Nottingham Forest stayed on top after a 1-1 draw with Derby yesterday (Rams defender Jake Buxton got the obligatory red card), but Norwich and Wolves kept up with the pace and remain one point behind the Tricky Trees. Norwich were generous enough to give Cardiff a two goal start in South Wales on Saturday before scoring four without reply, whilst Wolves must be kicking themselves for not winning at Bloomfield Road: if they had, they’d have gone to the top of the pile.
At the bottom, Blackpool and Fulham swapped places but neither side can escape the bottom three. After a goalless draw against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday Bolton are three points from safety, but they’re already four points behind Birmingham and there’s a chance that the bottom four could be marooned by Saturday evening.
Some good games in prospect this midweek: tomorrow there are two matches that will have a direct impact at the top of the table.
Brentford v Norwich
Unbeaten at home, this is nosebleed time for the Bees: this is their highest league position since September 1952 and Saturday’s home win against Brighton was their first victory in the second tier at Griffin Park since May 1993, when they beat Barnsley 3-1. Buying Moses Odubajo and Andre Grey from Leyton Orient and Luton respectively looks like an incredibly shrewd piece of business by Mark Warburton.
As I mentioned above, Norwich came from behind at Cardiff on Saturday but they’ve not lost on their travels since August and they’re also currently reaping the benefits of a decent transfer policy. As he’s moved up the Football League, Lewis Grabban has scored goals at every level and his 22 for Bournemouth last season clearly didn’t go unnoticed at Carrow Road.
Last meeting in London: August 2009 in League One, which Brentford won 2-1. Before that, you’ve got to go back to September 1959, when Norwich won by the odd goal in seven. The Canaries had reached the semi finals of the FA Cup at the end of the previous season and went on to win promotion from the old Third Division in May 1960.
Charlton v Wolves
Four consecutive home wins is Charlton’s best streak at the Valley since the end of the 2012/13 season: since then, they’d struggled to win consecutive home games, let alone do this well. An early penalty from Yoni Buyens was enough to see off Watford on Saturday.
One thing that immediately jumps off the page about Wolves’ recent away form is how few goals there have been in their games since promotion. Apart from the recent goal fest against Blackburn at the end of last month, six of Wolves’ seven games since they arrived back in the Championship have featured one goal or less. They’ve failed to score in two of their three aways so far this season, but Charlton’s clean sheet last weekend was only their second at home since March. It looks like something has got to give.
On Wednesday it’s possible that one side could go into the weekend at the top and their opponents might be rooted to the bottom.
Nottingham Forest v Fulham
Forest were at it again at the weekend: they took the lead against Derby but had to settle for a draw. That happened eight times last season and was probably the main reason why they ended up outside the playoffs. Leon Best’s equaliser at the City Ground was the first time the opposition had scored against Forest this season.
I’ve no idea where to start with Fulham, other than suggesting that the outrageous fee spent on Ross McCormack has been a complete waste of money so far and could have been spent on a reasonably competent back four at this level. They’re probably due a win soon, but I doubt if it’ll happen on Wednesday: their last win at the City Ground – in fact, their last league game at Forest – was in September 2000.
I’ll be back at the weekend.