Championship football is back – with a vengeance!
The renewal of Yorkshire derby action against Doncaster heralds a busy spell of seven games in 22 days before the next international break on the weekend of October 12/13.
Six of those are in the league, with the first two (Charlton visit on Tuesday) at home, and it goes without saying that Town need to pick up as many points as possible.
With seven from a possible 15 so far, Mark Robins’ 12th-placed side have made a solid start – but the last two performances, against Charlton in the Capital One Cup and Barnsley in the Championship, fell below the standards set in victories over Millwall and Bournemouth.
Town started slugglishly in both, and while they got away with it against Charlton – when a late rally brought a 3-2 victory and a third-round cup-tie at Premier League Hull on Tuesday week – they left Oakwell empty-handed after a 2-1 loss.
Jack Hunt was negotiating a four-year contract at Crystal Palace as the Barnsley game was going on – the unlucky right-back has since suffered a broken ankle which is likely to delay his debut for the South Londoners until after Christmas – and Town have since brought in a temporary replacement in the form of on-loan Wales international Jazz Richards from Swansea.
With the similarly versatile Calum Woods and Keith Southern both returning from injuries, it’s going to be interesting to see the teamsheet for tomorrow’s game.
Doncaster’s visit might well be too early for either Woods or Southern, but Robins has given strong indications that Richards, who has both Premier and Europa League experience, will figure.
That means his 10th signing as Town manager could be up against his first, striker Theo Robinson having joined Doncaster from Derby and scored twice for his new employers.
As for Town’s frontline, Martin Paterson, left out in favour of Sean Scannell at Barnsley, will hope for a return to the starting line-up after two industrious displays, and another (a third) international goal, for Northern Ireland.
James Vaughan has made a flying start to the season, with eight goals from seven games, but Paterson has yet to register in Town colours, although he has had a hand in several of his teammates’ strikes, and a first goal would certainly be a confidence booster.