We may have been neglecting them lately, so let's see how things have been getting on in the lower rungs of the footballing ladder.
It was a case of big money, big names and big expectations @ the start of the campaign and a tale of two England Managers falling at the first hurdle, Leicester with their Thai money were trying to curry favour amongst their support with Sven @ the helm and the promise of star signings, while Forest under McClaren were hoping to bring the glory days of Cloughie back. It just shows how far some teams will go thanks to the lure of the Premiership millions.
With a couple of early favourites dispatched to the knackers yard, West Ham under new management and still finding their feet are showing some pedigree and now look to be in for the long run. Southampton maybe not on everyone's race card were the early pace setters and are still neck and neck at the top @ the moment with The Happy Hammers.
If there are any distractions for the hopeful teams it's the prospect the of BIG games they will have to play, both on and off the pitch West Ham taking on the likes of Millwall, Leeds Utd and Cardiff don't come with much more atmosphere or rivalry, there's also Derbies galore with Yorkshire, The Midlands and London all coming face to face for over the season.
Charlton were outsiders for this one @ the start of the season and definitely one of the dark horses after a few seasons of mid table mediocrity Chris Powell has turned these old nags into League One thoroughbreds with no small help from Bradley Wright-Philips & one time Spur Johnnie Jackson. Thankfully one of my predictions Huddersfield Town are still in the hunt but it's no surprise with the team flirting with promotion a few times already in the past and with young Jordan Rhodes banging in the goals it's no wonder The Premiership teams are sniffing around. Another outsider MK Dons have continued to compete even after losing star striker Sam Baldock to West Ham and one man full of experience in the Midfield Luke Chadwick could be about to emerge from the 'where are they now' files....
Or the Paolo Di Canio show as we like the call it! It was inevitable really that the former Sheffield Wednesday & West Ham showman would garner most headlines in this league and he hasn't disappointed, but for all the drama the risk of his appointment has so far paid off with Swindon Town in the play off positions and threatening to go higher. Elsewhere Crawley Town have continued in their momentum upwards from the Blue Square with an equally flambouyant manager of their own. The ever reliable Shrewsbury are keeping up their promise of the play-offs yet again but will be hoping to finally take that extra step, while the AFC Wimbledon fairytale may have to wait a season or two before finding a happy ending.
Bring on the Play-Offs.............