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Claridge Kicks Off

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Steve Claridge | 11:57 UK time, Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Hello and welcome to another edition of 'Claridge Kicks Off', Steve Claridge's Football League video blog covering hot topics in the Championship, League One and League Two.

This week, Steve talks about how patience is paying off for Derby County and manager Nigel Clough, who is flourishing after making a slow start to his reign at Pride Park, and looks ahead to Saturday's big Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and QPR.

He also answers your questions on Oxford's form since their return to the Football League and whether Hull City and Burnley can bounce back to the Premier League.

And he gives his opinion on why Leeds United and Wycombe are doing much better on their travels than on home turf and why Millwall have not sustained their bright start to the season.

You can submit your questions for Steve below, or contact him on Twitter. He will answer them on a future 'Claridge Kicks Off' rather than posting a reply.

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  • 1. At 1:22pm on 10 Nov 2010, Peter wrote:

    Wanting a top 6 finish is a fair ask of our club.

    We have a rookie manager who was a fine player and has lots of respect and experience.

    He has my full suppport but surely it was a mistake to give a him a 3 year contract?

    Why did we rush to appoint him so fast, when he could have taken over as caretaker manager first instead? Then we could have had proper assesment of his credentials.

    Considering Speed is working with Blackwell's players and that the transfer kitty is all but gone on wages he will struggle to meet the club's demands.

    Speed needs time to settle into management but time is not what the club has.

    Sadly I feel that his appointment was a risk and I would be quite happy with a 21st place finish. Had we got Southgate or a bigger name I would expect a top 6 finish.

    Style of football tactics cannot be changed overnight, and although I always backed Blackwell as he led a dreadful team last year into the top 8 last year, if he were to have gone I would have wanted him to have done at the start of the summer.

    Speed is tactically naive and we are a too big a club for him to 'try out' on.

    But the most puzzleing thing is that our squad is pretty strong and all the players are proven to be adequate [if not better] at this level.

    So why are we not adequate at this level?

    Speed has a lot of work to do now.

    Do you think he is the right man for Sheffield United?

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  • 2. At 2:00pm on 10 Nov 2010, Rich_Owl wrote:

    Bladegunner. For what its worth, Speed is probably as good as anybody for United at the moment. As you said he has KBs players and will be unliley to be able to make many changes in January, so from that point of view having somebody who already knows the strengths and weaknesses of the players is no bad thing. Assuming that money means that you could only have employed an out-of-work manager was there really a good alternative? Paul Jewell or Gary Megson perhaps (Wednesday connections notwithstanding). Southgate, who took Boro backwards during his time there?

    Personally I'm glad Speed got the chance and I hope he does OK. Given that the budget at United has been eroded over the last couple of years as the parachute payments and Tevez money have gone, and the players you have been forced to sell in the last couple of years I'd say that a top six finish is a big ask. Money counts for a lot nowadays and at least seven clubs will have bigger budgets than Uniteds (Reading, Hull, QPR, Cardiff, Burnley, Boro, Leeds). Top 10 would be a reasonable achievement this season as Speed looks to build his team.

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  • 3. At 4:58pm on 10 Nov 2010, babyTeenwolf wrote:

    Erm..... Steve.

    I think with regards to Burnley, Hull and the championship it depends if all the clubs are competing on a level playing field.

    In Portsmouth's case they clearly aren't competeting on a level playing field as the whole of the football league are scratching their heads and wondering how a club that is in administration can be able to sign Premier league footballers ie Lawrence, Kitson, Sonko, Wilkinson never mind any footballers full stop.

    I think all the clubs should go into administration as it appears to be a really simple way of improving your team whilst not honouring any real debts.

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  • 4. At 5:36pm on 10 Nov 2010, Goowli24 wrote:

    What do you think of Stevenage's start to the season? and where do you think we'll finish?

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  • 5. At 8:06pm on 10 Nov 2010, cufcste wrote:

    Do you think that Fran├žois Zoko is the bargain of the season in league 1 for Carlisle?

    Do you think Carlisle can make it to the championship?

    Will Carlisle be able to keep any of their loan players?

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  • 6. At 10:59pm on 10 Nov 2010, llywarch cadwallader wrote:

    I don't know why people are so surprised by Derby doing well. We are the best supported club in the division, and with the possible exception of Leeds have every right to expect to outperform any other side in the division. We are not a Coventry or a Leicester, we are a level above that as our history shows. A little more respect please!

