I think West Brom and Leeds had a great summer – the Baggies were able to bring in Slaven Bilic as their manager whereas Leeds had a result in keeping Marcelo Bielsa as their manager.
Yet they’ve still got quality all over the place. Romaine Sawyers who they signed from Brentford has been probably the best player in the Championship this season.
Matheus Pereira – he is one of the best players I’ve seen for a long time at this level. I’ve watched him and he is as good as anybody I’ve seen as a number 10 at this level.
He is young and fresh and to be honest one of the players alongside him, Grady Diangana, is another special player.
I know he belongs to West Ham but those two are just absolutely brilliant.
Leeds with bringing in Helder Costa and a few others can be happy too, although they did lose Kemar Roofe to Anderlecht.
The Yorkshire side has got that bit more quality than most other teams and those substitutions made a huge difference at the end of their win at Reading on Tuesday night.
If you look at the quality of the squad and the belief they generated over the years – it all bodes well for them, but not so much for the rest of the league who are trying to catch them.
They are starting to show good signs because last year they blew up a little bit towards the end.
And if you look at Bielsa’s record a lot of his teams have done that
Are they going to do that this time? I’m not so sure with all these late winners when you’re not always playing that well but you do enough to get over the line – that is the sign of champions.
It is the same with West Brom who battled to the end against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
They weren’t at their best either but Charlie Austin’s late penalty earned them all three points.
Ian Holloway is a pundit on EFL on Quest throughout the season. Quest is the home of EFL highlights broadcasting every round of fixtures across the leagues. Also available on desktop and app via dplay
Kalvin Phillips is playing under the right man if he wants to play for England
Our England manager Gareth Southgate tends to go for younger talent so there might be a place in that defensive midfield role.
If I was Phillips I’d be targeting that with the help of my magnificent manager Bielsa.
He will be teaching him how to coordinate his attacking players into a high press – exactly like England do at international level.
Would I pick him yet – I’m not sure personally.
But then again I haven’t had the privilege of watching him every week like the Leeds United fans.
From what I’ve seen he seems to have the quality needed especially if he keeps progressing as he has done recently.
Nothing but good words for Alex Neil and Preston
I think Preston are my surprise package of the season, but then again I’m not surprised that they are up there because they are such a well run club.
But to be fighting like they are and to be as comfortable as they are is impressive, even though they’ve lost their last two.
I think their recruitment has been brilliant over the years and that has meant they’ve coped well after losing Callum Robinson to Sheffield United in the summer.
They’ve got a great manager in Alex Neil and he’s got a great assistant with Frankie McAvoy. He obviously got Norwich up a few years back and I just love what they are doing.