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  1. Championship-bound West Bromwich Albion have appointed Darren Moore as their new manager on a permanent basis. The former Baggies defender led the club on an unbeaten run in April as caretaker manager with three wins and two draws following Alan Pardew's departure. Indeed, Moore was named Premier League manager of the month for April, following wins over Manchester United, Tottenham, Newcastle and a draw with Liverpool. Despite his brave efforts, Moore was unable to save Albion, who were 10 points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League when he took over, but has nonetheless been entrusted with the reins on a permanent basis. "I am obviously extremely proud to accept this role and also extremely excited. We have a big summer ahead of us, a lot of hard work we need to get in now," Moore told the club website. "I'm going all out to try and get those plans and personnel in place to make sure we've got everything ready. And we need to be because this is a tough league packed with great clubs. "But what an opportunity for us to move the club in the right direction." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Queens Park Rangers have announced that Ian Holloway has departed the club as manager with immediate effect. The 55-year-old, who was in his second spell with QPR, guided the club to 16th in the table this season. Former England manager Steve McClaren, who has previously worked as a coach at Loftus Road, is the favourite to succeed Holloway. "On behalf of the Board we are hugely grateful to Ian for his incredible efforts during his time with us," said a club statement. "He joined us at a critical stage as we looked to reduce the wage bill, bring in younger talent and remain competitive on the pitch at the same time. "That is no easy task and it was down to his desire, love for the club and hard work that he achieved those goals. "However, we are now looking to take the next step as we continue to work through what is a vital period of transition for the football club." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. Paul Cook has signed a new four-year contract as Wigan Athletic manager after leading the club back to the Championship. The former Latics midfielder, 51, was appointed in May 2017 after guiding Portsmouth to the League Two title. Cook, whose side finished top of League One this term, also took Wigan to the last eight of the FA Cup, beating Premier League winners Manchester City. "It was always going to be a big challenge to win promotion immediately but a lot of hard work and endeavour has gone in from many people," he told the official website. "I sit here very proud of the success we have enjoyed this season but in equal measure aware of the challenges we face moving forwards into the Championship - an exciting challenge." Chairman David Sharpe added: "I'm absolutely delighted to see Paul commit his long-term future to Wigan Athletic, he has been the main reason behind our success this year. "I can speak on behalf of everyone associated with Wigan Athletic in saying that this is fantastic news." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. The news emerged this week that some EFL clubs have expressed a wish to stop producing a matchday programme for each league match, concerned about falling sales and higher production costs. The EFL said in a statement: “At is summer meeting in June 2018, the EFL will vote on a proposal that will determine whether or not it is an absolute requirement to produce a matchday programme from the start of the 2018/19 season onwards. “A number of clubs have asked the EFL if the mandatory publication of a matchday programme can be addressed as a result of an overall decline in sales and the proliferation of digital and social media, which has the ability to deliver the same content in a more cost-effective manner. “Irrespective of the outcome at June's AGM, the EFL will continue to produce a match programme for its five competition finals - the Carabao Cup, Checkatrade Trophy and Sky Bet Play-Offs." I can well understand struggling clubs with poor gates having this view but as a fiftysomething fan who has purchased programmes from all over the country over 40 odd years this news saddens me deeply. In defence of their views, the unnamed club(s) have said that they can give their fans the same content (Managers Notes, match reports, team news, League tables) etc online via the relevant club website, twitter etc. However, in my view the social media revolution will have taken away an integral part of the matchday experience as well as a hobby for many thousands of fans - though secretly a lot of wives (mine especially) will be delighted. I still have and cherish the programme from the first EFL game I ever attended (Rotherham 1-1 Wrexham, 12th April 1971) and programmes from certain games I own stir memories good AND bad, you're not going to get that from a website. I would be very interested to hear other fans' views on this, good idea or not? Share your thoughts about this opinion feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. Sunderland owner Ellis Short has agreed to sell the club to a group led by Stewart Donald, the chairman of National League side Eastleigh, the Wearside club have announced. The Black Cats, who will play in League One next season, have also released manager Chris Coleman and assistant Kit Symons from their contracts. Coleman, 47, left his role as Wales national team boss to succeed Simon Grayson at the Stadium of Light last November but could not keep the Mackems up during his five months in charge. "Sunderland AFC announces that manager Chris Coleman and his assistant Kit Symons have been released from their contracts," a statement on the club website read. "The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Chris and Kit for their tireless efforts in what has been a hugely disappointing season for everyone involved with the club. "The club is unable to make further comment at this time." