,” said Willett, who won the DP World Tour Championship in August.

“I'm still working on the moves and there's still shots in there that I don't like.

“As a whole, the body is night and day to where it was and the movements are good. The ability to travel around the world and play golf now is back there and I'm just in a much better place with everything, really. Hopefully an exciting weekend to come.”

Rahm eyes legend status

England's Tommy Fleetwood just made the cut at one over par to remain the only player in the world's top 50 yet to miss a cut in 2019.

Rose is joined on nine under in third place by Sweden's Henrik Stenson and South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Rahm, 24, looked like he too would share the mark but he converted an eagle on the last to join Willett, capping a fine recovery given he made bogey on his opening two holes.

“I didn't lose patience or panic, because I know I have the whole round to go and I have the whole day to make it up,” said Rahm, the world number six.

“There's a lot of history here and a lot of legends on the walls, so it would be great to join that great list of players.”

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West Ham United vs Manchester United Preview, Prediction and Odds – 22/09/2019

English Premier League 2019-20 season preview: West Ham United vs Manchester United – London Stadium – Sunday, 22nd September, 2019 – 14:00 hrs BST

West Ham United vs Manchester United Preview and Prediction

Manuel Pellegrini's West Ham have recovered from their 0-5 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City, remaining unbeaten in their four Premier league outings after that, including impressive wins of 1-3 and 2-0 against Watford and Norwich City respectively.

The Hammers now get ready to host Manchester United at the London stadium where they hope to maintain their unbeaten run and return to winning ways.

Pelligrini has found an adept striker in Eintracht Frankfurt-import Sebastien Haller who has already helped himself to three goals so far. With the likes of Mark Noble, Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini lending mid-field support to the towering 6ft3in Haller, United's job in the defence will be cut out.

The physical attributes of Haller along with a fox-like cunning upfront could very well outsmart Maguire & co. and given that United have conceded goals against sides like the Wolves, Crystal Palace and Southampton, it won't be surprising if the Hammers were to find the back of the net at least once.

Pellegrini's side have no injury issues but will miss left-back Arthur Masuaku after he was sent-off in the game against Aston Villa. Aaron Cresswell should replace him, as Pellegrini will opt for an attacking line-up.

The Chilean coach's starting XI could look like this: Fabianski (goal); Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble, Lanzini; Anderson, Yarmolenko, Haller.

Meanwhile Manchester United made a less than perfect start to their 2019-20 Europa League campaign with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielding a very young United side and choosing to rest regulars for Sunday's Premier league fixture.

17-year old academy product Mason Greenwood's lone goal was the only bright spot in a very scrappy win over Kazakh side Astana FC on Thursday night at the Wembley.

Greenwood could well be knocking on the doors of a United XI that already has the Marcus Rashford-Anthony Martial-Henry James combine in electrifying form but with sturdy England international Declan Rice and Issa Diop protecting their backline, breaking the Hammers won’t be an easy task.

The West Ham attack would, of course, would be wanting to make the most of David de Gea's record on just one clean sheet from five matches, but United look a side reformed defensively, considering that Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s have doing some solid work at the back of late.

Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial missed Manchester United's Europa League opener against Astana and are unlikely to recover in time for the trip to West Ham. Daniel James also missed out and will be assessed before the West Ham game, but the young ex-Swansea winger will in all likelihood make it to Solskjaer's starting XI on the 22nd which could look like this: De Gea (goal); Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; Matic, McTominay; Pereira, Lingard, James; Rashford.

Though unbeaten away, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have looked unconvincing on their travels and face a Hammers side which has clicked into gear under Manuel Pellegrini in recent weeks.

The Hammers, though, have a very uninspiring history against the visiting Red Devils having won only once from their previous seven encounters in four years.

But the Hammers' only win came as recently as in September 2018 when they beat United 3-1 at East London thus giving them some momentum for Sunday's clash.

Manchester United look the clear favorites as far as the bookmakers' odds are concerned, but don't rule out a surprise result.

West Ham United vs Manchester United Prediction

A bet on West Ham could be worth the risk with a 2-1 win in their favor.

Betfair odds:

Odds subject to change, correct as of 20/09/2019.

West Ham to win: 12/5

Manchester Utd to win: 11/10

Draw: 13/5

First goal scorer

Marcus Rashford: 5/1

Paul Pogba: 11/2

Anthony Martial: 11/2

Sebastien Haller: 6/1

England New Cricket Coach Tips and Predictions


Bayliss no joke


When Trevor Bayliss left his role as England coach after the final Ashes Test, the press gave him a leaving present of a scented candle and some whale music. It was supposed to be a joke.

One of the regular scribes had once suggested that if Bayliss's role was merely to relax players he could be “replaced by a candle, a yucca plant and a CD of ambient whale noise”.

It gives an interesting, if not hopelessly flawed, insight into how the modern-day coach is viewed. In exactly the same way the old-fashioned coach is viewed.

To shout and bawl? To get players ‘up for it'? To incessantly bang on about technique to the point of an athlete feeling such expectation that his or her muscles stiffen and the brain freezes?

The irony of the joke gift is that relaxing players is precisely what a coach at top-level sport is supposed to do. It should be 80 or 90 per cent of the job. To allow players to feel so uninhibited, so free and happy that they go out and play the way their bodies and minds have been perfectly, naturally honed to do since youth.

