Back to normal after last week's Loan Watch AGM in Belfast. A pleasant trip, it wasn't all work over there. Some family stuff too and I took time out to visit the excellent Titanic Museum (you can make up your own Russell Slade joke here, don't expect me to do everything for you). The AGM was very much a game of two halves. It started well enough, I was the only person there and was getting through the agenda in double quick time but then Joe from accounts turned up. I'd forgotten he's a Belfast boy and was home visiting his folks. He's a prickly character, he started off by questioning my expenses claims and asking why three of my family are on the payroll when they don't seem to do anything. I calmly explained to him that these matters had already been dealt with in his absence and that I'd been given a vote of confidence by a unanimous show of hand. I didn't like the looks he was giving me when we discussed the issue of security at the Loan Watch Museum after the Etien Velikonja waxwork recently went missing from there. I hope he's not insinuating that I took it, the police have already cleared me of any involvement and he knows it. If he thinks I've got it then he's welcome to search my house from top to bottom any time he wants (not the garden shed though).
We'll start this week's round up with Adam 'Lazarus' le Fondre. Reports of his footballing death seem to have been greatly exaggerated as he's now hit four goals in three games for Bolton and they've moved into an automatic promotion place. The problem seems to have been a general lack of match fitness but he's now turning in high energy performances and, more importantly, goals, including a penalty in yesterday's come from behind win against Northampton. His goal was the first, the second came after an assist from Andrew Taylor. A goal too for Stuart O'Keefe as MK Dons beat Coventry 1-0. Great praise for Stuart's professionalism from manager Robbie Neilson, he'd filled in at left back in midweek but turned in a man of the match performance from midfield yesterday, topped off with an excellent strike for the winner.
Plymouth are closing in on promotion from League 2 after yesterday's 1-0 win against Morecambe, they lie second, six points behind Doncaster. Matty Kennedy had a quiet game but got an assist for the winner although it was only a short simple pass that even Sean Morrison could have made (if you'd given him three or four goes at it). One odd stat about Plymouth is that if the table was made up of only 3.00 Saturday kick offs they'd be six points clear at the top but if it was made up of only Tuesday night games they'd lie 22nd. An interesting fact to break the ice with at parties there.
A bit of a nightmare for Semi Ajayi at QPR as he had one of his dreamy moments just after Rotherham had equalised yesterday. That was the turning point as QPR scored from his mistake and went on to win 5-1. Tom Adeyemi had an uncharacteristically quiet game. In the non-leagues, two defeats this week for Lloyd Humphries as Weston-Super-Mare have hit a bad patch. The midweek defeat against Bath came after a sending off for former City player Rollin Menayese led to a 1-0 lead turning into a 2-1 defeat. A midweek cup win over Bristol Rovers for Cinderford was followed by a 4-1 defeat at Slough yesterday, City's Jarrad Welch got the goal with a penalty.
No action for Deji Oshilaja (injured), Ben Wilson (dropped/rested) or Emyr Huws yesterday. No game for Idriss Saadi at Kortrijk either but the good news is that the Belgian play-offs are just around the corner. Belgian football is taking three weeks off, presumably it takes that long to explain the play-off rules to everybody concerned. Kortrijk finished tenth in the league so enter the Europa League play-offs in a group with the teams who finished 8th, 11th, 13th 15th and the second placed qualifier from the First Division B. The other play-off group will consist of the teams who finished 7th, 9th, 12th and 14th in the regular season along with the first and third placed qualifiers from the First Division B. The winner of each group will then play each other and the winner of that will then play the team who finish 4th or 5th in the Championship play-off group (dependant on who wins the Belgian Cup) to decide who gets a Europa League 3rd round qualifying spot. But you probably knew all that already.
Goals this week for Matt Green, Jobi McAnuff, Danny Johnson, Craig Conway and Andreas Cornelius. While we're on the subject of former players, whoever wins the European club competitions this season will know they are hollow victories considering the amount of Cardiff City connections involved. With Danny Drinkwater and Kasper Schmeichel still going in the Champions League and Guido Burgstaller and Fabio's twin brother still in the Europa League, I think we can pretty much stake a moral claim to both trophies.