That’s not a reference to how many Championship clubs that are left in the Carling Cup, but to QPR who maintained their 100% record with a straightforward 2-0 win over Scunthorpe. If you’re wondering when this run might end, it’s worth remembering that their opponents this weekend – Derby County – haven’t beaten the West London side at home since a 2-0 win at the Baseball Ground in February 1990!
Hard on Rangers’ heels are four of the five unbeaten teams – Craig Bellamy scored the last goal in Cardiff City’s 4-0 win over Doncaster Rovers, Burnley made short work of Leicester City, Coventry City beat Derby County and Ipswich Town won at Crystal Palace.
Some of those unbeaten records might be in danger this weekend as only two of the top six clubs are at home this weekend: Millwall lost their first game of the season despite taking the lead against Leeds through a Richard Naylor own goal, but will be looking to get back to winning ways when Coventry travel to South London in the game of the week.
Possibly surprisingly given that they were widely tipped to struggle, the other unbeaten team is Watford, who picked up a useful point at Hull City last week and will be looking to put their midweek Carling Cup defeat to Notts County behind them when Leeds visit this weekend.
The bottom of the table has an early season look to it: before the season started a case could have been made for five of the bottom six to have playoff aspirations at the very least and Sky Sports probably weren’t expecting Leicester and Reading to be at the wrong end of the table when they chose their game to televise (Sky Sports 2, Saturday 5:15pm).
Gary Speed will have to wait another week for his first win as Sheffield United manager after the Blades lost 1-0 at Middlesbrough and dropped to the bottom of the table, but the new manager may not have to wait much longer – Preston haven’t won at Bramall Lane since November 1978 and have only drawn four and lost nine of the last 13 games between the two clubs in South Yorkshire.
Of the other clubs that haven’t had the best of starts, Portsmouth have even struggled to put out the regulation number of substitutes – there were just four players on the bench at Preston last weekend – and could be facing a long season; a visit from Cardiff City featuring an in form Jay Bothroyd really isn’t what Steve Cotterill’s side need right now.
Bristol City, Preston and Reading all picked up their first home points of the season, but only Preston won and Bristol City earned their point the hard way, having had to come behind twice to earn a point against Barnsley – two Andy Gray goals in twelve minutes had given the Tykes a great start that they ultimately failed to capitalise on.
There are only seven Championship clubs left in the Carling Cup, although at least Leeds, Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace were knocked out by Leicester, Millwall and Portsmouth respectively; Reading’s Matt Mills managed to score three goals against Northampton Town of League 2 but the crucial one was the own goal right at the end of extra time that took the game to a penalty shoot out…that Reading lost.