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Found 40 results

  1. Former Norwich City striker Grant Holt has retired as a professional footballer and taken up a coaching role at the club, where he spent four successful seasons from 2009 to 2013. The 37-year-old helped the Canaries secure back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League, scoring 78 goals in 168 appearances. He played for a host of other clubs during his career, including Aston Villa, Wigan, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Hibernian. Holt most recently took on a player-coach role at National League side Barrow, but left the club at the end of last season. "I have been given the fantastic opportunity to work as a coach at Norwich City and also the fantastic opportunity to work with Langley school developing the talents of tomorrow," Holt said on Twitter. "Due to me committing to both roles I've decided the time has come to hang my boots up as a professional footballer. "I would like to thank every fan at all my teams over my career for the amazing support and memories you all gave me. "Would also like to thank every fan who slagged me off, shouted at me and booed when I touched the ball because without you it would [have] not been as fun. "Thank you to everyone behind the scenes that I met along the way, you [know] who you are. "Most importantly I would like to thank my family who have supported me through the highs and the lows in my career on and off the field. Yours sincerely, Holty." 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. Leicester City have signed James Maddison from Norwich City for an undisclosed fee believed to be about £20m. The 21-year-old midfielder passed a medical and agreed personal terms with the Foxes earlier this week ahead of signing a five-year deal. He had decided against a switch to Southampton in order to be closer to his Coventry-based family home. "I'm really happy to be here," Maddison told the official Leicester site. "I had a good chat with the manager about football and how he wants me to play, how he likes to play and I was sold. We talked about the type of player I am, how I'm going to fit into his style of play and everything sounded really promising. I haven't looked back since that phone call. "Leicester just seems like the right fit for me. I've got a good feel about the club and I can't ignore that, in my head and my heart. I felt like this was the right place for me to be, so I'm delighted and can't wait to get started." Foxes boss Claude Puel added: "James is a wonderful player who is one of the most exciting young talents in English football. "He made a big contribution to Norwich City last season and I'm delighted that he has decided to make the step up to the Premier League with Leicester." 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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. We're on gameweek 34 of 46 and the finish line is getting closer by the minute, but plenty of twists and turns remain in the Championship promotion, playoff and relegation races. How will this weekend's games pan out? Football Manics previews the action. Hull City vs. Sheffield United Hull remain perilously close to the drop zone having won just one of their last 11 Championship games, drawing four and losing six, while the Blades are just two points from the playoff places and are hoping to secure three consecutive league wins for the first time since October. Score prediction: 0-2 away win Queens Park Rangers vs. Nottingham Forest QPR's form is sketchy at present, with four defeats in their last six, although they've won their last two home league games, while Forest have won just two of their past 14 games in all competitions but have at least steadied the ship with two draws from their last two games following three straight league defeats. I predict a split of the points at Loftus Road. Score prediction: 1-1 draw Leeds United vs. Brentford United's form remains poor, without a league win in nine, as well as shipping 10 goals in their last three at Elland Road, while Brentford have bounced from two league defeats in a row to win their last two league games, scoring seven and conceding none. I back Brentford to put another nail in the Whites' promotion coffin. Score prediction: 1-3 away win Burton Albion vs. Millwall Burton go into this game on the back of a 2-1 win against fellow strugglers Barnsley but will be facing a team in superb form hoping to make it three wins on the spin and is unbeaten in their last seven. Despite the psychological boost that the Brewers now have, I think the Lions will have too much for their opponents. Score prediction: 1-2 away win Sheffield Wednesday vs. Aston Villa Wednesday continue to stumble this term despite Jos Luhukay's appointment, going into this on the back of a 2-1 loss at Millwall, and remain woeful in front goal, while Villa are in the middle of a blip - a defeat and a draw having racked up consecutive wins previously - and are desperate to get back to winning ways, which I think they will do at Hillsborough. Score prediction: 0-2 away win Sunderland vs. Middlesbrough The Wear-Tees derby sees a team on a crash course towards League One against one still in the hunt for the playoffs but suffering from inconsistent form. Sunderland have lost four of their last five, drawing the other, while Boro have won two and drawn two of their last four. That said, I fancy the Black Cats to take a point against the visitors. Score prediction: 0-0 draw Preston North End vs. Ipswich Town Preston are unbeaten in their last seven league games, though the last three have all ended 1-1, the Lilywhites throwing away the lead each time. Ipswich, meanwhile, have won just two of