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  • 7. At 01:17am on 11 Nov 2010, TomNFFC wrote:

    Haha at comment #6. Without Commons, you would be nowhere. 'as our history shows' - lol. You are doing well though at the moment i have to admit that but once you start losing a few games again, when Commons gets injured, your fans will be back to their regular booing selves.

    On a serious note, is Nottingham Forest v QPR the extended highlights match on 'The Football Leeds Show' this weekend? 5-0 last season, same again please!

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  • 8. At 06:58am on 11 Nov 2010, Pennineram wrote:

    Sorry Tom, coment 7, you are wrong, it wouldn't surprise me if his contract isn't renewed, It would be nice if it is but not essential to the build. We can score from any position except goalie probably. Bailey and Brayford are more important to this team. So many young lads coming through we could fill 3 teams to compete in this league.
    Awesome nige, awseome! & for peanuts.

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  • 9. At 08:45am on 11 Nov 2010, cheeky_nffc wrote:

    llywarch cadwallader,

    whilst i have been suprised by the quality of derbys football this season(you're looking eerily reminiscent of us last season) i find your comment frankly ludicrous.

    you don't demand respect in the one hand whilst showing disrespect to others in the other.

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  • 10. At 10:08am on 11 Nov 2010, Lazarus wrote:

    Derby are probably the best team I've seen so far this season, with Sheff Utd being the worst. I know it's still early days but I reckon Derby are in with a good shout for the play-offs at least.

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  • 11. At 11:26am on 11 Nov 2010, Peter wrote:

    Yet Sheffield United beat Derby away from home!

    What a strange league!

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  • 12. At 11:44am on 11 Nov 2010, Trevlyn Atkinson wrote:

    It really is a pity that the 'Florist' people don't concentrate on their own situation as it seems there is plenty of criticism flying about regarding Billy Davies' going home an awful lot and there being no money being made available. I would lie all East Midlands sides to get up into the Prem no matter what colour but Rams and the others may be flattering to decieve yet! None of our three teams are good enough so let us stop this childish banter and get our own acts together. Then we may be able to meet on equal terms in the Prem but so far that is very unlikely to happen.

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  • 13. At 12:01pm on 11 Nov 2010, Lazarus wrote:

    11. At 11:26am on 11 Nov 2010, Bladegunner3 wrote:
    Yet Sheffield United beat Derby away from home!

    What a strange league!

    Exactly! It's one of the main reasons I love the Championship, you never quite know what's going to happen! :)

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  • 14. At 2:11pm on 11 Nov 2010, stourbridge_ram wrote:

    I don't agree Derby are a one man show what so ever. The fact that all of our starting outfield players have scored answers any doubters, and its great to see Kris Commons playing so well at the moment, Clough has got him working extra hard on the pitch and as a result of that he is the 2nd top goalscorer so far.

    Watching the rams at the moment is an absolute pleasure and if you take into consideration we're missing a hefty chunk of the squad through injury alot of credit has got to go to this Derby side for putting a great run together. Its looking promising at the moment with some great young players like Bailey, Brayford and the Class of Alberto Bueno and Kris Commons, but we won't get carried away there is still two thirds of the season to go.

    p.s didnt that "big" club down the A52 get yet another crowd below 20,000 and that is with Coventry taking 2,000 fans!!!!!


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  • 15. At 3:27pm on 11 Nov 2010, Sue Denim wrote:

    I saw Derby at the Liberty this season. Their formation of 7-2-1 was rather amusing.

    6. At 10:59pm on 10 Nov 2010, llywarch cadwallader wrote:

    "I don't know why people are so surprised by Derby doing well. We are the best supported club in the division, and with the possible exception of Leeds have every right to expect to outperform any other side in the division."

    I'm sorry but if support won games, football wouldn't be worth watching.

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  • 16. At 6:25pm on 11 Nov 2010, Steve Knight wrote:

    Hi Steve,

    What do you make of Gillingham's atrocious start to the season and what do you think Andy Hessenthaler needs to do to rectify the situation?

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  • 17. At 9:44pm on 11 Nov 2010, RamMarkWright wrote:

    You don;t deserve anything unless you win games and get promotion, attendances don't win games.

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  • 18. At 00:22am on 12 Nov 2010, TomNFFC wrote:

    I have heard good things about Brayford, but it will be good to see how he copes in a high pressure derby match. I guess we will see in December and January. If Derby carry on like this, and we start putting a decent winning run together, we could meet in the play-offs at the end of the season. That will be tasty even though we will most likely end up losing.

