Written by Owen Knight
With the international break upon us, the Premier League and Championship are out of action for one weekend. Attention turns to the lower reaches of the football league with EFL fixtures taking place in League One and Two, a great excuse to get down to your nearest club and watch some of the nitty gritty old school football that is on offer.
The transfer window firmly slammed shut as of 11pm Wednesday evening, many clubs are going to be breathing a sigh of relief at holding onto some of their key players. Whilst others may be feeling a bit twitchy as to whether their squad hold the bottle until January. With the removal of emergency and short terms loans this season, managers are going to have to grit their teeth and stick with what they have unless at a last resort having to divulge into the unfit, non-match ready free agents market.
22 games take place over the course of the weekend, here are the three I have picked as the ones I think will offer the highest entertainment value:
credit Matt Churchill
Millwall vs Bradford
Both teams have made a lively start to the opening of the season, although only five games and impossible to judge from league positions, they each sit in the top five of the table. Milwall are hoping to compete again this season and make the return to the Championship, consistency from the start will be key to reaching success. Both teams have had their fair share of missing men come Saturday, however the Bantams made some impressive moves in time for the closing of the transfer window, bringing in strikers Harry Vuckic and Mark McNulty from Newcastle and Sheffield United. With Milwall’s list of doubts it’s a perfect game for Bradford to go all out from the get go, and show why they’re a team to watch this season.
My Prediction: Score Draw
Morecambe vs Leyton Orient
The Shrimps have always been an interesting side come the start of the season. Always being everyone’s banker for relegation, they somehow manage to have consistently started the best in consecutive seasons, and begin to tail off as the season progresses. Set to be taken over by Brazilian owners this could be a promising time for Morecambe fans, and a time where they may see their team lift off and continue to progress further. I myself haven’t fancied them for relegation this season, and have been impressed that they managed to loan in Jack Dunn. A lively striker from when I have seen him on loan at Cheltenham he has started the season with a hat-trick off the bench in the cup against Rotherham, while the seasoned Kevin Ellison is still showing he can compete at this level with goals and assists.
The O’s meanwhile have had a quiet transfer window, but will feel their best business will be keeping last seasons top goalscorer Jay Simpson. It was quite clear that interest was their for the talisman, however should he return to goal-scoring form, it will be pivotal in their conquest for the League Two title. Having only played the two promoted sides away from home this season, Orient will be looking to make it three games unbeaten against Morecambe.
My Prediction: Leyton Orient win
Bolton Wanderers vs Southend United
These two teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum, having made completely different starts to the season. Bolton’s drop to the 3rd English tier has been a culture shock for them. Once a consistent Premier League outfit they’ve unfortunately suffered the unforgiving fall from grace. However a positive and undefeated start to the league season stands them in good stead against a Southend team currently scratching their head. With Bolton having a busy summer, they concluded the transfer window with five strong signings in total. Judging by their squad as a whole I feel they will be right up in the promotion places and show why they are too good for the league.
Question marks will always be raised when a club decides to put their faith in a player like Nile Ranger, someone I deem to be the Mario Balotelli of the lower legaues. Furthermore fans are also wondering where Phil Brown’s loyalties lie with the club, openly admitting he almost joined Bolton last season, he may be one of the first managers to face the chop if results don’t start coming in. Incomings of Anton Ferdinand and Ryan Innis however may make the fans a little more confident going into the opening few months of the season.
My Prediction: Bolton Wanderers win
Do you believe these games will be the ones to watch? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Mikey