Championship Chat: Dyche deserves credit

James Marshment hails Sean Dyche's Burnley and QPR's squad in Championship Chat, but has words of caution for Bolton and Mustapha Carayol.

Last Updated: 25/10/13 at 09:42 Post Comment

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The Sky Bet Championship is often overlooked for the glamour and glitz of the Premier League, but there's much to be celebrated in the second tier as we find out in this new weekly Thursday column.

The race for promotion, and the bid to stay in the second tier, is likely to be as competitive as ever, as we examine all the key talking points from the weekend, and also take a look at what's to come in the matches ahead.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the story comment box, below, or Tweet me here.

Goal of the weekend: Tom Ince, Blackpool v Watford

Picking up the ball just inside his own half, Ince embarked on a weaving run that saw him skip past three challenges before planting a low shot into the bottom corner.

Blackpool had been second best for the majority of the match against the Hornets, but Ince's strike was enough to send the Seasiders top of the embryonic Championship table.

The fact that Blackpool retained Ince's services before the transfer window closed made it a sweet couple of days for the club.

Worthy of mentions: Andy Reid, Nottingham Forest v Wigan; Corry Evans, Blackburn v Bolton; Danny Ings, Burnley v Derby.

Team of the weekend: (4-4-2) Matt Gilks; Todd Kane, Jason Shackell, Nedum Onuoha, Clint Hill; Shaun Maloney, Andy Reid, Michail Antonio, Tom Ince; Jordan Rhodes, Adam Le Fondre.

Special praise goes to Matt Gilks, whose performance in goal for Blackpool saw him save a Troy Deeney penalty.

Quote of the weekend: Harry Redknapp

The QPR manager was quite rightly cock-a-hoop after the hard-fought 1-0 win at Leeds, but admitted he was still keen to add a few new players.

"It's an excellent start but there's a long way to go. You can only get that early start and that's what we've done but there's an awful long way to go and it's a long road this league," he said.

"I've been here before with Portsmouth, we started like this and managed to stay there. We just need that extra quality to give us strength in depth."

"We've got some good targets, not gambles, real good players in my opinion, just like the others I've brought in, all good people who I know I can put my life on."

And Redknapp was not lying. True to his word, the R's went out and signed Niko Krajcar, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Tom Carroll making their already strong squad now head and shoulders over what any of their Championship counterparts can rival.

Player of the weekend: Clint Hill, QPR

Never a headline-grabber and one of the lesser names among the QPR ranks, Hill is one of those hard-working players who rarely gets the attention his consistent performances deserve.

His winning goal at Elland Road over the weekend was Hill's first for over two years and helped the R's to a vital three-point haul in their quest for an immediate return to the Premier League.

The only downside for Hill is that Redknapp has since signed Assou-Ekotto, putting Hill's place in the side is serious jeopardy.

Gaffe of the weekend: Andy Madley, referee in Derby v Burnley

I never like to be too harsh on referees as I feel they have a seriously difficult job. But quite how and why Madley felt Jason Shackell's 62nd-minute tackle on Chris Martin was worthy of a penalty is beyond me, given how cleanly the Clarets defender won the ball.

As it turned out, justice prevailed as Tom Heaton made an excellent save to deny Johnny Russell from the spot, with Shackell putting the icing on the cake by volleying in his side's third goal.

Game of the weekend: Blackburn 4 Bolton 1

The Trotters had won the last four encounters between the sides heading into this one, but Blackburn laid that ghost to rest in emphatic fashion, thanks to a brace from the prolific Jordan Rhodes supplemented by two excellent goals by David Dunn and Corry Evans.

But for Alex Baptiste's fine finish, the match was something of a horror show for Bolton with defeat meaning it's the first time Wanderers have failed to win any of their first five league games since 1984.

Unless you're a Bolton fan, watch highlights of the game in the video above.

Result of the weekend: Derby 0 Burnley 3

There were quite a few impressive (coupon-busting?!) results in the second tier over the weekend, with Charlton's home success over Leicester, Bournemouth's win at fellow Champ new boys Doncaster, and Barnsley's derby victory over Huddersfield all worthy of mentions.

But Burnley's comprehensive dismantling of the Rams of Pride Park takes the honours given the display was a real all-round team effort and lifted Sean Dyche (one of the division's most underrated managers) and his players up to third in the table.

Disappointment of the weekend: Bolton

Poor old Dougie Freedman must be really feeling the heat after Bolton's failure to win at Ewood Park made it their worst start to a league season in almost 30 years.

The Trotters boss invested much of his summer budget on the capture of former Leeds team-mate Jermaine Beckford, but he was guilty of another missed chance in front of goal and currently looks massively short on confidence. Freedman will need him to find his shooting boots soon and help arrest that slide as soon as possible. Bolton's next game is at home to Leeds on Saturday week.

Celebration of the weekend: Mustapha Carayol, Middlesbrough

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge is reknown for his not-so-nifty moves after almost every goal, but anyone who witnessed Carayol's pre-rehersed routine with Boro team-mate Albert Adomah will have been as equally unimpressed. I think the call from Strictly Come Dancing may be on hold for another year, lads!

Hot topic of the weekend: Transfer Deadline Day

It's become must-watch TV for any football fan in this country and Sky Sports News did not disappoint once again in their cranking up of all the last-ditch drama.

But while Mesut Ozil and Marouane Fellaini grabbed all the limelight, there were a raft of decent deals in the Championship.

I've already spoken about QPR earlier in the column, but I was equally impressed with Blackpool's dealings on deadline day. The Tangerines brought in Marvin Zeegelaar, Nathan Tyson and Bradley Orr - all of whom could prove great additions - though most importantly managed to retain the services of arguably the league's brightest talent in Tom Ince.

What's to come...

It's international week so it'll be the weekend of September 14 and 15 before the next round of fixtures in the Championship.

The match between in-form Lancashire rivals Burnley and Blackburn is next up, the match kicking-off live on Sky at 12.15pm on Saturday 14 September.

By James Marshment, follow me on Twitter here.

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