    Also, i don't know why people think we have had such a bad start to the season. We are 1 point off the play-offs, have lost only 3 games and have the 3rd best defensive record in the division even though our defence has been pretty poor at times this season and have conceded lots of soft goals. Obviously our strikers haven't been on top form this season but our midfielders seem to be doing the job so far. The only reason it looks bad is because we are not as far up the table as the bookies predicted.

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  • 19. At 4:43pm on 12 Nov 2010, Baildon_Bantam wrote:

    After a poor first couple of months in the season can Bradford still win the league? As they seem to be finding some form now.

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  • 20. At 9:30pm on 12 Nov 2010, Blue_Army_Till_I_Die _COYB wrote:

    What do u think to Wycombe's start of the season and where do you think they will finish come the end of the season?

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  • 21. At 00:22am on 14 Nov 2010, Lesta4eva wrote:

    Wow what a turn around under sven goran eriksson, 14 points from 7 games now, a major improvement from bottom of the league. Maybe we can push on for a top 6 spot after wiping the floor with derby! Love you stevey ! Up the foxes

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  • 22. At 10:50pm on 14 Nov 2010, Philip Taylor wrote:

    Its off the Radar again The Barnsley fc team win convincingly away at Ipswich (second consecutive away win.)Put a run together then its a top six.A little bit of cosistancy.....Just proves what the reds are capable of.

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  • 23. At 00:04am on 15 Nov 2010, TomNFFC wrote:

    Question for Steve:

    As we all know, Jay Bothroyd has had an England call-up. Who else from the Championship do you think deserves an England call-up?

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  • 24. At 09:28am on 15 Nov 2010, Lazarus wrote:

    Another question for you Steve:

    Given that you and TFLS show ignored the Doncaster Rovers game again (despite it being a 5-goal thriller - don't worry though, we're used to it now) what do you make of Steve Cotterill's disgraceful post-match comments and ridiculous accusations? And do you share his truly bizarre viewpoint that it was David Healy to blame for Carl Dickinson's horrific two-footed challenge on James Hayter?

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  • 25. At 3:14pm on 16 Nov 2010, GazBlueArmy wrote:

    I think Cotterill has the right to question I do certainly feel the reaction of the Doncaster players was disgusting and how one of them didn't even get a booking let alone be sent off (Healy) is head scratching. I do support Dickinson it wasn't a good tackle but it was not two footed I have watched it 5 times now and it isn't it's just missed timed but if the referee was doing his job in the first place i.e. the initial foul on John Utaka then the frustration shown from Dickinson would never have occured the reaction from Doncaster has got him sent off. I have to say I have not seen one good referee in the Champ yet the standard is absolutly shocking. If Pulis is thinking about having 3 promoted he can think again there all complete pony.

    I have to be honest though, I was at the game and Doncaster play some wonderful football really pleasing on the eye. Also on the earlier comment of Pompey playing on a level playing field Post. 3. We have signed them players I openly agree whilst in admin but every other club has 25 player rosters filled we only have 17 if we lose anyone of them players Injury etc they can't be replaced we don't have strength in depth like the rest of the league, so teams in the league are on a higher playing field than us. Oh and by the way to the rest of the league we are not in Administration anymore!!!

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  • 26. At 7:39pm on 16 Nov 2010, Boroboyjoe wrote:

    Dear Steve,
    Firstly, I must congratulate you immensely on your recent performances, they have improved significantly and you are fast securing yourself as a legend with both myself and my good friend Tom.
    Now, we were both discussing the return of Marvin Emnes to Middlesbrough the other day. We both think that it will bring good things for the mighty Boro, that his return will trigger a further improvement in results and a climb up the table. His pace will cause many problems for Championship defences. As we only have one natural winger in Tarmo Kink, I think that the return of Emnes will be a massive boost to fans and players alike.
    What do you think of his return to Middlesbrough? Do you think that Tony Mowbray will give him a fair chance, unlike Gordon Strachan? Your views are truly appreciated, as this is an issue that matters to not only us, but you too.
    Many thanks
    Joe Wells and Tom Baxter

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  • 27. At 7:41pm on 16 Nov 2010, Boroboyjoe wrote:

    I must agree with myself...

    Me and my good friend Tom think that you are a legend Steve. You are the light of our respective lives.

    I don't mean to sound stalkerish, but we love you.



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