THE Rugby World Cup may be enjoying its place in the sun on what looks like being a glorious autumnal weekend, but there is also plenty of choice Yorkshire football in store for those seeking a different sporting fix.
Seven of our teams are at home and we also have a televised double-header over the weekend with Middlesbrough travelling to a real bogey venue in Nottingham Forest’s City Ground - where they have won once since the early 1970s - for a Saturday lunch-time kick-off and Bradford City locking horns with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United at Valley Parade for a high noon showdown on Sunday - again in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Anyway, here’s four key fixtures to look out for this weekend.
1: BRADFORD CITY v SHEFFIELD UNITED
A juicy little subplot to this, given the Blades’ courting of Bradford boss Phil Parkinson back at the end of May following their decision to axe Nigel Clough.
The Bantams proceeded to turn down an approach from the Blades to speak to Parkinson, who had a get-out clause in his deal that was not activated - with Nigel Adkins ultimately the man destined for the Lane.
Adkins heads north with plenty to ponder following back-to-back home losses for the Blades to Colchester and Bury, with the Liverpudlian admitting to learning much about his charges this week, while also being criticism of their poor defending.
In the fixture at Valley Parade last October, the Blades arrived in town with the Ched Evans furore in full swing, with visiting supporters chanting for the club to sign him up following some newspaper reports that they were to offer him a contract following his release from prison.
On the pitch, the Blades kept their focus to triumph 2-0, thanks to a cracker from Bob Harris, his first for the club and Marc McNulty, with the hosts controversially seeing Stephen Darby sent off early in the second half.
City head into tomorrow’s game on the back of a four-match unbeaten run, which has started to vanquish memories of an indifferent start to the season.
For those with an appreciation of history, the Blades have won four times on their last five visits to Bradford and have lost just once in 13 matches at the venue.
2: ROTHERHAM UNITED V CARDIFF CITY
No Yorkshire team are more desperate for a week ahead of this weekend’s games than Rotherham United.
Seven league games played and just two points accrued, with performances on home soil in the Championship particularly disappointing with just one point gained from three matches, which have produced poor defeats to Fulham and MK Dons and a low-key draw with Preston.
The bedrock of any successful season is solid home form, which yielded eight of their 11 Championship wins last term, with the Millers - and under-fire manager Steve Evans - desperate to get their ball rolling.
Rotherham have won just once in their past five home outings against the Bluebirds, with the visitors racing into a 3-0 lead inside 35 minutes en route to a 3-1 win at the AESSEAL New York Stadium in March, with Evans slamming his side’s defensive deficiencies.
Last season, the Millers produced a number of keynote home wins at critical junctures of their season - think Leeds, Bolton, Blackburn, Ipswich and biggest of all Reading. How they could do with another on Saturday.
3: MK DONS V LEEDS UNITED
Much of the positivity of Leeds’ fine win at Derby County just ahead of the international break has ebbed away following poor home performances against Brentford and Ipswich, allied to the sudden exit of executive director Adam Pearson.
Now, instead of people talking about Leeds’ unbeaten start to the season, all the talk is of one victory in seven Championship games, such is the vacillating word that is Leeds United.
Uwe Rosler, minus an ally in Pearson, heads south in need of delivering a stirring response following two performances in which he has questioned his side’s mentality, bravery and footballing DNA.
Manning up seems to be the phrase and how Leeds could do with an enriching end to a tough week, of which they have been plenty at the club in recent years.
4: HUDDERSFIELD V BOLTON
Buoyed by just a third win in 20 games on Tuesday night at Charlton, the next pressing task for Huddersfield Town is to deliver a first home victory since Easter Monday.
On paper, the fixture list has been relatively kind, with Town facing a Bolton side who have also toiled at the start of the season and who will be without the creative talents of Zach Clough at the weekend.
Powell’s side have won just three times on home soil this calendar year and the public relations value of a positive home performance and victory against the Trotters can in no way be underestimated with the Town faithful having had little to shout about when attending home matches this term.
Lose and the good feeling of midweek will dissipate.