Five talking points from the EFL weekend: Super Cooper, Rocking Robins, Pompey power...

The EFL delivered its usual thrills, spills and upsets at the weekend, with the appointment of Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest looking particularly inspired.

The Chris Hughton era has quickly been forgotten at Nottingham Forest as the Tricky Trees head into the international break on a Steve Cooper-induced high, while Bristol City finally look to be emerging from a two-season malaise.

And, in League One, Sunderland's title challenge came unstuck at a Portsmouth side that hadn't won in seven.

Gabriel Sutton talks us through it.

Super Cooper lifts Nottingham Forest

Lewis Grabban Steve Cooper Nottingham Forest Oct21

Steve Cooper has made an enormous impact on Trentside.

Since the former Swansea boss took charge at the City Ground, his side have accrued seven points from three games, after a 3-0 victory at Birmingham last time out.

Having looked square and pedestrian under Chris Hughton, the Reds now look full of pace, drive and verve.

Young, exuberant talents like Brennan Johnson, Alex Mighten and Djed Spence have all made key contributions in recent victories, while Lewis Grabban is beginning to replicate echoes of the form that saw him score 17 goals in 2018/19 and 20 the following season, with the striker producing an emphatic finish at St Andrews.

Equally, it seems to suit Forest absorbing pressure for long spells of their games, then producing deadly counter-attacks through the aforementioned as well as Philip Zinckernagel, who produced two tidy assists in B9.

The test for Cooper will come when breakaways are not viable: will a double-pivot of Ryan Yates and Jack Colback provide enough creativity from deep? Perhaps not, but that's where, they hope, James Garner comes in.

Progress for Bristol City

Chris Martin Bristol City Oct21

After an underwhelming couple of seasons, 2021/22 for Bristol City has been about re-establishing themselves as a middle-eight Championship outfit.

After a 3-2 victory at Peterborough last time out left them ninth, Nigel Pearson's side are well on their way to achieving that goal.

It was two less than obvious goalscorers that helped them on their way to that success: 6ft 3in centre-back Rob Atkinson continuing a promising start to life in the Championship with his first goal for the south-west club, while right-back George Tanner's growing reputation continued with a cute finish.

The more familiar figure of Chris Martin grabbed Bristol City's late winner, though. The experienced striker used his expertise to produce an accomplished finish that sent his team into the international break just two points off the play-offs.

The three points should lift the spirits of manager Nigel Pearson who is recovering from COVID.

Portsmouth come alive

Portsmouth's start to the season has been nothing if not streaky.

Danny Cowley's side began with three straight league wins, then went seven games without a win, then thrashed leaders Sunderland 4-0!

Cowley was impressed with the intensity of his side's performance, including the selfless work ethic of John Marquis, who bagged a brace and showed signs of replicating the form that made him Doncaster's top scorer for three seasons running.

Elsewhere, the Pompey boss produced a masterstroke in converting veteran midfielder Shaun Williams to the left-sided player in a back-three: on Saturday's evidence, it will not be the last time the former Millwall man is used in that role.

With five or six teams looking capable of challenging for the automatic slots, the Portsea Island club's statement victory came at just the right time.

Wycombe snatch win in seven-goal thriller

Gareth Ainsworth Wycombe Sep21

Wycombe Wanderers maintained their 100% home record thanks to Curtis Thompson's 90th-minute strike in a 4-3 thriller against Morecambe.

Gareth Ainsworth will need to address aspects of his side's defending if they are to be held to automatic promotion standards this season, but nonetheless the spirit of the Chairboys is there for all to see.

Plus, with a front three of Sam Vokes, Daryl Horgan and Garath McCleary, the Buckinghamshire outfit always have a chance.

Vokes is colossus in the air, a fantastic reference point from goal kicks and more mobile than often given credit for. Horgan brings pace, energy and renewed confidence after a promising summer with Ireland, while McCleary is a shrewd presser, capable of moments of genuine quality.

The key for Wycombe is to create space for that trio, whether through long balls, vertical passes, looping balls over the top or the width provided by wing-backs Jason McCarthy and Jordan Obita: give them room and they will do damage.

Port Vale grab victory from jaws of defeat

Should Port Vale go on to win promotion this season, Saturday's dramatic 3-2 victory over Leyton Orient will be remembered as a defining moment.

Having led for 54 minutes thanks to an early James Wilson goal and seen Jamie Proctor spurn two gilt-edged chances to extend that advantage, the Valiants entered injury time trailing to a strike from Orient's Tom James.

If there is one hallmark of a Darrell Clarke side, though, it is that they fight to the very end and this team did just that, squeezing out two goals in stoppage time to turn the game on its head in incredible circumstances.

Clarke praised the impact of his substitutes, including dribbler Dennis Politic who fired home a cut-back from David Amoo.

For the grandstand finale, creative maestro David Worrall teed up Proctor, who made amends for his earlier misses with a sharp finish.

Clarke admitted post-match that he had got carried away with his celebration and apologised to Kenny Jackett, but why not enjoy those moments? After all, they are what the game is all about.

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