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. Sunderland manager Chris Coleman has admitted that he does not know where Jack Rodwell is at present. The £70,000-a-week midfielderhas not made a senior appearance for the Black Cats since September, despite their struggles at the foot of the Championship table. With Sunderland's relegation confirmed last weekend, Coleman was asked if he might give Rodwell a chance when his side travel to Craven Cottage to play Fulham. "I don't even know where Jack is, to be honest with you, so no, he won't be involved," Coleman said. "If there was a sniff of a first-team appearance, I'm not sure he'd be 100 per cent fit for it, so I don't think that's going to be the case." After an injury-plagued three-and-a-half years on Wearside, Sunderland offered to cancel Rodwell's contract in January in a bid to remove him from the wage bill. Rodwell decided to stay, however, on a deal which still has another year to run, and insisted in a well-publicised interview that he was fit and available for selection if called upon. Coleman added: "I'm quite sure we've gone down the legal route of that situation, and we're stuck with a player that doesn't want to play for Sunderland Football Club and wants to leave. "But then where's he going to leave and go to? There's the conundrum. He's here and he's got one more year on his contract. He doesn't want to play for us, so fine, go and play for somebody else. But the stumbling block is the contract. "We'll see, it's the end of this season now. I know Jack did that big article, that he wanted to play for England again, so to do that, he's going to have to go and play football somewhere. The proof is always in the pudding." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  7. The EFL has cleared Wolverhampton Wanderers of any wrongdoing regarding agent Jorge Mendes' role at Molineux. Wolves faced questions from rival Championship clubs last month but, after a 'comprehensive review', league officials have determined Mendes holds no official role at the club, owned by Fosun International, and is not deemed as a 'relevant person' and therefore will not be subject to the Owners' and Directors' Test. The EFL statement read: "Discussions between the EFL and management of Wolverhampton Wanderers have now concluded in regard to the matter of the relationship between the Club, majority shareholder Fosun and intermediary Jorge Mendes. "Following the commitment made in March, as a result of some concerns raised by a number of Championship Clubs, the EFL has met with Wolverhampton Wanderers to ensure compliance with the requirements of its regulations. At that meeting, a request for information was made by the EFL and following a comprehensive review of the detail subsequently provided by the Club, it has been determined that Mr Mendes holds no role at the Club and, as such should not be categorised as a 'Relevant Person' as defined by League regulations. On this basis there is no requirement for him to submit to the Owners' and Directors' Test. "As part of the discussions the Club has been reminded of its continuing obligation to keep under review the status of both existing Relevant Persons, but also any other individuals who may at some point acquire the status of Relevant Person, and advise the League (and, given the recent promotion, the Premier League) accordingly. "The EFL would like to place on record its appreciation to the management of Wolverhampton Wanderers for their help and assistance in resolving this matter within a sensible and appropriate timeframe." Wolves released a statement shortly after the EFL announcement stating they welcomed the EFL's confirmation the club had complied with its regulations. "After meeting with EFL representatives and providing further written detail, a comprehensive review has concluded with confirmation that the EFL is satisfied there has been no breach of its regulations," read a Wolves statement. "We have always maintained our clarity on both FA and EFL regulations, which have been complied with explicitly since the change of ownership at the club in July 2016. "We believe the release of these findings will bring to a conclusion any speculation surrounding the club's operation and extinguish any concerns held by other clubs." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has defended the club's controversial decision to tour Myanmar in the close season. The Championship club have been urged to scrap the planned trip, which has been branded "morally corrupt" by shadow sports minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan. Violent clashes between Myanmar's government troops and militants are ongoing in several areas of the country, and the governing regime has been accused of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. But writing in an open letter to fans, Radrizzani said he had visited the country many times and that it was "somewhere very close to my heart". He wrote: "The club is not receiving any fee to play. Rather I see this both as a personal initiative to support local football and a way to introduce the name of Leeds United in the fastest growing country in Southeast Asia. "I believe the tour will have a positive impact on the local community in parts of the country we intend to visit. This was a carefully considered decision and we knew it would be controversial, but this is about people not governments. "It has never been my intention, nor that of the club, to get involved in a political debate in Myanmar. However, if because of the tour we further highlight the ongoing serious issues in certain areas of the country, then maybe that is a positive thing." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Sunderland CEO Martin Bain has claimed that a number of parties are interested in buying the club. Current owner Ellis Short has long admitted to wanting to sell the club and with Sunderland's relegation to League One confirmed, Bain says there is clarity for any potential buyer to formulate a deal. “There are a few parties who are currently looking at the club in a meaningful way,” Bain told Chronicle Live. “I would really hope that now the club knows its position in terms of which league it will be playing in, that might give some clarity to any potential buyer to formulate their thoughts and a deal. “I have one single priority at the moment, to try and assist a sale and help full diligence be done. “We have an owner who is very actively trying to sell the club and that will be the game-changer for Sunderland AFC. “We hope that a new owner comes in, will have a better financial backdrop than what there has been in recent years and will be able to provide that spark. “What we have at the club is good people, passionate people, a wonderful fanbase, fantastic facilities. “I feel positive because anybody who looks at the club now, can see that it is a distressed asset but one that has all the fundamentals. “These things give you hope that someone will see this and see that it is a fantastic club to acquire. “It surprises me that it has not been sold before now, maybe that is people seeing what is under the bonnet when they look.” Bain added that, despite the club's debt, Short will not put the club into administration. "Ellis funds the club's losses, I have spoken to him and he has assured me that he will continue to do so", he stated. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  10. Sunderland have issued a statement after dropping into League One in which they admit that the club is in a "period of uncertainty". The Black Cats were relegated to the third tier of English football for only the second time in their history following the 2-1 Championship defeat at home to Burton Albion on Saturday. "Confirmation of relegation has been the culmination of what has been a demoralising season for everyone," the statement read. "We began the campaign realistic in the knowledge that with the backdrop of relegation from the Premier League and our financial position, it would be a significant challenge to make an immediate return to the top flight. "However, it was not envisaged nor expected that we would subsequently be facing the prospect of League One football, which makes this position all the harder to take. "Despite the difficulties we have faced, our fans have been a shining light. They have continued to back the team in their thousands, which has been incredibly humbling to see. "We are truly sorry that we have not been able to give them the positive outcome such tremendous support deserves. "This is also a huge blow for our staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout the season under testing circumstances and uncertainty. "We applaud them for their resilience and dedication; they are fans of the club too and like our supporters, they are hurting. "Whilst naturally we feel devastated today, there remains a burning desire from within to re-build and re-invigorate the club. "As we look at how to best achieve this, it must be recognised that we are in a period of uncertainty in relation to the club's future ownership and the resolution of this will be the driving factor in how we move forward. "Sunderland AFC is so much more than a football club. It is an institution that has been at the very heart of its city and community for almost 140 years. "It is built on a deep-rooted passion that is proudly passed from generation to generation and it is this enduring and unwavering passion that gives us the strength and fortitude we need in times of challenge. "It is through the unstinting support of our fans that Sunderland AFC will rise again." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  11. Mick McCarthy has announced his departure from Ipswich Town with immediate effect following Tuesday's 1-0 win over Barnsley. The 59-year-old was due to leave the Championship club at the end of the season, but departed four games early, alongside assistant Terry Connor. McCarthy was asked in his post-match news conference about fans' negative reaction to debutant Barry Cotter being substituted. "I won't have to listen to that again, that's my last game," McCarthy replied. "I'm out of here." The news was confirmed on the official website as the veteran coach said: "I spoke with Marcus (Evans, owner) at the weekend and we agreed that it was in the best interests for me, the players and the club that I move on now. "I said I would see the season out but it's been a new experience and it's not one I have been enjoying to be honest. I have continued to do my job to the best of my ability but there is something missing and I'm not comfortable with that. "I have had a great time here and worked with some great people and to all those who have given me wonderful support over the last five and a half years - and there are many - I want to put on record my personal thanks. "The players here can look forward to a new challenge with whoever comes in and I want to wish them, the staff and the club the best of fortunes. I'll also be looking forward to a new challenge elsewhere. I've still got a lot of football in me." Ipswich head of coaching and player development Bryan Klug has taken interim charge with the team 12th in the Championship, ahead of their trip to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  12. Ipswich Town have confirmed that manager Mick McCarthy will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season. The former Republic of Ireland boss has been in charge at Portman Road for almost six years and had been the longest-serving manager in the Championship. However, the 59-year-old will be moving on after holding talks with owner Marcus Evans on Wednesday, and assistant manager Terry Connor will also leave the club when his contract ends this summer. Evans told the club website: "Mick and I had a discussion and we both agreed that this was the best way forward for him and for Ipswich Town. "It never got to the point where we actually talked about a new contract, it just felt right that it was time for us both to look at different options. "Mick will see out his contract here and then we will look to make an announcement regarding his successor in due course. "When Mick arrived, we looked to be on the way to relegation. He saved us from that and then took us to the play-offs within two years. "In his six years here he has made us a very competitive club in what is a very competitive league. No one looks forward to playing Ipswich. "In the meantime, I want to put on record my sincere thanks to Mick for the job he has done here as our manager and urge supporters to get behind him and the players so that we can finish the season as strongly as possible." McCarthy added: "I had a good discussion with Marcus and we feel this is the right thing to do for me and for Ipswich Town. "I have loved my time here and I am proud of what I have achieved over the last six years, and the relationship I have enjoyed with the players and all the staff at the club in that time. "I won't be leaving with any regrets. I have given everything for Ipswich Town and I will see out my contract in the same way." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  13. Ipswich Town have confirmed that they will clarify the future of manager Mick McCarthy before the end of next month. The 59-year-old has managed the Blues for the last six years but there have been many suggestions that he will depart Portman Road at the end of the season. McCarthy took over a Town side which was bottom of the Championship in 2012 and led them to the playoffs two seasons later, but since then fans argue the club has stagnated. Ipswich owner Marcus Evans told the club's official website: "As I'm sure you are aware, Mick's contract is up at the end of the season and I'm fully aware that there will be supporters who will be waiting to see how that situation develops. "I continue to have a very good relationship with Mick. We talk regularly and we will sit down and discuss the best way forward for this football club in the next few weeks. And that is the sole concern for me - what is best for Ipswich Town. "Supporters will know the result of that conversation in due course but it will be made public well in advance of the early-bird deadline." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  14. Joe Jones

