Bristol City v Millwall
Millwall have dominated every game they've played so far but remain winless after three league outings and it could be Bristol City who bear the brunt of their growing frustration at Ashton Gate this weekend. Back the away win at 4.00.
The Lions have out-shot Nottingham Forest, Bolton and Ipswich by an aggregate of 60 to 24, yet have squandered five points from a winning position and shipped six goals from just eight shots on target in response to their four from 20.
For Neil Harris, the 4-3 home defeat to Ipswich in midweek was a watershed, his mood having shifted from bursting with pride to inconcealable irritation in less than a fortnight.
Having witnessed his team subject Mick McCarthy's men to a second-half onslaught, then level-up at 3-3, only to concede an 88th-minute Jordan Spence header, Harris said: "We should be winning that game tonight.
Positives, yes, you could put together 10 minutes of clips to show the amount of goals we scored, the chances we created, the second balls we picked up, got into wide areas and put balls into the box.
"We got 'oohs' and 'aahs' for overhead kicks, free-kicks, but it doesn't win you games of football. Discipline, organisation, work ethic, good play, good spirit, good decisions. Good decisions are key at this level, they win you games of football. Tonight we were nowhere near that."
And therein, perhaps, lies the key to Millwall finally getting themselves off the mark this weekend - by going back to basics. They've already shown they possess the craft and creativity to be comfortable at this level but they need to rein their excitement a touch and get back to doing the dirty stuff they were always so good at in League One.
In many ways, Bristol City might be ideal opposition. Lee Johnson's men have had a highly eventful start to the campaign, netting 11 goals in four matches - including the Carabao Cup - and nicking a barely-deserved point in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Brentford on Tuesday, with Bobby Reid bagging his fourth league goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
Fast starts have been key to much of City's good work. Last season, the Robins scored the fewest first-half home goals of any team in the Championship but they were 3-0 up inside 30 minutes against Barnsley on the opening day, then 4-0 up after 39 minutes against Plymouth three days later, while they have also forced a breakthrough inside five minutes in two subsequent away games.
However, it's an obvious theme now that you suspect Harris will be wise to, providing even more reason for the Lions to shut things down early and gain a foothold. If the Londoners can weather the opening 30 minutes, then there's a naivety about their hosts that they can take full advantage of later on.
Charlton v Northampton
Northampton have been on the wrong side of fine margins in their first three matches, losing each of them by a solitary strike. But amid lowered expectations, Justin Edinburghhas enough quality in his ranks to spring a surprise against mediocre Charlton. Take the 4.60 available on the Cobblers finally getting it right down at The Valley.
The Sixfields outfit have been major players in the transfer market over the summer following a significant cash injection from Chinese investment group 5USport, which has paved the way for the former Gillingham boss to bring in the likes of Regan Poole, Aaron Pierre, Daniel Powell, Matt Crooks, Yaser Kasim, Dean Bowditch and Chris Long.
Edinburgh is a versatile tactician who likes to have many different options available, enabling him to switch formations when necessary, so those players haven't been identified and brought in with a specific system in mind. Needless to say, with so many new partnerships being formed in different areas of the pitch, a lack of cohesion going forward has been a problem.
But it shouldn't take Edinburgh long to strike upon the right formula. He has experimented with a midfield diamond and 3-5-2 so far and the Cobblers controlled the play for much of their late defeats to Shrewsbury and Fleetwood, giving very little away in the opening 75 minutes of both matches and a breakthrough might be all they need to portray themselves in a different light.
Charlton have looked dangerous in spells but 90-minute performances have rarely been the hallmark of any Karl Robinson team and there hasn't been nearly enough upheaval over the summer to believe the mentality within the dressing room has altered all that much from last season when the likes of Wimbledon, Rochdale, Peterborough, Oxford, Bury and MK Dons all returned victorious from SE7.
Last weekend, the Addicks dominated for most of the opening 45 minutes at newly-promoted Plymouth but were beaten by two Jake Jervis goals after the break. It was a game that exposed a host of frailties at both ends of the pitch and if the visitors can control the tempo as they have in their previous two matches, they should rest assured that impatience would soon begin to rain down from the stands.
1pt Millwall to beat Bristol City at 4.00
1pt Northampton to beat Charlton at 4.60
1pt Northampton to beat Charlton at 4.60
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