By Dan Long
Last Updated: 10/08/18 5:03pm
Stoke boss Gary Rowett says his side ‘must defend better and move as a unit’ as they host Brentford in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.
Rowett – who spent more than £30m in this summer’s transfer window – watched on as the Potters suffered a 3-1 defeat to Leeds at Elland Road on the Championship opening weekend.
This weekend’s opponents, Brentford, meanwhile, enjoyed a fruitful start to their fifth successive second-tier campaign, with Neal Maupay scoring twice in a 5-1 home demolition of newly-promoted Rotherham.
Rowett, who has previous Championship experience after managing Birmingham and Derby, believes that lessons have been learned ahead of his home debut, a game he is “really looking forward to”.
“We all knew that the first game at Leeds would be incredibly tough,” he said. “We also knew that some of our players hadn’t had that much pre-season or played at this level before.
“We are looking forward to getting out on our own pitch, in front of our own supporters for the first time this season – all of the players and staff, myself included, feel ready and are really looking forward to it. The players have all been incredibly bright this week and they have shown me that they are determined to atone for last weekend and produce a far better performance – hopefully a winning one.
“We simply have to defend better than we did on Sunday, we have to move as a unit better and we have to be compact, in the way that we move aggressively across the pitch.”
Wigan were the busiest Championship club on transfer deadline day, bringing in Josh Windass, Joe Garner, Callum Connolly and Lee Evans, and at least one of the quartet could well make the starting line-up for Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.
Derby vs Leeds
August 11, 2018, 5:15pm
Boss Paul Cook said on wigantoday.net: “We want to go and apply ourselves properly. We don’t want to sit back and say what a lovely stadium Villa Park is. As delighted as we are to be there, we want people to leave the stadium and say ‘that was a good match’.”
Frank Lampard faces a tough test in just his second game in charge of Derby as the Rams meet Marco Bielsa’s Leeds in Saturday’s late game from Pride Park, which is live on Sky Sports Football from 5.15pm.
In the remainder of the full weekend of fixtures, West Brom travel to Norwich, where the visitors will seek their first victory following relegation, while Birmingham face early leaders Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
Swansea, who welcome Preston to south Wales, must solve a crisis which has left Mike van der Hoorn as the only senior central defender and Bolton will look to build on their winning start when they meet Bristol City.
Sheffield Wednesday recently announced that they’ve been under a transfer embargo since April and must face a new-look Hull side without a solitary new face in the squad.
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Their rivals Sheffield United, who have fallen to defeat in their opening two fixtures, will look to turn their fortunes around at QPR and Rotherham have the chance to bounce back from the aforementioned thrashing by Brentford last weekend as they host Ipswich at the New York Stadium.
Elsewhere, Blackburn face Millwall at Ewood Park and Nottingham Forest take on Reading, with Paul Clement searching for his first Royals win.