Sunderland were one of a number of sides to take a break this weekend due to international call-ups, but there were seven fixtures played across the division and some eye-catching results involving sides looking to challenge with the Black Cats at the top. Here, Phil Smith takes a look at the key winners and losers from the last couple of weeks, starting with the fifth matchday of the season, as Sunderland beat AFC Wimbledon 3-1….
1. 23. Southend (-1)
An utterly wretched start to the season produced the inevitable result when Kevin Bond left the club. They look in dire straits, shipping goals at an alarming rate and struggling to produce at the other end.
Photo: James Chance
2. 22. Bolton (+1)
Survival still seems unlikely, with a 16-point deficit that could end up more. But hard not to be bouyed by their last fortnight, finally getting a takeover over the line, bringing in a host of established players and appointing not just a local manager but one who is a proven, steady operator at this level.
Photo: Catherine Ivill
3. 21. AFC Wimbledon (-1)
A goalless draw against Wycombe wasn't a bad result given the form of Gareth Ainsworth's side, but they were well beaten at the Stadium of Light a week previous and suffered a devastating defeat against MK Dons at the weekend. Still searching for their first win and a gap is beginning to form between themselves and safety.
Photo: Ker Robertson
4. 20. Gillingham (-1)
A 5-0 win over Bolton's youngsters has given their form and place in the table a more promising look, but they will have been bitterly disappointing to throw away a two-goal lead at Tranmere. That's the second time this season that has happened to them. The big positive is that Alex Jakubiak, on loan from Watford, has made a sterling start in replacing Tom Eaves.
Photo: Bryn Lennon