The Championship summit has a distinctly Irish flavour to it at present with Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich and Chris Hughton’s Brighton occupying first and second places.
Both managers saw their sides continue fine early- season form on Saturday, Ipswich winning 2-1 at a Preston outfit that lost Greg Cunningham to a first-half injury while Brighton saw off Blackburn 1-0. Neither side were at their best but both did enough to take their tallies to 10 points from four games, with Ipswich topping the table on goal difference.
“I am delighted because it was a hard-fought game,” McCarthy said. “There were one or two doing real selfless jobs for us. Not what we want to do but if we end up getting enough points to get in the Premier League nobody will complain.”
Hughton viewed Brighton’s win in similar terms. “The encouraging thing is that, although we didn’t play particularly well, we are winning games.”
The only Championship goal scored by an Irish player in this round of fixtures came on Friday night, a deflected Stephen Gleeson effort earning Birmingham a 1-1 draw with Derby. “I feel like I’m playing OK at the moment,” Gleeson said. “Personally I need to kick on and as a team we need to kick on.”
In the Scottish Premiership, Adam Rooney celebrated his call-up to Martin O’Neill’s 37-man provisional Ireland squad for next month’s Euro 2016 qualifiers by scoring twice — a header and a penalty — to earn Aberdeen a 2-0 win over Dundee.
“Adam is like any centre forward, they want goals,” Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes said. “They are happy to be part of a winning team at times but centre-forwards need their goals. His header was brilliant and when he is standing over a penalty you have so much confidence in him. He is a confident boy and he always backs himself and if he gets the right service he will score goals.”
In League One in England, Paddy Madden was left to rue his luck after missing a host of chances — including a penalty that he blazed over — as Scunthorpe were held to a 0-0 draw by a Millwall side that had dropped goalkeeper David Forde.
Scunthorpe boss Mark Robins said: “Paddy always gets upset, he’s an emotional character who plays with his heart on his sleeve and he’s disappointed but he’ll bounce back.”
Millwall manager Neil Harris hailed Forde’s reaction to being dropped. “We made a call to play Jordan Archer and while he was disappointed, Fordey was the complete professional that he is. He helped Jordan prepare for the game.”
Elsewhere, Anthony Forde was among the scorers as Walsall edged out Coventry 2-1 to climb to second in the table. Jimmy Ryan opened the floodgates as Fleetwood hammered Colchester 4-0, Sam Foley made amends for a missed penalty by scoring the opening goal in Port Vale’s 3-0 win over Doncaster, while James Collins rescued a 1-1 draw for Shrewsbury at Oldham.
In League Two, Enda Stevens was sent off for two bookable offences in Ports-mouth’s 3-3 draw with Morecambe. Pompey boss Paul Cook said: “There’s no malice in Enda. It’s a late challenge, it looks a nasty clash of heads but both lads are obviously watching the ball. From our point of view it’s not a red.”
Elsewhere, a Graham Burke goal helped Notts County to a 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley while Mark Byrne was on the scoresheet in a losing cause as Newport went down 3-2 to Leyton Orient.