Andy Dawson’s Hull City enjoy an impressive week, Gustavo Hamer’s influence on Coventry City continues to grow and Liverpool whizkid Tyler Morton is proving himself at Blackburn Rovers. All this and more from the latest round of the Championship…
TEAM OF THE WEEK
I’m an absolute sucker for a redemption story so this week Hull edged out plenty of strong competition as my team of the round. The Tigers had a somewhat ‘out of the blue’ away 3-1 win at Blackpool in midweek and they followed it up with an even bigger one at Rotherham.
There is much to praise with what the Tigers did at Rotherham, firstly we should make mention of the backdrop of eight defeats in ten games that set up this week of football for Hull. Secondly we should remember that Rotherham put a lot of stock in being very good at home and their Championship survival scheme will revolve around their form at the New York Stadium.
What came across most impressively was the influence of manager Andy Dawson on the victory. Hull’s interim boss has moved centre half Jacob Greaves over to left back and started utilising wideman Ryan Longman up front instead of top scorer Oscar Estupinian. Vindication was in plentiful supply for Dawson as Greaves opened the scoring for Hull, and then got into the box to assist for, you guessed it, Ryan Longman to tap home. Tufan and Christie added the other two goals in a morale boosting and possibly scene changing performance from Hull. With back to back wins they will hope to keep building towards the upcoming World Cup hiatus.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Gustavo Hamer (Coventry City)
We seem to have had fun and games with Coventry’s Gus Hamer ever since he arrived in the Championship. It was a big deal that brought the Brazilian over from the Netherlands two years ago, since then the fun and games have included headers scored from outside the box and a litany of red and yellow cards. It was 14 yellow cards for Hamer in 37 starts last season and the fierce midfielder has already managed to get himself red carded twice this campaign.
Away from the slightly suspect disciplinary record, Hamer is a really good player and is certainly missed when he’s out suspended. During his most recent stint on the sidelines, Coventry boss Mark Robins deployed a more pragmatic defensive strategy to try and pull the Sky Blues away from the relegation zone.
It worked a charm and Hamer was dropped into a team this weekend looking very secure at the back, the Brazilian’s return then added more grit and some quality on top. Firstly he picked a lovely pass to split the Potters defence and set Jamie Allen in for the opening goal. Hamer then showed his complete skill set with the power and tenacity to drive into the box, followed by the skill and technique to slip between two and find the far corner.
Coventry are already moving in the right direction following their disrupted start to the season, if Hamer can stay suspension free then he’ll be a big part in what Sky Blues fans will hope is a sustained trend up the Championship table.
A Trio Of 4-2’s
You wait all season for a 4-2 scoreline and then three come along at once. We’ve already covered the Hull heroics in our ‘team of the round’ segment, but the Tigers were joined by two other sides in 4-2 glory. In the early kick-off on Saturday the first of three big derby matches this past weekend took place, with Blackpool defeating Preston 4-2 at Bloomfield Road.
This was one of those where it took Blackpool the full ninety to properly shake off North End, who hung in there as best they could. Pool’s red hot striker Jerry Yates put them 1-0 and 3-1 up with his third double of the past four games, but Callum Conolly’s own goal gave Preston something to fight for in stoppage time. They went for broke and sent keeper Woodman forward for a set play allowing CJ Hamilton to finally make the game safe.
Up at the Stadium Of Light, the constant back and forth at Blackpool was replaced by one big swing in either direction. The first half saw the pendulum fly in Sunderland’s direction, with Diallo and Neil sending them in 2-0 up at the break. The same pendulum swung back with twice the ferocity as Burnley stunned the Black Cats with four second half goals. We’ve been rightly critical of the Clarets for giving up too many leads this season, they showed they can come from behind in emphatic fashion this weekend.
LOANEE OF THE WEEK
Tyler Morton (Blackburn on loan from Liverpool)
Dealing with England’s elite clubs in the loan market is obviously something many Championship sides are very keen to do. The presence of Reece James, Mason Mount and Trevoh Chalobah regularly in the Chelsea first eleven means Championship clubs have had access to some very special players in their development period. Over at Liverpool the pathway hasn’t been quite the same, with the reds loaning out the likes of Harry Wilson and Neco Williams down to the Championship and then commanding huge fees to sell them to fellow Premier League clubs.
The one player that has broken through into the Liverpool first eleven is one Blackburn fans will know all about. Harvey Elliott was on loan at Ewood Park back in 2020 and Rovers have gone back to Liverpool for another loanee this season.
It wouldn’t be fair to compare Tyler Morton to Harvey Elliott for anything other than being a Liverpool player, but the 19 year old is really starting to find his groove in the Blackburn central midfield. Morton has started a thoroughly healthy 11 games for Rovers this season already and was paired with captain Lewis Travis in the central pair for his side’s third straight win over Birmingham this weekend. The Liverpool prospect even got his first goal contribution of the season, getting down the right and crossing for Sam Gallagher to hit the opener.
It’s a big ask for any youngster to work his way into one of the Premier League’s super clubs first team, but Liverpool will need to re-tool their central midfield over the next couple of years. Morton having a strong season at Championship level will certainly be something that would be on Jurgen Klopp’s radar to some extent.
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