their last 11 Championship games but are unbeaten in their last three away trips. I see both teams cancelling each other out in a stalemate. Score prediction: 0-0 draw Norwich City vs. Bolton Wanderers Norwich have lost just one of their last 10 Championship outings, losing seven of their previous 10 before this run, and twice in the last minute of injury time to salvage draws against both Ipswich Town and Wolves, while Bolton go into this game having beaten Sunderland but remain poor on the road, so I tip the Canaries to claim all three points. Score prediction: 2-0 home win Birmingham City vs. Barnsley Two out-of-form sides collide, with the Blues having lost their last three Championship games, failing to score each time, and the Tykes having picked up just one win from their last 17 league games, netting just nine goals in that period and never more than once in a match. But given Birmingham were previously doing well and are at home, I fancy them to edge this encounter. Score prediction: 1-0 home win Reading vs. Derby County Reading, who have just 6 points from their last 10 games, remain too close to the bottom three for comfort and will be desperate to end a three-game winless run, but will have to do so without Chris Martin as he cannot play against his parent club. Derby are also winless in three but they have enough quality about them to get back in form and I think they'll do fine at the Madejski. Score prediction: 0-2 away win Fulham vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers A big, big clash as in-form Fulham host leaders Wolves, although the former were held by Bristol City and the latter were pegged back against Norwich last time out, so both will be eager to strike a decisive blow against their fellow big guns. With Ryan Sessegnon in such scintillating form, he can be a test for any opposition back line, but I think Wolves have enough to overcome the Cottagers. Score prediction: 1-2 away win Cardiff City vs. Bristol City Sunday sees second-placed Cardiff hoping to see off another fellow promotion chaser in Bristol City, who beat the Bluebirds in the reverse fixture but have won just one of their last nine. Neil Warnock's side has picked up 17 points out of 21 since losing four successive league games during the festive period and I fancy them to strike another blow in the Robins' playoff hopes. Score prediction: 2-0 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.
  8. Some huge games taking place in the Championship on Wednesday night, with four of the top five - Fulham, Derby County, Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers - all eager to carry on establishing their promotion credentials. How could the four fixtures pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look in this preview. Bristol City vs. Fulham The Robins remain in the playoffs by the skin of their teeth having relinquished a two-goal lead at Leeds United to eventually draw 2-2 last time out to keep them winless in three. Fulham, meanwhile, are the division's in-form team and are now above City in the playoffs, thanks to a 10-match unbeaten run featuring eight wins, including against Aston Villa. With Ryan Sessegnon in their arsenal and the rest of the team also in good harmony, the Cottagers are a force to be reckoned with and I tip them for all three points at Ashton Gate. Score prediction: 0-2 away win Derby County vs. Leeds United Derby's impressive unbeaten run came to an end at the weekend as they lost to Sheffield Wednesday but they will be eager to make amends and could return to second place should they win and Cardiff City lose. Leeds, meanwhile, haven't won in eight league games but will be boosted by the return of three players as Samuel Saiz, Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper have all served their suspensions. The Whites will fancy their chances against a Derby side which has taken a hit result-wise but I reckon Gary Rowett's side will put the Owls loss behind them and beat the visitors. Score prediction: 3-1 home win Ipswich Town vs. Cardiff City Ipswich will need to put their disappointing result in the East Anglian derby behind them, coming close to victory only for Norwich City to grab a late equaliser at Carrow Road, but just one defeat in six is a good springboard. Cardiff are unbeaten in their last six, however, having put a recent blip firmly behind them and returning to the top two, where they could potentially build a four-point cushion from the teams in the playoff spots should results go their way. Ipswich have only lost one of their last seven home league games against Cardiff, while Neil Warnock has a good record against the Tractor Boys - I reckon the two will cancel each other out and it'll end in a draw. Score prediction: 0-0 draw Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Norwich City Wolves remain head and shoulders above the rest of the chasing pack, 11 points clear at the top, as three consecutive wins and a draw consigned the shock loss against Nottingham Forest to memory - and besides, just one defeat in their last 18 Championship matches is frightening stuff for everyone else. Norwich will be boosted after snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat in the East Anglian derby, however, and their own four-match unbeaten run (two wins, two draws) is not to be sniffed at, iand in addition, they are unbeaten in their last five on the road. Both sides enjoy fluid, attacking football and playing on the ground, so it should be a decent encounter at Molineux, but given the sheer quality in the Wolves pack, if these two go toe to toe in the same style, I can only see the hosts winning. Score prediction: 3-1 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.
