Well-oiled Wolves and bubbling Bournemouth
BEAGS SAYS: Bakary Sako, who scored two goals against Blackburn, is a real goal threat, brilliant as far as assists are concerned and extremely effective in Wolves’ system, but Wanderers are also profiting from consistency. Kenny Jackett has picked the same team for five games in a row so he knows his best XI and the best way to utilise them – and we saw how well those factors served Burnley last season. Wolves are going along nicely and getting good results and so are Bournemouth, whose 10th-placed finish last season did not flatter them. They have so much width, as well as four strikers competing for two spots, so can make a real go for the play-offs. I think Norwich HAVE to get promoted considering the strength of their squad and huge fan-base, but out of the other two relegated teams, Cardiff and Fulham, I would say Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are more likely to go up, as they seem to have more solid pros who are used to the combative nature of the Championship.
Beppe Sannino’s resignation as Watford boss
BEAGS SAYS: When you have brilliant players and big-time performers at Championship level, like Keith Andrews, Lloyd Dyer and Matej Vydra, and you cannot guarantee them a first-team place when maybe you did previously, then you are possibly going to get discontent and the rumours of that have been well publicised. However, whatever the players’ views and possible problems with Sannino’s management style, they have been professional and pulled out results, including the 4-2 over Huddersfield on Saturday despite going down to 10 men, and the 4-1 over Leeds a week before. Watford’s individual quality and excellent summer recruitment means I have them down as one of my top six. As for Sannino, if he goes to Leeds as their new manager, there will be nothing lost in translation with fellow Italian Massimo Cellino as his chairman.
Bristol City’s varied attacking options
BEAGS SAYS: I picked Bristol City as one of my League One promotion favourites because they have such a diverse frontline. Sam Baldock has gone to Brighton but they don’t need him when they have Aaron Wilbraham staying more central and being the pivot and Luke Freeman and Wade Elliott bursting forward from midfield. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who was a revelation last year, may now play a fuller part with Baldock leaving and Mark Little is a great right wing-back, but there are lots of options for the club and manager Steve Cotterill, which is in stark contrast to the start of last year. MK Dons have options, too, with Benik Afobe now in their ranks and there is real power and pace throughout their attack. The budget may have been slashed but Karl Robinson always manages to bring through a supply line of gifted young players.
The managerial exits at Carlisle and Colchester
BEAGS SAYS: A huge defeat to newly-promoted Cambridge has caused Carlisle to sack Graham Kavanagh, but they are 22nd in League Two and their new recruits just haven’t gelled. They conceded 76 goals in League One last term as they got relegated and things haven’t improved from a defensive standpoint. There has been quite an overhaul of the squad over the past couple of season with Carlisle trying to find the magic formula and move up the divisions but it hasn’t happened. Joe Dunne has left Colchester, too, and while there is no embarrassment losing to a flying Peterborough side, the win percentage over the last season and a bit has been deemed not good enough. Joe has been working with budgetary and squad imitations, so he can’t be too hard on himself but with so many qualified managers and so few jobs it could be difficult to come back.