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16 November 2018

The Sky Bet EFL has hit the 17-game mark with the international break halting action in the Sky Bet Championship this weekend. Sporting Life’s Tom Carnduff looks at some of the key talking points from the recent games.

The lead keeps changing at the top

The Championship continues to provide entertainment, and it looks an incredibly open division with a number of sides fancying their chances of success.
Norwich City have enjoyed a remarkable run of form and now sit two points clear at the top of the table.

Daniel Farke’s side are enjoying a five-game winning run in the league and provided the game of the weekend with a 4-3 victory over Millwall last time out. Finding themselves 3-2 down in the 90th minute, two injury-time goals wrapped up the three points to send them back to the top. It’s a game definitely worth watching back to see just how it happened.

Head over to sportinglife.com where you can watch every Championship goal this season.

Norwich fully deserve their lead at the top. The fact that they have spent slightly more time in losing positions this season highlights the character within the squad and the great form that they have hit.

Leeds United, who have been excellent so far this season under Marcelo Bielsa, got a bit of a wake-up call as they were beaten 4-1 by West Brom in Saturday’s late kick-off.
That scoreline just highlights what an incredible division the Championship is. The Baggies were beaten 4-1 by Derby County three weeks ago and Leeds beat Derby 4-1 at the beginning of the season.

Speaking on the Sporting Life Sky Bet Championship podcast, ex-Leeds striker Noel Whelan commented on the game: “Leeds were not at their best.
“They did not hit the levels they have set themselves up until that point. They came across a very, very strong, aggressive, fast, powerful, clinical West Bromwich Albion side.

“If you’ve got any aspirations of getting promotion, you have to test yourself against the best and they are one of the best in the Championship. Their front four is frightening, very, very aggressive and strong.

“I don’t think I have seen Liam Cooper have a bigger battle on his hands for the amount of time he did against Hal Robson-Kanu, a fantastic battle to watch. Two strong players.”

To listen to the full podcast, where a new episode is available fortnightly, head over to sportinglife.com

Gallagher to the rescue

It's probably a manager's worst nightmare on the pitch, your goalkeeper getting injured or sent off after using all three substitutions.
That nightmare became a reality for Alex Neil and Preston North End two weeks ago after Chris Maxwell was shown a second yellow and midfielder Paul Gallagher had to put on the gloves.

Ipswich were around the 3/1 mark in-play when Maxwell saw red, and you imagine a few punters would have seen the value in a home win given the situation.
Gallagher had actually drawn Preston level just minutes earlier, and his wonderful save late on ensured that they would travel back to Lancashire with a point.

"It was incredible," Gallagher told the Lancashire Evening Post.

"The manager told me to go on the pitch and try and make an impact.
"Luckily for me we got a free-kick and my first touch was a goal and then my second was a goal kick. I've never done that before.

"I was confident, I used to play in goal as a kid, and said to the manager 'I'll go in goal' but he wanted to speak to Louis (Moult).

"I was going to tell Louis 'say you don't want to go in, I'll go in'. I was already making his decision for him."

Changes made on the managerial front

Managerial changes are a part of football, and a few clubs have marked mid-November as the time to look for a new face to turn around their fortunes.
In League One, Neal Ardley’s six-year spell at AFC Wimbledon came to an end with the club at the bottom end of the League One table.
He’s a manager who achieved success during his time there. Ardley guided the Dons to League One through the play-offs and kept them in England’s third tier on more than one occasion.

Elsewhere, Shrewsbury parted company with John Askey as they look to push themselves up the standings.
The Shropshire side sit 18th in the table, and a number of names have been backed into favouritism with Sky Bet – showing how attractive these available jobs can be.

Swindon appointed Richie Wellens following the departure of Phil Brown. A new era at the club begins at home to Carlisle and the Town faithful will be hopeful it can get underway with victory.

Notts County are also on the hunt for a new manager after Harry Kewell left earlier this week.
He was unable to turn around County’s fortunes and they’re looking to move swiftly as they aim to bring in his replacement before the weekend.

Plenty of prizes on offer

Sporting Life has a number of EFL prizes to win throughout the season, from signed shirts to match tickets.
This season we’ve already given away signed Leeds, Middlesbrough and Derby shirts amongst others as well as match tickets to Leeds v Middlesbrough and Aston Villa v Sheffield Wednesday.
Keep checking sportinglife.com for our latest competitions, which currently includes the opportunity to win a signed Blackburn shirt and tickets to Aston Villa v Birmingham at the end of November.


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