    Reading appoint Paul Clement as manager

    Championship strugglers Reading have confirmed the appointment of former Swansea City and Derby County boss Paul Clement as their new manager. The 46-year-old replaces Jaap Stam, who left the Madejski Stadium by mutual consent on Wednesday. Alongside his two managerial stints in England, Clement had previously worked as an assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Reading are just three points above the relegation zone in the second tier after winning one of their last 18 league games. A Reading statement said: "Reading Football Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Clement as first-team manager at Madejski Stadium." Chief Executive Ron Gourlay added: "I am delighted to have secured the services of a hugely experienced forward-thinking manager like Paul, who I have personally worked alongside during our time spent at Chelsea. "Not only has he coached at some of the greatest clubs in Europe, winning trophies, league titles and European honours and working with some of the greatest players in the world, fundamentally he also has a rich understanding of English football having managed in both the Championship and the Premier League in recent years. "Now, everyone at Reading Football Club is fully behind Paul and his squad of players as, together, we initially set our sights on an eight-game battle and continue to strive to the take this club forward." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  15. The EFL has issued a statement about the postponement of Sunday's Championship match between Derby County and Cardiff City. The match at Pride Park was called off on Sunday morning, just hours before the scheduled 12pm kickoff, due to the snow and adverse weather conditions around the stadium. The Rams said: "Following persistent heavy snowfall in Derby overnight, the surrounding areas at Pride Park Stadium have been left in an unsafe condition for supporters, staff and officials." However, the decision was described as "scandalous" and a "disgrace" by Cardiff boss Neil Warnock, while the Bluebirds supporters' club has called for an EFL investigation on the matter. An EFL spokesman told the Derby Telegraph: “The decision to postpone (the) fixture was made first thing on Sunday morning following discussions between Derby County, Derbyshire Police and the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG). “It was taken in the interests of spectator safety and followed heavy overnight snow falling in the Derby area which had built up on the roads surrounding the stadium. “Cardiff City were informed of the decision and the reasons behind it as soon as it was reached. An announcement was made at 8.30am. “The EFL is satisfied from the information shared with us that these were the reasons the match was postponed and will provide Cardiff City with the opportunity to provide any additional information/evidence they feel is relevant, before responding further." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  16. Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock has described the decision to postpone Sunday's Championship fixture away at Derby County as "a disgrace". The match was scheduled for a midday kickoff, but with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures in the East Midlands, police and Rams officials cited safety concerns for the cancellation. Cardiff, who came into the fixture on a seven-match winning run, could have reduced the deficit to league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers back to three points with victory at Pride Park. "It's a disgrace quite frankly," Warnock told Sky Sports. "I am sorry, I can't accept that today - it's not safe? "We have come out from the middle of the countryside in the coach and the roads have been perfectly all right, so I just don't know where they are coming from with this. "It leaves a sour taste for all the people that have travelled. I am very disappointed obviously, I am not overly surprised if I am honest. "When I heard Gary (Rowett)'s remarks earlier in the week - 'if we can get over this weekend's injury crisis with this game we should be all right after the event'. "You look at the game two weeks ago against Fulham here, it was 10 times worse. There were snow ploughs outside. "As you see here the car parks are clear, all the shops are open. We have got some of our fans outside that have travelled some distance. "We have got some Derby fans outside that have come from miles away and you see all the comments." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  17. Championship basement side Sunderland have suspended Darron Gibson with immediate effect after the footballer was charged with driving with excess alcohol. The midfielder is alleged to have been involved in a crash which wrecked a number of vehicles on Saturday morning, hours before Sunderland's 2-0 home defeat to Preston North End. A club statement read: "Sunderland AFC has suspended Darron Gibson with immediate effect, after the player was charged with driving with excess alcohol on Saturday 17 March. "The football club has commenced a full investigation into the matter." Sunderland chief executive, Martin Bain said: "We expect the highest standard of behaviour from our players and should any individual fall short of those standards then robust action must be taken." The 30-year-old joined Sunderland in January last year on an 18-month deal after a five-year spell at Everton but is out of contract in the summer. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  18. Fulham vs. Queens Park Rangers Fulham continue to steamroll their way through their fixture list - they're unbeaten in 15 now and have 12 wins among that run, including four in a row going into this game, to remain in a great position for a playoff place. QPR are also in form, winning their last two, but Craven Cottage is not a place you want to be playing at now, and I think Ryan Sessegnon and co will deliver a fifth win in a row. Score prediction: Fulham 3-1 QPR Barnsley vs. Millwall Barnsley's form remains dodgy but, from their last five, they have managed one win and two draws, a decent enough platform to build on, but build they must as they remain just three points above the drop zone. Unfortunately for them, Millwall's current form is on a par with the likes of Cardiff and Fulham, with five wins and a draw from their last six and unbeaten in 11. The Tykes will provide a stern test but I fancy the Lions to roar at Oakwell. Score prediction: Barnsley 1-2 