Football League Expert & Columnist
Old, but gold
Peter Beagrie takes a look at some of the veteran hitmen rolling back the years in the Championship.
Last Updated: 18/08/11 4:15pm
The Championship is packed with exciting young talent, but I'm pleased to see there's still room for a few old-timers as well.
And in the early stages of the new campaign some of those seasoned veterans have already made an impact; none more so than 38-year-old Kevin Phillips.
'Super Kev' has been banging in goals since some of his team-mates were still in nappies, but I think he could prove to be a really shrewd buy for Ian Holloway's Blackpool.
He might have lost half a yard of pace, but he clearly hasn't lost his eye for goal or his ability to be in the right place at the right time - as he proved with a brace in last weekend's 2-1 win over Peterborough.
He didn't get many games in the Premier League with Birmingham last season and found the time to do some work for Sky Sports, but I reckon he's still as talented in the penalty box as he is in the commentary box.
He was joined in the Blackpool attack by 34-year-old Brett Ormerod and 30-year-old Gary Taylor-Fletcher, so the Blackpool forward line won't be lacking in experience this season.
But they're not the only golden oldies making their mark on the Football League.
Southampton have made an explosive start to the new campaign, in no small part thanks to the goals of 34-year-old hitman David Connolly.
The well-travelled striker has been linking up brilliantly with star man Adam Lallana and with three goals each already, they are leading the race for Championship Golden Boot with Middlesbrough's Marvin Emnes.
New Cardiff manager Malky Mackay has also put together a 30-something forward line and both Robert Earnshaw and Kenny Miller have rewarded him with goals already.
The likes of Dave Kitson at Portsmouth and Darius Henderson at Millwall have been influential already this season, while Hull are hoping that their 36-year-old new signing, Dele Adebola, can roll back the years at the KC Stadium.
Down in League One, the leading scorer so far is Sheffield United's 33-year-old Richard Cresswell (who is barely a month older than the current Chelsea manager), while Gary Alexander (Brentford) and Lee Hughes (Notts County) are also making an impact.
It's clear to see that life doesn't end at 30 and if you're a Football League manager looking for value then a little bit of experience goes a long way.
These players give you guaranteed performances and provide a strong example for the rest of your squad. If they look after themselves there's no reason why they can't play professional football into their forties.
But who would want to do a thing like that!?
What else we learned this week
Two pencils and three pads... must have been used by the referee in the Leeds v Middlesbrough game. We had loads of bookings and three red cards - and barely a dirty tackle in the match!
It's not who you bring in... it's who you keep hold of. That could be the key to Championship success this year. Middlesbrough have kept Marvin Emnes, despite interest from Swansea, and he's repaid them with six goals already in all competitions - two for every year of his new contract!
It used to be a big Premier League game... but on Sunday I'll be at West Ham v Leeds for our live Championship clash. It shouldn't be an anti-climax after Leeds finally found some form with their midweek win over Hull.
They say you should never go back... but I think Andy Keogh was right to go back to his first club, Leeds. He needs to rebuild his career and get back in the shop window after struggling to make an impact at Wolves. I took him to Scunthorpe and I know he has bags of ability.
He's a useful addition too... Ross McCormack was their only available striker before Keogh arrived. Simon Grayson has plenty of striking talent in his squad, but has been hit by injuries and suspensions at the start of the season.
The Saints are marching... a corking 5-2 win at Ipswich has seen them move onto three wins from three. The momentum from League One is definitely with them.
Can the Tractor Boys bounce back... you'll be able to find out in our other live game on Sky Sports this weekend when Ipswich travel to newly-promoted Peterborough.