EFL WATCH: OUR TOP 4 GAMES THIS WEEK
With another week of exciting EFL action ahead, we take a look at four games you should look out for.
Blackburn Rovers vs Nottingham Forest – 17th October (3PM KO)
It has been an excellent start to the season for Blackburn Rovers.
After a 3-2 defeat to recently relegated Bournemouth to start the season, Tony Mowbray’s side romped past Wycombe Wanderers and Derby County, winning 5-0 and 4-0 respectively. A 0-0 draw against Cardiff City has put a slight dampener on things but it is clear to see that Blackburn are going to have a strong attacking presence this season.
On the other hand, Nottingham Forest have had anything but a strong attacking presence so far this season, having only scored one goal so far. After the appointment of Chris Hughton, Forest will be hoping for a change in fortune, especially in front of goal. With players like Lewis Grabban, who has been a prolific Championship striker for years, and Lyle Taylor, who almost single-handedly kept Charlton up, Forest do have goals in the team.
A win away at an impressive Blackburn side would be a fantastic start for Chris Hughton, but it will be no easy feat. If Mowbray’s side can get another convincing victory over another bottom half team, the playoffs might not be too far-fetched for Rovers.
Ipswich Town vs Accrington Stanley – 17th October (3pm KO)
After a disappointing 19/20 season, Ipswich are starting to look like a team ready to put together a promotion push. After three consecutive 2-0 wins to start the season, a 1-1 draw against MK Dons looked to have slowed momentum, but a 4-1 win away at Blackpool proved the previous result to just be a small blip. Gwion Edwards has been nothing short of sensational at the start of this season with a combined total of six goals and assists, so he’ll be looking to carry that form over to Saturday’s game.
Accrington Stanley have also had a good start to this season, sitting in sixth position after picking up three wins and two defeats. Stanley have struggled against the so-called ‘bigger’ teams in the division, losing to Oxford United and Burton Albion, but also have a scalp over Peterborough so they are not afraid of the higher stature sides. John Coleman has seemingly formed a link with Chelsea as they have acquired both Tariq Uwakwe and Jonathan Russell on loan, with both making a positive impact on the pitch.
Paul Lambert will want his Ipswich side to carry on the form that has them top of the league, but a win or even a draw for Coleman’s Accrington could go a long way to not only keeping them up, but maybe even forming an unexpected playoff push.
Port Vale vs Salford City – 17th October (3pm KO)
All eyes will be on Salford City, who after an unbeaten start to the season, sacked manager Graham Alexander earlier this week. Co-Owner and Manchester United legend Paul Scholes will take to the dugout for the immediate future, but the pressure will be on to carry on the strong start made by Alexander. While Salford are yet to win at home this season, they are yet to lose and even concede away from home in the two games they have played so far. With James Wilson getting his first goal of the season, and the likes of Ian Henderson and Ashley Hunter putting in performances worthy of a higher level, Scholes will have to prove that sacking Alexander was the right idea.
This task will not be easy though, as they take on a Port Vale side with ambitions to getting their promotion push back on track. Having won their first two games 2-0 against Crawley Town and Exeter City, John Askey’s team have stumbled as of late. A 0-0 draw against Harrogate was not too bad but two straight 1-0 defeats against Morecambe and Carlisle have dropped Port Vale from the playoff places. While not a high-scoring team, Vale are going to need to find some form of a scoring touch as four games without a goal could lead to fans worrying about the finishing ability.
When you sack a manager after an unbeaten start, you best believe that the expectations for your season will have sky-rocketed, so the pressure will be on Salford to get a result against Port Vale. However, the Valiants need some sort of result to get their promotion charge started again.
Fleetwood Town vs Lincoln City – 17th October (3pm KO)
Not many people expected Fleetwood Town to dispatch of Hull City by four goals to one, but that performance showed that Joey Barton’s side can be up there again this season. Fleetwood had started well, beating Burton Albion 2-1, but three straight losses meant that the pressure was slowly building on Barton to get back to winning ways. That they did against Hull City, but it will not mean much if they don’t keep that run of form going.
However, it does not get too much harder than going up against a strong Lincoln side that sit second in the league. A 2-1 loss at home to Bristol Rovers last weekend is poor, but the four straight wins prior to that show how good this young Lincoln team can be. Michael Appleton will be hoping that his team can show the mentality of a promotion-winning side and recover from last weekend’s setback. The likes of Jorge Grant and Lewis Montsma have chipped in with the goals with seven combined, which is impressive considering three of those goals come from Montsma, who is a defender.
With both sides capable of scoring plenty of goals, we expect this game to be full of exciting moments in both ends. A win here for Fleetwood really sends a statement out to the league that they are back, and a win for Lincoln proves to everyone that the loss to Bristol Rovers was just a bump in the road.