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Five things: Storylines to look out for in Matchday 9

22 September 2017

One manager with a new deal, two sides without a win, three clubs without a manager, four teams in Friday night action, and five EFL sides through in the Carabao Cup. We've got them covered...

A win at last?

After Gillingham’s 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic last weekend, just two teams in the EFL remain winless. Sky Bet Championship pair Bolton Wanderers and Brentford. In Matchday 9, they meet.

Bolton are propping up the table with just two points from their first eight fixtures, the Bees are two points and two places better off, and both tasted midweek defeat in the Carabao Cup, crashing out to West Ham United and Norwich City respectively. The hosts are also without a goal in five consecutive games in all competition.

So will one of these two clubs finally help themselves to three points? If it finishes as it did at the Macron in the 2015/16 season, then no — the sides played out a 1-1 draw.

Caretaking duties

An eventful Matchday 8 saw three managers get the chop. Birmingham City parted company with Harry Redknapp, and in Sky Bet League Two, Chesterfield and Port Vale felt it was time for a change — Gary Caldwell and Michael Brown the respective bosses to depart.

Redknapp replaced Gianfranco Zola, who in turn had come in for Gary Rowett, sacked by the Blues last December. Rowett is now at Derby County and welcomes his former employers to Pride Park on Saturday. Lee Carsley is the man tasked with leading Birmingham out while the search for a new boss goes on.

Guy Branston has ruled himself out of the running for the top job at Chesterfield, but he will take charge when the Spireites visit Luton Town this weekend. And for Port Vale, David Kelly and Chris Morgan will run things in the interim — their first test comes at Yeovil Town, where they will be aiming to help lift the Valiants off the bottom of the table.

Carabao Cup victors

Bristol City, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers are the five EFL sides who will compete in Round Four of the Carabao Cup, following midweek success in the competition.

Carabao Cup: Click here for the Round Three review

The Sky Bet Championship leaders knocked out Burnley on penalties, while Bristol City also toppled top-tier opposition, with two of their goal GIFs coming to use against Stoke City.


Boro and the Canaries both won away at fellow Championship opposition, and Wolves booked a Round Four trip to Manchester City after overcoming Bristol Rovers in extra-time at Molineux.

Now it’s back to EFL action, and two of the midweek winners — Bristol City and Norwich City — go head-to-head at Ashton Gate. As for the others, Leeds and Wolves host Ipswich Town and Barnsley respectively, while Garry Monk’s men go to Fulham.

Friday football

Two games kick off the EFL weekend, and they come in Sky Bet Leagues One and Two. It’s the League Two fixture which will be screened live on Sky Sports, with Forest Green Rovers welcoming Swindon Town to The New Lawn in a 7:45pm kick-off.

EFL Today: Click here for today's EFL fixtures

Since securing promotion to the EFL, the hosts have won just once to sit 22nd, while Swindon Town are up in eighth place with eight games gone. The Robins will be visiting their opponents for the first time, but the pair met in the FA Cup a decade ago, with the Robins triumphing 3-2.

The night’s other game, in League One, sees AFC Wimbledon host Milton Keynes Dons. This will be just the second meeting at Kingsmeadow between the two, with Neal Ardley’s Dons taking maximum points back in March.

Nolan’s new County contract

Since defeat on the opening day of the season, Notts County have gone seven games unbeaten, winning the last four, and climbing up to second in the Sky Bet League Two table.

During that winning streak, the Magpies have not conceded a goal, and their excellent form has seen Nolan rewarded with a new three-year contract, agreed earlier this week.

Nolan signs: Read more on the manager's new deal

The first test since putting pen to paper is a home meeting with Lincoln City. The last time the pair met was on 13th April 2010, with County running 3-1 out winners. Incidentally, on that very night, Nolan scored twice for Newcastle United in a 2-1 Championship success at Reading.

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