Derek Davis' Championship Chatter

AS Colchester United enter the most important two months of their 69-year professional history, the worry among U's fans is that Phil Parkinson could be lured by the brighter floodlights of a bigger club.

AS Colchester United enter the most important two months of their 69-year professional history, the worry among U's fans is that Phil Parkinson could be lured by the brighter floodlights of a bigger club.

United fans are not alone in their fears as the supposedly bigger, but struggling clubs, look to find an answer to their own problems.

It is inevitable that the likes of Parkinson will be linked to vacancies, sometimes even before they arise, and while it is flattering for fans, club and manager, it can be unsettling.

The perfect scenario would be that the U's get promoted, Parkinson stays and the new ground gets the full go-ahead and the team can consolidate in the Championship for the next two years while the 10,000 all-seater stadium is built.

That would pretty much end all the speculation.

But as we know football doesn't work out that way and it doesn't take a genius to work out that a number of club chairmen will have noted Parkinson's name as one for the future.

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He will join the list including the likes of Martin Allen, the colourful Brentford boss, Steve Tilson who built on the work by Steve Wignall to catapult Southend to the top of the League One, and Paul Simpson at Carlisle, who is also looking for a league and LDV Vans Trophy double.

The reluctance of clubs like Leicester City and Derby County to name a permanent boss would indicate they are eyeing those sort of prospects with more than a passing interest. I would have added Nottingham Forest, but they are no longer an attractive proposition for an ambitious young boss.

Parkinson has completed almost three years at Layer Road and what he has achieved is highly commendable.

Considering he has had to work on a budget lower than any club in the division, and many in League Two as well, due to the salary cap, it shows you don't have to have loads of cash to splash to make things happen.

The cap means he has not been able to offer top wages, the club made a loss last year of £300,000 and though the money from the FA Cup run will alleviate a lot of problems, that has not helped him make further improvements this season.

It has been inspired signings such as Chris Iwelumo, a journeyman Scot scratching around trying to find a good home. Neil Danns was unwanted at Blackburn, ditto Richard Garcia at West Ham, the loan-signing of Jamie Cureton which kick-started the U's and finding the blend of youngsters coming through and old heads that ensures harmony, all show that Parkinson is more than just qualifications - and he has a classroom full of those.

Managers in higher divisions will look at what Adie Boothroyd has done at Watford and consider that proof, if any more were needed, that this new breed of young, ambitious and competent manager is the way ahead instead of just plucking old names from the managerial roundabout.

It is an unpalatable thought for fans of the U's, Bees, Shrimpers and others, but that is, or should be the way of the world. Too often in the past it has not always been the case and too often big-name footballers get big jobs too early and when they fail are allowed to go and screw it up somewhere else, too.

HE might not want the job full-time, but Terry Westley is doing a good enough job to be handed the managerial role at Derby County until the end of the season.

I spoke with Terry a couple of weeks ago and he told me how keen he was to get back to his “day job” running the Pride Park Academy and after a spell as top dog at Luton Town, he didn't want to be back in the managerial hot seat for too long.

You will remember that Westley took over as caretaker manager from Phil Brown, who was sacked, and since then the Rams have not won and are facing a relegation battle.

Westley's appointment means he will now be in charge when Derby visit Portman Road, a club where he was a young player and then coach many moons ago, on April 22 in the penultimate Championship league game of the season.

Westley has boosted his squad by signing Charlton striker Kevin Lisbie on a month's loan.

The Jamaica international has barely featured for Alan Curbishley's side this term and spent a month on loan at Norwich last September.

Lisbie goes straight into Westley's squad for Saturday's visit of Plymouth.

The 27-year-old, whose memorable hat-trick gave Charlton a 3-2 win against Liverpool in September, 2003, came through the ranks at the the Valley, where he played under Westley, then the Addicks youth team manager.

Meanwhile, Wallsall have appointed Kevan Broadhurst as their new manager until the end of the season.

Broadhurst, who Saddlers chairman Jeff Bonser hopes will go on to sign an extended contract at the Bescot, replaces sacked player-manager Paul Merson.

The 46-year-old had an eight-year career as a defender at Birmingham and enjoyed a loan spell at Walsall in 1979.

His coaching career started at St Andrews before he became assistant and then manager at Northampton, while he can also boast a spell as first-team coach at Oxford and assistant manager at Bristol Rovers.

SOUTHAMPTON goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski looks set to miss the rest of the season after a scan confirmed he requires knee surgery.

The 18-year-old Pole was stretchered out of Saturday's FA Cup defeat at Newcastle after falling awkwardly and had to be replaced by forward Dexter Blackstock for the final few minutes.

A specialist is expected to perform the operation at the end of the week once the swelling has gone down, and initial indications are that Bialkowski will be out for up to eight weeks.

Paul Smith is set to deputise against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, even though he has been struggling with an elbow problem, with boss George Burley hopeful of bringing in some cover.

Congratulations to the winners of our German Football competition. The correct answer was: Switzerland (1954), West Germany (1974) and Italy (1990) and the lucky half-dozen picked out were:

Nicholas Keane, Frinton; Malcolm Clark, Mistley; Brian Sewell, Bramford; Tim Vick, Woodbridge; M Lightfoot, Stanford-le-Hope and Hannah Bruce, Clacton.

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