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Nov 7, 2011

Sharp ovation, Clough's record

Welcome to The Trawler, your weekly submersion through the teeming waters of life in the Championship, League One and League Two. You might be surprised what you find down there.

Standing ovation for Sharp

Doncaster Rovers striker Billy Sharp suffered an unimaginable tragedy last Saturday, with the loss of his two-day-old son. Somehow Sharp found the strength to pay tribute to his boy with a brilliant goal against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, and he scored another in Rovers' surprise 3-2 win against Ipswich at the weekend.

Sharp's goal against Ipswich was greeted by a standing ovation from home fans at Portman Road - a touching gesture that was much appreciated by the 25-year-old.

"I've never experienced anything like that. They were unbelievable and it brought a lump to my throat when I heard them," Sharp said. "Massive respect to them for that and I can't thank them enough. It was a really special moment.

"I have shed plenty of tears but there have been smiles too because of what people have done for me. It has been tough but I have received texts and tweets from all over the world and the support has helped me and my family enormously."

Doncaster's other two goals were delivered by unlikely new signing El Hadji Diouf, who put in a commanding man-of-the-match performance. With Diouf and Sharp coming to an instant understanding, Rovers could soon be freed from the foot of the Championship.

Huddersfield match Clough record

Lee Clark's Huddersfield made it 42 league games unbeaten on Saturday, with a 1-1 draw at home to Walsall. The result sees them match Nottingham Forest's football league record, which was set under the great Brian Clough between November 1977 and November 1978 [Arsenal's 49-game run is the Premier League record].

League One manager of the month Clark will next lead his team out against Forest's local rivals Notts County with the chance to beat Cloughie's mark.

Appleton for Portsmouth

Portsmouth are reportedly on the verge of naming Michael Appleton as the club's new manager. The West Brom assistant coach has been in talks with Pompey for several days now, with a deal likely to be announced later this week. West Brom manager Roy Hodgson believes they'll be making a wise decision.

"There are some discussions still to be had, but if it works out that Portsmouth do want him and he wants to go then all we can do is bemoan the fact it is a great loss for us and congratulate Portsmouth on appointing an excellent manager," Hodgson said.

Appleton's reputation has grown steadily since he was forced to end his playing career at the age of 27, in 2003. The former Manchester United, Preston and West Brom midfielder suffered a serious knee injury and was later awarded £1.5 million in compensation after it was argued a surgeon wrongly operated on him.

Rare honesty

This week's "telling it like it is" award goes to Accrington manager John Coleman, who took off the blinkers to admit his team were fortunate to beat Bristol City 2-1 in League Two.

"To be honest we were fortunate to win against a good Bristol side," Coleman said. "A draw would probably be a fairer result and on another day their chances would have gone in. We scored two superb goals in the first half but then they pinned us back after the break and I think if they had equalised with 10 minutes to go, they could have gone on and won it."

Next week, a manager admits his team were lucky not to have four men sent off and praises the referee for not giving them a late penalty.

Gradi blasts boo boys

Dario Gradi first took over as Crewe manager in 1983, and but for an 18-month stint as technical director would have served the club longer than Sir Alex Ferguson has been at Manchester United. But fans have short memories.

On Saturday, Gradi's team were beaten 3-0 at home by Torquay and treated to a chorus of boos from the home support. "The fans aren't booing the players, they are booing me and that is up to them," Gradi said. "I won't leave this club because of them. I shall hand over when it suits or when someone else tells me it is time to go. It certainly won't be because of the supporters."

Crewe are currently languishing in 18th in League Two, and are without a home league win since early September. If only they had a manager with a little experience to see them through...

Fancy dress Hereford style

League Two Hereford held a Family Football Festival on Saturday, with supporters invited to enter a fancy dress competition.

One of the winners wore pink leggings, an orange tutu, a sparkly silver waistcoat, pink scarf and a silver bowler hat. He also painted his face with Hereford's black and white stripes. When asked who he'd come as, he said Hereford defender Ryan Green. Read into that what you will.

That said, Hereford did achieve a creditable 1-1 draw with big-spending Crawley, keeping a little bit of daylight between themselves and the drop zone.

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