Millwall Birmingham City vs. Hull City Birmingham boss Garry Monk will hope to have David Davis available for the first time when Hull visit St Andrew's, the captain having missed the last six matches, and given the Blues have lost their last seven league games, some inspiration is definitely needed. Hull, meanwhile, have mounted a great run to surge nine points clear of the bottom three and I can see them adding to their current two-match winning run against a side fast running out of ideas. Score prediction: Birmingham 0-2 Hull Brentford vs. Middlesbrough Jekyll & Hyde FC, aka Brentford, have drawn only once in their last 15 matches - they're a hard team to call in terms of form, but they have been better at home than away, which will stand them in good stead when they face a Boro side unbeaten in five and hoping to make it four wins on the trot - and the omens are good for the visitors, whose recent record against the Bees is superb - nine wins in their last 10 matches, and five wins in a row at Griffin Park. Score prediction: Brentford 0-2 Boro Bristol City vs. Ipswich Town Bristol City's playoff ambitions remain hanging by a thread given a woeful run of form but they will be hoping to edge closer to the top six, if not edge back in if results go their way, when they host an average Ipswich Town side reeling from a shock 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Hull City last time out. The Tractor Boys have been much better on the road, however, and I fancy them to deal another blow to the Robins' playoff hopes. Score prediction: Bristol C 0-1 Ipswich Leeds United vs. Sheffield Wednesday Another side whose form has tumbled in recent months, Leeds are 11 points adrift of the playoffs with nine games left, with just two league victories in their last 14 games, so that'll most likely be another season in the Championship for them. They'll be facing a Wednesday side in terrible form but which at least managed to stop the rot with a 1-1 draw against Bolton Wanderers last time out, but with neither side high on confidence, I'm going for a draw. Score prediction: Leeds 0-0 Sheff Wed Norwich City vs. Reading Norwich aren't doing tremendously well at the minute, with just two wins in their last 10, and will most likely be missing Alex Tettey, but they'll be up against a Reading side with just one victory from their past 17 Championship games and looking nervously over their shoulders at the bottom three, just six points away. For me, Norwich will just shade it. Score prediction: Norwich 2-1 Reading Sheffield United vs. Nottingham Forest Sheffield United could have leading scorer Leon Clarke - who has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury back for their home game against Nottingham Forest, and it will be a welcome boost for a Blades side that has been struggling for consistency in recent months. Forest's bad patch is now a thing of the past, however, and are unbeaten in their last six, but I still think the Yorkshire side will have enough for at least a point. Score prediction: Sheff Utd 1-1 Forest Sunderland vs. Preston North End Rock-bottom Sunderland are fast running out of time to avoid a second consecutive relegation but will be missing goalkeeper Jason Steele, who was sent off for handling outside his area during last weekend's 1-0 defeat at QPR, making the task even more difficult for the Black Cats. Preston fell to a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Fulham last time out but they're still hoping to reach the playoffs and I can see them winning at the Stadium of Light, which is more of a bastion of darkness at present. Score prediction: Sunderland 0-2 Preston Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Burton Albion The leaders of the pack have seen their lead at the top of the table evaporate from double digits to just three points, as Cardiff City continue to rack up win after win, but they staved off a complete nullification by thrashing Reading last time out, and Burton should in theory offer just as little opposition, but at the same time, there will be nerves among the Wolves faithful as well as the players when faced with an opponent that they should in theory hammer, so I'm going to go against the logical option and claim that this will end all square. Score prediction: Wolves 0-0 Burton Bolton Wanderers vs. Aston Villa Six points clear of the bottom three, Bolton continue to look over their shoulders but they're getting draws here and there now which can be built on. Villa, meanwhile, have the opportunity to move back within four points of second-placed Cardiff, who do not play until Sunday, and I think they've learned their lesson from QPR and will take a seemingly straightforward game at the Macron much more seriously for victory. Score prediction: Bolton 0-2 Villa Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  19. A big night in the Championship sees a faltering Wolverhampton Wanderers side being potentially pegged from a double-digit point advantage to neck-and-neck should they lose against Reading and Cardiff City win at Brentford. How could the action pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look. Aston Villa vs. Queens Park Rangers Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is likely to keep faith with the team that so impressively beat Wolves 4-1 on Saturday, which moved his side within seven points of the Championship leaders and four behind second-placed Cardiff City. QPR head into this game on the back of a win over Sunderland which saw them build up more of a cushion between themselves and the bottom three but with the Villans boasting such quality and playing at home, I reckon Bruce's side will come up trumps. Score prediction: Villa 3-1 QPR Barnsley vs. Norwich City No team has picked up fewer points across their last 10 Championship matches than Barnsley, whose meagre tally of six is on a par with fellow strugglers Sunderland and Burton Albion. The Tykes are also winless in nine home league matches, scoring just four goals in that time. Norwich will be hoping to recover from the setback of losing at Hull City in dramatic fashion, with James Maddison being the the first player to score a hat-trick in an away second tier game and end of the losing side since Gareth Taylor in April 2003 for Burnley at Watford, and I think they will have too much for the hosts to cope with. Score prediction: Barnsley 1-2 Norwich Brentford vs. Cardiff City The Bees' increasingly slender playoff hopes took a big blow last time out with a loss against Millwall but they are solid on their day and did well enough in the reverse fixture against the Bluebirds, weighing in with 25 shots, albeit without scoring. But this is a Cardiff side which is winning game