  9. Two Championship fixtures await us this Sunday as Norwich City host Ipswich in the hotly contested East Anglian derby, while Leeds United welcome promotion-chasing Bristol City at Elland Road. How are these games expected to pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look in our preview. Norwich City vs. Ipswich Town (12pm GMT) The East Anglian derby has brought plenty of fireworks in recent years and, due to the hype around the fixture, it has taken place 18 times on a Sunday since the turn of the century, three times as many as any other fixture in the second tier. Both teams are level on points (44) in the Championship, with the Tractor Boys in 12th and the Canaries in 13th with a slightly worse goal difference, making this latest derby even more difficult to call. The recent history seems to favour Norwich, who are unbeaten in their last nine matches against Ipswich in all competitions since a 3-2 defeat in April 2009, while the Blues haven't won at Carrow Road since February 2006. Daniel Farke's charges have the superb James Maddison on their books, who has created the most goalscoring chances in the division this season and has also won his side more points via goals and assists than any other player in the second tier. However, Ipswich have kept two consecutive clean sheets in league competition, which bodes well in terms of shutting out their bitter rivals. As I mentioned before, it's a very difficult game to call given how little there is between the two teams and how derby form tends to go out of the window, so I'm going to call this a draw. Score prediction: 1-1 draw Leeds United vs. Bristol City (4pm GMT) Leeds have been in horrendous form recently, with five defeats and two draws in their last seven league games, plus their squad remains depleted with Samuel Saiz, Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper still suspended, plus Conor Shaughnessy and Tyler Roberts injured. United, who go into the game 11th in the table and eight points adrift of the top six, fell further off the pace with a 2-1 loss at eighth-placed Sheffield United last weekend in Paul Heckingbottom's first game in charge since his defection from Barnsley. If the Whites' playoff hopes are diminishing rapidly, Bristol City's are at risk of slipping away, with just two wins from their last nine in the league to sit sixth, but victory in Yorkshire will see them five points clear of seventh-placed Preston North End, who have played one game more than the Robins. Worryingly for City, they have lost two of their last three away league games, as many as in their previous 15 combined, and their last game saw them fritter a three-goal lead against Sunderland for a final score of 3-3, including two own goals. So we have two sides that, although not in relegation trouble, are out of form and desperate for a result, but I can see them cancelling each other out for a share of the spoils which will do little for either side. Score prediction: 0-0 draw 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.
