BILLY BUNTER

Weblog: The football punter

No better time to land a good old-fashioned punt

SOME managerial appointments can make you feel very old.

You remember the bloke in question – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Paul Dickov, James Beattie – as fresh-faced youngsters making a name for themselves in the game and suddenly they're standing in the dugout trying to look all grown up.

However, the news that Ryan Giggs had been given the caretaker job at Manchester United didn't provoke the same sense of 'where has the time gone?' In fact, it seemed long overdue.

Admittedly, my grandad felt a bit nostalgic but then he'd bunked off early from his job as a chimney sweep to pay tuppence ha'penny for the privilege of watching Giggsy's debut way back before the Premier League era.

Given that you're better off being a lucky general than a good general, Giggs could have a future in the management game. He's certainly lucked out with his first match in charge – a home fixture against struggling Norwich.

The Old Trafford clash doesn't look much of a betting heat but I've got a couple of fancies in the Premier League 3pm kick-offs.

I can't believe the price about Stoke at home to Tottenham. The Potters have won five of their last six home games, including victories over Manchester United and Arsenal, and unlike Spurs they look as though they know what they're meant to be doing and are willing to work hard.

Old-fashioned virtues, I know, but they should help Stoke take the three points.

Backing teams who need to win against teams who don't need to win is a tried-and-tested method at this time of year (I've tried it for as long as I can remember and every season it's tested my bank manager's patience) but I'm going to the well again with Fulham against FA Cup finalists Hull.

The Cottagers have won eight of their 17 games against teams in the bottom half – not bad going – and Hull looked off the pace against Arsenal last weekend.

Right, I'm off to back Adnan Januzaj to be the next-but-one manager of Manchester United. You'd be amazed how time flies.

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Match in Focus

19:30 TODAY BT2

Hannover v Stuttgart

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Hannover have kept one clean sheet in their last 17 matches
Expert verdict
Stuttgart have improved considerably since Huub Stevens took over and they can continue to kick clear of relegation trouble with a positive result at Hannover. Stuttgart have played seven games under Stevens and lost just twice with one of those coming against Borussia Dortmund when they were reduced to ten men.