EFL: Five things you might’ve missed

Holly Hunt reviews the lesser spotted talking points you might’ve skipped over from this gameweek’s action across the Championship, League One and Two.

Nick Powell punches above his weight

Goal celebrations have been the hot topic of discussion on everyone’s lips this week, as footballing authorities look to tighten regulations surrounding how players can mark a goal. 

Players have been warned to avoid unnecessarily close contact but some have suggested that it is only natural to embrace your team-mate after netting the winner. However, Stoke City’s Nick Powell proved them wrong by pulling one of the best socially distanced celebrations out of the bag on Saturday.

James McClean was ordered to sit out Stoke’s visit to Blackburn at the weekend after the Irishman was handed a suspension by the club for allegedly breaching Coronavirus protocol, posting a video of himself boxing with his trainer in a private gym on Instagram. When Powell opened the scoring at the weekend against Rovers in the Championship, he marked the occasion by sparring with thin air – a not-so-subtle nod to his team-mate McClean!

Keogh eyes up Championship move

When Richard Keogh was left out of the MK Dons squad for the League One side’s 3-0 defeat to Peterborough United at the weekend, many fans assumed that the 34-year-old was just being rested for the clash. Little did they expect that the EFL veteran, who is supposedly winding down his playing career, was eyeing up a move away from the club.

Manager Russell Martin confirmed in his post-match press conference that Keogh is in discussions with an unnamed Championship club over a potential transfer, shocking supporters. 

Although it is unknown which second-tier club has made a bid for the former Derby County captain, some Rams fans hoped that he might be on his way back to Pride Park. Keogh left Derby under a cloud in September 2019 when his contract was ripped up for his involvement in the infamous car crash with Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett.

Martin admitted that the “unexpected” interest came as a surprise to both him and Keogh but the club can’t deny the defender one last big move.

Oakwell’s unexpected visitor

In the current day and age, a seat on the press bench is coveted and although places are usually reserved for journalists and broadcasters, a certain furry feline snuck into the press box at Oakwell on Saturday when Barnsley hosted Swansea City in the Championship.

After the game, Barnsley tweeted out a photo of a slightly bewildered looking kitten that had snuck into the press box. Although the cat, in the arms of a reporter, looked like it didn’t know how it had quite got into the predicament, fans began asking if he/she could play up front, after the Reds succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to the Swans. Perhaps he could get a job as the club’s kit(ten) man!

Bristol City get off on the front foot

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Bristol City got back to winning ways in the Championship, seeing off Preston North End 2-0 on Saturday afternoon. Dean Holden’s side’s inconsistent form has held them back this year, but the Robins still sit ninth in the second tier, just four points off the play-offs.

However, Bristol City supporters might not have been too surprised to see the Robins record a win after Famara Diedhiou netted the opener inside the first 10 minutes. The Robins have won every time they’ve gone ahead this season and this was no exception. Once Bristol City got the wind in their sails, there was no stopping them. Zak Vyner added a second, notching his first goal of the campaign in the second period.

Hurst back on the east coast

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Earlier in the week, League Two’s Grimsby Town claimed an unwanted accolade after becoming the first team in the country to face a fine for breaching COVID-19 safety regulations back in September. After the EFL launched an investigation into the postponement of three of the Mariners’ fixtures, it was found that players had not been adhering to social distancing at the club’s training ground. Former manager Ian Holloway admitted to playing darts with some of the players, ignoring the strict regulations in place, and the club were hit with a £5000 fine, on top of the £13,000 bill Grimsby have been charged for the probe.

It wasn’t quite the start that Paul Hurst had envisioned when he returned to Blundell Park for a second stint as Mariners boss but they did manage to partially atone for their mistakes by taking a point from Southend United on Saturday.

Follow Holly on Twitter at @HollyHunt10

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