Championship wrap: Palace drubbing illustrates McCarthy’s task at Ipswich
Ipswich's 5-0 drubbing by Crystal Palace illustrates the size of Mick McCarthy's task at Portman Road, says James Pozzi
Drubbing illustrates McCarthy’s challenge at Ipswich
Having been announced as the new Ipswich Manager at the weekend, Mick McCarthy – along with trusted assistant Terry Connor who joins from Wolverhampton Wanderers – saw his side thrashed 5-0 by table-topping Crystal Palace, themselves with a new boss Ian Holloway at the helm. A stunning hat-trick from top scorer Glenn Murray, who took his tally to 13 for the season, along with goals from Yannick Bolasie and Andre Moritz completed the rout to leave the visiting Tractor Boys rock bottom. Having inherited a disjointed and unbalanced squad from predecessor Paul Jewell, which included eight loan players, McCarthy will have to draw on all his previous know how to resurrect Ipswich’s season, which has seen them pick up a paltry ten points in the first 15 games.
The rise of Austin continues as he notches 20th goal
Burnley striker Charlie Austin netted the 83rd-minute winner as his side defeated Leeds United at Turf Moor in new manager Sean Dyche’s first match in charge. The former Swindon man, who has now scored 17 goals in all competitions while topping the scorer’s chart in the league, has seen his worth soar this season along with his status as The Claret’s star asset. Having moved to Burnley in the January 2011 transfer window for £4m, Austin has replaced the hole left by the departure of Jay Rodriguez to Southampton in the summer for £7m. But with many Clarets supporters having long claimed Austin to be the better of the two, Burnley can be expecting similar – if not greater – sized bids should his form continue.
Championship’s unpredictability illustrated at The Valley
Charlton Athletic produced one of the performances of the season to see off third-place Cardiff City 5-4 at The Valley. After going 2-0 down to the visitors after goals from Heidar Helguson and Joe Mason, the Addicks once again showed the resolve behind their recent upturn in form by levelling the score through a Johnnie Jackson double. Dale Stephens, Danny Haynes and Rob Hulse completed the remarkable turnaround to make it 5-2, before Craig Noone and Aron Gunnarsson scored in injury time as the Bluebirds produced a fight back of their own. Not only was the result a surprise win for Charlton, who are now in 19th, but the nature of the unlikely victory also illustrated the unpredictability of The Championship as well as its competitiveness. Teams from near the bottom of the division defeating opponents from the opposite end have been common place in the division for a number of seasons now, but it seems they are just coming up with new and exciting ways to do it. Here’s to a few more over the course of the season.
Bruce’s Hull emerging as genuine play-off contenders
After defeating Wolves 2-1 at the KC Stadium, their fifth win in six games, Hull City moved up to fourth in the Championship. The East Yorkshire club’s climb is also indicative of just how far a few wins can fluctuate a team’s fortunes, and their form has now seen Steve Bruce’s side emerge as genuine play-off contenders. The Hull job is also serving to rehabilitate Bruce’s managerial reputation, which took a dent after a largely unsuccessful spell at Sunderland, which resulted in the sack last season. With two promotions already under his belt from his Birmingham City days, Bruce is a man who knows how to get a side into the top tier. After receiving firm backing in the transfer market from ambitious Tigers’ owner Assem Allam, the task of getting the club into the play-offs comes with its own pressure, but so far Hull are one of the division’s few clubs matching up to the pre-season expectations.