As you were at top and bottom
Nothing changed much after the midweek fixtures played over Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Only Sheffield Wednesday of the top six dropped any points while down at the other end of the table there were defeats for all of the top three.
Wednesday only had themselves to blame for not joining Hull, Burnley, Middlesbrough, Brighton and Derby in the winners’ enclosure. Atdi Nuhiu, who went on to score their equaliser in a 1-1 home draw against QPR, had previously missed a penalty. Those dropped points allowed Derby to move ahead of them into fifth place.
The Owls still hold a three point advantage over Birmingham in seventh place and have a better goal difference, so no matter what happens this weekend, there will be no clubs moving upwards into those play-off positions.
There does seem to be a top group pulling away, just as is the case at the bottom. Rotherham, still to score a goal under Neil Warnock’s management, were beaten 1-0 at Reading and hold a one point advantage over both Bolton and Charlton but they are now six points behind MK who are 21st and a further two points behind Blackburn and Bristol City.
There was big news this week for one of those two clubs below Rotherham with the takeover at Bolton. They will play their first home game this weekend under new owners against us with a massive away following expected at the <strike>Reebok</strike> Macron.
Dean Holdsworth is the front man but I did enjoy reading a letter from Bolton fan Ian Holland in the Bolton News. With them due to play the Clarets, he wrote about their debts, almost going into administration and being in a relegation position all season, and comparing that to us being debt free and in the top two.
He said one had been very badly managed and one astutely managed and added: “It is payback time for Bolton having poached Coyle from our rivals, as if his disastrous tenure as manager was not sufficient payback.”
Things aren’t good at Charlton either. I’ve always enjoyed going to The Valley but it does look very likely that they’ll be a League One club again next season. This is another club where fans and owner are very much at loggerheads and that’s been the case since soon after Roland Duchâtelet bought the club.
Fans have now set up CARD (Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet) whose aim is to force him to sell the club. Just like the now faded idea of green and yellow scarves at Old Trafford, Charlton fans are using a black and white scarf as an emblem for the campaign. I’ve only one problem with that; the colours have been chosen because they were the colours worn when they beat us in the 1947 FA Cup Final.
Frank Teasdale, our former chairman, passed away recently at the age of 82. Had he been with us I’m sure he’d have been smiling at the goings on at Charlton. His board were a target for the fans for a number of years and it only ended when he stepped aside for new chairman Barry Kilby at the start of 1999.
It’s a while before we travel to Charlton. That’s the last game of the season and I suspect they’ll be long gone by then and black will probably be the most appropriate colour.
Any look at the Championship cannot be complete without a mention of Preston. What a run they are on. Since Boxing Day, no side has picked up as many points as us; we’ve 24 from 10 games. Preston are closest with 23 points and they are currently on a run of four successive wins.
I read somewhere that they’d got virtually all of those points against teams in the lower reaches of the league but that’s not the case. They’ve beaten both Hull and Sheffield Wednesday and also picked up a point at Derby. They are ones to watch right now having climbed to within six points of the top six.
We’ve now, as promised, set up a new page on the site with some of the Championship stats. Previously, if you clicked on 2015/16 Stats it took you to the page showing our stats for the season in terms of appearances, goals, cards, assists and minutes on the pitch.
That’s still there but it now takes you to a page with two options. You need to click through again to Burnley FC Stats for the original page and there is now a second option entitled Goalscorers – Discipline – Attendances and that will display the league’s leading goalscorers, the red and yellow card counts per club, the highest and lowest attendances and the average attendance per club. That page will be updated regularly, check for the date at the top for the last update.
There is a full fixture list this weekend as follows:
Friday 26th February
Hull v Sheffield Wednesday
Saturday 27th February
Blackburn v MK
Bolton v Burnley
Cardiff v Preston
Charlton v Reading
Fulham v Middlesbrough
Huddersfield v Ipswich
Nottingham Forest v Bristol City
QPR v Birmingham
Rotherham v Brentford
Wolves v Derby (12:30 kick off)
Monday 29th February
Brighton v Leeds