Exeter City welcome Sky Bet League Two new boys Harrogate Town for the first time ever tonight as the Sulphurites’ debut season in the English Football League draws closer to its halfway stage. Town were among the five new entrants to the division this year, and each club has seen remarkably different fortune.
Today’s visitors began as the surprise package, going unbeaten in their opening three including a 4-0 opening day thrashing of former-League One side Southend United. Results turned sour for Harrogate soon after, and they find themselves edging closer to the wrong end of the division. Striker Jack Muldoon provides a beacon of hope in front of goal, however, finding the net eight times and assisting thrice in 14 appearances.
Southend are the worst performers of any team in the EFL. Sitting on six points at the bottom of the table and with just one win to their name, the Shrimpers are seven points adrift of safety. Mark Molesley’s side has scored just six goals in 15 league games this season, and lost 16 of 20 in all competitions. United have scored only once in their last five, but it was enough to edge Walsall for their solitary victory.
In 21st and surviving the drop on goal difference, Barrow returned to the Football League for the first time since 1972 after being crowned champions of last season’s expunged National League. The man who guided the Bluebirds to their success, Ian Evatt, duly parted ways for Bolton Wanderers and ex-Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Dunn took charge ahead of the 2020/21 campaign. Dunn’s Barrow have won just twice since their return, and are without a victory in any competition since Halloween.
Bolton, who underwent a radical makeover during the summer after relegation from League One, have tussled in midtable since the beginning. The Trotters have seen a resurgence of late, chalking up four wins in their last five and keeping a clean sheet in three of them. Only two clubs, Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town, are in better form than Bolton. However, Wanderers’ impressive charge took a major hit last week as Port Vale ran rampant in a 6-3 win at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Tranmere Rovers were also relegated from League One last season, but are currently faring best of the new arrivals. Rovers sit in 10th after winning every match in all competitions throughout November. The Super White Army faltered last week on the day fans returned to Prenton Park, falling to a comprehensive 3-1 defeat at the hands of Walsall. Eight different players have found the net for Tranmere this term, with 32-year-old former Everton striker James Vaughan leading the way on eight from 13 appearances.