EFL WATCH: TOP 4 GAMES TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS WEEKEND
Two days, 35 games. It's going to be a busy weekend in the EFL, so here are our top four games to keep an eye on.
Reading vs Watford – Saturday 3rd October 3PM KO
Reading have been the early surprise package of the Championship, as the perennial midtable side have started with three wins out of three and only one goal conceded. New manager Veljko Paunovic has certainly had a big impact on the Royals, after replacing Mark Bowen before the new season. He has so far shored up the Reading backline and seen a resurgence in an attacking sense, with Michael Olise and Lucas Joao regularly finding themselves on the scoresheet.
Watford also have a new manager in Vladimir Ivic, who previously guided Maccabi Tel-Aviv to two consecutive league titles. One of the favourites to go up, Watford’s squad looks incredibly strong, with the ever-present Ben Foster in between the sticks and wonderkid Joao Pedro upfront - it is no wonder that many expect the Hornets to get promoted.
Two of the early pacesetters going up against each other is no doubt going to be an exciting game and a real test to see how good this Reading side really is.
Charlton Athletic vs Sunderland - Saturday 3rd October 3PM KO
It has been a historic week for Charlton Athletic, having been purchased by Rockstar CEO Thomas Sandegaard and many feeling like they have got their club back. While it has not been a fantastic start for Lee Bowyer’s side, the ability to bring new players in is certain to have an impact on the Addicks. The arrivals of the experienced Ben Watson and prospect midfielder Dylan Levitt is certain to be a boost for Charlton as they look to get their season back on track after two consecutive losses.
Sunderland have enjoyed a quietly good start to proceedings, as they bounced back from a disappointing opening day draw at home to Bristol Rovers, with wins against Oxford United and Peterborough. In a typical Phil Parkinson style, Sunderland have been grinding out victories with two clean sheets to their name already. The Black Cats will be looking at some of their more experienced players to make a difference this season, with Chris Maguire and Grant Leadbitter already putting in match-winning displays.
Sunderland fans will be desperate for revenge after the heart-breaking playoff defeat at the hands of the Addicks two years ago, but Charlton will be looking to provide the fans with the perfect ending to what has been a perfect week.
Harrogate Town vs Bolton Wanderers - Saturday 3rd October 3PM KO
Things have not started off well for Ian Evatt’s rebuilt Bolton Wanderers. Having made 18 new signings, Bolton fans were expecting their new-look side to romp to promotion but League Two has never been an easy league to get out of and it has proven a very tricky test for them so far. Having scored no goals in their three league games, they will need last season’s League Two top goalscorer Eoin Doyle to step up and prove his worth to the fans.
On the other hand, Harrogate have had a good start since their promotion to the Football League. After thrashing Southend 4-0, they have drawn with two good sides in Walsall and Port Vale. Winger Jack Muldoon has taken to the league like a duck to water with three goals in three games and with two clean sheets out of three they can certainly stop teams from finding the net.
The expectations for both Bolton and Harrogate could change drastically depending on the result on Saturday, with Bolton fans fearing relegation and Harrogate fans dreaming of back to back promotions.
Coventry City vs Bournemouth – Friday 2nd October 7:45PM KO
Mark Robins has performed nothing short of a miracle with Coventry City, having guided them from League Two to the Championship while having to move to St Andrews Trillion Trophy Stadium and all the other chaos that follows Coventry. Having been involved in an exciting encounter on TV against QPR already this season, the Sky Blues have shown they can mix it up with some of the Championship mainstays, but Bournemouth is sure to be a big test.
After a dismal last season, Bournemouth have started off the new season in good form, with old assistant manager Jason Tindall replacing long term manager Eddie Howe. They have been able to keep a hold of a lot of their squad from last season, and while they were poor then, there is certainly enough quality for Bournemouth to be considered one of the favourites for promotion.
This has all the potential to be one of the most exciting games of the season, and considering how much Coventry love to spring an upset, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they ended up handing Tindall his first managerial defeat.