Six things we learned from matchweek six of the Championship
Football resumed in earnest after the first international break of the season, and there has once again been plenty to ponder from the Championship.
What notable things came to light in matchweek six? Coral football experts draw your attention to five…
Madejski goal drought becomes glut
Reading had not managed to score a home goal since the start of April going into hosting Ipswich Town on Friday night, so you can guess what happened…
The Royals trounced the Tractor Boys 5-1 on Friday night with former Fulham forward and Portugal cap Orlando Sa hitting a hat-trick. Steve Clarke has been allowed to completely remodel his frontline at the Madejski, wih fellow new arrivals Matej Vydra and Lucas Pizaon assisting goals in the rout.
Now possessing an attacking roster with real strength in depth, Reading’s promotion odds have tumbled to 4/1.
Forest fly in face of adversity at QPR
Even the most ardent Nottingham Forest supporter would not have banked on three points from a trip to Loftus Road, after star player Michail Antonio was sold to West Ham on transfer deadline day. Other Reds influences, Britt Assombalonga and Andy Reid, remain on the treatment table.
All indications suggested Dougie Freedman would be expecting too much to do too soon from his loan signings to cover injuries and absences to gel and humble the Hoops. Unable to make permanent paid transfers due to an embargo imposed because of debt, Forest showed real character to come back after falling behind to Charlie Austin’s opener.
Journeyman striker Chris O’Grady won a penalty from Rob Green, however, converted by Henri Lansbury, who the Reds retained despite Burnley’s overtures. Former Swansea City forward flop Nelson Oliveira completed the turnaround with a debut winner from the bench. This home loss has hit the Hoops’ promotion odds, which remain 4/1.
Brighton already clear of Championship chasers
“We wanted to be in a position where we could at least challenge to go up,” said Brighton and Hove Albion coach Chris Hughton. “We’ve made a tremendous start and I could not have envisaged it.”
Nor did we. The Seagulls sit four clear of closest challengers Cardiff City, and for now enjoy a five-point cushion on an automatic promotion place. Albion, buoyed by a belated debut from Bobby Zamora off the bench against Hull City, set the pace thanks to four goals from Israel international striker Tomer Hemed.
Up next for Hughton’s resurgent side is a home game with rock-bottom relegation favourites Rotherham United and, with a further three points looking a dead cert there, Brighton must be regarded as serious title contenders at 7/1.
Brilliant Birmingham remain unbeaten
What a great job Gary Rowett has done at St Andrews. Birmingham City are one of four teams, alongside league leaders Brighton, closest challengers Cardiff and draw specialists Leeds United that are still yet to lose this term.
Clayton Donaldson’s hat-trick helped the Blues past Bristol City in a 4-2 victory that firmly establishes the Second City side in the chasing pack. If they can keep this superb start up, Birmingham could well be dark horses at 5/1 for a top six finish.
Derby finally deliver under new coach Clement
At the seventh time of asking, pre-season promotion favourites Derby County have won a match under Paul Clement. A Chris Martin brace at Deepdale was enough to earn the Rams their first win of the season over Preston North End, who have lost striking counterpart Jermaine Beckford to a knee injury.
Can County now kick on and live up to their previous billing? Their promotion odds now sit at 9/4, which look a little short considering the ground they need to make up.
Scotland hopefuls headline at Craven Cottage
Gordon Strachan, alongside Republic of Ireland counterpart Martin O’Neill was in attendance for Fulham’s fixture with Blackburn Rovers, and got to cast his eye over several players on the fringe of the Scottish national set-up.
The hosts, inspired by Ross McCormack, ran out 2-1 winners, though fellow striker and compatriot Jordan Rhodes converted a penalty to make the last quarter interesting. Rovers defender Grant Hanley later saw a perfectly good equaliser not awarded despite the ball crossing the line.
Scotland boss Strachan will have been encouraged by Fulham creative midfielder Tom Cariney’s showing at the Cottage against his former club. Whether any of these Championship players can make the required impact at international level, with successful qualification for Euro 2016 slipping away from the Tartan team at 8/1, remains to be seen.