The View Outside The Premier League: Bellamy Sparks Cardiff And Tubbs Strikes For Bournemouth
Will this finally be Cardiff City's year? After multiple play-off disappointments the level of investment at the club this season indicates that the aim is to put promotion beyond doubt and grab an automatic place.
One of the big signings, Cardiff supporter Craig Bellamy, repaid some of the faith in him by producing a blinding free-kick to break the resistance of a very stubborn Leeds United side.
Cardiff have assembled some real firepower for this campaign. Malky Mackay could afford to start with Nicky Maynard and Heidar Helguson backed by Tommy Smith. Bellamy came off the bench to turn the game. He also has the old warhorse Robery Earnshaw to turn to and the raw power of Rudy Gestede.
With the subtle prompting of the elegant Peter Whittingham behind them, this attacking roster should be able to register a bagful of goals. Leeds were brave but only Paddy Kenny saved them from a heavier defeat than the 2-1 margin suggests.
Bellamy is the talisman though. If he plays well then Cardiff (still looking strange in their red kit) must have a great chance to finally join the Premier League elite. Liverpool were prepared to let the Welshman go but that might seem a rash decision by May.
It's a strange atmosphere around Blackburn Rovers at the moment. The Ewood Park side pulled off a dramatic 5-3 win at Bristol City and big money signing Jordan Rhodes bagged a brace. Acquiring the much sought-after Scottish striker was a real coup, but the fans are still uncertain about their attitude to boss Steve Kean.
At any other club Rovers' start would be considered a sound one, but many Ewood Park stalwarts don't want to see Kean leading the club in the Premier League again, so big spending on players and potency up front is a mixed blessing right now.
Bellamy's strike for Cardiff made him the hero of the day in South Wales and that's the way of it for strikers. Scoring goals is what matters and they're always judged on their tally, no matter how good their general play.
Matt Tubbs made a big money move from Crawley to Bournemouth last season but since then he's found goals tough to come by. He made his name with non-league Salisbury and then took that form to Crawley where he scored better than a goal a game.
Steve Evans tried hard to keep him at Crawley but the move hasn't worked out as expected as injury curtailed his first campaign at the Goldsands. How good it must have felt then when Tubbs rescued a point for the Cherries against Hartlepool with only his second goal for the club.
Earlier in the week manager Paul Groves had denied speculation linking the £700,000 signing with a move back to Crawley or a link up again with Evans at Rotherham.
In League Two Chesterfield finally put a mark in the win column after they saw off Wycombe. The Spireites have begun the season as the division's draw specialists and that added to a sense of anxiety in North Derbyshire.
Strangely, the decision was taken to remove John Sheridan before even the end of August, which added to the gloom over the club since relegation in the summer. Sheridan was the man who took the club up and to a Johnstones Paint Trophy victory, but he received little time to get the team back on track.
The home side benefited from the early dismissal of Leon Johnson and that piece of good fortune might kick start a season that had begun shakily. It was a debutant who kicked things off when loanee Chris Atkinson registered first time out and then veteran Jack Lester bagged the second.
Lester now has more than 80 goals for the club in all competitions and has taken them at nearly a goal every other game - not bad for a player who's often been used in midfield.