Story by Richard Curtis
Welcome to the Championship Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves!!
When the fixture list was published on 18th June, one game stood out for me and that was the Lancashire derby between Bolton and Burnley, Owen Coyle’s me faced his former employers; for Burnley fans it was a chance to see how their side would fair without star forward Jay Rodriguez who signed for Southampton earlier this summer. Burnley upset the odds and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Martin Patterson and Charlie Austin. Meanwhile Stale Solbakken’s first game as Wolves boss didn’t go to plan allowing Neil Warnock’s new side Leeds United to triumph 1-0 thanks to a goal from Argentine striker Luciano Becchio. Blackburn Rovers faired a little better however the pressure is still on manager Steve Kean after a 1-1 draw against Ipswich at Portman Road.
Watford and Nottingham Forest’s takeovers have dominated pre-season talk in the championship; new Watford manager Gianfranco Zola got off to a winning start two late goals sealed victory away at Crystal Palace. Adlene Guedioura’s strike was enough to defeat Bristol City and ensured new Nottingham Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll got off to a winning start, the midfielder turned in debutant Simon Cox’s pass with 19 minutes remaining to settle what was pundits described as an entertaining and even match.
Cardiff City captain Mark Hudson struck in injury time to kill off battling Championship newcomers Huddersfield Town’s challenge. The game played at the Cardiff City stadium will be remembered for the bluebirds’ first league appearance in their controversial new red home-kit and for Craig Bellamy’s return to the side. It was heartache for the Huddersfield fans that made the long trip across from Yorkshire as their side appeared destined to draw on their return to the league after a 12-year absence. Rumours are rife as to why star-striker Jordan Rhodes was omitted from the squad. Like Cardiff City, many are tipping Leicester City as possible automatic promotion candidates this season and they got off to a perfect start with a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium against Peterborough United with goals from captain Wes Morgan and midfielder Andy King.
Derby County conceded yet another goal in the 90th minute in 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday who were making a return to the division after a two year absence. The late drama comes just four days after Derby conceded two goals were conceded after the 90 in the astonishing 5-5 draw against Scunthorpe United in the Capital One Cup (which the iron won 7-6 on penalties), it appears if you want goals this season Pride Park is the place to be! Fellow championship returnees Charlton Athletic also got off to a good start with a 1-1 draw away at Birmingham City thanks to a goal from Carl Cort.
Interesting Midweek Fixtures-
- Can Bolton hit-back against Derby at the Reebok?
- Will Huddersfield Towns Jordan Rhodes feature against Nottingham Forest?
- Blackburn manager Steve Kean will be under pressure from the home fans as they face Hull.
- Championship new-boys Charlton face in-form promotion hopefuls Leicester at the Valley.