These are basic pre match notes, no selection, just a starting point for my "in running" analysis.
I will send an update at half time by email , along with first half notes and any selections for the second half, within a minute or two of the first 45 minutes ending.
I have a contact at all three games.
LEEDS UNITED - HULL CITY
City got back on track with a win at Ipswich Town where they enjoyed a lot of possession and they are probably happy to be back on the road tonight having gone 8-6-1 in their last 15 league starts away from the KC Stadium. They were unfortunate to draw blank in their opener with Blackpool and have a good mix of experience and young talent. United are in a bit of a mess at present and very short up front with Gradel, Howson, Becchio, Somna and Paynter all unavailable, they signed Andy Keogh on loan yesterday until the end of the year, which does increase their options slightly, but one goal and just 13 attempts in two outings are a far cry from last season's free scoring team and it is compounding by a misfiring defence, with too few players in their natural position.
Line movement: Very little activity today.
Team news : Keogh and Nunez start for United.
PORTSMOUTH - READING
Hard to see too much being decided early in this game. Reading earned points from 58% of the games in which they trailed at the break last season and started in similar vein this campaign coming back from two down at home to Millwall. Portsmouth, as we have discussed many times are very much a second half team, they snatched a late equaliser at Middlesbrough on matchday 1 and only a missed penalty as time expired, stopped them from repeating the feat at home to Brighton on saturday. They deserved at least a point from that and with Jason Pearce back from suspension, Benjani having turned down EPL side Blackburn Rovers to make a return to Pompey and Dave Kitson also likely to be available to some degree, they have far more options tonight. Reading earned a fine win at Leicester City over the weekend and have three points more than Portsmouth in the bag, but both teams have had the same number ( 20) of attempts on goal and whilst this is likely to be another transition year for Pompey, they do retain a touch of class and I was very impressed by their workrate and attitude on saturday. Reading are unbeaten in nine road starts, but have not started the season with three unbeaten starts since 2003.
Line Movement: The "over" 2.25 goal line has been supported 1.90 into 1.80.
Team news: Pompey Kitson starts Benjani on bench.
Pompey: Ashdown; Ben Haim, Halford, Mokoena, Pearce; Lawrence (c), Mullins, Norris, Varney; Kitson, Kanu
Subs: Henderson, Rocha, Ward, Williams, Benjani
Reading: Federici; Griffin, Harte, Khumalo, Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff (c); Hunt, Manset
EXETER CITY - BRENTFORD
This looks likely to be a tough season for City, they have under gone something of a cost cutting regime at St James Park, have lost the prolific Jamie Cureton and are terribly short of striking options at present. They played well enough from box to box at home to MK Dons on saturday, but their lack of firepower was all too apparent and the sixteen attempts on goal they have created this season ( nine less than the Bees) include only a miserly five on target, only Wycombe have had fewer. They also appear a little distracted by the visit of Liverpool in the Carling Cup next week and that is overshadowing their league fixtures at present. Brentford made some odd changes at half time in the 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United, which I covered yesterday, those changes were purely tactical and remain very hard to understand, Rosler felt the Bees were giving the ball away too easily up front apparently. I hope and feel that lessons were learned, if Brentford are to get involved at the business end of this season, this is exactly the sort of match they need and ought to be winning. Interesting to see if Brentford start with Myles Weston, he has done very little in recent starts, but if you believe in "horses for courses" he has given the City defence a torrid time in recent meetings and I doubt they will be looking forward to facing him tonight. Bees scored six in two victories here last season ( league and cup) and also missed two penalties !
Line Movement : Lines vitually unchanged all day.
Team news: Weston and Forrester who chose Brentford over Ajax are on the bench. City still look short of attacking options.
Brentford:- Lee; Logan, Legge, Osborne, Woodman; Saunders, Douglas, Reeves, McGinn; Donaldson, Alexander
Subs:- Moore, Eger, O'Connor, Weston, Forrester
Exeter City:- Krysiak; Tully, Archibald-Henville, Duffy, Golbourne; Sercombe, Dunne, Noble, Shephard; Logan, Bignall
Subs:- Pidgely, Jones, Coles, Bauza, Nichols