This week saw the first of the managerial changes of the season: the end of September isn’t actually that bad, considering that Mark Robbins resigned from Huddersfield immediately after the first game of the 2014/15 season.
I can understand why Steve Davis is no longer manager of Rotherham, even though the timing of the decision – after back to back wins – was odd, although there are some interesting rumours doing the rounds on ‘social media’ that involve the Rotherham board preventing Davis from leaving to join Peterborough (where he lives) a couple of weeks ago. The Millers are still everyone’s favourites to go down after a poor start: consecutive promotions may have been a step too far and I can understand the need for a change.
As for Brentford…
Over the past five years I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve written posts where I’ve criticised teams for appointing either:
(a) A manager with no experience of managing at this level
(b) A manager with no experience of managing in Great Britain
(c) Having a chairman or a board of directors who are daft enough to think that one good season in the Championship means promotion to the Premier League is inevitable
(d) A combination of the above.
There are exceptions of course. Guy Luzon at Charlton seems to be doing OK at the moment and it wouldn’t surprise me if Aitor Karanka (Middlesbrough) goes on to bigger and better things even if that’s not with Boro or even in England. However, since the start of last season, the following non-British managers have all come and gone without making a positive impression at the clubs that appointed them: Bob Peeters, Felix Magath, Darko Milanic, Sami Hyypia, Jose Riga (at two different clubs!), Uwe Rosler, Giuseppe Sannino and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
In Rosler’s case, he’s gone and come back again, having left Brentford to move to Wigan, where he did very little to prevent their eventual relegation. It’s not really much of a surprise he’s the Leeds boss now; but this brings us nicely back to Brentford. This post from February is what I thought about Mark Warburton’s decision to move on at the end of last season and the appointment of the hitherto obscure Marinus Dijkhuizen in June was the icing on the cake. Warburton has gone on to very promising things with Glasgow Rangers and it’s now abundantly clear that Matthew Benham got the decision to go in a different direction wrong.
Anyway, we move on. Brighton and Middlesbrough cannot be overtaken this weekend and one of them will be top going into the international break. The Seagulls retained the lead by one point after drawing at Bolton, even though they blew a two goal lead. Boro swept Leeds aside on Sunday but with only three points separating QPR and Reading the outcomes of this weekend’s games indicate whether we’re likely to see the leaders pull away from the chasing pack. At the bottom Rotherham dragged themselves out of the bottom three with an unexpected win at Birmingham, whilst Bristol City sank to the bottom of the table despite earning a point at Ipswich.
The three matches that made it on to the ‘Game Of The Week’ shortlist are as follows, but I decided against picking one of them as they’re all vital in different ways.
Brighton v Cardiff
Four of the last five league games between these two in Sussex have ended in draws and Brighton haven’t beaten Cardiff at home for 13 years. The Seagulls have won all of their home games in the Sky Bet Championship this season but Cardiff haven’t lost consecutive away games since January and will be looking to bounce back from their surprise defeat at Rotherham two weeks ago.
Bristol City v MK Dons
In the nine previous meetings between the clubs, MK Dons have never beaten Bristol City in any competition. It’s probably too early to call this one a relegation six pointer, but if either side wins then the other could be in big trouble.
Reading v Middlesbrough
Since 1988 Boro have a lousy league record at Reading: two wins in the last ten, the most recent victory coming six years ago. This looks like a good test for both teams, although Middlesbrough arguably have to more to prove as they’ve only played one game against any of the sides in the current top ten.
There are also three televised games this weekend: Rotherham v Burnley (tonight, Sky Sports 2, 7:45pm kick off), Wolves v Huddersfield (Saturday, Sky Sports 1, kick off 12:30) and Charlton v Fulham (Sunday, Sky Sports 2, noon kick off). None of them look particularly interesting unless you follow those clubs, although Huddersfield have a far better record at Molineux than you’d think.
It’s another ‘international break’ next week, but I’ll be back with a statistics driven look at how the season has begun. Once again, thanks for reading and have a good weekend.