Five things we learned from the weekend’s football

Manager Neil Warnock takes his jacket off in despair after referee Richard Clark sent Joe Mattock off.  (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
Manager Neil Warnock takes his jacket off in despair after referee Richard Clark sent Joe Mattock off. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
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SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY, Bradford City, Huddersfield Town and Hull City supporters will have a fair bit to crow about as they take their places in the office this Monday morning.

Fans of Sheffield United and York City will also not be feeling too bad about things either, with a bit more of a spring in their step.

Fernando Forestieri celebrates his goal with Atdhe Nuhiu. (Picture: Steve Ellis)

Fernando Forestieri celebrates his goal with Atdhe Nuhiu. (Picture: Steve Ellis)

It proved, in the round, one of the more uplifting Yorkshire footballing weekends and here’s five observations.

1: Hull City are very much the team to beat in the automatic promotion stakes.

After the previous weekend’s narrow loss in a big top-of-the-table game at Burnley, Hull manned up and got back on track at the first juncture with a solid win at Blackburn. That is the sure-fire sign of a promotion winner - especially against a side who had dominated Middlesbrough in their own back garden the previous weekend and who are vastly improved under Paul Lambert.

READ MORE - Robert Gledhill’s match report from Ewood Park

Hull now return to East Yorkshire after three Championship road trips with two wins and six points from a possible nine, which is fairly strong. With a resolute spine and match-winners in key positions, Steve Bruce’s side are the team to beat in the battle for automatic promotion, with the return of Tom Huddlestone to the starting fold at Ewood Park also a potentially big moment.

2: Could Sheffield Wednesday gatecrash the top two?

Rated as dark horses for the top two by Steve Bruce, the Owls are certainly making their move on the rails in thoroughbred fashion. Near impregnable on home soil where they are unbeaten since the end of August in 15 matches in all competitions, scoring goals for fun and now showing signs of getting their act together on the road, Wednesday are starting to look an irresistible force with momentum rising and Carlos Carvalhal well stocked with options across the pitch. Very, very well placed is the phrase.

READ MORE - Read Richard Sutcliffe’s match report from Hillsborough

The Owls have every chance of becoming this season’s Norwich City, who produced a powerhouse second half of the campaign which was eventually crowned by promotion. The likes of Boro and Burnley will certainly be wary of them.

3: A point and a start for Warnock and Rotherham United.

A win on his opening outing was the ideal scenario for Neil Warnock. But the pragmatist inside the veteran boss will also have been perhaps thinking: ‘Just don’t lose’. The Millers solid performance against one of the division’s better sides on their travels in Birmingham provides a platform for Warnock to build upon, with a clean sheet a welcome development.

READ MORE - Richard Sutcliffe’s match report from New York Stadium

Bigger tests are to come for the Millers, who effectively have 15 ‘cup finals’ to negotiate between now and early May. But at least Warnock now has a point on the board. Rotherham needed something after desperate results against Charlton and Bolton, for sure.

4: Some bold calls from Nigel Adkins are rewarded.

Nigel Adkins’ made some interesting selection calls ahead of Saturday’s game in promoting youth in the shape of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Che Adams and Louis Reed and he will not have needed to be told twice that he taking a little bit of a risk - heading into a derby.

READ M0RE - Leon Wobschall’s report from the Keepmoat Stadium

But sometimes fortune favours the brave and credit where credit is due to Adkins - his moves worked and he might be onto something. Young players possess hunger and energy and all three were impressive in their own way in the win at Doncaster which was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.

5: But worries for Doncaster Rovers.

Doncaster’s spirited FA Cup showing against Stoke City in early January when Darren Ferguson’s men were hugely unfortunate not to secure a replay against a top-flight side who were running hot suddenly seems a very long time ago indeed.

Rovers have not won in five games since, with any outside hopes of possibly making a push for the top six in League One having evaporated, with fans entitled to look towards the other end of the table, especially if this current dip is not arrested.

A run of three successive defeats on home soil is somewhat worrying, with Rovers needing to stop the rot and fast. Results are one thing with performances another, with the derby showing against the Blades being weak and anaemic and drawing rightful censure from Ferguson. Oakwell on Saturday represents a chance to get back in his and Ferguson’s good books. A bad showing there and the alarm bells will be seriously ringing.