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Monday, 24 October 2011

The View Outside The Premier League: Huddersfield and Wednesday March On


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The View From Outside the Premier League

Charlton Athletic have set the pace in League One but two of their closest rivals are putting together a pair of remarkable sequences. Sheffield Wednesday have now made it seven wins from seven games at Hillsborough and, in West Yorkshire, Huddersfield Town are still to be beaten.

The Terriers' unbeaten league run stretches back no less than 39 games to December of 2010. It came too late to get them an automatic promotion spot last term, but at the moment it would be difficult to see Lee Clark's squad missing out again.

Scottish under-21 striker Jordan Rhodes saw off Preston with his second three-goal haul in a week, making it 13 for him in his recent games. Rhodes' emergence is an example of how Clark's squad spread the responsibility - almost every week some other player comes up with a gamebreaking contribution.

Over at Wednesday, the players are revelling in front of their home crowd. After getting out of jail at Sheffield United in last week's derby, Colchester were beaten 2-0. Huddersfield aren't due to visit until December 17 so these two sequences could be maintained for a good while yet.

Gary Madine wasn't on the scoresheet for a change, after bagging 11 so far this season. Defenders Rob Jones and Reda Johnson did the damage which is yet more evidence for Gary Megson that his squad has durability and the ability to conjour up an answer when required.

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Nottingham Forest made it two wins from two under Steve Cotterill and many fans will have gone away shaking their heads at the way certain professional footballers perform. A squad that seemed lethargic and unresponsive to Steve McClaren (with honourable exceptions) have delivered back-to-back wins for his successor.

Certainly Blackpool fans will have wished that they could have played Forest a couple of weeks ago, although this wasn't a bad performance by the Tangerines - a squad who can never be accused of lacking effort. With Kevin Phillips netting again, Ian Holloway still looks capable of engineering another promotion.

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Aldershot got a timely boost by winning 5-2 at Dagenham & Redbridge. Since the excitement of drawing Manchester United in the Carling Cup the Shots had lost five on the bounce and drifted towards the lower reaches of the division.

The win over the Daggers sets them up nicely now for the midweek tie with United. Two strikes in the first six minutes settled the nerves. although the Shots did concede two again. They have let in a brace in each of their last five matches, so whatever strike force United put out next week, the Shots look to have their work cut out.

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The all-Welsh encounter in the Blue Square Premier finished 0-0 despite the two teams being at opposite ends of the table. Wrexham are top while Newport County lie two off the bottom. County may be struggling but this point still represents huge progress for the Gwent club.

Newport has been without a League club since 1988 when County finished bottom of then Division Four for the very first time in their history. Unfortunately, just a year earlier automatic relegation to the Conference had been introduced. Only six years earlier County had nearly reached the last eight of the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Financial meltdown resulted and a newly constituted club had to begin again, way down the non-league pyramid. Last season was their first back at this level when they finished ninth - but this season began poorly and they are now managed by former Spurs defender Justin Edinburgh. The hard-won point in North Wales is a big step in the right direction.

Article by Hugh Larkin

Remember Hugh will be here every Monday at www.squarefootball.net when he turns the spotlight on all the major incidents in the Football League.

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