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Pennington Impresses at Walsall
Walsall boss John Whitney says he knew exactly what he would be getting from Matthew Pennington from a text message he received on the defender’s first day at the club.
The Everton youngster arrived on loan at Banks’s Stadium in March and has since made two league appearances as the Saddlers look to secure a play-off place in League One.
And Whitney, who had been impressed by the 21-year-old during previous loan spells with Tranmere Rovers and Coventry City, is in no doubt that the Toffees academy product has the character to be be a real asset to Walsall in his deal until the end of the season.
He told the Walsall Advertiser: “He [Pennington] played against us for Tranmere on his first loan a couple of years ago and I earmarked him straight away because he was just an old-fashioned defender.
“He reminded me of myself – he just wanted to defend. But he is not a ‘head and volley’ defender, he can still play.
“He is a leader, he is a talker and he is somebody who, if needed, can step straight into the team – and the biggest thing is that his character and personality will fit this group.
“There is no ego about him. One text he sent me was ‘Up the Saddlers!’ which I thought was fantastic.”
Jones Keen On Hart
Luton Town manager Nathan Jones has admitted he would love to bring Paul Hart to the club to bolster his coaching staff at Kenilworth Road.
Hart, who managed Chesterfield between 1988 and 1991, left his job as director of Leeds United’s academy last week and Jones is reportedly keen on a share in his wealth of experience.
“He’s someone I know very, very well, he’s someone I worked closely with and he’s someone I would love to bring to the club for lots of reasons,” he told Luton On Sunday.
“He’s a very close friend of mine and someone who is vastly experienced. If there’s something that can be done then I’ll speak to the relevant people and you’d have to speak to Leeds because he’s only just available.
“He’s a good friend of mine and I value his opinion. I think he’s left Leeds for personal and family reasons, so we’ll have to see where he’s at.
“If there is a possibility that we can do something then that would be a real good addition to our team.”
Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Matt Bloomfield managed to play on with a broken arm in a recent game against York City.
The 32-year-old suffered the injury while scoring the equaliser for the Chairboys in their 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened York, as Wycombe battle for a spot in the League Two play-offs.
“I have been involved in some incident-packed match days and seen most things during close to 12 and a half years at Wycombe Wanderers, but breaking my arm while scoring in Saturday’s game at York City was a new one,” revealed Bloomfield, now in his 13th season at Adams Park.
“Midway through the celebration I suddenly realised that my arm was extremely painful. I tried not to give it too much thought, though, as the only thing I could think about was not losing the point that we had just earned for ourselves. There was also the chance that we might be able to snatch a late winner.
“The pain was starting to really intensify but we had used all of our substitutes, so the option of going off had been taken away.
“There was no way that I was going to leave my team-mates with 10 men whilst I was still able to run so I just had to grit my teeth and get on with it.”
Smith Targets EURO 2016
Peterborough United defender Michael Smith says he is targeting a place on Northern Ireland’s plane to France for this summer’s UEFA European Championships after making his international debut last month.
The 27-year-old right back played 71 minutes in a 1-0 win over Slovenia and is hoping his performance sufficiently impressed national team manager Michael O’Neill to force his way into his country’s squad.
“I’m very, very proud to say that I am a Northern Ireland international footballer,” Smith told peterboroughtoday.co.uk.
“It’s a dream come true. I hope I get to play for them again and I loved every minute of my debut.
“The manager spoke to me after the game and assured me there are places for France still up for grabs so I have a chance.
“He said lots of players will be watched between now and the end of the season so it’s up to me.
“Being selected has given me a lot of confidence in my game.”
Ex-Posh forward Conor Washington scored the game’s only goal and the QPR man, alongside Smith, will hope to be named in O’Neill’s squad which is due to be submitted by May 31.
Davis In No Doubt
Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis says he will not walk away from the club after their relegation from League One was confirmed on April 9.
The Railwaymen’s 3-0 defeat to local rivals Port Vale put an end to their four-year stay in the third tier but Davis insists he is the right man to take guide the club back up from League Two.
“I was brought in to keep the club in the Football League and we still are,” he told the Stoke Sentinel.
“As far as my remit, I have achieved that and been able to do better than that by getting us in to League One so I have done better than what was expected of me when I took the job.
“It’s now about looking at how we can improve the squad with a small budget, we have 14 players out of contract, we finished in the end where the budget put us and overachieved in previous seasons so in many respects you have to look for the positives as a manager.
“I know I’m fortunate to be in a position where I’m still in a job after relegation because most managers would either walk away or get sacked, I’m not that type of person, if the board decide there’s someone better out there to do the job then that’s their decision.
“But I feel I’m the right person, I did when I first took over and I’m still the right person to do the job now.”