after game as they now look set to leapfrog Wolves at the top of the table before the season's out, and even though they will have a fight on their hands against Brentford, I back Neil Warnock's side to get all three points. Score prediction: Brentford 1-2 Cardiff Ipswich Town vs. Hull City Mick McCarthy's side took four points from their last two games, against the two Sheffield teams, but it looks as though they will finish the season in mid-table, with their players and form very much middle-of-the-road, not to mention not having scored a single goal in their last four home games. Hull, meanwhile, will be buoyed from their superb 4-3 win over Norwich City last time out and, given Ipswich's troubles at Portman Road, they will certainly fancy their chances of at least a point, even if Abel Hernandez is likely not to play a second game in four days, having just come back from a long-term injury. Score prediction: Ipswich 0-0 Hull Sheffield United vs. Burton Albion The Blades, whose fans were long dreaming of a second successive promotion, are now five points off the playoff places, having won only one of their last four games, but they could see Leon Clarke and Mark Duffy back in the starting line-up which would give them a big boost. As for Burton, they have only scored once in their last six games and only grabbed goals in 18 of their 36 league games thus far, and although they will leapfrog out of the drop zone if they win and Barnsley lose, I think the Blades will not have too much of a problem in getting all three points. Score prediction: Sheff Utd 2-0 Burton Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Reading Wolves fans had been looking ahead to winning the Championship title with a similar sense of certainty as Manchester City fans for the Premier League, but now they are sweating profusely as, with just 10 games to go, the chasing pack is fast closing in. A side that was racking up win after win after win has now drawn two and lost two of their last five, leaving them just three points clear of Cardiff, but they will fancy their chances against a Reading side winless in seven league matches and boasting just one win in their last 16 games. Score prediction: Wolves 3-0 Reading Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  20. The East Midlands derby is one of the most fiercely contested fixtures in the English calendar, featuring two bitter rivals for whom victory and bragging right are paramount. How will Sunday's Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and Derby County pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look in this preview. Head to head Forest and Derby go back a long way, with the first meeting coming on 1 October 1892 in the Football League First Division. On that occasion, Forest ran out 3-2 winners at Derby's Racecourse Ground. The two sides have met 101 times in competitive action, with Forest boasting 39 wins to Derby's 38, while 24 games have ended as draws. Forest are unbeaten in their last four home league meetings with Derby, and there has not been a goalless draw in this league fixture at the City Ground in 31 meetings since April 1906. In addition, Forest boss Aitor Karanka has won four of his last five Championship meetings with Derby, drawing the other. Standings and form The Reds have had a tough time of things this season but things have picked up recently and they come into the game five unbeaten, with a win against Birmingham City and a draw against Norwich City this week setting them up for the clash on Trentside as they head into the game 15th in the table. Derby, on the other hand, have suffered a blip in form which has dented their promotion ambitions. A winless run of six games - only Sunderland are on a longer goalless run in the league - has seen them fall away from the automatic promotion picture and they currently sit fifth in the standings. Team news Forest striker Tomlin missed the midweek goalless draw at Norwich through a combination of fatigue and a calf problem but Karanka hopes to have him back for the derby, although the manager could also opt to bring Barrie McKay back into the starting line-up. Eric Lichaj was available at Carrow Road after suspension, but was overlooked after Forest collected seven points during his three-match ban, and he may miss out on a place in the squad once more on Sunday. Derby midfielder Joe Ledley faces a month on the sidelines with the calf injury that forced him off early on in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers, while Tom Huddlestone is a doubt after suffering a dead leg at Loftus Road. Rams boss Gary Rowett is also waiting on the fitness of strikers David Nugent and Cameron Jerome, while George Thorne and Sam Winnall remain out and Chris Baird will serve the final game of his three-match ban. Prediction Form goes out the window when it comes to derbies and in terms of a prediction, things get even more complicated with the fact that Forest, despite being 10 places below Derby in the table, are in much better form than their A52 rivals. Derby were looking like they would be in contention for automatic promotion in the latter stages of the season but with things getting ever tighter in the upper echelons of the table, a winless run like the one they're experiencing is unlikely to be forgiven by the machinations of the league. Forest, meanwhile, were nervously looking over their shoulders not long ago but they're now 14 points clear of the bottom three and in a much more comfortable position, so they will be more relaxed as they seek to deal another blow to their rivals' promotion hopes. With the vociferous backing of the City Ground behind them, I fancy Forest to come up trumps and secure victory and bragging rights against the Rams. Score prediction: Forest 2-0 Derby Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  21. Preston North End vs. Fulham A big playoff battle takes place at Deepdale as Preston, who are just a point off the top six, host in-form Fulham, who have overcome a blip to rekindle a winning run, which currently stands at three games. The Cottagers are difficult to stop at present so I fancy them to edge this encounter. Score prediction: 2-1 away win Middlesbrough vs. Barnsley Boro have won their last two in a row, hammering Leeds last Friday night and then claiming a good win at Birmingham in midweek. Barnsley are just a place and two points above the drop zone and, despite a change of manager, I can't see them getting anything from their trip to a side who are getting back to their true potential. Score prediction: 2-0 home win Sheffield Wednesday vs. Bolton Wanderers Both these two are nervously looking over their shoulders, the Owls seven points above the drop zone and