The View Outside The Premier League: Bristol City Are On The March As Northampton Keep On Crumbling
Bristol City posted the eye-catching result of the weekend when they overturned Championship leaders Southampton. As so often happens, the arrival of a new manager has produced a sharp upturn in performance - the gaffer in question this time is Derek McInnes, who is adding yet more lustre to the reputation of Scottish managers.
The biggest surprise, apart from the result, is that the Robins never looked in any trouble against the Saints. Southampton were probably due a mediocre performance but confidence is high at Ashton Gate and City look ready to break out of the relegation places.
McInnes seems to have worked on the assumption that the players he has are good enough; the likes of Nicky Maynard have responded, although there are some cynics who have noted that Maynard is coming to the end of his deal with the club.
Whether the striker stays in January is open to question but there's no doubt that he's a class act at Championship level and will be a key part of McInnes's plans for December and the Holiday Season games.
Saturday was a heady day for Plymouth Argyle fans. After a season of unremitting struggle, the Home Park faithful enjoyed the luxury of seeing their team bang in four goals by half-time - three in the first 17 minutes.
It hardly mattered that the team couldn't add to the tally after the break. A 4-1 win over Northampton Town took Argyle to within one point of the side in 23rd place - yes, they're still rock bottom but optimism is returning in the South-West.
By contrast, the Northampton implosion continues. Tim Flowers became the third man in charge in three weeks but the former England goalie couldn't inspire the Cobblers squad any more than his predecessors. The last three weeks have been a nightmare period but at least the FA Cup exit to Luton offers the club a fortnight's break to get things on an even keel.
Burnley's amazing result at Hull City may have halted the slide in their season. The Turf Moor club were unlikely to challenge for promotion but their fans weren't expecting a plunge toward the drop zone either.
Saturday's game at the KC Stadium looked like another depressing loss, as the Tigers were two goal up with 15 minutes to go. Salvation came from an unlikely source - two goals from defender David Edgar. These were Edgar's first two strikes for the club. Jay Rodriguez came up with a last-gasp winner to take the heat off Eddie Howe.
Howe arrived in January and thus far his win-loss record is level but there have been damaging defeats in the League this season. Burnley fans are still inclined to offer him the benefit of the doubt but a strong period up to New Year is required.
Accrington Stanley produced a morale-boosting win over Dagenham & Redbridge to keep distance between them and the drop zone. They did it with two goals from a player with an unusual background. Padraig Amond has played for Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers but is currently attached to Portuguese top division side Pacos de Ferriera - he's with John Coleman's side for a season long loan.
He follows a recent tradition of exotic signings in this part of East Lancs. When Accrington came out of the Conference Lutel James of St Kitts led the line. He was followed by Romuald Buco who has 42 caps for Benin and is currently playing in Shanghai.
Hugh Larkin will be back on Monday with his latest views on the game in the Championship, League One, League Two and the Conference.