Courageous Coventry City deserve recognition, Tyler Roberts is excelling at QPR and the sacking season is officially - and ruthlessly - underway. All this and more from the latest round of the Championship...
TEAM OF THE WEEK
I consider empathy a vitally important human quality that seems to be in worryingly short supply in modern society sadly. So before I'm accused of picking Coventry as my team of the week out of some act of pity, I'm just trying to show a level of empathy for a very trying set of circumstances for Mark Robins so far this season. It's well acknowledged by most footballers that pre-season is merely a tune up and a player's real rhythm doesn't get going until five or ten competitive games into the season. If that's true then Coventry's stuttering results can be tracked directly to their stuttering schedule caused by the pitch chaos at the CBS Arena throughout August.
The Sky Blues playing surface was left in an unplayable state of disrepair after doubling as a rugby pitch, Coventry are subsequently still three games behind many of their rivals but finally got their first win at the eighth attempt at home to Middlesbrough this weekend. Viktor Gyokeres came up trumps with a strong run and finish to grab the only goal as manager Mark Robins had to do without the suspended Gus Hamer and injured Callum O'Hare, two big difference makers in that Coventry squad.
If Coventry stay calm, patient and reach the standards they hit last season then the head start they've given everyone will be chipped away, easier said than done looking up from the bottom I know. They'll also be pleased to be passing the torch onto their opponents chaos wise, as this turned out to be Chris Wilder's last game in charge for Boro. If Coventry can keep their heads while all around them others are losing theirs, then progress up the table might be even more expedient.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Olivier Ntcham (Swansea City)
I don't normally go for a non-starter for the player of the week in these columns, but Swansea's Olivier Ntcham had quite the impact coming off the bench at West Brom this past weekend. This topsy turvy game had already ebbed and flowed by the time Ntcham made his entrance, Swansea had taken the lead early but West Brom powered into the second period and turned that deficit into their own lead with goals from Livermore and Diangana.
Ntcham came in at minute sixty-six and within five minutes had struck to take his side level. The former Celtic man saw his initial cross cleared, but when it came back to him was confronted by some horribly statuesque defending. Ntcham stepped inside and with time seemingly standing still, drilled the ball low in off the post for the equaliser. We can't give Ntcham any credit for the penalty save by Steven Benda that kept Swansea in the hunt for a win, but we certainly can for the winning goal.
This time he popped up on the left hand side of the Swans attack, cooly receiving and distributing the ball to Michael Obafemi, who's spin and shot won the game for the Welsh side. Ntcham has more sub cameos than starts this season for Swansea, if they keep playing out like his Hawthorns performance I'm sure that statistic will change soon enough.
In my last column, at the beginning of the international break, I declared that sacking season was upon us. Little did any of us know the sheer chaos that was about to ensue, with my words suggesting there were 'more managers about to go' proving to be the understatement of the season. The first mover wasn't strictly speaking someone being sacked, as Rotherham boss Paul Warne ended his long association with the club and dropped a league for a supposedly higher ceiling at Derby County. At the time of writing it looks like Exeter boss Matt Taylor will be stepping in at the New York, although an official announcement is yet to be made. Huddersfield moved next to replace Danny Schofield and the untried Mark Fotherhingham was parachuted in at the John Smith's .
The real chaos had yet to begin as three more managers fell on their swords. What is there left to say about Watford's ability to chop and change in the dugout? Many were dismayed at the treatment of young boss Rob Edwards, but he was out on his ear and replaced by Slaven Bilic. Hull City waited until eight hours before their Friday night TV game to get 'shot' of Shota Arveladze and, just one game back into the calendar Chris Wilder was relieved of his duties up at Middlesbrough. It's been an unprecedented time of upheaval even for the Championship, with Steve Bruce seemingly teetering on the edge at West Brom we might not be done just yet!
LOANEE OF THE WEEK
Tyler Roberts (QPR on loan from Leeds)
One of the most fascinating period's I've experienced covering the Championship was Marcelo Bielsa's two seasons with Leeds United. This god-like cult figure of a manager was the perfect match for one of English football's most intense and passionate fan bases and the outcome was pure box office. Part of the beauty of Bielsa's Leeds was that for all they were pleasing on the eye they were hugely fallible, regularly dominating games and somehow conspiring to lose by being too open at the back or not taking an abundance of chances up the front.
Tyler Roberts was always a part of the attacking picture for Leeds, he was never the first choice ahead of the likes of Patrick Bamford or Kemar Roofe, but always an exciting option off the bench. Bielsa refused to change his shape so Roberts would either be up top on his own or be utilised in a pretty deep number ten type position. For all the positive flashes it wasn't really meant to be for Roberts at Leeds and Bamford's explosion of goals in the Premier League solidified the striking spot as his own.
Roll on a season or two and Roberts is on loan at QPR in the Championship. Rangers have struggled for a goal scorer for a while now, Hugill and Wells did a job on loan, Charlie Austin's return didn't quite hit the heights and Scotland international Lyndon Dykes has struggled for form. Playing up top for QPR should be a pretty sweet gig, on Saturday at Bristol City Roberts was in a trio at the sharp end with star men Illias Chair and Chris Willock. The Leeds loanee was on the score sheet too, stretching to tuck home a driven cross from growingly influential wingback Kenneth Paal. Roberts never got the first team run at Leeds to accumulate a decent goal tally, now he's off and running with QPR perhaps his time is now.
Follow Benjamin Bloom on Twitter @BenjaminBloom
The Benjamin Bloom Football Channel - www.youtube.com/benjaminbloom