  10. Part 1 of the Football Manics Championship gameweek 31 preview focuses on the likes of Millwall's Friday night meeting with Cardiff City, Derby County's clash with Norwich City, and the two Yorkshire derbies. How will the action unfold? Let's take a closer look. Millwall vs. Cardiff City Millwall are in a good run of form in the league, with two wins and two draws from their last five, plus they are a tough nut to crack at The Den, having only lost four of their last 35 home matches in all competitions. Cardiff, however, have put their recent blip behind them, with resounding victories over Sunderland and Leeds United, plus a goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday, and if anyone knows how to handle an intimidating environment, it'll be a Neil Warnock-managed side. I expect it will be a fiercely contested game between two physical, intense sides, with the final outcome a share of the spoils. Score prediction: 2-2 Barnsley vs. Sheffield Wednesday It's not a good time for Barnsley at present, having lost their last four league games on the trot and seeing Paul Heckingbottom leave to join Leeds United just a week after penning a new contract at Oakwell. Wednesday are in even worse form, however, with just one win from their last 14 league games, though seven draws in that time have kept them afloat above the drop zone. The Owls' last three away games in all competitions ended goalless but given how beleaguered Barnsley are at the moment, I fancy them to nick a goal and win this derby. Score prediction: 0-1 Sheffield United vs. Leeds United Another Yorkshire derby with a lunchtime-ish kickoff, both sides are fairly well placed in the standings but are both out of form, Sheff Utd with two wins from their last 13 and Leeds winless in their last six. The history favours the Blades, who haven't lost at home to Leeds since April 1992, and are unbeaten in their last 17 Yorkshire derbies, although they will be missing goalkeeper Simon Moore due to suspension. It's a baptism of fire for new Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom, with both sides desperate to get back on form and into the playoffs, but I fancy the spoils to be shared. Score prediction: 1-1 Brentford vs. Preston North End The Bees are in a strange vein of form, their last eight games yielding five wins and three losses without a single draw, but they go into this match looking to avoid a third defeat on the trot. Preston have made a name for themselves as a solid side on the road - indeed, only the current top two Wolves (33) and Derby (27) have won more away Championship points this season than the Whites (24). With both sides missing key players in Sergi Canos and Ben Pearson, it'll be a fairly even game but I fancy Preston to emerge victorious. Score prediction: 0-2 Bolton Wanderers vs. Fulham Bolton are very much on the up, having won three and drawn one of their last five, but they're up against one of the most in-form sides boasting one of the best players in the league. Fulham have collected more points across their last 10 league matches than any other Championship side, including five wins on the spin, and Ryan Sessegnon continues to sparkle for his side, his talents recognised with the January Player of the Month award and its PFA counterpart. As such, I expect Slavisa Jokanovic's charges to come through their trip to the Macron Stadium with all three points, even if Bolton did earn a very good win against Bristol City last time out. Score prediction: 1-2 Derby County vs. Norwich City The Rams are in a rich vein of form, unbeaten in 11 league matches and in the automatic promotion spots, while striker Matej Vydra is the Championship's leading scorer with 16 goals. Norwich are also doing well at the moment, with five wins from their last seven games, and in terms of head to head, Nelson Oliveira has scored four goals in two Championship starts against Derby, including a hat-trick in January 2017. That said, the Canaries have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 league matches against the Rams, and with the hosts in such good form, I fancy them to emerge victorious. Score prediction: 2-0 To check out part 2 of our Championship gameweek 31 preview, click here. 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.
  11. Another busy weekend of Championship is upon us with everything still to play for. How will this Saturday's second-tier fixtures pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look. Leeds United vs. Cardiff City Since a run of four successive league wins, Leeds United have picked up just two points in their last five games, failing to score on four occasions in this run. Cardiff previously endured similarly poor form, losing four in a row, but have steadied the ship by beating Sunderland and drawing with Sheffield Wednesday. Both sides are out of form but with Leeds still missing numerous key players, I fancy Neil Warnock's boys to come out on top. Score prediction: 2-1 Fulham vs. Nottingham Forest The Cottagers have won six of their last seven league games, including each of the last four, to head into this game in high spirits. Forest, meanwhile, have failed to score in five of their last six Championship games, although they won their last away game against current league leaders Wolves. Both sides boast numerous new players following a flurry of activity on deadline day so it will be interesting to see how many are picked and how quickly