EFL: Bolton 'will be great', Sampson's tough week, boost for Scunthorpe and Southend

Bolton fans
Bolton fans had to endure a fourth successive thumping in League One

After a two-week break, the English Football League was back into full swing on Saturday and there were no shortage of talking points.

From Bolton's unwanted defensive record to a kid born in 2003 becoming a new hero in the second city, the EFL provided plenty of drama on its return.

Here are five things you may have missed...

Five, five, five, six

For 14 minutes on Saturday, Bolton's 2,600 travelling fans were in dreamland at Rotherham.

One of their six debutants, Thibaud Verlinden, had given them a fourth-minute lead with their first league goal of the season.

After months of turmoil on and off the field, was there finally some hope under the new owners, new manager and new players?

Not quite. Once Ben Wiles scored the equaliser for the Millers 10 minutes later, the floodgates opened.

Bolton had conceded five goals in their previous three League One matches, but that was under the old regime. Surely it couldn't happen again? It did.

Further goals from Freddie Ladapo and Carlton Morris gave Rotherham a 3-1 lead at half-time, the pair scored again after the break, and by 65 minutes it was 6-1.

Thankfully for Bolton's beleaguered supporters, the scoring stopped there.

Keith Hill
Keith Hill (centre) was in charge of Bolton in a league game for the first time

But Wanderers now have an unwanted record - they're the first side in the English Football League to have ever conceded five or more goals in four straight league games.

Manager Keith Hill said he was hurting, but still proud of his players - and had a bold promise for supporters.

"I am optimistic and not defeated by a long chalk," he said. "You never remember the start of a great film and this is going to be a great film. It's going to be a great journey.

"The players have come from a lot of different clubs and we've had to bring them up to speed.​

"It's going to be a long process but one thing I do know is Bolton Wanderers will be great again."​​

Leaky Bolton
Bolton also lost 5-2 to Rochdale in the Carabao Cup last month

'Incredibly challenging week' for Sampson

It has been a whirlwind few days for former England Women's boss Mark Sampson, who was named Stevenage caretaker manager on Monday after the sacking of Dino Maamria.

Less than three days later, though, allegations of racially discriminatory language had surfaced against him, which - after an internal investigation - Stevenage said "had no foundation".

Police are now looking into threatening messages allegedly sent to Sampson on the day of his appointment, so understandably his first thoughts were away from the pitch after Stevenage's 3-2 defeat by Carlisle in his first game in charge.

"It's been an incredibly challenging week," he told BBC Three Counties Radio.

"Credit to everyone at the football club, the way in which they've conducted themselves and tried their best to do the right things.

"It's always difficult when things off the field - out of your control - impact your preparation and what you're trying to do on a day to day basis."

Sampson was sacked from the England job in 2017 following evidence of "inappropriate and unacceptable" behaviour with female players in a previous role, and apologised to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence for racially discriminatory remarks after an independent barrister ruled he made unacceptable "ill-judged attempts at humour" on two occasions.

Stevenage players celebrate with Mark Sampson
Stevenage players ran to celebrate with Sampson after Kurtis Guthrie's opening goal

'Captain jinx' strikes Stoke again

Going into Saturday's games, Stoke's Nathan Jones and Scunthorpe's Paul Hurst were arguably the two most under-fire managers in the EFL.

At one point it seemed both would achieve their first league wins of the season, but a red card for Potters skipper Joe Allen against Bristol City contributed to Stoke losing a fourth game in a row - leaving Jones once again ruing his side's bad luck.

"They keep getting hit at the minute with something, whether it's an error, sending off, a decision - whatever it is," he told BBC Radio Stoke.

"It seems to be a bit of a jinx, the captain's armband, so I might go up and do the toss and at least if I get sent off it doesn't affect the team," he joked.

With club captain Ryan Shawcross out with a long-term injury, Jones may well have a point.

On the flip side, Hurst's Scunthorpe are off the bottom of League Two after a resounding 3-0 triumph over Morecambe.

"We've got try to build on it now. One victory doesn't make everything right, but as I've said previously, not everything has been wrong in terms of our performances for large parts, it's just silly mistakes or little spells in games that have cost us," said the former Ipswich manager.

Bellingham's Blues debut to remember

For many youngsters, Saturday afternoons are for chilling with mates but not so Jude Bellingham, who at just 16 years and 77 days, is rapidly making a name for himself.

The Birmingham City winger broke the club's record for youngest debutant when he featured against Portsmouth in the EFL Cup in early August.

Bellingham then scored the winner three weeks later after coming off the bench in a victory against Stoke and he was on target once more on his full debut on Saturday against Charlton.

Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring for Birmingham against Charlton
Jude Bellingham has been with Birmingham City since the age of seven

Bellingham coolly netted the only goal of the game in the second half to condemn the Addicks to a first home league defeat since last October.

"It was not an easy position for Jude to play today as he had to do a lot of defensive work too," his manager Pep Clotet told BBC WM 95.6.

"His attitude was perfect and he grew and grew into the game the longer it went on. He's got terrific vision and it's up to us now to ensure he has a very fruitful career at this club."

A name to certainly keep an eye throughout the seasons to come.

Shrimpers finally off the mark

It's been a rough start to the League One campaign for Southend United.

The Shrimpers narrowly survived relegation on the final day of last season on goal difference and hopes and six defeats from the opening six games prompted manager Kevin Bond to part company with the club, with the search for his permanent successor still ongoing.

Caretaker boss Gary Waddock is no stranger to the EFL with a CV that includes time in charge at both Oxford United and Wycombe Wanderers.

And he seemed to work some magic against Fleetwood Town as first Southend took a first-half lead and then showed fight to twice come from behind in the second half to draw 3-3 at Roots Hall.

"It's a start and we've waited a long time to get ourselves on the board," Waddock told BBC Essex.

"The players have put in a lot of hard work in training and the game plan worked to a degree today picking up a point. But they kept going and showed a great attitude, character and application.

"We've got to build something and that's the first brick."

Waddock also paid tribute to his predecessor for the work he had put in but would not be drawn on how long his caretaker reign may last.

"I've been asked by the chairman to prepare the team and we've done that today, but by Tuesday who knows?

"Until I'm told otherwise, I'll continue to prepare them for the next game."

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