The Sky Bet Championship returns this weekend following an exhilarating start – Sporting Life’s Tom Carnduff looks ahead to the action alongside a price-boosted accumulator from EFL title sponsors Sky Bet. It was a blockbuster weekend to kick-off the Sky Bet Championship season with a total of 43 goals being scored – a record-breaking start to the new campaign.
The Rams battled The Royals to get it all underway on Friday night, and it was Frank Lampard’s Derby County who wrapped up the points in his first competitive game in senior management. Derby have continued to improve in the transfer market, with Martyn Waghorn the latest recruit having scored 16 for Ipswich last season. The TV cameras will be watching Derby once again on Saturday evening, as they welcome Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United to Pride Park.
The Whites had the perfect start to the season with a 3-1 victory over 9/2 title-favourites Stoke City, and their Argentine boss galvanised a team who ended in mid-table in May, much to the delight of the packed Elland Road crowd. These two teams have strength in attack, setting up what promises to be an entertaining match-up to conclude the weekend’s action.
Gary Rowett’s Stoke will look to bounce back when they host Brentford on Saturday. It’ll be no easy contest, with The Bees hammering Rotherham United 5-1 to top the table at this very early stage. Despite losing John Egan, Florian Jozefzoon and Konstantin Kerschbaumer this summer, Brentford once again look like play-off contenders and Dean Smith will have full confidence that his side are capable of victory.
Wigan Athletic, recently promoted back to the second-tier, started off the season on the right side of a five-goal thriller against Sheffield Wednesday – and they come up against Aston Villa who got past Hull City on Monday night. It was a summer of uncertainty at Villa Park but the club look in the right place to potentially improve on last season’s defeat in the play-off final.
They both drew 2-2 on opening weekend, and Blackburn Rovers host Millwall with both optimistic they can pick up three points. Millwall’s wonderful 2017/18 campaign saw them narrowly miss out on the play-offs, while Blackburn bounced back following an exciting title race with Wigan in League One. Bolton Wanderers, fresh from victory over West Bromwich Albion, host Bristol City – although EFL title sponsors Sky Bet fancy Bristol City at 7/5 despite a draw with Nottingham Forest last weekend.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough’s start has seen them come from behind to draw 2-2 at Millwall and then blow away Sheffield United with three first-half goals in midweek – they welcome a Birmingham City side who were held by Norwich City. Daniel Farke’s Canaries will aim for their first victory when they take on West Brom – The Baggies are buoyed by a point away at Forest, with Matt Phillips’ wonderful technique on the half-volley earning a 1-1 draw.
Forest themselves will return to the City Ground with hope of their first victory as they take on Paul Clement’s Reading – who put in a good first-half showing against Derby on Friday night despite defeat. Steve McClaren gets his first competitive taste at Loftus Road when Queens Park Rangers welcome Sheffield United - both are aiming for their first points of the campaign. Rotherham host an Ipswich side who brought in two impressive performers in League One last year – Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala – whilst an all-Yorkshire affair at Hillsborough sees Sheffield Wednesday meet Hull.
Swansea City, who came from behind at Bramall Lane to down The Blades, face off against Preston North End, who were also victorious in front of their home fans last time out. Sporting Life has teamed up with Sky Bet to bring readers an exclusive price boosted accumulator from this weekend’s EFL action. You can back Ipswich, Portsmouth and Notts County all to win enhanced to 20/1 with Sky Bet by heading here.