they gel, but I still think Fulham will be too strong at home. Score prediction: 3-1 Reading vs. Millwall Reading's dreadful run of form was halted with a 3-1 win over Burton Albion but the stats still make for grim reading - the Royals have won just two of their past 12 Championship home games, failing to win all four home games in December and January. Millwall, meanwhile, ended their run of 21 Championship away games without a victory with their win over Leeds United, while their last game was a solid 0-0 draw with Derby County. It's a tough one to call so I'm going to go for a draw, as neither side seems to have that little extra to separate them from the other. Score prediction: 1-1 Aston Villa vs. Burton Albion The Villans are in superb form, having won each of their past five league games; their best run in the league since April 1998. They face an out-of-sorts Burton side that followed up their superb win over Sheffield Wednesday with four successive defeats in all competitions. If any one game could be considered a banker, I would opt for this one. Of course anything can happen in football but I think Villa will win. Score prediction: 3-0 Sheffield Wednesday vs. Birmingham City Wednesday have failed to score in five successive Championship games, last scoring 475 minutes ago against Nottingham Forest in December, but have remained tight at the back, with three draws in a row. They come up against a Birmingham side that has turned a corner, winning three and drawing one of their last five. Could Wednesday really get a fourth goalless draw in a row? In all honesty I think Steve Cotterill will mastermind a win at Hillsborough. Score prediction: 0-1 Preston North End vs. Hull City Preston go into this game on the back of a superb 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest but remain struggling at home, with just two wins in their last 10 at Deepdale. Hull, meanwhile, have failed to score in each of their last four league games on the road (losing all four 1-0), last scoring against Sheffield Wednesday in December. That said, I reckon Alex Neil's side - most probably unchanged from the win at the City Ground - will have the momentum and claim all three points. Score prediction: 2-0 Derby County vs. Brentford Derby have conceded just three goals in their past 13 Championship games, including clean sheets in each of their past three. However, Brentford have won six of their past 10 league games, so they'll be a tough proposition for the Rams. This is one of those games where both teams have a lot going for them but I fancy them to cancel each other out in a draw. Score prediction: 0-0 Sunderland vs. Ipswich Town Sunderland are a tougher proposition now than earlier in the season but they remain in trouble even if seven points in their last four home league games is better than their last 17 home games combined. Ipswich, meanwhile, have won just one of their last eight away Championship outings, failing to win any of their last four. This could be another case of two teams with little between them but I think Mick McCarthy's side will have enough to defeat a side with defensive worries. Score prediction: 0-2 Norwich City vs. Middlesbrough Norwich have been climbing up the table in recent weeks, with their last six fixtures yielding four wins and a draw. Boro, however, have won three in a row away from home; their longest winning streak on the road since January 2016 - even if they remain inconsistent as a whole. A tough game to call but with Norwich boasting momentum and a spate of new signings, I fancy them to emerge victorious. Score prediction: 3-1 Queens Park Rangers vs. Barnsley QPR go into this game on the back of two successive defeats and just two wins from their last six. As opponents go, Barnsley are probably a good call to return to form - one win in their last ten and just six goals scored in their last 13. That said, I don't think the hosts will have enough in them to get all three points, so I'm going for a draw. Score prediction: 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Sheffield United Nine points clear at the top of the table, Wolves had stumbled in recent weeks but go into this game having beaten Ipswich 1-0 last time out. The Blades remain in contention for the playoffs but have won just two of their last 12 league games. I don't fancy United to emerge victorious at Molineux but at the same time they should have enough to leave with a point. Score prediction: 1-1 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.
  12. Just four Championship fixtures taking place on Saturday, what with a significant amount of second division teams still in the FA Cup, but all eight teams in action will be eager to steal a march on the sides who will have to play catch up. How will these games pan out? Football Manics takes a look with a dedicated preview piece. Barnsley vs. Fulham Barnsley are not in the best shape at present, with just one win in their last 13 league games (at relegation-threatened Sunderland). And spare a thought for the poor Tykes fans who attend home games - Oakwell has seen just one goal from the home side in the past six league games and no win in the past six there. Compare that to Fulham, who have picked up 16 points from a possible 18 and scored 19 goals in their past six games, including a 6-0 thrashing of Burton Albion last time out. Could this be a coupon-buster? It has all the right ingredients for one, that's for