The latest Championship gameweek saw four new managers make their bow at the weekend, including the two interim roles at Hull City and Rotherham United.
Andy Dawson at Hull was one of those having been thrust into the Head Coach role just a mere nine hours before kick-off, which is just enough prep time for most things, although managing a football club might not be one of them.
In addition to this, managers are feeling the heat.
The Championship gods are still very much hungry for more managerial casualties with Chris Wilder the latest to fall victim and no doubt another big name will be added to that list in the near future.
But enough chit-chat, let’s get into the meat and bones straight away shall we?
Here’s my summary of the key incidents over the weekend and, of course, three players who caught my eye.
Bilic is off to a flyer
Slaven Bilic got his Watford reign off to a dream start away at Stoke City, possibly pulling the Watford hierarchy into a false sense of security.
That is by no means a dig at the quality of the Watford group, but Watford were relatively average until the introduction of Imran Louza.
Louza came in, created six big chances and was arguably the best player on the pitch against Alex Neil’s side with his quality of pass and decision making hurting the Potters at every opportunity.
If Bilic is to continue with this side, formation and press, along with Louza in the starting 11, then he could absolutely be a success but it’s important not to get too carried away just yet.
A third of Championship clubs have already changed their managers and the season’s only 66 days old…
— FansBet (@FansBet) October 3, 2022
Wilder axed and Bruce under pressure
Here we have two experienced managers who may have been looking at their respective roles to revitalise their careers, and neither have had any luck so far.
Wilder was expected to put together a team capable of winning promotion from the Championship but it has been far from that this season, with the ex-Sheffield United boss relieved of his duties earlier this week.
With just two wins from their opening 11 games, Boro sit in the relegation zone and currently are looking more likely for a relegation battle than a push for the Premier League.
Couple that with some strange decision making (dropping Jones and Giles – your two best players this season) and it’s no surprise to see Wilder shown the exit door by the Teesiders.
It does raise some questions about things behind the scenes, with the likes of Neil Warnock, Tony Pulis, Jonathan Woodgate and Aitor Karanka all complaining about a lack of backing.
As for Bruce, he’s on borrowed time with the Baggies with the fans well and truly turning on him and the team.
Whilst performances haven’t been terrible, it’s all about results and like Boro, they’re looking more likely to battle for 21st than they are the top six.
Coventry finally get their first win
Coventry cruised to their first win, beating Middlesbrough and compounding Chris Wilder’s fate in the process.
It was more like the Coventry of old that we’re used to seeing and that was even without Gus Hamer as well.
Granted they weren’t at the liquid best from last season, but for a team who hadn’t won a game all season, this was a good performance.
Callum Doyle and Jonathan Panzo were excellent in defence, with Kasey Palmer proving his ability in the midfield.
Then there’s Gyokeres. You could tell Wilder was jealous about not having him given his oozing in his post-match press conference and it’s understandable as to why.
Robinson has long been an outstanding player at this level, making it all the more strange that Steve Bruce was willing to get rid so easily.
He scores goals, his movement is intelligent and his link-up play is fantastic – you only have to look at his partnership with Karlan Grant as an example of that.
Now, Cardiff are finding that out themselves with Robinson being central to their fightback against Burnley.
Whilst he had the most shots for the Bluebirds and completed the most dribbles, his movement and link-up play caught the eye in particular.
He adds a much needed spark to that Cardiff attack and given time, he will score goals with Cardiff starting to create more.
Talk about a career resurgence.
Johansen has hit new levels since Michael Beale came into the club and has even started creating and scoring goals, after scoring again against Bristol City.
He has just as many goal contributions in his last six games (five) as he does in his previous 40 games before that.
His partnership alongside Sam Field has also been flourishing and his role in that double pivot to not only get between the two boxes but also be more creative is proving to be a master stroke by Beale.
The Norwegian playing his best football since the 17/18 promotion season with Fulham.
Reading have been resurgent in the face of many predicting them to face a relegation battle this season.
The season is still young however and you can never say never in football, but perhaps it’s time to start looking up for the Royals rather than down.
One of the players central to their form this season has been Tom McIntyre.
He was excellent again in the 3-1 win over Huddersfield with the 23-year-old putting in a solid display, something he’s done on many occasions so far this season.
He was aerially dominant – winning four duels – whilst making two interceptions and winning four tackles, showing he’s doing everything that’s asked of him.
It’s crunch time though for this Reading defence so it will be interesting to see how McIntyre and co can react to injuries to both Andy Yiadom and Baba Rahman.
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