A relatively quiet week ushered in the latest international break, which sees the Championship halt for a weekend. There was the return of a certain cup competition that *literally everyone* despises, though, to keep us entertained. That’s if you were one of the dozens who attended the majority of games. Elsewhere, we welcomed back a familiar face of the late noughties to professional football, and there was yet another EFL sacking. Welcome to this week’s (slightly delayed) midweek musings.

Mark Yates was the latest EFL manager to lose his job this week, as Macclesfield Town decided to part ways with the 48-year-old. The Silkmen always knew it was going to be tough after promotion from the National League last season, but zero wins from their first 12 left the board with no choice but to sack the former Cheltenham Town manager.

The winless streak extended both the club and the manager’s individual losing runs too. Mark Yates’ last job in the EFL was at Crawley, before dismissal in April 2016. Before this, he had failed to win in 8 games, taking his total winless streak to 20 games. His last win was a 1-0 away victory at Luton. Macclesfield’s, on the other hand, is even worse. On their last visit to League Two, they embarked on a 23-game winless run which culminated in relegation to non-league. Their last EFL win came on New Year’s Eve 2011; a 2-1 home victory against Port Vale. It’s been 35 games, and almost seven years since their last League Two win. Fans will be hoping this run will end sharpish at Tranmere (who featured in last week’s Best of the Best) tomorrow.

Bolton have had a history of making a great signing a decade late. Players who would make you stand back and say ‘wow’, had they have been signed ten seasons ago. Eidur Gudjonsson, Emile Heskey, Fernando Hierro; some have worked out, some have not. They have continued this tradition this week by picking up a Premier League legend in Stephen Ireland.

The former Manchester City and Stoke City midfielder has been without a club since July after leaving the Potters. He has played just 5 times in all competitions since breaking a leg in training in May 2016 but clearly did enough to impress boss Phil Parkinson. His fitness may be an issue, but his CV certainly isn’t; this is the first time Ireland has dropped below the Premier League in his 13 year career. Wanderers fans will be hoping to see the best of the 32-year-old playmaker after a drop in form in recent weeks. And hopefully not them horrific Superman pants.

This week marked the return of the fabled EFL Checkatrade Trophy. The infamous competition receives negative press every time it resurfaces. I have to be honest; I too am going to berate the ridiculous competition. With each passing round, we see more and more clubs breaking their own low attendance records. The competition has been marred by the introduction of ‘B teams’, and rightly so. No-one wants to see Premier League reserve sides force their way into the league system. Twitter movement @AgainstLeague3 are active on the issue and began the #BTeamBoycott when the new rules were introduced. They document how the competition is going with a summary after every round of fixtures. Here is the summary of Tuesday.

All going well then, by the looks of things.