sure, but going for a Barnsley win would basically be anti-logic, so I'll back Fulham to win. Score prediction: 0-2 Brentford vs. Norwich City The in-form Bees - if you ignore the heavy defeat to Wolves anyway - sit just three points from the playoffs and could leapfrog Sheffield United in sixth should they claim a hefty enough win against Norwich City. Since losing their first home league game of the season, Brentford have remained unbeaten in 13 games at Griffin Park - more than twice as many as the next longest streak of six held by Aston Villa, Fulham and Millwall. However, the Canaries have kept clean sheets in each of their last three league away games - their longest run since October 2010 - and have bolstered their ranks this week with the signings of Onel Hernandez and Dennis Srbeny. It should be a fairly tight game but with Brentford in such good form, especially at Griffin Park, I fancy them to nick a win. Score prediction: 1-0 Bristol City vs. Queens Park Rangers Bristol City's time in the spotlight is now but a memory and the team needs to quickly put the superb EFL Cup run behind it and focus on the grind of the league, which has arguably been neglected in recent weeks. Indeed, the Robins are without a win in their last four league games - losing three of them - after winning five of their previous six, which needs to be addressed immediately should they want to retain any hopes of staying in the playoffs. In addition, City have failed to score in each of the last three league outings, after scoring in eight successive games - clearly the cup has proven a massive distraction for them. QPR have shown signs of recovery with two wins in a row before losing to Boro last time out, but with Lee Johnson's side now able to fully concentrate on the league, I fancy them to get one over on Ian Holloway's visiting side. Score prediction: 2-1 Ipswich Town vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers Ipswich's recent form has been poor to say the least, although the rot was stopped with a win over Leeds United (followed up by a comeback 1-1 draw at struggling Bolton Wanderers). Things are better at home though - since losing two successive league games at Portman Road at the end of October, Ipswich have lost just one of their previous seven, keeping clean sheets in three of their last four. Wolves, meanwhile, are wounded animals - they have failed to score in their last two Championship outings (a draw and a defeat) and their previously invincible aura has now faded. However, they have spent the week at a warm weather training camp in Spain following their 2-0 home defeat by Nottingham Forest on January 20 and have no fresh injury concerns, with Ruben Vinaigre back from his three-match ban. With Wolves not having to worry about the FA Cup and fully rejuvenated from both a physical and mental perspective, I fancy them to put in a stellar performance and earn a comprehensive win over the Blues. Score prediction: 1-4 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.
  13. Another weekend, another full programme of Championship fixtures, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. How will these fixtures pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look. Derby County vs. Bristol City Despite being just three places apart in the table, second-placed Derby remain in great form and are defensively sound, while the Robins have lost their last three league games (including a 5-0 hammering at Aston Villa). With the second league of the EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday, I imagine both Lee Johnson and his players will be more focused on that game, and I fancy the Rams to take full advantage. Score prediction: 3-1 Bolton Wanderers vs. Ipswich Town Bolton are showing signs of improvement, with three wins from their last five edging them outside the bottom three, while Ipswich have won just one of their last five and have been struggling away from home recently. Given the Whites' upturn in form, plus the recent impressive displays from Gary Madine, I reckon the hosts will claim all three points against Mick McCarthy's men. Score prediction: 2-0 Leeds United vs. Millwall After scoring in 12 successive league games, Leeds are without a goal in their last three games, the results of which were two defeats and a draw, a worrying downturn in form. The Lions, however, are the only side in the Championship yet to win away from home this season, having drawn six and lost seven of their 13 games on the road in 2017-18, so it's the ideal opportunity for the hosts to get back to winning ways. Score prediction: 2-1 Preston North End vs. Birmingham City Preston's current form is rather mediocre at present but they have lost just one of their last five Championship home games, while Birmingham remain in the bottom three having followed up two wins with a 3-0 humbling by Derby. A tricky one to call, I'll remain conservative and predict a draw which will do little for either side - if we look at history, Steve Cotterill has never won at Deepdale and Brum have only won once in 16 league visits there. Score prediction: 0-0 Queens Park Rangers vs. Middlesbrough QPR have won their last two on the spin and their recent record reads DDLWW, a good platform for Ian Holloway to build on with his side now nicely clear of the bottom three. However, Boro will be a tough proposition - they have lost two of their last three but they're seeking a third successive