Hello! Welcome to the TV guide for this week where we’ve got…oh what? Internationals? Noooo! Let’s try and put lipstick on this pig and carry on…
Tuesday 3rd October
What better way to start the week than the EFL Trophy? Well actually pretty much any other competition would have been better. A mix of league clubs who don’t care and Under 21 Premier League sides who barely care, the LDV Vans/Johnstone Paint/Windscreen Shield is not what it used to be. Still, there’s a derby between Peterborough and Northampton, so that’ll be good. There’s also an almost full programme of National League fixtures, including Hartlepool vs Barrow. Yep.
Wednesday 4th October
Look, we’re on slim pickings this week so you’ll just have to pretend this matters to you. Two GIANTS of English football (probably, some years ago) meet at Prenton park live on BT Sport 1. Tranmere Rovers vs Leyton Orient. I know, RIGHT? Huge, a game you’ll have to see to believe. The cream of the National League. If you don’t like it, there’s MLS at midnight. I mean I’d class that as Tuesday but it is, strictly speaking, Wednesday. This was a hard sell.
Thursday 5th October
Finally, something to get your teeth into. It is afterall an International break and we’re finally at the point where these games are pivotal. For example, England can secure qualification to World Cup 2018 with a win over Slovenia at Wembley. That’s live on ITV at 7.45pm, whilst in the same group Scotland will be hoping England do them a favour whilst they get their own side of the bargain done against Slovakia. That’s over on Sky Sports, with Scotland bidding to steal second spot having looked in deep trouble earlier in the year. Northern Ireland are also in action, having secured second spot in the group they just need to maintain their status as one of the 8 best (out of 9) runners up. They’ll have their work cut out against Germany, but who knows. Strictly speaking Northern Ireland can still win that group, though I wouldn’t put money on it. It’s going to be a busy Thursday.
Friday 6th October
If you’re up early and you want a break from International football you can watch Melbourne City vs Brisbane Roar at 9:50am on BT Sport 2. However, you probably won’t do that, so let’s get back to the International stakes. Wales, like Scotland, looked to be on the brink of elimination earlier in the year but now they could feasibly take the second spot in the group due to Republic of Ireland taking only 1 point from 6 in September’s qualifiers. Chris Coleman’s side travel to Georgia trying to take the vital 3 points where Ireland failed, whilst Martin O’Neill’s men have a straight forward looking contest with Moldova. All of this should result in a clash between the two next week to determine who qualifies for the playoffs. There’s also a tasty looking clash between England’s and Scotland’s Under-21s at the Riverside. That’s on BT at 7.45pm.
Saturday 7th October
With a dearth of top level club action, Sky have chosen to showcase League two on Saturday lunch time. Barnet against Coventry sounds like an FA Cup 3rd round tie from 1997 but now it is a league match. It’s a shame to see how far Coventry have fallen but there are cirucmstances surrounding that, as you’d expect. If League Two isn’t your cup of tea, BT are showing Women’s Super League as Chelsea Ladies welcome Liverpool Ladies. I can’t believe the WSL isn’t more publicised, as the Women’s National team seems to be gaining serious traction from recent tournaments – although the fallout currently taking place is doing nobody any favours. Into the evening and BT are showing more National League goodness – this time it’s Wrexham and Eastleigh at 5.30pm. ITV4 then join the bandwagon, bringing you Belarus vs Netherlands. The Dutch, under Dick Advocaat these days, are hanging on by a thread in their bid to qualify and will need a victory in Belarus to maintain any hope, especially with Sweden hosting Luxembourg. France, fresh from a 0-0 draw with Luxembourg, are off to Bulgaria and they need the points. The day rounds off with some MLS action at 10pm – New York Red Bulls vs Vancouver Whitecaps.
Sunday 8th October
You’ll have to wait until 5pm for your next fill of England, this time away in Lithuania. Hopefully that is a dead rubber though, as there’ll be problems if England don’t get the job done on Thursday. If it is a dead rubber there’s every chance Slovenia vs Scotland could be a shootout for the playoff spot, it’ll be a tough trip for the Scots but if they get the win on Thursday leading into this confidence will be sky high. Before all of this, Gillingham play Portsmouth in League One, that’s live on Sky Sports at 2.30pm. By this point you’ll be counting down the minutes to Monday so you don’t have to suffer through any more sub par football, but if you are a glutton for punishment then there’s more in the evening, including Northern Ireland away to Norway.
Monday 9th October
The big game, if all goes to plan, is Wales vs Republic of Ireland. This should be a winner takes all for the playoff spot, but of course that is result dependant on Friday. If you don’t want to put yourself through this, which is a very valid argument, you can watch Albania vs Italy or Ukraine vs Croatia instead. It’s a full night of qualifiers, sort of a Monday Night Football gone mad. A terrific end to a woeful week of telly.
That’s it from me this week, I hope International football is kind to you and I’ll see you next week for some proper football. Tata!