Three Surprise Relegation Candidates
It’s said that the table never lies and, prompted by the circumspection of the yawning international break, that 10/11 game mark can be prophetic indeed. Portsmouth have shown enough vim in recent weeks, plus enough converted cash, to hint that their current position is a false one, and Sven should steer the Good Ship Leicester to safety, no matter how rockingly hilarious it would be should be fail to do so; but, across the divisions, there are clubs whose fortunes seem already engulfed in quicksand.
Take Bristol City, still not recovered from a terror show of a first week – defeat at the hands of newly promoted tyros Millwall and then the departure of the Quiet One Steve; optimism has fizzled out and David James left preening. One might have expected the Palace, after their narrow escape, and Preston to struggle, but the Robins were among the pre-season favourites. A bitter battle over a new stadium has been plagued by nimbyism (not untypical in the oval chasing Sou’West) and results have been simply horrid. The break will have been welcomed by Keith Millen after Norwich plundered both three goals and points nine days ago now – City are staring into the mire.
In League 1, it’s Brentford who are perplexingly propping up the pack. The Bees seem to have forgotten how to fight – their recent reverse at the Orient an example of deflating times. With Łukasz Fabiański rumoured to be on the point of dislodging Manuel Almunia for good at Arsenal, the informed might actually place their options on another Pole, Wojciech Szczęsny. Inspired between the uprights for Brentford last year, he’s now gone, along with the dozen or so points he probably saved. Andy Scott seemed to walk on surf for three years – he’ll need everything to pull the Griffin Park club out of this slump.
Brentford’s one high point of a start lacking in confidence was a triumph over Everton in the League Cup. With Reading and Liverpool vanquished, Northampton Town will appreciate that feeling – but they’ll also not like occupying the twenty second spot in League 2 one bit. Having nervously glanced over their shoulders as the only two sides now beneath them battled it out at Underhill recently, they now take on a Hereford United side and new caretaker boss Jamie Pitman. Andy Holt’s assertion that players are quicker than officials has to be up there with the quotes of the season so far and his description of “lightning fast” League Two players will have most scratching their heads. After losing to Macclesfield and Cheltenham, Cobblers need to focus.