The battle for promotion from the Championship reaches a crescendo this weekend with at least eight teams still dreaming of making it into the Premier League and two able to seal it right now. But how well prepared are any of the sides for what could lie ahead?
Scott Hogan has seen enough clean slates to roof a housing estate but the Aston Villa striker is hopeful of a few more as he looks to kickstart a career that has been starved of momentum at club level and with the Republic of Ireland.
Watching Didi Hamann and the RTÉ football panel in recent weeks question Pep Guardiola’s standing as a coach for remaining stuck on just the two Champions League titles in a career that’s barely a decade old, we were reminded of the opening scene in March to Madness, the esteemed John Feinstein’s season-long study of about the only championship in world team sport that’s as hard to win as football’s famous cup with the big ears.
A year that featured the glorious high of scoring Ireland’s winner against Italy in Lille ended in frustrating fashion for Robbie Brady as the Dubliner was sent off in Norwich City’s 0-0 Championship draw at Brentford on Saturday.
With the post-Robbie Keane era now fully under way, much attention will be paid to the strikers in Martin O’Neill’s latest squad announcement today and, in particular, whether he sees fit to include Brentford’s Scott Hogan who is currently joint-top scorer in the Championship with six goals this season.