By Leon Imber
Sub-edited by Daniel DeFalco
Thomas Frank’s Brentford could go 20 matches unbeaten by avoiding defeat away at Middlesbrough on Saturday. This would be a remarkable achievement for a manager that came under some serious criticism earlier on in the season.Embed from Getty Images
The Bees are going from strength to strength. They are now second in the league standings and fresh off the back of a Carabao Cup run which saw them reach the semi-finals.
It would be unfair to pin all the praise upon one player, but I’m not sure the last time I’ve seen a player step up a division as impressively as Ivan Toney has this season. It was clear in his performances at Peterborough last season that he should be playing Championship football as a minimum, and 20 goals accompanied with six assists in 26 matches for Brentford this season goes to show that the striker can reach the very top.
Could Frank’s Brentford be on their way to Premier League football?
Thank God for Thompson
It has been a shocker of a season for the Owls, let’s be honest. Garry Monk was shown the door, Tony Pulis entered the fray. Experienced, proven, the saviour. 45 days later he was given the boot and Neil Thompson was put in temporary charge.Embed from Getty Images
Sheffield Wednesday looked doomed for the drop with no thanks to the six point deduction they were issued to set them back that little bit further.
The rather hasty sacking of Pulis no doubt sparked a frantic search for a new man at the helm with a whole host of names being linked, Gus Poyet, Paul Cook and Roy Keane to name a few.
But, all of a sudden, the Owls have picked up 16 points from their last possible 21 and if results go their way this weekend, they could lift themselves out of the relegation zone they have occupied for such a long duration this season.
A win away at Millwall this weekend and the Wednesday hierarchy must start to think the answer to their problems was under their nose the whole time.
The Derby that many don’t seem to understand. So they’re rivals… but Portsmouth and Plymouth are 192 miles apart?
Well indeed it is a lot more fierce than some of these ‘derbies’ you see nowadays. Like Crystal Palace and Brighton, not sure I buy into that one myself.
I digress, but picking up three points is a must for Kenny Jackett’s Portsmouth this weekend if they are to keep up with the automatic promotion pack.
Their momentum was halted by back-to-back defeats against the top two, Hull City and Lincoln City. But Pompey were victorious against Charlton Athletic in the week and now must build on that to make sure their blip was just a blip.
Plymouth Argyle themselves have corrected a turgid run of form which saw them lose six on the bounce earlier this season, and have gone on to win three of their last five league matches.
Form sides bash heads
When I say scintillating form, I really do mean it.
Oxford United have won nine matches in a row in all competitions. Frankly, I would back them against any team in League One this weekend. Well, that’s until you look at their opponents, Doncaster Rovers’ form guide.
Darren Moore’s ‘Donny’ have triumphed 11 times in their last 14 matches in all competitions.
As far as League One games go, I back this one to be of the highest quality this weekend. But then again, by saying that I am definitely setting the game up to be a bore fest.
But, despite this weekend’s result, both sides deserve huge credit for their recent performances and especially Oxford United in my opinion, who have turned their season around drastically.
If you’re pottering about at 3pm on Saturday with nothing to do, give this game a watch. It looks to be a cracker.
The ‘King’ of the Community Stadium
Frank Nouble is back in North Essex, signing with Colchester United on deadline day on a six month loan.
In a pre-match press conference with BBC Essex Sport, the striker said, “I’m back home now, the King has returned.” Nice way to put pressure on yourself, Frank.
The U’s were desperate for a striker and the former West Ham man played a big part in their playoff campaign last season, but Colchester are a considerably worse outfit this season and are slipping down the league table at an alarming rate. If new signing Nouble can get the service that is required, perhaps U’s fans can start to look up the table again.
Steve Ball’s side make the short journey to Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road this weekend and if Nouble can get back to scoring ways, his claim to the throne will certainly be justified.