Ali Maxwell & George Elek
Ahoy there. This is the first time we’ve done a free episode of The Six Fix since the season began.
If you didn’t know, TSF is a podcast where we (George and Ali) scour the weekend slate for our favourite fixtures in the Championship, League One and League Two. It’s a little less formal than our main podcasts but still packed with opinion and insight. (We really wanted Stitch Fix to sponsor The Six Fix, but they have ceased UK operations).
It’s one pick per person for each league and for every game, we make a score prediction. Then we tally those predictions up into points (3 for a correct scoreline, 1 for a correct result), and at the end of the season, one of us will face either some kind of forfeit or prize.
The Six Fix is normally a podcast for paid subscribers only, but we thought it would be nice to mix things up. So, if you listen and you like, then please consider taking out a paid subscription to get access to our back catalogue, every bit of written content and this weekly podcast extra.
So, how are the predictions going?
Last week George went like this and, let’s have it right, left himself wide open:
Preston 1-1 Plymouth (2-1) + Reading 0-1 Bolton (2-1) + Colchester 1-3 Mansfield (1-1) = 0pt
That left Ali with an opportunity to counter, and whilst he could make some in-roads, it wasn’t quite enough to draw level:
Blackburn 1-2 Boro (2-1) + Port Vale 1-1 Northampton (1-0) + Newport 0-0 Barrow (1-1) = 1pt!!!
That makes it George 12-9 Ali ahead of six fixtures to be picked from across this weekend’s docket. And so… to the Championship!
George - my favourite fixture, or at least the fixture that intrigues me most is Boro against Southampton. Michael Carrick was very much “crisis, what crisis?” about his side’s latest failure to win three points, but this one feels a bit like a contest of crises. Because Southampton, notwithstanding some decent results early doors, have shown themselves to have no more about them, performance-wise, than their opponents. At times, both have looked ropey at the back. At times, in an attempt to right the defensive frailties, both have struggled going forward. And right now, both are confounding expectations. It’s going to be tense. It’s going to be revealing.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 2-1 Southampton
Ali - a tale of two cities about Rotherham v Preston, or more accurately a tale of two towns. This isn’t a pick for reasons of entertainment, it’s because I want to talk about what I saw on Wednesday night: I went to Millwall 3-0 Rotherham and it might’ve been the worst performance I’ve ever seen by a Championship club. They were miles off it. So, having been roundly beaten by a Millwall side under pressure themselves, I feel that something is wrong: too many unproven or inconsistent players? Confused tactics? This game gives me a chance to confirm that suspicion against a PNE team that are top of the league and full of positivity. They’re getting big contributions in all areas of the pitch, and while it’s not been dominant, they’ve won games in different ways. Rotherham are going to be relying on home form if they want to stay up; if they can’t… well, you know what happens. I think Preston and Ryan Lowe are probably turning up to the ideal game to keep the good times rolling.
Prediction: Rotherham United 1-2 Preston North End
George - I’m turning to Michael Appleton’s first home game in charge of his new club, as Charlton take on Wycombe. Appleton got a good point away at Stevenage in his opening game, with a strong second-half performance and character shown to come from behind. I feel like there’s a really nice blend of attacking talent at his disposal in Tedic, Leaburn, May and Chuks “The Cameo” Aneke. Blackett-Taylor has been dangerous with his dribbling this season. So if Appleton can fit the right pegs into the right holes, they will pose a lot of teams a lot of problems. All of that said: I owe their opponents in Wycombe and Matt Bloomfield a nominal apology. I had been low on The Chairboys after their disastrous first two games, and I probably haven’t paid enough lip service to their quality in the game since then - well, I am now! Even so, I’m not entirely convinced that they’re carrying promotion credentials. In this game, I struggle to look past Charlton.
Prediction: Charlton 2-0 Wycombe
Ali - I am heading down to two teams we haven’t covered so far on The Six Fix: Burton vs Fleetwood. And if we’re honest, they’re two teams who haven’t given us much cause to pick them. Until maybe now: in the midweek fixtures, Burton travelled up to a Port Vale side in great form and won 2-3. Huge result for Dino Maamria, and their first league win of the season, a prize which Fleetwood are yet to attain! Lee Johnson is in the dugout looking to maximise the POMO, and doing some funky full-back inverting. Maybe things are a-changing for Fleetwood, although I feel they’re lacking a bit of athleticism in forward areas. But they’ve got some kinder fixtures coming up. Could Fleetwood win a league match this weekend? Can Burton make it two out of two? It feels like one of those games that neither team has the minerals to win. So there’s the gauntlet. It’s laid down. Who will grab it?
Prediction: Burton 0-0 Fleetwood
George - Free-scoring Swindon travel to Morecambe. And Morecambe are to a bizarre extent way better at home than they are away. They’re almost two entirely different teams and that’s how you have to think about them. What makes this fixture more strange is that you can almost say the same for Swindon. They’ve played two of the bottom four away and looked unconvincing in both. This might be the game where that changes, but for now, I’m thinking about this as Morecambe Home Edition versus Swindon Away Edition, and in that battle, I’m not sure either comes away with a win. There’s a scenario where Morecambe miss absentees Rawson and Mellon, and Swindon’s Young and Kemp score another five between them. But I’ve got a feeling it’ll be tighter.
Morecambe 1-1 Swindon
Ali - neither team have been picked on TSF so far this season despite one of them being the table-toppers and the other one of the worst teams. It’s Doncaster vs Gillingham! Last weekend, Donny won their first league game of the season in comical, farcical fashion. They were bad, and won. But that happens. They’ve been on the wrong end of some hard luck more often than not for a few years now. They face a Gills team who put the “low” in “low margin” - scoring less than a goal a game but topping the division is certainly a quirk. They haven’t drawn yet this season, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Donny’s home advantage, boosted by three points last weekend, might result in that record coming to an end.