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Nationwide Round-Up: Week 2

By: Richard Lord
Date: 20/08/2002

DESPITE an improved performance from the Mariners against Derby at the weekend, it still leaves us with just one point to show from our first three games of the season - but we are still not bottom!

Home > 2002-2003 Season > Round-Ups > Week Two

Norwich are continuing where they left off last season, having won two of their first three games. Brighton is not the easiest place to go and win comfortably, but that's exactly what they did.

Portsmouth are also looking increasingly effective, after they came back from two goals down at Crystal Palace to win 3-2. All of Pompey's goals came in a mad five-minute spell, which eventually won them the game.

And the result heaped further misery on Eagles manager Trevor Francis. It has not been the best week for the former Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham manager. Alex Kolinko has vowed never to play for Palace under Francis again.

Now Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler believes his side can push for the play-offs this season, after another 1-0 win at the weekend. The Gills will be seen as one of the 'smaller' clubs in this division, but they do keep on picking up good results.

Millwall manager Mark McGee must be wondering what to do next. Although they picked up a point in midweek at Watford, Millwall are yet to score their first goal of the campaign.

Derby will have been pleased to leave Blundell Park with all three points. Ghastly Gregory will believe his side are capable of going straight back up to the Premiership but if his side play like they did against Grimsby, they will find it very tough.

Ex-Premiership team Leicester will also find it difficult to bounce straight back up after their humiliating defeat at Ipswich. The Tractor Boys look to be the better of the three former top-flight teams and look good on this evidence for automatic promotion.

Nottingham Forest made a hesitant start to the season but they really found their form against a lacklustre Sheffield Wednesday side. Poor old Gerald Sibon - I bet he wished he had kept his mouth shut now.

The Belgian striker believed that not many teams would be able to beat Wednesday this season, but already they have lost two and drawn 0-0 at home. They have exactly the same amount of points and goals as the Mariners. Didn't take them long.

I fail to believe that Reading will struggle this season, despite their latest defeat at home to Coventry. The Sky Blues have been quite impressive so far under new manager Gary McAllister.

Rotherham and Preston shared the points at Mill Moor. The Deep Dale side will be one of those teams that start the season slowly, and by Christmas time they will have climbed up into the play-offs and will probably stay there.

For those disillusioned Blades fans, it's yet more disappointment for them. Manager Neil Warnock somehow managed to find the time to praise his side that failed to beat Walsall. Surely the Saddlers are the kind of teams United need to be beating if they are to challenge for the play-offs?

And that's no disrespect to Walsall. United lost to us last season as well, although they do tend to put the obligatory three goals past us across at Bramall Lane each season.

After their initial good start to the season, Bradford have woken up and smelt the toast. They have lost the services of Jamie Lawrence for a long while after he broke his leg against Stoke, and it's going to be a long hard season for the Bantams.

Wimbledon also appear to be struggling, but managed to put up a fight at Watford, who are looking equally unimpressive. The Hornets ended up winning by the odd goal in five, but it will be bottom half finishes for both teams if they don't get their act together soon.

Burnley remain the only team without a point so far. Their latest defeat to Wolves leaves them bottom of the table, with the usual suspects of Grimsby, Walsall and Sheffield Wednesday not too far away.

Wolves and Ipswich have pushed up the league table by a few places, and Coventry look like they can keep up the pressure at the top. Norwich have begun well, and Gillingham are the surprise package so far.

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