Five things learnt: Watford, Leeds and Derby feature

Forest City Ground

What can be learnt from matchday 10 of Championship action?

Watford are winning but have yet to find form

The Hornets recorded a sixth win of the season on Tuesday night, defeating Brentford 2-1 at Vicarage Road. They sit third in the Championship table on goal difference, with Nottingham Forest and Norwich also holding 20 points after 10 games played. Despite having gone through three head coaches already this season, results suggest that Watford are well on their way to achieve their target of promotion, although performances have yet to match their high position. Individual moments of brilliance have papered over a number of cracks, whilst defensive errors - and an inability to hold onto leads - have cost the Hornets the top spot. It is hard to judge the side due to their off-pitch situation, with current head coach Billy McKinlay replacing Oscar Garcia, who left the club due to illness having managed just one game, although a lot of work will have to be done if the Hornets are set on achieving promotion to the Premier League this season.

Fulham are rejuvenated under Kit Symons

A second successive win, and a first Championship win at home, has moved Fulham within touching distance of survival, and the rejuvenation all appears to be due to caretaker boss Kit Symons. The former academy coach has turned the Cottagers fortunes around in a short spell in charge, and, although the club have confirmed that they are actively searching for the right man to take the job on a permanent basis, Symons is working wonders in his temporary position. A solid display against Birmingham on Saturday was topped with the 4-0 demolition of Bolton midweek, and surely Symons must make himself favourite for the job if he can’t mastermind a third successive victory - with the club heading to Middlesbrough at the weekend.

Derby have finally found the form of last season

A slow to the season for last year’s play-off finalists saw the Rams sit mid table after a string of poor performances. However, head coach Steve McClaren looks to have rediscovered the style which saw Derby wow audiences last year, and, with just one defeat this season, they sit just one point off top spot heading into the weekend. A dominating victory over Bournemouth on Tuesday was their fourth win in five games, and the football on show at the iPro Stadium is mirroring that seen last year, with the fluid, possession-based use of the ball too much for a number of Championship defences to handle. They have only faced Nottingham Forest when it comes to fellow promotion contenders, so it remains to be seen how the Rams cope with top-class opposition, but they certainly look a good bet for promotion when impressing in the way they are doing currently. 

Have Nottingham Forest peaked too early?

Forest stormed to the top of the Championship table under Stuart Pearce, with five wins in their first six games of the season. Goals from Michail Antonio and Britt Assombalonga saw off any opposition, although the attacking play that was so potent for the Reds earlier in the season appears to have disappeared. Three straight 0-0 draws have seen the club fall to second on goal difference, with 20 points shared amongst the top three clubs, and goals seem to have taken a back seat to impressive defending. Whilst the three clean-sheets picked up in the last three games have endured their unbeaten start to the season, the lack of goals is worrying, with fellow league leaders Norwich and Watford still picking up points on a regular basis.

Darko Milanic has taken Leeds backwards

Having gained one point from his first two games in charge, recently appointed Leeds head coach Darko Milanic looks to have undone all the positive work set in place by caretaker boss Neil Redfearn. Three wins from four games for Redfearn saw the club rise to mid table, although Milanic failed to keep the run going, losing 2-0 at Brentford on his debut in England, before overseeing a turgid 0-0 draw with Reading at Elland Road midweek. A change of system has not benefited the side who were finally looking good under Redfearn, and it appears as if Milanic is set changing the club to his ideals. Whilst it is admirable for the coach, he may not be afforded time to go backwards as a means to improve the side, with promotion to the Premier League high up on Massimo Cellino’s list of priorities.

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