Five things to look out for in the opening weekend of the season
Frank Lampard and Joey Barton make managerial debuts
The Premier League doesn’t start for another week, but there’s more than enough to be excited about with the return of the EFL and National League, writes Paul Ready.
Whether it’s squabbling over Salford, or Derby County’s latest recruitment in their managerial merry-go-round, the Coral News Team have picked out five things that have got them anticipating the new season with glee.
Will Lampard cut it at Derby?
Frank Lampard begins his foray into management and will find himself in the dugout of the Madejski Stadium. He will become Derby seventh managerial appointment since 2013.
With impressive pre-season victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton, confidence will be high at Pride Park.
Derby have been fast to pull the trigger on managers when results don’t go their way. An opening win over Reading would be the perfect to the start to the Chelsea legend’s managerial career.
Barton is in the dugout too
Football’s marmite makes his return to the game as manager of Fleetwood Town, an appointment met with some scepticism. However, with five pre-season wins out of five it will be the results that determine Barton’s success.
Explosive and never far from a headline as a player, he begins his managerial career at home to AFC Wimbledon, and will be hoping for the right headline on Sunday.
All eyes on Salford City
The National League team part-owned by Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, and Ryan Giggs has come under scrutiny for their spending this summer.
The acquisition of Adam Rooney from Aberdeen resulted in a very public Twitter spat between Gary Neville and Accrington Stanley owner, Andy Holt.
It will be the results that matter when Salford host Leyton Orient on Saturday.
Are dark days over for Villa?
It’s been a funny summer for Aston Villa fans. One moment they are dreaming of a Premier League return, the next they are on the brink of financial ruin and facing a player exodus.
Fortunately they have resolved their financial woes, and are in a position where they can keep hold of key players.
The question is will the players choose to stay? Jack Grealish is still heavily linked with a Tottenham Hotspur. With Villa not kicking off until Monday night there is still plenty of time for things to change once again for the Villains.
Time for Sunderland to bounce back?
In the familiar position of last, Sunderland completed a double drop and now find themselves in League One. They’re in the third tier of English football for only the second time in their history.
Favourites to win the league, surely it can’t be another year of suffering for Sunderland fans.
They open the season at home to Charlton.
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