the Trotters five clear of danger. Wednesday have however lost their last four league games while Bolton have drawn two and won one of their last four so they'll be favourites, although I think the points will be shared at Hillsborough. Score prediction: 1-1 draw Burton Albion vs. Bristol City Burton have lost 13 home Championship matches this season, while City are winless in nine away matches in all competitions. Two sides out of form, but the visitors - who remain just about in playoff contention - should have enough to get all three points against a team which one would fear is going to be one of three dropping into League One. Score prediction: 2-0 away win Ipswich Town vs. Sheffield United Ipswich have already lost twice to United this season - once in the Championship and once in the FA Cup - but the Blades have won just one of their last 19 league visits to Portman Road. A tricky game to call, with Chris Wilder's side a little higher in the table but Mick McCarthy's boys in slightly better form, I'm staying conservative and calling this a draw. Score prediction: 0-0 draw Reading vs. Leeds United The "festival derby" sees two out-of-form sides lock horns at the Madejski Stadium, though the hosts - with just one win in their last 14 league games - are very much in a relegation battle, while the visitors look increasingly destined for a mid-table finish. That said, so poor are Reading that Leeds should be able to triumph in Berkshire. Score prediction: 3-0 home win Hull City vs. Norwich City Hull remain perilously close to the drop zone despite scrambling together the odd win, with two victories in their last five league games, while Norwich's good run continues with one defeat in their last 12, although they've drawn their last five in a row. I see more of the same, with the spoils being shared on Humberside. Score prediction: 0-0 draw Queens Park Rangers vs. Sunderland QPR remain nervously looking over their shoulders although Ian Holloway will be pleased with the way they battled back to claim a late draw against Derby on Tuesday night. The same can't be said for Sunderland, who are so bereft of morale and quality that the odd draw is about as good as they can get at present. Home win for me. Score prediction: 2-0 home win Cardiff City vs. Birmingham City If any fixture could be considered a banker this weekend, I'd make this it. The promotion-chasing Bluebirds, playing at home, have won five league games in a row while Brum have lost seven on the trot in all competitions, so I reckon this will be a comfortable win for Neil Warnock's side. Score prediction: 3-1 home win Millwall vs. Brentford Millwall's form over their last six games is one of the best in the division, with four wins and two draws, and will be eager to leapfrog Brentford, a point and a place above them in 10th. The Bees are a solid outfit and have won three of their last four, plus both sides have enjoyed a decent record in London derbies, so I tip this to end all square. Score prediction: 2-2 draw Aston Villa vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers To round off the day is this crunch clash, a West Midlands derby which would be feisty any time but especially at this moment in time, with Wolves in danger of letting their previously unassailable top-of-the-table lead slip, while Villa are desperate to rise from the playoffs and into the automatic promotion places. Wolves boast undeniable quality but Villa also have a talented, Premier League-worthy squad, and with both sides having stuttered slightly in recent weeks, this will be a tight game to call. Should Villa prevail against Nuno Espirito Santo's charges, it will blow the promotion race wide open, and as a neutral, I would - in the words of Kevin Keegan - love it. So, I'm tipping Steve Bruce's side to just edge it. Score prediction: 1-0 home win Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  22. A busy midweek Championship programme takes place with most games on Tuesday plus one on Wednesday. How could these games pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look. Sheffield Wednesday vs. Ipswich Town Ipswich will attempt to build upon their 1-0 win at Preston last time out when they make the trip to Sheffield Wednesday, who have lost their last three. Wednesday's defence has cracked in recent weeks, having conceded 12 goals in four games, while Ipswich have conceded four in their last eight. Score prediction: Sheff Wed 0-1 Ipswich Norwich City vs. Nottingham Forest Norwich will hope to improve upon a run of four successive draws against Nottingham Forest, who will arrive with back-to-back wins to their name. The Canaries have won just three of their last 15 home matches in all competitions but I fancy them to get back to form and be too strong for the Reds. Score prediction: Norwich 2-0 Forest Fulham vs. Sheffield United Fulham will look to maintain their challenge by extending their unbeaten league run to 14 games against a Sheffield United out to stay in the playoff hunt. No other side has won more points or scored more goals than Fulham in 2018 and, since Christmas, no other player has scored more league goals in England than teenager Ryan Sessegnon. Score prediction: Fulham 2-1 Sheff Utd Hull City vs. Millwall Hull, who sit just three points above the drop zone, entertain a Millwall side that have gone nine Championship games without defeat. The Tigers are looking to welcome a number of players back, including Abel Hernandez, but the Lions are in great form and I see them getting all three points on Humberside. Score prediction: Hull 0-2 Millwall Sunderland vs. Aston Villa Steve Bruce heads back to Sunderland with promotion-chasing Aston Villa as he bids to put another nail in the Black Cats' relegation coffin. Although the Villans have stumbled in recent weeks, they won their game last time out at Sheffield Wednesday and despite Sunderland drawing their last two, I think Villa will be too strong for the basement side. Score prediction: Sunderland 0-2 Villa Preston North End vs. Bristol City Preston North End and Bristol City meet at Deepdale on the back of welcome weekend victories against Bolton and Sheffield Weds respectively. With only three points between these two, I think it'll be an evenly-contested game and I see the spoils as being shared. Score prediction: PNE 0-0 Bristol C Cardiff City vs. Barnsley Second-placed Cardiff will hope to further cut their six-point gap to Wolves when they entertain Barnsley in Wales. Cardiff have won their last four league games without conceding, but Jose Morais has won four points in his first two away Championship games with the Tykes, as many as previous boss Paul Heckingbottom in his last seven away league matches. Score