The Big Mid-Season EFL Round-Up

Published on 16 December 2023 at 20:00

Each season; three leagues totalling 72 players face the trial and tribulations of promotion or relegation. Along this rollercoaster ride we witness managerial casualties, points deductions, play-off heart-breaks and fierce derby rivalries. Strap in for the round-up we've all been waiting for featuring the Championship, League One and League Two.


The Story so far: Pep Guardiola's understudy Enzo Maresca has developed a name for himself, propelling Leicester City to the top of the table. Ipswich Town have the highest points tally for a newly promoted team at this point in the season as they keep up pace with the leaders. Leeds have undergone a transformation since early season blunders under Daniel Farke, while the play-off race is closer than ever with five points separating fifth from eleventh. Middlesbrough have struggled to replicate last season's heroic's but are back on track after struggles earlier in the season, as for Birmingham they're decision to appoint Wayne Rooney in October has brought eight points from a possible thirty!  In the drop zone are Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday and QPR all three clubs have faced of field financial difficulties and managerial dilemmas which have de-railed their seasons.

Top Scorer: Sammie Szmodics - The attacking midfielder has re-discovered his Peterborough United goalscoring form for Blackburn Rovers this season, scoring 14 goals. His increased goal contributions have been integral for the Lancastershire club, after losing club talisman Ben Brereton Diaz during the summer. 

Surprise Team: Ipswich Town - They broke the 100 goal mark finishing runners-up in League One last season, but nobody expected the Tractor Boys to immediately be in contention for an automatic promotion spot. Kieron McKenna's team have a ten point advantage over third place in the league having scored the most goals in the Championship (45) and recording a nine game unbeaten run. 

Struggling Team: Sheffield Wednesday - Car crash epitomises Sheffield Wednesday's return to the second division this season. The shock departure Darren Moore just before the new season raised scepticism towards the club's Thai owners, this was exacerbated when Dejphon Chansiri left fans with an ultimatum to raise £2m to pay off HMRC debts. Xisco Munoz lasted less than two months in the dug-out with the club losing 14 games so far and winning only three.

One to Watch: Romelle Donovan - Wayne Rooney integrated Donovan into the first team squad when he was appointed in October, and swiftly handed the 17 year old his Championship debut. He possesses a star quality, with the ability to change games and affect play. He looks so sharp and direct where every time he is on the ball its positive looking to create a goal chance.


League One

The Story so far: Portsmouth were the last team all four tiers of English football to suffer defeat in the league, going 17 games before Blackpool beat them 4-0. The Pompey have a resounding lead at the summit, with the congested chasing pack consisting of Bolton, Stevenage, Peterborough, Oxford United and Derby County. Bristol Rovers have parted ways with notorious maverick manager Joey Barton and sit 13th in League One, meanwhile last season's play-off finalists Barnsley are seventh after a inconsistent campaign so far. The crisis at Reading has continued this season, with a depleted squad and just five wins they sit 23rd only bettered by Cheltenham. Carlisle United and Fleetwood Town are the other two clubs in the relegation zone.

Top Scorer: Alfie May - The 30 year old is a serial goal scorer at this level scoring 20 goals or more in two of the last three seasons for Cheltenham. This summer he switched to Charlton Athletic and has 18 goals in the opening 20 games, including four braces.

Surprise Team: Stevenage Borough - Last season they finished second in League Two under Steve Evans to secure promotion, but many were anticipating a difficult season ahead in a higher division this campaign. Instead, they are unbeaten in their last 12 games in all competitions, currently third in the table and have reached the third round of the FA Cup. 

Struggling Team: Wigan Athletic - The Latic's have endured financial turmoil off the field, but after last season's relegation from the Championship they were still expected to be in play-off contention. Instead, Wigan have suffered seven defeats in League One and are currently 13 points off of sixth placed Derby County.

One to Watch: Ronnie Edwards - The centre-back is integral to Darren Ferguson's backline and at just 20 years old it feels like he's a seasoned pro with how he conducts himself out on the field. Borough will be looking over their shoulder soon, if he continues his impressive development at the club.


League Two

The Story so far: It's been a captivating title race so far this season, newly promoted Notts County had looked frontrunners early on but a dip in form has seen Stockport County build a six point lead. Mansfield Town went 17 games unbeaten in League Two this season but eight of those 17 games have been draws. Gillingham have struggled to flex their financial riches so far this season due to fluctuating form and Bradford City have parted ways with Mark Hughes after reaching the Play-Offs last season they're currently fourteenth. Forest Green and Sutton United are routed to the bottom of the table five points from safety, while Play-Off finalists last season Salford are enduring a torrid campaign in 20th place.

Top Scorer: Jake Young - The 22 year old did not score in seventeen appearances on loan for Barrow last season, but currently has 14 goals on loan at Swindon this season. In August, he scored four goals and got an assist in the Robins 6-0 mauling of Crawley just a week after two assists and two goals against Wrexham.

Surprise Team: Crewe - They are currently fifth in League Two after an impressive start to this season, with ten wins, six draws and only four losses in 20 games. It's a huge development from last season, but after successive losses to Bristol Rovers and Barrow they need to make sure it's no fluke if they want to reach the Play-Offs.

Struggling Team: Bradford City - Mark Hughes had guided Bradford City to the Play-Off semi-finals last May and received Manager of the Month for September, but after a miserable October that saw the club in 18th he was sacked by the club. Bradford haven't been able to bounce back since under new manager Graham Alexander.

One to Watch: Kiban Rai - The 18 year old is still very much unknown in League Two, featuring only ten times for Newport County in League Two but he has potential to develop into a star. The striker is a pacey and nimble player who can be delpoyed on the wing as well.

Written by - Lewis Eadie

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