As we near the end of another fascinating Championship season, the best strikers in the league are battling it out to finish as the division's leading scorer. There has been no shortage of prolific front men in the Championship this year, and at this point of the season it could well be one of those strikers who fires their team to the play-offs or better still, the Premier League.
With it as close as it has ever been at the top of the table at this stage in the season, those teams vying for promotion will need their forwards firing on all cylinders between now and the beginning of May.
So who have been the Championship's sharpest shooters this season, and what might the future hold come for those players who have in fact caught the eye this year.
Updated 15th April 2015 at 06:40 AM by Veritas
As 2015 took its first tentative steps, it seemed that putting your mortgage on Hartlepool United to be relegated was one of the safest investments you could make for the New Year. Not only were Pool bottom of the league, they had just been dumped out of the FA Cup by non-league Blyth Spartans in front of a national TV audience.
by Steve Sands (AFS contributor)
But Hartlepool weren’t just rock bottom of League Two, they were cast adrift without a paddle, ten points behind third from bottom Carlisle United and seemingly doomed.
When you look at the table today it makes unbelievable reading, as the north-east side have lifted themselves out of the bottom two and can now look down on both Cheltenham Town and Tranmere Rovers with a degree of satisfaction
The Football Conference will be re-named the Vanarama National League from the start of next season.
Following the announcement of a new three-year TV deal with BT Sport, in a re-branding initiative, the Vanarama National League will aim to engage fans, not only of the competition’s 68 member clubs, but football throughout the UK and beyond.
The new `Vanarama National League` will officially be launched on 6 June and the changes will include a new look logo, whilst acknowledging the past it looks to the future, to strengthen the competition's identity.
The National League will also launch a new broadcasting company, NLTV, which will be the first fully dedicated broadcasting channel focusing solely on the 68 member clubs, creating a regular narrative
We now experience televised sport, and football in particular, in a matrix of graphical wizardry. Sky, BT Sports, BBC, and even Setanta introduced so many nuances to the Beautiful Game, aided and abetted by pitch-side fans armed with smartphones, that the thought of just one, grainy camera at games, a la Kenneth Wolstenholme introducing Match of the Day way back when, seems totally alien.
by Alex Jones
Even international games at footballing outposts are now delivered in HD (and soon UHD), multiple cameras transporting images thousands of miles in crystal-clear vision. With our own, handheld technology in place to record goals and incidents, allied to the proliferation of cameras at every match, timing is now everything.
One wonders how many
Updated 28th March 2015 at 10:51 AM by Veritas
After the recent sixth round FA Cup clash, which saw Aston Villa knocking out West Bromwich Albion, many journalists were keen to write about something other than the Villans’ victory.
By Ryan James
In one of the most open FA Cups ever, Aston Villa displayed fantastic talent on the pitch, with particular kudos to youngster Jack Grealish, who scored the 90th minute winner. However, such was the excitement caused by the 19-year-old’s goal that fans gathered in their droves in a classic ‘pitch invasion’ before the final whistle was even blown.
Thousands of celebrating fans were the source of public condemnation by managers, journalists and the Football Association itself, which is allegedly investigating the
Updated 27th March 2015 at 12:09 PM by Veritas
Last week I attempted to predict ‘one of each’ in the Premier League – a home win, an away win and a draw to subsidise my Saturday night fish supper. To be fair I was just one goal away from nailing it on Saturday.
Crystal Palace obliged with my home win on the lunchtime, followed quickly by Aston Villa romping to my predicted away win at Sunderland.
The stumbling block was the draw as West Bromwich Albion held on to beat Stoke City 1-0 rather than allowing them back into the game with an equaliser as they were supposed to!
This week, as a different challenge, I’m going alphabetic and looking to do my soothsayer act on six teams beginning with the letter A i.e. the ‘A' teams!
As actor George Peppard, playing Hannibal in the cult 1980’s TV series, used to say: “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Updated 19th March 2015 at 05:11 PM by Veritas
Aston Villa have wrestled my imaginary FA Cup baton from West Bromwich Albion at the Quarter-final stage of this year’s competition. Tim Sherwood’s men marched into the an FA Cup semi-final to face either Liverpool or Blackburn Rovers, who replay on Wednesday 8 April live on BT Sport, after their recent 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Sherwood seems to have galvanised the Birmingham club as they snatched two important victories over near neighbours West Brom within the space of a week, followed by a comprehensive rout of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last Saturday. The results in the Premier League being potentially the more important.
However, the chance of FA Cup glory is not something to be taken lightly. The last time Villa got through to this stage of the FA Cup
Updated 15th March 2015 at 07:56 PM by Veritas
As I understand it, if you walk into a chippie and ask for one of each, it’s shorthand for ordering fish and chips.
In this case, one of each refers to three items – a home win, an away win and a draw – so the equivalent of ordering mushy peas as an accompaniment to your haddock supper.
Looking at Saturday's fixtures in the Premier League, the following is my attempt at ‘one of each’:
Crystal Palace v Queens Park Rangers
Predicting Queens Park Rangers to lose away from home is hardly ground breaking as they have only avoided defeat once on the road all season at struggling Sunderland.
The atmosphere at Selhurst Park is always bouncing and, under Alan Pardew, the Eagles are a tough test for any side, let alone
Updated 12th March 2015 at 08:23 PM by Veritas
In 2013/14, Everton finished fifth with a new club record haul of 72 Premier League points and saw average attendances at Goodison Park take another positive step in the right direction – some 4,500 more than where they were as recently as 2011/12.
Fast forward 12 months and even if the Toffees were to win all of their remaining 10 top-flight fixtures – which is highly unlikely – they would still only end the campaign with 58 points to their name.
Where has it all gone wrong?
by Ben Sutherland
Roberto Martinez – a man heralded as a coaching legend after building upon David Moyes’ foundations – is still at the helm while few alterations have been made
Updated 11th March 2015 at 03:46 PM by Veritas
Please note that I have made my judgements before the midweek fixtures, so it will be important to check out the results to see if there are any pointers to a team’s change in form, key injuries, suspensions and so on.
But, as it stands, this is how I see the weekend's FA Cup ties panning out....
Bradford City v Reading, Saturday 7 March (Kick-off 12:45pm)
Having beaten Chelsea and Sunderland already this season in the competition, I can’t back against Bradford City.
Perversely, Reading are likely to give the Bantams a much tougher game and could easily take the game or earn a replay.
However, Reading have lost nine on the road this season in the Championship, leaking 33 goals in the process.
But, and it’s a big but, in the
Updated 5th March 2015 at 09:01 AM by Veritas