prediction: Cardiff 2-0 Barnsley Birmingham City vs. Middlesbrough New Birmingham manager Garry Monk faces a reunion with the club which sacked him in December as Middlesbrough head for St Andrew's sitting in seventh place. The Blues, who parted company with Steve Cotterill over the weekend following a fifth successive league defeat, go into the game two points shy of safety and I think this game comes too soon for any signs of progress. Score prediction: Brum 0-2 Boro Burton Albion vs. Brentford Burton, who remain in the bottom three and three points of safety, welcome a wildly inconsistent Brentford outfit to the Pirelli Stadium. The Brewers have lost 12 home Championship matches this season, three more than any other side, while the Bees continue to tread water in mid-table with five wins and four defeats from their last ten. Score prediction: Burton 1-1 Brentford Queens Park Rangers vs. Derby County Derby, who are without a win in five, need to halt their slide if they are to stay in the promotion race when they travel to Queens Park Rangers. QPR are largely out of relegation bother with a nine-point cushion above the bottom three but are still falling to too many defeats - two in a row coming into this and five from their last eight. Score prediction: QPR 1-3 Derby Reading vs. Bolton Wanderers Bolton, who sit just four points from the bottom three and have won one in six, travel to Reading to meet a Royals side that have won just once in 14 attempts. With two sides out of form locking horns, I honestly cannot see beyond a draw that will do little for either side in terms of survival hopes. Score prediction: Reading 1-1 Bolton Leeds United vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (Weds) Could the previously indomitable Wolves be on the verge of collapsing? Depending on how Cardiff do on Tuesday, the West Midlanders could head into this game just three points clear at the top. Wolves have not won any of their past three games - their longest run without a league victory this season - and will be missing Ruben Neves, who serves a two-match ban, Leeds will be hoping to bounce back from their disappointing 3-0 loss at Middlesbrough on Friday but have lost their last five Championship matches against teams starting the day in top spot, and I expect Wolves to have just a little too much for the Whites. Score prediction: Leeds 0-2 Wolves Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  23. Birmingham City have appointed Garry Monk as their new manager on a three-and-a-half-year contract. The 38-year-old joins the Blues as a replacement for Steve Cotterill, who was sacked on Saturday night following a 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest. Birmingham are currently two points adrift of safety in the Championship and are the lowest scoring side in the division, having netted only 23 goals in 35 league games this season. The West Midlanders confirmed Monk's appointment on Sunday in a statement, which read: "The club is delighted to announce the appointment of Garry Monk as our new manager. "He will be assisted by Pep Clotet, James Beattie and Darryl Flahavan. Sean Rush joins Monk's backroom staff as Head of Performance and Ryan Needs comes in as Head of Analysis. "After talks today, Monk has signed a three-and-a-half year contract. Assistant Manager Clotet, First Team Coach Beattie and Goalkeeper Coach Flahavan have also agreed contracts until the summer of 2021." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  24. Birmingham City have officially sacked manager Steve Cotterill following five straight Championship defeats. The Blues lost 2-1 at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to remain two points adrift of safety in 22nd with 11 games remaining. Cotterill, who was appointed manager in September after Harry Redknapp's dismissal, won just six league games out of 24. The 53-year-old's backroom team, including first-team coaches Paul Groves and Paul Williams, have also had their contracts terminated. "The board would like to place on record their sincere thanks to Steve, not only for his significant contribution at the conclusion of last season for which we will remain grateful, but also for his genuine efforts, contribution and hard work during his tenure in this 2017-18 campaign," a club statement wrote. "Steve has conducted himself professionally on behalf of the club at all times, his work ethic and honesty are a credit to him and there is a genuine sadness at this decision. "However, the board feel that a change in management at this stage is in the best interests of the football club." Birmingham are now looking for a fifth manager in 16 months since Gary Rowett was sacked in December 2016. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  25. The freezing weather across the UK - branded 'the Beast from the East' - has caused havoc with the football fixture list. Numerous games up and down the country have already been called off this weekend due to unplayable pitches and safety concerns around stadiums. All seven of Saturday's Premier League games are set to go ahead despite adverse weather conditions in the UK, but six games in the Championship have been postponed, as have most in League One and League Two. Here is the current list of postponed games as of 10:40am GMT. Championship Aston Villa v QPR Barnsley v Norwich City Brentford v Cardiff City Ipswich Town v Hull City Sheffield United v Burton Albion Wolverhampton v Reading League One AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Blackpool v Northampton Bradford v Portsmouth Doncaster v Bury Gillingham v Rotherham Oxford United v Fleetwood Rochdale v Plymouth Shrewsbury v Peterborough League Two Barnet v Port Vale Cheltenham Town v Notts County Crawley Town v Wycombe Wanderers Crewe Alexandra v Forest Green Rovers Exeter v Chesterfield Morecambe v Colchester Newport v Accrington Stevenage v Mansfield Swindon v Yeovil National League Boreham Wood v Macclesfield Town Aldershot Town v Hartlepool United Barrow v Eastleigh Chester v Bromley Ebbsfleet United v Wrexham Halifax Town v Sutton United Guiseley v Dagenham and Redbridge Maidenhead United v Woking Solihull Moors v Maidstone United Toquay United v AFC Fylde Tranmere Rovers v Gateshead Scottish Premiership Ross County v Partick St Johnstone v Hamilton Scottish Championship Dunfermline v Livingstone Inverness CT v Brechin Scottish League 1 Airdrieonians v Stranraer Albion Rovers v Queen's Park Arbroath v Ayr Forfar v Raith Scottish League 2 Berwick Rangers v Stirling Albion Clyde v Elgin City Edinburgh City v Cowdenbeath Montrose v Annan Peterhead v Stenhousemuir Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.

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