A couple of EFL management casualties and some bizarre injuries occurred this week, but neither were the biggest news of this week. Instead, main news was a cabbage. It’s just another week in the EFL I suppose?

Bruce no longer the Villain

Steve Bruce has been the subject of Aston Villa fans’ abuse in recent weeks. The Villains find themselves 13th in the league; only two points off the Play-Offs, but with only one win in five. Most saw Tuesday night as a chance to get back to winning ways. Visitors Preston are marooned at the bottom of the league, having lost their last four. It looked to be the case too, as Villa went in at half time 2-0 up. 

However, disaster struck. James Chester was dismissed less than ten minutes after the restart, for an innocuous challenge in the box. The resulting penalty was dispatched, and Preston found themselves back in the game. With 10 minutes left, Paul Gallagher scored a curling free-kick, and the scores were level. This is when the fun began. With 84 minutes gone, Steve Bruce was met with something he probably hasn’t in his whole management career. In the words of James Acaster, he got ‘cabadged’. 

To make matters worse, Preston found the net again, to complete the comeback. Whether Bruce and his Villa players were blessed by said cabbage remains to be seen, but it wasn’t over. Yannick Bolasie managed to convert from close range in injury time, before Villa won a penalty with seconds remaining. Glenn Whelan stepped up. And in true Villa style, missed the chance to win the game. Steve Bruce was clearly upset about the whole ‘cabadging’ incident, but things got worse for the former centre back. Villa’s owners handed him his P45 the next day, and the loveless marriage was finally over.

Return of Mysterious Curle

Steve Bruce wasn’t the only EFL manager to get the boot this week. Northampton Town of League Two decided that enough was enough, and got rid of manager Dean Austin. With just one win from their first 12, the Cobblers found themselves 21st, the lowest of any of the relegated sides from last years League One. The game that broke the camel’s back was this Saturday. Skip to 2:55 for some horrific defending as Northampton shipped 4 away at Mansfield.

In fairness to Dean Austin, his previous management history hardly screams excellence. Before beginning his caretaker role at Northampton, he had only managed one club. Farnborough Town FC, in the old Conference, were his last employers. He managed 5 wins in 8 months and was dismissed off the back of 15 games without a win. His two wins as caretaker boss last season and one win this term mean that his management record is absolutely horrific. Played 51, won 8, lost 27, scored 43, conceded 85. I can’t see him finding another job any time soon.

Austin’s replacement was found very quickly and is sending excitement throughout football. The man with the best song in football; Keith Curle. Mysterious Curle has the experience to guide Northampton away from this mess. It remains to be seen whether the trigger-happy owners will give him time; he is the ninth manager in seven years at Sixfields.

Odd Injuries in EFL

This week has also brought with it two of the strangest injuries suffered in football history. The first happened to Rotherham United midfielder Will Vaulks. Whilst out with his nephew at laser quest, Vaulks ran into an obstacle, cutting his face. The former Tranmere man was forced to wear a Terry Butcher-esque head bandage for the visit of Bristol City to the AESSEAL New York Stadium. Here’s what he had to say on the incident…

Poor Nephew.

Probably an even more bizarre injury occurred at Coventry SkyDome on Sunday night. Coventry City goalkeeper Lee Burge, who impressed against Sunderland on Saturday afternoon, decided to go and watch Coventry Blaze take on Sheffield Steelers in the ice hockey. Big mistake. The 25-year-old had his own ‘Ross from Friends’ moment, taking a puck to the head. Burge needed emergency treatment in the arena, before heading to A&E to get stitches. He still managed to appear on Tuesday night, again with a head bandage, but was unable to prevent his side succumbing 1-0 to table toppers Portsmouth. I don’t think he’ll be heading to the SkyDome any time soon…

Ewood Park loses Fortress status

Oasis. Nathan from Misfits. Cadburys Dream. All good things have to come to an end; Blackburn’s home record is the latest to do so. Since AFC Wimbledon defeated them in September 2017, Rovers have made Ewood Park a fortress. However, a Billy Sharp double was enough to smash this record and hand Sheffield United a valuable away victory. In truth, Blackburn didn’t look like a side who had gone 25 games unbeaten at home. Sheffield United look like a side who have to be considered one of the favourites to gain promotion this term. After falling short last time around, they will be hoping to go the distance this time around.