Just over 3 months in and the FL have started to take their job or removing manager’s jobs seriously. The Championship were initially slow after a bumper 2014-15 but have made up for it lately with a total of 8 sacking after the first third of the season. With possible replacements from other Championship clubs and the potential embarrassing third round exit still to navigate, that number of 8 will surely grow if not double.
L1 and L2 have just the eight between them (5 for L1 and 3 for L2) so pressure will be on to compete.
Talking of competing – no surprise two of the top three in the Championship (Hull and Burnley) are relegated sides from last year – the parachute money providing a giant head start to the rebound, if the club is run properly. The other relegated side QPR never seems to be run properly so their omission from the top 6 is no surprise either. The reinstatement of previously sacked Neil Warnock as Interim Manager is a surprise, until you remember his promotion record, the last of which was at this club.
It does beg the question with the truckload of extra cash coming into the EPL from next season if the promotion to the promised land will get even harder as the EPL parachute brings so much money that a club who hasn’t recently been in the top grade won’t be able to compete, and the famous competitiveness of the league will disappear.
Talking of competitive – League One the top four are all within 2 points of each other, with the leader rotating week to week. This week it’s Gillingham’s turn at the top, and yet another 1st v 2nd clash, of which there have been quite a few this season already due to lucky scheduling. Out of the top 6 only Coventry would be classed as a big club, with other clubs with Championship and above pedigree like Sheffield Utd, Bradford, Millwall an Peterborough all completing the top 10.
Talking of completing, the players from Leyton Orient would have felt like they were completing a sentence as the owner kept them in a nearby hotel during the week after an unexpected loss at Hartlepool.
Their perfect record start to the year seems a long way away in Xth position. One wonders what will happen if they lose at home.
L2 – Plymouth v Exeter – fans will be happy an away games is less than 100 miles away.
L2 – Stevenage v Luton – just the 25 miles separates the two sides
L1 – Bury v Burton – 6th v 4th
L1 – Coventry v Gillingham – 2nd v 1st
L1 – Walsall v Sheffield Utd – 3rd v 8th
CH – Burnley v Brighton – Two of the more surprising teams from the top 4 face off.
MIDDLESBROUGH to beat QPR
BLACKBURN to beat Preston
DERBY to beat Cardiff
LEEDS to beat Rotherham
BIRMINGHAM to beat Charlton
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WIGAN to beat Shrewsbury
COVENTRY to beat Gillingham
SOUTHEND to beat Blackpool
MILLWALL to beat Colchester
SWINDON to beat Fleetwood
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LEYTON ORIENT to beat York
CAMBRIDGE to beat Accrington
BARNET to beat Morecambe
BRISTOL ROVERS to beat Crawley
WYCOMBE to beat Wimbledon
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BRIGHTON are still undefeated this season with 16 games, HULL next up with 10.
HULL also have 5 straight wins and 5 straight clean sheets.
ROTHERHAM are on a 4 game losing streak.
BOLTON are winless in 10 games.
BLACKBURN, BOLTON, PRESTON have drawn 50% of their games.
10 of the 24 teams have lost 1 game or less this season.
5 of the 24 teams have 1 loss or less on the road.
WIGAN are unbeaten in 10 games.
COVENTRY have won 3 in a row.
BARNSLEY have lost 8 in a row, and add a FA Cup exit to a Non League side for scale of the run.
Four sides are unbeaten in last four games – Northmapton, imbledon, Notts County and Newport.
PLYMOUTH have three wins in a row.
YORK have lost three in a row.
There’s a battle for worst winless streak – YORK are on 11 and DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE are 10 and YEOVIL TOWN 9. Unsurprisingly, they are all in the bottom three.