This is the Opta Warm-Up, where ahead of every weekend we’ll give you all the need-to-know information and key EFL stats across the Championship, League One and League Two.
Edition 3: 19 October 2023
Ipswich Continue to Impress
Ipswich Town are flying high in the Championship after winning promotion from League One last season. Only Leicester City are outperforming them in the Championship this season, while they hold a huge eight-point gap over Preston North End in third already.
Kieran McKenna’s side are the first promoted team in any English league division to start a season with nine wins in their opening 11 league games. A win in the game against Rotherham on Friday night would take them to the top of the league (albeit probably only for a night) and give them a 10th league win of the season, breaking the record for the quickest to 10 wins in a season by a promoted team (13 games) in any of England’s top four tiers.
Portsmouth’s Unbeaten Start
Portsmouth have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the League One season and sit top of the table after 12 games of 2023-24.
With eight wins and four draws, they are just the 12th team to go 12 games unbeaten from the start of the season in the third tier of English league football this century, and the first since Shrewsbury Town in 2017-18.
There is bad news for Pompey fans: just one of the last six teams to go 12 unbeaten at the start of a League One season have gone on to be promoted to the Championship that season (Bristol City in 2014-15, if you’re asking).
Portsmouth have some way to go if they are to break the third-tier record for the longest unbeaten start to a season, however. Bristol Rovers hold that accolade, as they didn’t lose their first game of the 1973-74 Division Three season until match 28. Their opening 27 games saw them win 15 times and draw 12, before they went on to lose away at Wrexham on 2 February – 161 days after their league campaign began.
Portsmouth’s season could have started a lot differently had they not recovered the most points from losing positions in England’s top four tiers so far in 2023-24, though.
They have won 14 points from losing positions this season, which is four more than League Two clubs Crewe and Mansfield, as well as Premier League giants Liverpool (10). Thirteen of those points have been won in their last seven games, including comeback wins versus Peterborough, Lincoln, Wigan and Wycombe – the last three of those coming in consecutive matches.
Landmarks on the Horizon for Preston and Notts County
This weekend will see the oldest professional football club in England reach a landmark. Notts County – formed in November 1862, even before the English Football Association – will play their 5,000th English Football League match on Saturday when they visit Gillingham in League Two.
They’ll become just the eighth club to hit the 5,000-game mark in the EFL and will hope to improve on their previous showing, a 4-1 home loss to Mansfield Town last weekend. A win in Kent on MD 14 could take them back to the top of League Two, however.
Unfortunately for Notts County, they hold the record for the most defeats in EFL history, having lost 1,930 of their previous 4,999 matches – 22 more than Barnsley in second place (1,908).
Preston North End are the side to have played the most EFL games in history, with Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at home to Millwall in the Championship being their 5,156th match.
A win would see them reach 2,000 victories across the history of the EFL, becoming just the seventh team to hit this landmark. After three successive defeats to Ipswich, Leicester City and West Brom, Preston will be looking to turn around their fortunes and get closer to the automatic promotion spots, as they might still sit in third place, but find themselves eight points adrift of Ipswich in second.