Five managerial talking points ahead of the weekend’s EFL actionby Jack Kitson / 07 September 2017, 16:25Tweet
Rejoice, the international week is over, and while League’s One and Two didn’t need to take a breather, the Championship did, but the second-tier makes a welcome return this weekend with a sixth wave of fixtures.
Below we pluck out the main managerial talking points from the Football League ahead of what promises to be another enthralling weekend.
Six on the spin for Neil Warnock’s Cardiff?
Neil Warnock’s Championship table-toppers Cardiff City headed into the international break with a perfect five wins out of five following victories over Burton, Aston Villa, Sheffield United, QPR, and most impressively Wolves. The
Bluebirds will now look to soar to six wins on the spin this weekend, however they face a tricky test away to Slavisa Jokanovic’s Fulham, who at the fifth attempt finally bagged their first win of the season.
The Cottagers were ferocious in that 2-0 win against an Ipswich side that had taken maximum points from their opening four games, forcing their boss McCarthy to admit:
"Sometimes you just have to take your hat off to your opposition. They were streets ahead of us. They absolutely bashed us up with and without the ball.”
Saturday’s stand-out spectacle at Craven Cottage promises to be an engrossing one as Fulham look to rupture another 100% record, while Cardiff will be hoping to continue their stunning start, with the Welsh side the only Football League team still with a perfect win percentage.
Daniel Farke vs Harry Redknapp
Two under-fire managers in Daniel Farke and Harry Redknapp lock horns at Carrow Road in a match both gaffers will be desperate to win.
Farke has experienced an indifferent start to life in English football, winning one and losing three of his opening five games, leaving the 22nd-placed Canaries struggling down in the relegation zone.
Porous Norwich were hammered 4-0 by previously winless Millwall in their last fixture, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that a vast improvement is needed this weekend, otherwise Farke could be in real trouble.
Like Norwich, Birmingham have stuttered out of the blocks, also registering only four points. Veteran boss Redknapp has appeared very tetchy, on edge and frustrated in his interviews so far, however after making a deluge of signings in the transfer window (14) the former Spurs boss will be tasked with making sure the new-look Blues can gel together quickly.
A sacking at any point appears unlikely, meaning it’s more the case of the 70-year-old growing increasingly irritated and chucking in the towel.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink back in the dugout with Northampton Town
After 10 months stuck in the Job Centre Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink makes his return to the dugout on Saturday with new club Northampton Town. Last week the League One basement club became the first top-4 club to make a managerial change this season after sacking Justin Edinburgh following four straight defeats, with the Cobblers opting to bring in Hasselbaink in the other direction.
When Hasselbaink was last in League One he was top of the pile with Burton in December 2015, before deciding to jump up to the Championship with QPR. Within a year he was jobless, but now he’s back in the mix, and ready to lead a confidence-crushed Cobblers out of their rotten run:
"It's very important to me that people around me enjoy the journey, that there are smiles on the faces. We might lose a few matches, but we are doing things with joy.
"We need to put in work and dedication. They've got ability, they've got the talent. It's about how much you want that talent to come out. If they are willing to work, then it will come out."
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as our new manager on a 3 year contract pic.twitter.com/KrmVUiAhz6— Northampton Town (@ntfc) September 4, 2017
Harry Kewell gathering steam at Crawley Town
I’ll be the first to admit that I questioned Crawley Town’s surprise appointment of the untested Harry Kewell. The Red Devils only finished five points above the dreaded drop zone last season and after parting company with Dermot Drummy I wasn’t alone in believing that the club needed an experienced head at the helm.
However, Crawley chose former Watford U23 head coach Kewell who endured a torrid start to life in League Two, suffering three successive defeats, while his troops were hammed 5-1 by Birmingham in the League Cup.
But, instead of hanging his head and letting the criticism get to him, Kewell has admirably bounce back with impressive league wins over Swindon (0-3) and then Yeovil (2-0), and the Aussie now has a third consecutive win over Colchester firmly in his sights!
Michael Brown has reason to frown
Michael Brown’s Port Vale enjoyed a winning start to the season, but have since crumbled losing four League Two games in a row, meaning only Gary Johnson's Cheltenham sit below them in the table.
Valiants fans are not happy, and who can blame them, with Brown’s men losing nine of their last 12 league matches, while his win rate since taking charge is just 19% - that’s only six wins in 31 matches.
Up next is a potentially difficult away day at Mark Robins’ Coventry, who may have gone off the boil since back-to-back wins at the start of the season, yet they remain one of the favourites to finish the campaign in the top-7.
If Vale do decide to wield the dreaded axe could we see the one and only Micky Adams return to the club for a third spell…?