TRAINING GROUND REFIT KEY FOR LEE
CONSISTENCY IS KEY FOR PEP
BLACKPOOL’S training ground, once described as a “hellhole” by Ian Holloway, is set to undergo a long overdue upgrade as boss Lee Clark looks to the future.
The Tangerines were relegated on Monday, but the writing has been on the wall for Blackpool for some time having been glued to the foot of the table since October.
Clark believes demolishing the existing facilities at Squires Gate for new, albeit temporary, buildings is a vital step in trying to bounce back.
“It’s crucial to us,” said the ex-Birmingham boss. “We are only at the stadium once every two weeks. We spend all our time at the training ground and if you want to improve as a team and a club, you can only do it there.
“We will have a good gym down there and other things. It’s so vital to what we want to do here. If you look at all the successful teams around, their work is done on the training ground.”
SEDAN. Noisy-le-Sec. L’Entente SSG. Creteil. Kortrijk. Charleroi. Wolverhampton Wanderers. Nottingham Forest. Crystal Palace. Watford. That’s one club for every year of Adlene Guedioura’s professional career. When it comes to getting around, the 29-year-old Algerian makes Phileas Fogg and Michael Palin look unadventurous.
Not since Steve Claridge hung up his boots has one man kept the FA registrations department so busy.
It’s a CV that conjures images of a lower-league slogger signed to make up the numbers then shunted on when someone better comes along. Indeed, supporters of Crystal Palace yet to see the best of their £2.5m signing will tell you that’s exactly what he is.
Yet to watch Guedioura play is to see a man who should be indispensable. Skilful, confident, energetic and exciting; this is a guy whose thunderbolt strikes saw him branded ‘The Rocket Factory’ at Wolves.
Forest fans preferred the nickname ‘Pep’, and not just because his surname sounds a bit like Guardiola. Watford supporters, meanwhile, will tell you that Guedioura’s performances since rejoining on loan from Palace in February have breathed fresh life into their Championship title tilt.
So why is the geezer living out of a suitcase? Partly, it’s simple bad luck. A fixture in Mick McCarthy’s Wolves team when he broke his leg in September 2010, Guedioura spent six months on the treatment table and returned to find his place had been filled. At Palace, he was signed by a manager who walked out two months later.
Then there’s the problem of consistency. On his best days, Guedioura is unstoppable, a midfield lynchpin who tackles like a demon, runs like a greyhound and sprays balls around like Glenn Hoddle with a hosepipe.
On his worst – and I’ve seen plenty of them – he looks like a selfish showpony, irritating fans and team-mates alike with overambitious shots and misguided tricks.
That frustrating duality was apparent in his treatment by new Eagles boss Alan Pardew, who hailed Guedioura a match-winning “maverick” then sent him packing to Watford a month later.
The final problem is one of temperament. Guedioura once responded to Forest fans’ praise on twitter by writing ‘Your love is my drug’. He is a player driven by emotion, a classic hothead whose confidence can stray into arrogance.
When you need a rabble rouser, that’s great. When your skipper is handing him a dressing down, it’s more of a problem.
Which is exactly what happened at half-time during Forest’s defeat to Wigan in 2013, resulting in a spectacular bust-up between Guedioura and a senior player. He was instantly subbed.
Managers love to see players who care, but not when it ruptures a dressing room. For then-gaffer Billy Davies, it was a step too far and the start of the end for the French-born star’s City Ground career.
What’s so annoying is that Guedioura is a match-winner. When the ten-man Hornets went 2-1 down at Derby last week, the Algerian’s head should have dropped. He should have played the ill-tempered maverick.
Instead, he ran the game, chasing and pressing with intelligence, filling in gaps, keeping possession and making tackles. Then there was the deft first-time ball to tee-up Odion Ighalo’s leveller, a pass Zinedine Zidane would have played in his pomp.
That 90 minutes showed how good he can be. But we’ve all seen him have a good 90 minutes. Only when he does it for a whole season will he finally be able stick that suitcase in the loft and let it gather dust.
WHEN Malky Mackay was sacked by Cardiff in December 2013, his stock could not
have been higher. Success at Watford, promotion martyrdom at Car diff,
at the hands of Vincent first in the queue Tan. He was
for any job. Now, after the pub-licisedtextscandalandwell-
his dismissal by Wigan, he widely seen as damaged is
goods.Who on earth would even offer him an interview?
Wigan obviously believed baggage that Mackay’s excess
would be offset – and ultimately – through success overlooked
on the pitch. With the Latics better off than when no earli-er,notopclubhe took over 138 days
with an image to protect take a similar will
gamble. For Mackay, a spell overseas now looks the only
way to resurrect a once stellar career.