Five talking points from the Championship weekend, including a bagful of problems for Baggies

After an international weekend, the EFL returned with a full bill of action and Gab Sutton is back with five talking points.

After a 1-0 loss at Huddersfield, West Brom are now eight points off the automatic promotion places and their season already looks to be about tying down a top-six berth.

Head coach Valerien Ismael had success at Barnsley when he inherited a squad tailored specifically for a high-octane, extreme high-pressing, direct style.

Although Albion have more individual quality, their squad is not built for his style and it would have been naive to assume that Ismael would have been able to construct a top-two side from scratch with his methods.

Ismael must be given time to evolve the squad, but whether he will be given that remains to be seen: natives are restless and the style is not always attractive.

Hope in Hull

Grant McCann Hull Nov21

Pressure grew on Hull City and manager Grant McCann after a run of five consecutive defeats, so back-to-back 2-0 wins over Barnsley and Birmingham were just what was required.

Of course, a Reds side in crisis and a Blues outfit plagued by injuries were not exactly the toughest opponents, but the victories have hauled the Tigers out of the relegation zone.

McCann was brave in switching from his favoured 4-3-3 formation to a 3-5-2 with wide forwards in Keane Lewis-Potter and Ryan Longman deployed as wing-backs. However, his ploy worked a treat, with each providing an assist in the triumph over Birmingham.

Josh Magennis, though, ran the channels selflessly and Jacob Greaves showed Premier League potential on the left of the back three.

Greaves loves to drive forward into the opposing half, but he also has an aptitude for the fundamentals of defending and the former Cheltenham loanee has all the attributes to go to the very top: until then, he can play his part in helping Hull beat the drop.

Crewe earn second win

David Artell Crewe Aug21

Crewe had been in danger of getting cut adrift in League One, so Saturday's hosting of Gillingham was firmly in the 'must-win' category.

After all, if they could not accrue three points against a Gills side ravaged by injuries and a manager in Steve Evans who is reportedly set to depart for Stevenage, when would they?

The relief for David Artell, therefore, is not just that the Railwaymen did get the 2-0 victory which lifted them within five points of safety, but that they also produced their best performance of the season.

The fluid passing and movement, with which we have associated Crewe sides in previous seasons, was back.

Tommy Lowery, absent for the first three months of the season due to a contract dispute, produced an effervescent display in midfield, forward Scott Kashket adjusted selflessly to a right wing-back role, but the main plaudits went the way of Zac Williams.

The 17-year-old was too young to receive the man-of-the-match champagne, so one of the staff members nipped to the off licence to grab him some biscuits and a packet of crisps.

Charlton fans want Jackson

Johnnie Jackson Charlton Nov21

There cannot be too many caretaker managers who have made a bigger impact in five league games than Johnnie Jackson has had at Charlton.

Jackson has been at the club for 11 years in various capacities, so of course sentiment and loyalty is a factor.

He played 247 games for the club and was a key part of the League One title-winning side in 2011/12 under Chris Powell and went on to assist Lee Bowyer in the play-off winning campaign of 2018/19.

And yet, this doesn't feel like your typical interim story of a popular local lad steadying the ship for a few games, it feels like the start of something special - Saturday's win over leaders Plymouth made it 13 points from 15.

For that reason, supporters are not only extremely supportive of 'Jacko' and grateful for his incredible work to keep Charlton's season alive, they also oppose anyone else taking charge.

Neil Harris was a guest of Thomas Sandgaard at Saturday's 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle, prompting rumours of discussions with the former Millwall boss, while Burton boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has also been linked.

While one can understand why Sandgaard is being open-minded about other candidates, the truth is somebody else coming in wouldn't feel right.

Evans for Stevenage?

Steve Evans Gillingham Sep21
Steve Evans Gillingham Sep21

Although Stevenage are without a permanent manager, there are no betting markets available on the person to replace Alex Revell, which suggests it is just a matter of time before Gillingham boss Steve Evans takes the role.

Evans, though, will look forward to enlisting the help of Robbie O'Keefe, who has done an excellent job as caretaker.

Promoted from academy manager, O'Keefe has overseen a 2-1 FA Cup first round replay victory over League One MK Dons, then a 1-0 triumph over Colchester in the league.

There is a feeling in Hertfordshire that Boro have a squad capable of being much higher in the division and who knows? With Evans' drive, tactical nous and streetwise game management, they could even make a late charge for the play-offs.

Seventy points is the projected requirement for 7th spot in League Two this season, which for Stevenage would necessitate 53 points from 29 league games: a tall order, but not impossible.

READ MORE: Who will be the next British manager to win the Premier League? Moyes, Potter, Gerrard… 

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