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EFL sibling rivalries: A tale of two brothers

6 October 2021

They say blood runs thicker than water, but how does it compare to an EFL sibling rivalry?

English football has seen iconic brotherly duos and this season, the EFL houses various sets of siblings – many of whom will set aside their family connections and come face-to-face for their rival Clubs.

Simon and Stuart Moore

Whilst most siblings fight over who isn’t going to be in between the sticks during a kick-about, Simon and Stuart Moore were both vying for the number one spot as children practicing their craft. 

Coventry City secured Simon Moore’s signature in the summer, as the 31-year-old made the switch from Sheffield United. The former Blades man starred in the Sky Blues’ impressive 4-1 triumph over Sky Bet Championship rivals Fulham at the weekend and has become a cornerstone in Coventry’s promotion bid.

Meanwhile, his brother Stuart Moore made his first Blackpool appearance of the season last Saturday, entering the fray in the 62nd minute in place of injured skipper Chris Maxwell. Blackpool held on to a 2-1 lead over Lancashire rivals Blackburn, as Moore produced a superb save deep into stoppage time to preserve the Tangerines’ advantage.

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Sam and George Baldock

Elsewhere in the Championship, Buckingham-born brothers Sam and George Baldock are on the books of Derby County and Sheffield United respectively.

After starting their playing journeys at hometown team Milton Keynes Dons together, with Sam Baldock becoming the first player to come through the Dons academy, both went on to ply their trade in the Championship and even the Premier League.

However, they were reunited on competitive grounds earlier this season when Sheffield United hosted the Rams at Bramall Lane, with the two brothers – who have a third brother that practices medicine – having come up against each other when Sam Baldock was at Reading between 2018 and 2021.

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Matty and Reece James

This season also means war for the James brothers, who lined up on opposite sides when Bristol City took on Blackpool in the Championship on the opening day of the 2021/22 campaign.

Matty James, who had loan spells with Barnsley and Coventry City in the Championship, inked a deal with Bristol City in the summer, whilst his brother Reece James was poached by Blackpool from Doncaster Rovers.

Reece James followed in his older brother’s footsteps, joining Manchester United as a youngster but the pair both pursued careers away from the Premier League giants and made their mark in the EFL.

Abo and Mohamed Eisa

Mohamed and Abo Eisa both found new EFL Clubs in the summer, signing for Milton Keynes Dons and Bradford City respectively.

Formerly Peterborough United’s record signing, Mohamed Eisa adopted the same tag at MK Dons, making the switch to the Buckinghamshire Club in July. The attacker made an immediate impression on the Dons faithful, notching a goal on his League debut against Bolton Wanderers.

Although his younger brother is yet to turn out for the Bantams this season, having been kept to the side-lines with a hamstring complaint, Abo Eisa is expected to return this month, with Bradford positioned in eighth place in the League Two standings.

Aaron and Lewis Collins

Brothers Aaron and Lewis Collins embarked on identical career paths, coming through the ranks at Newport County. Well-travelled forward Aaron Collins departed South Wales for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2016 but, after the West Midlands team won promotion to the Premier League, Collins found his way back to the EFL.

Following spells with Morecambe and Forest Green Rovers, he landed on the doorstep of Bristol Rovers in the summer, making 10 appearances to date this campaign.

Despite being his brother’s junior, Lewis Collins is accomplished at 20-years-of-age. From making his first-team bow in 2017 to signing professional terms two years later in 2019, the Welsh Under-21 international has already featured in a Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Lewis Collins turned out for Newport in the 2020/21 showdown, which the Exiles lost to Morecambe. However, the South Wales team had to overcome Aaron Collins’ Forest Green side in the two-legged Semi-Finals, when the two brothers locked horns with the biggest prize of all up for grabs: family bragging rights…

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Olly and Elliot Lee

From team-mates to sibling rivals, Olly and Elliot Lee made quite the duo when lining up alongside each other in Luton Town’s promotion winning 2017/18 campaign but they’ve since gone their separate ways.

The brothers, who also played for West Ham United’s reserves together, came face-to-face last month when Gillingham hosted Charlton Athletic. The pair were both given the nod by their respective managers, as striker Elliot Lee found the back of the net for Charlton – coincidentally, his dad Rob Lee’s former team – in the 1-1 stalemate.

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Danny and Tommy Rowe

Next month, League One will play host to the Rowe brothers derby, when Burton Albion attacker Danny Rowe welcomes brother Tommy Rowe to the Pirelli Stadium with Doncaster Rovers.

The more senior of the two brothers, Tommy, re-signed for the South Yorkshire team for a second time in June from Bristol City, meaning he will pit his wits against his younger brother in November, and again in February. In a similar story, the two siblings both represented Stockport County in the preliminary stages of their playing careers, with both brothers reaching the Championship.

Danny Rowe earned his big move to Ipswich Town in 2016, making the step up from then-National League side Macclesfield Town whilst Tommy Rowe spent two seasons with Peterborough United and later Wolves in the Championship, but the Rowe siblings will meet in League One next month when Burton and Doncaster lock horns.

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