Five talking points from the Championship weekend; Warnock out, Wilder in at Middlesbrough

The Championship continued to enthral this weekend and EFL pundit Gabriel Sutton gives us five talking points

Neil Warnock did a valuable job at Middlesbrough. The wily veteran kept the club up in 2019/20 after inheriting a difficult situation, then had Boro in play-off contention the following season.

However, 2021/22 was undermined by two fundamental issues. Firstly, Warnock's traditional way of working was in direct contrast to the structure the club wanted to implement, with a heavy delegation of power in areas such as recruitment.

Secondly, Warnock's direct style of play failed to maximise the strengths of Martin Payero and Andraz Sporar, who like the ball on the deck.

Chris Wilder Sheffield United Feb21

His replacement Chris Wilder left Sheffield United due to disagreements over structure but is presumably on board with the Boro way of thinking.

What's more, the 54-year-old's playing style is unlikely to bypass central midfield, which is great news for Payero and Sporar.

In a congested play-off scramble, Wilder's arrival could be a game-changer for the Teessiders.

Hull: Yes, we McCann

Keane Lewis-Potter Hull second at Barnsley Nov21

Hull moved to within three points of safety with a 2-0 victory at relegation rivals Barnsley.

Manager Grant McCann has been under scrutiny for 18 months, despite his side winning the League One title in that period. That is a hangover from the way his side capitulated in the second half of the 2019/20 campaign, allied to a poor start to this one.

The Northern Irishman feels, though, that once the Tigers establish a strong defensive platform - which is easier said than done with a youthful centre-back pairing of Di'Shon Bernard and Jacob Greaves - they have the quality to win games.

That rang true at Oakwell, where ruthless finishes from George Honeyman and Keane Lewis-Potter saw the East Yorkshire outfit to a crucial victory.

Much work to do, still, for Hull? Absolutely. Defensive knowhow required in January? Undoubtedly. Much to prove, still, for McCann? You bet. But it is a start.

Ten-man Coventry prevail

Matt Godden Coventry City winner Nov21

Mark Robins has Coventry believing. Just when it looked like the demands on a small squad and a lack of options from the bench were taking their toll - the Sky Blues had won just one in five prior to Saturday - they defied the doubters.

The Sky Blues not only trailed at the interval to Bristol City, but did so with a man disadvantage after Ian Maatsen had been sent off.

Matt Godden equalised from spot only for Robins' troops to trail for a second time thanks to Andreas Weimann's 68th-minute effort.

However, the Midlanders' never-say-die attitude was again on show as they claimed their 13th point from a losing position this term, the most in the division.

Callum O'Hare restored parity before Godden's injury-time winner secured the Sky Blues' 22nd home point of the season.

Fulham, Bournemouth and West Brom look nailed on for a top-six finish but the other three positions look up for grabs. If Robins' troops keep that kind of spirit in adversity then who knows what will happen?

Forest's fine form continues

Jack Colback Nottm Forest Nov21

Another Midlands club hoping to profit from the open nature of the play-off scramble is Nottingham Forest.

In normal circumstances, accruing just one point from seven games prior to a change of manager would put paid to hopes of achieving anything meaningful.

But having taken 21 points from 10 games since Chris Hughton's exit - nine of which Steve Cooper has taken charge of - there is a different energy around the club and belief a top-six finish can be achieved.

Even after a 3-0 victory over Preston North End, Cooper could still find areas of the performance to improve on.

And, with the projected points requirement for a play-off spot a lowly 70 - the lowest since Leicester snuck in with 68 in 2012/13 - this might just be a season where an appalling start and a play-off spot can go hand in hand.

Bournemouth bounce back

Dominic Solanke Bournemouth Nov21

Going into November, Bournemouth's promotion credentials weren't in doubt thanks to a whopping 37 points collected from their first 15 league games.

However, questions were asked after a shock 2-1 loss at home to Preston North End on Wednesday, questions Scott Parker's side had answered emphatically.

The Cherries thumped in-form Swansea 4-0, with braces from Dominic Solanke and Jaidon Anthony.

Solanke's form is not an enormous surprise, with his link-up with midfielder Phillip Billing taking him to 13 goals, just two shy of his tally from last season.

Anthony's emergence, however, is more unexpected: and perhaps necessary, given the summer sale of Arnaut Danjuma to Villarreal and slow subsequent transfer business.

The academy graduate has attacked the Championship with gusto and his combination play with left-back Jordan Zemura has been crucial for the Dorset outfit, who look far more incisive than they did under Jason Tindall or Jonathan Woodgate.

Keep this up and a top-two finish looks assured.

READ MORE: Promotions, bowling and a pigsty in Stoke: Neil Warnock’s most iconic moments

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