Football league update

by Mystical Mike

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Real football in the football league

So we’re a month into the new season in the Football League and already fans are setting their sights high after their best start in 87 years or drowning their sorrows after another below par start to the season. It’s been as tight, surprising, dramatic and entertaining as usual in the Football League and here’s a look back on the first month of 2008/09.

In The Championship, it’s Wolves who have done all the early running as Mick McCarthy finally seems to have made things happen at Molineux. Full credit to McCarthy for the start he has made and if he can keep this going he can prove that given time, a manager can indeed turn fortunes around. With the ridiculous goings on last week with Premier League managers, the Wolves board should be commended for sticking by their man and so far it has paid off as one of the best squads in the Championship sit proud at the leaders’ table.

The surprise package early on are Preston, a side that have struggled in recent seasons since their playoff campaign three years ago. North End narrowly avoided the drop last time out but have come out of the blocks firing on all cylinders this time around. Notable wins over Ipswich, Palace and Charlton prove that it’s not been easy for Preston so far and time will tell whether they can prove a shock addition to the promotion race. Some of the more expected names of Birmingham, Bristol City, Sheffield United and Reading make up the top six.

At the other end, Derby still can’t put their Premier League woes behind them and sit bottom of the table with just one point to their name. Burnley have also started poorly but have reinforced with Cardiff’s Steven Thompson looking to prove himself at this level. Crystal Palace were expected to do well under Neil Warnock but find themselves with just two points so far.

In League One, Oldham have crept to the top of the table with some impressive displays early on. The Latics started the season with a comeback 4-3 win over Millwall and that gave them all the confidence they needed to take to Elland Road, where they saw off Leeds 2-0. A convincing win over Cheltenham, including a hat-trick for Lee Hughes, was followed by a draw at Colchester and a win at Tranmere last weekend to propel them to the top of the table.

Carlisle were knocked out of the playoffs at the semi-final stage last season but have recovered well to join Oldham on 13 points following a good 2-1 win over fellow playoff losers Southend United on Saturday afternoon. Leicester are in third place after an unbeaten start and they also have a game in hand over the top two. Relegated Scunthorpe, promoted MK Dons and favourites Leeds are in the top six. Leeds finally got their season going with a storming 5-2 win over Crewe at the weekend and are starting to climb.

Down at the bottom, Cheltenham are living up to their billing as relegation favourites and have a worrying goal difference of minus nine already. Crewe are down their struggling after that defeat at Leeds while Southend are also a surprise addition to the early bottom four. Hereford have picked up four points since their promotion, all the points picked up in the last couple of weeks. One of the games of the season so far in any league was Peterborough’s 5-4 win over Bristol Rovers on Saturday lunch time but both sides are comfortable in mid-table.

Finally, in League Two, it was Shrewsbury making all the early running until Saturday when they lost their unbeaten record at Morecambe, who picked up their first win of the season. Wycombe Wanderers are the new leaders as Chris Zebroski scored the winner for them at Rochdale. Bradford kept up their good start after a 2-0 win over relegated Port Vale to get back on track following a defeat the previous week at Aldershot. Bury lie in third place with eleven points after a couple of draws in recent weeks has halted their progress.

There are five teams on ten points keeping an eye on the top three with Dagenham, Shrewsbury, Brentford, Gillingham and Aldershot making good starts. Rotherham fans will be cursing their luck after their fifteen point deduction has been clawed into early on. Despite a defeat at Chesterfield this week, The Millers would have been comfortable in tenth place had their deduction not come into effect!

Below them, it’s a scramble to survive for the sides fighting points deductions. Bournemouth have only got three points so far, taking them to minus fourteen whilst Luton are still way back on minus twenty three despite a good seven point start to the season. Barney are the only side yet to score a point in the entire Football League and they will be thankful for the deductions to other sides!

This week I’m counting down to Northampton’s local derby against Peterborough United at Sixfields on Saturday. In other news, the emergency loan window opens this week as teams get another chance to add to their squads. So plenty of action so far in the Football League and much more still to come as my predictions continue to go horribly wrong!

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