Five things we will be looking for as the Championship restarts

Chris Wood. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Chris Wood. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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A full programme of Football League action takes place this weekend following the international hiatus and while it’s all about maintaining early-season momentum for Hull City, Sheffield United and Leeds United, for the likes of Huddersfield Town, Rotherham United and Doncaster Rovers, it’s about nipping indifferent starts to 2015-16 firmly in the bud.

With Championship teams facing a double header this weekend and in midweek, opportunity knocks in particular for our five Yorkshire sides over the coming days.

Here’s five observations ahead of the weekend’s action.

1: After ticking off their first win of the season at Derby, Leeds need to double-up to harden their credentials.

The plaudits were quite rightly ringing in Leeds’ players following an excellent victory at the iPro, which ended 13 years of hurt at a decidedly dodgy venue.

Arguably, the break was ill-timed for Leeds, who produced their best performance of the season heading into the international fortnight.

But that said, expectation will still be high at Elland Road ahead of the double-header with the Brentford and then Ipswich. Get two wins there and the bar will be raised significantly more.

The clash against the Bees sees Uwe Rosler, Stuart Dallas and Tom Adeyemi face their former club, who did the double over Leeds last season - and were full value for a six-point haul.

With wind in their sails, another victory this Saturday will show that the new Leeds maybe mean business this season.

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2: After ticking off their first win of the season at Derby, Leeds need to double-up to harden their credentials.

The plaudits were quite rightly ringing in Leeds’ players following an excellent victory at the iPro, which ended 13 years of hurt at a decidedly dodgy venue.

Arguably, the break was ill-timed for Leeds, who produced their best performance of the season heading into the international fortnight.

But that said, expectation will still be high at Elland Road ahead of the double-header with the Brentford and then Ipswich. Get two wins there and the bar will be raised significantly more.

The clash against the Bees sees Uwe Rosler, Stuart Dallas and Tom Adeyemi face their former club, who did the double over Leeds last season - and were full value for a six-point haul.

With wind in their sails, another victory this Saturday will show that the new Leeds maybe mean business this season.

3: Can Hull City turn a good start into a great one?

At the start of the season, if anyone had said to Tigers fans that they would be sitting in second place in the Championship table with a wholly creditable ten points from their first five league matches, most would have bitten their hands off.

Steve Bruce has been busy fire-fighting for the most part since the Tigers relegation and while a fair bit of the family silver has been sold off in the likes of James Chester, Robbie Brady and Nikica Jelavic, a fair experienced quorum of last season’s squad remains.

The likes of Michael Dawson, Curtis Davies and Ahmed Elmohamady are still in situ and are more than proven at Championship level and they, and others such as Mo Diame and Abel Hernandez, remain Tigers players. For that, Bruce will be eternally grateful.

Their first XI looks a strong one, augmented by summer signings Moses Odubajo, Sam Clucas and Shaun Maloney, with Bruce no doubt hoping that Norwegian striker Adama Diomande will represent an ace in the pack.

A big barometer of the Tigers progress comes at fellow pacesetters Brighton tomorrow. Win that and they will draw level with the Seagulls at the top - and they won’t be slipping under the radar any more..

4. Rotherham need a win and renewed hope fast.

Propping up the Championship table with five fewer points than at this stage last season, Rotherham desperately need a spark.

They were entitled to think that they maybe had one after a spirited performance in unluckily losing out to Premier League outfit Norwich City in the Capital One Cup, but a dispiriting and thoroughly worrying 3-1 home reverse to Fulham on August 29 put the Millers back to square one - and down on the floor with Steve Evans openly questioning whether some of his players were good enough.

It’s already the toughest spell of Evans’s tenure at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, but the Scot, as you would expect, is uttering defiance and is determined to come out fighting.

People have written off Evans’s Millers in the past and the Scot has promptly made critics eat their words.

Saturday will in likelihood see the debut of Lee Camp in goal, with the keeper brought in on deadline-day to fill the problematic number one spot, with Kelle Roos and Adam Collin flattering to deceive so far this term. Evans will be pinning his hopes on the experienced custodian proving an antidote to an early-season contagion between the posts.

On the agenda on Saturday is a long trip to Charlton followed by a game at Brighton on Tuesday.

Being out of the firing line, away from Rotherham, might not be a bad thing for the Millers over the coming days. But equally, a failure to register a win or at least a couple of morale-boosting draws will add fuel to the doom-mongerers.

5: Huddersfield also need a catalyst - see above.

Like Rotherham, it has not been a vintage opening month for Town - quite the opposite. A section of the clubs’ support are growing a touch apathetic and at worst, thoroughly disenchanted following events in a difficult summer which culminated in the sale of Jacob Butterfield.

It has the portents of being a long autumn for Huddersfield, who need a boost pretty quickly.

They are due at Cardiff tomorrow and next up after that is a midweek game at Powell’s former club Charlton. Long trips and not exactly easy ones at that either and how Town need a bonus ball from somewhere.

They manufactured early season wins on the road last season - when it is fair to say they weren’t expected, at Reading and Wolves and could badly do with another over the next two games.

5: Rob Jones had the chance to showcase his wares for the permanent Doncaster Rovers job.

Away from The Championship, this is a massive weekend for 35-year-old Jones who has been entrusted with leading the managerless South Yorkshiremen against a seasonal form side in Walsall, who have won on their last three visits to Doncaster.

The game takes on a bit of an audition feel for Jones, who will be desperate to impress during his place in the sun and show the board that he has the credentials and aptitude to be the permanent successor to Paul Dickov.

Claim a victory against one of the division’s pacesetters and Jones’ odds for the full-time gig will invariably shorten. A win and a first league goal of the campaign for summer arrival Andy Williams would be just the ticket.

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