A coach who jams a stick into that happy freewheeler is a fool. And those who don't understand that join him. No player should need his technique examined and rebuilt at the top level. If he does, he shouldn't be there. Fans of NFL will know that Pete Carroll, orchestrator of the great Seattle Seahawks revolution, is the epitome of the yucca plant and whale CD coach. His motivation to get up in the morning is to create an environment where players can express themselves.

Of course he coaches here and there but the real skill is coaching players so they don't realise they are being coached. And he critiques them. Again ensuring they don't realise they're being critiqued so as not to cause the sort of cognitive dissonance that could result in a fumble or tactical rick come game time.


Don't talk technique


I had the good fortune to meet Carroll for this book. I studied his methods at the Seahawks. He is a man who absolutely understands that you cannot talk to an athlete about technique when pressure comes. He is more likely to ask about his quarterback's dinner plans than his positioning moments before a crucial play. As Carroll's guru, Glen Albaugh said: “What does the basketball coach say to the shooter when walking up to take the free throw? Nothing. He sure as hell doesn't talk about technique.”

Bayliss understands that. Let's look at it in the context of Headingley, just before Jack Leach is about to come to the wicket. Now, does Bayliss take him to one side and start ramming home the importance of moving his feet, getting in line, playing late, soft hands against the spinners? Of course he doesn't. He knows to do that would be catastrophic. The England ODI team is perhaps the most extraordinary example in post-war sport of this method.

The likes of Carroll – and numerous sports psychologists – would refer to this as helping players have a ‘quiet mind'. Leach, when he came into that high-pressure situation was calm, collected and quiet. Only when the enormity of what he and Stokes were about to achieve did the noise come, resulting in the run out chance for Nathan Lyon. Luckily for Leach, Lyon, when that ball was flying towards him, was almost certainly thinking “don't drop it, take it cleanly, this is the Ashes”.

There is a suspicion that Justin Langer is not man coach who gets it, either. I had once stood behind Langer in a nets session at The Gabba who responded to lighthearted jibes from England fans with the line: you are one grain of sand on my beach of hate.

No doubt because of foibles of the England batting line-up, Bayliss' replacement will be someone who will claim he can solve those technical issues with hour after hour in the nets. He is more likely to compound them. If the man chooses to work on temperament instead, then England are likely to improve.

Sportsbook have priced up the list of candidates and given the level of ignorance as to who, and what, is required, we can well see Graham Thorpe getting the job at 2/1. Likewise Graham Ford at 7/2. Alec Stewart is the candidate for those who think that England's players need to show more passion, perhaps sing the national anthem before play. He's 10/3.


Kohli versus Rohit


There are rumours that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma do not get along. Rumours, of course, that have been debunked with such vociferousness that the phrase ‘doth protest too much comes to mind'. Perhaps the duo have finally cottoned on to them being in a titanic top-bat tussle?

It is undoubtedly a golden age for bettors when one can pick from these two to cop. They renew their battle at Bengaluru on Sunday in the second T20 against South Africa. Kohli is the 12/5 favourite with Sportsbook and Rohit 13/5.

Kohli took honours in the first match and he picked up the man of the match award for good measure. His 52-ball 72 trumped Shikhar Dhawan's 40 from 31. Rohit had been oddly becalmed, striking at 100 for just 12.

With Kohli at the home of his Indian Premier League franchise, the Bangalore Royal Challengers, he will be expected to go well again. But is he value? On two-year form he is is winning bang in line with a 2/1 chance. Rohit's numbers have taken a hit and his win rate suggests he is more like an 11/4 bet.

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Michael Appleton: Lincoln City name ex-Oxford United boss as manager

Michael Appleton has “all of the qualities” to continue Lincoln's progress, said Imps chairman Clive Nates

League One club Lincoln City have appointed Michael Appleton as their new manager on a contract until June 2023.

The 43-year-old has left his role as coach of West Bromwich Albion's under-23 team to succeed Danny Cowley, who left the Imps on 9 September to take charge of Huddersfield Town.

Appleton has not held a managerial role since leaving Oxford in June 2017 to become assistant manager at Leicester.

Lincoln, League Two champions last season, are eighth in the third tier.

They are the fifth EFL club that Appleton has managed, following spells at Portsmouth, Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers and Oxford.

He will officially take over at Sincil Bank on Monday, with caretakers Jamie McCombe and Andy Warrington remaining in charge of the team for Saturday's home game against Oxford.

“Michael has all the qualities we have been searching for to continue our progress as a club,” said Lincoln chairman Clive Nates.

“Although it is pleasing that we have made an appointment in just under two weeks, the priority has always been to undertake a proper due diligence process and make the right appointment for the long-term benefit of the club, regardless of the length of the process.

“Thanks to a remarkable three years of success and progress, we have a momentum to carry forward. The board remains committed to continuing the transformation of the club with the aim of establishing ourselves higher in the football pyramid.”

Former Albion player Appleton only took his job within the Championship club's academy in August.

The Baggies' sporting director Luke Dowling said: “We are obviously disappointed to be losing a coach of Michael's calibre so soon after his appointment and having discussed at length our plans for the development of our young players in the future.

“But he felt he could not refuse the opportunity to return to league management and we reluctantly accept that.”

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