Sky Sports EFL Podcast: Who will miss out on the play-offs?
Jonathan Oakes is joined by Keith Andrews and Gary Weaver to discuss all the latest from the Championship. As Norwich and Watford edge closer to promotion, and the play-off race hots up with Bournemouth moving back into the top six at the expense of Reading.
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We also hear from Watford’s Troy Deeney in a special ‘Twelve to Tackle’ this week, as the striker discusses his best moments in the game, his heroes growing up and more. The panel then assess all the weekend’s League One and League Two action at both ends of the table.
All leagues and angles are covered in this week’s podcast, but here are some of the main talking points…
Brentford & Swansea back to winning ways
A poor run for Brentford and Swansea had them fearing that what was once a push for automatic promotion had turned into a battle to hold onto their play-off spots, but both secured emphatic wins at the weekend to bolster their positions in the top six. The Bees won 5-0 at Preston, while the Swansea triumphed 3-0 at Millwall.
Andrews: “Brentford weren’t on as bad of a run, but they tweaked the system a bit to shake things up. It was a big result and a proper away performance, and a confidence booster to kick-start everything.
“I’ve got a bit of sympathy for Swansea, because I thought they had looked a bit fatigued for a few weeks. Ironically, he’s switched to a back four [whereas Brentford went to a back five] to shake things up themselves. They don’t have the squad size to rotate as much, especially at the top end of the pitch, but it was good to see Jamal Lowe back to his best.”
Bournemouth into top six; Will Reading miss out?
It is looking like four from five for the play-off places now. Barnsley are well-positioned in fifth, and Bournemouth leapt into sixth over the weekend after Reading were beaten at Watford. The Royals have spent most of the season in the top six, but look to have dipped at the wrong time.
Weaver: “Cardiff gave it a go, but that late Blackburn goal on Saturday has done for them. Bournemouth are looking strong, they’ve got too much class and quality not to be in the top six, and they’ve got players and a manager with a point to prove.
“It’s between those sides and Bournemouth are looking strong.”
Troy Deeney takes ‘Twelve To Tackle’
Deeney’s answers were just too good to leave any out, so Ten To Tackle has become Twelve to Tackle on this week’s podcast!
The Watford striker scored one of the most famous goals in English football history. But his legendary play-off goal against Leicester was, surprisingly, not the highlight of his career so far…
“Everyone goes Leicester but I don’t like the Leicester goal,” he said. “I think I’ve seen it too much and I can’t get away from it. Like Sergio Aguero scored that goal but he’s also scored better goals or goals that meant more to him.
“I also scored the goal and assisted in the game against Brighton for the first time so that means more to me than the other game.”
Doncaster’s collapse continues
Nine wins in 10 around the turn of the year had put Doncaster in contention for an automatic promotion spot in League One. They have, however, picked up just 12 points from their last 15 games – losing manager Darren Moore in the process – to slip out of the race altogether. It has been an alarming decline under interim boss Andy Butler, with their latest result a 4-1 thumping at home by relegation-threatened Wigan.
Weaver: “I don’t think you can ever say it’s over, but Ben Whiteman has been a huge loss [as well as Moore]. The run began with Moore there, but him leaving will still have had a big impact. Those players were playing for him and in his style.
“It was a big call by Andy Butler to say he felt embarrassed by the performance on Saturday and questioned their desire. Those are big things to say publicly, and it feels like a last resort.”
Southend turn back to Brown
A familiar face has returned to Southend to attempt to steer them to survival in League Two. Phil Brown, who managed the club from 2013-18, is back, and he kicked things off with a goalless draw at home to Crawley on Saturday. They find themselves four points adrift of safety with just five games to go.
Andrews: “He’s a larger-than-life character, who is well-travelled. He’s been around the block and he knows how to win football games.
“He knows how to gauge a dressing room and see what works and what doesn’t. But something needs to give and they need something quite special in the last few games to get them over the line to safety.”
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