win on the road and I think their quality will show at Loftus Road. Score prediction: 0-2 Norwich City vs. Sheffield United Norwich have improved in recent weeks and boast three wins and a draw in their last four to keep their playoff hopes alive - indeed, Norwich have picked up 10 points from a possible 12 since Christmas, winning just one of the previous 10 beforehand. United, meanwhile, have managed just one win in their last 10 Championship fixtures, and that was at home to Sunderland, so I'm expecting the Canaries to triumph in this game. Score prediction: 2-1 Sunderland vs. Hull City Sunderland remain rock bottom of the table, having lost three of their last four - indeed, they have scored just once in their five games since Christmas in all competitions. Not that Hull are having a much better time though - they have scored in just one of their last six Championship games and have only won once in their last 14 games, so I'll opt for a stalemate (watch it finish 4-3 now). Score prediction: 0-0 Aston Villa vs. Barnsley Promotion-chasing Villa are seeking a fourth win on the bounce and will face an inconsistent side struggling in the lower reaches of the the table. Since their 3-1 win at Villa Park in February 2017, Barnsley have won just four of their last 20 away games in the Championship, and given how much improved the hosts will be, this is a home banker for me. Score prediction: 2-0 Reading vs. Brentford The Royals are without a win in their last seven games in the Championship, scoring just two goals in their last six, and have won just two of their last 11 league home games. In contrast, Brentford have won four of their last five league games, scoring exactly twice in each of those victories, so for me, the Bees have this in the bag. Score prediction: 1-3 Fulham vs. Burton Albion Fulham have picked up 13 points from a possible 15 in their last five league games and will be hoping to avenge their defeat to Burton in September. After winning just one of their opening 10 Championship away games this season, the Brewers are on a run of three successive victories on the road, so it won't be straightforward - a draw for me. Score prediction: 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Nottingham Forest Wolves lost to Swansea in the FA Cup earlier this week but they will be welcoming back most of their regulars, who have helped the team to the top of the Championship with just one defeat in their last 17 league fixtures and a 13-match unbeaten league run. Forest's FA Cup win over Arsenal, impressive as it was, masked the fact they're on a poor run of form in the league, without a win from their last six games, and I expect a strong Wolves side to get the better of them at Molineux. Score prediction: 3-1 Sheffield Wednesday vs. Cardiff City New Owls manager Jos Luhukay steered his side to a goalless draw in the Steel City derby last time out and will be hoping to build on it as he bids to edge his side further away from the bottom three. Cardiff, meanwhile, ended a four-game losing streak last time out with their 4-0 win over Sunderland, although the Bluebirds have lost two successive games on the road, last winning in November. It'll be a fiery game, with pantomime villain and boyhood Blades fan Neil Warnock in charge of the visitors, and I fancy the points to be shared. Score prediction: 1-1 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.
  14. Three FA Cup third-round replays take place tonight, with 2017 finalists Chelsea having to have a rematch against Championship side Norwich City, plus two Premier League strugglers up against the leaders of the Championship and League One respectively. How will tonight's games pan out? Football Manics takes a look with our exclusive preview. Chelsea vs. Norwich City Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Championship Norwich at Carrow Road in the first game and face off again at Stamford Bridge tonight. The Blues's form has tailed off a little recently, with the stalemate in Norfolk the second of three successive draws in all competitions. Norwich, meanwhile, have hit a rich vein of form, with four wins and a draw from their last five putting them into 13th place in the table. Antonio Conte is expected to rotate his squad again and, in all fairness, I think home advantage and more focus will see Chelsea do enough to edge their opponents. Score prediction: 2-0 Swansea City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers Much like Chelsea boss Conte, Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal is likely to pick a side made out of fringe players for tonight's meeting with Championship leaders Wolves. Carvalhal has admitted that Premier League survival is the priority for his side, currently propping up the table, which simply gives more impetus to a team likely to swap places with them at the end of the season. Wolves continue to march on at the top of the second tier and, despite the odd poor result here and there, not many would rule out automatic promotion at the very least. And with a side bankrolled by big bucks and boasting Premier League quality players, I expect them to give the cup a good go too and fancy them to win tonight. Score prediction: 1-3 Wigan Athletic vs. Bournemouth The Cherries were on the verge of a giant killing first time round, two goals down at home to Wigan before salvaging a draw in injury time. Despite this, Eddie Howe will probably rotate his squad given the rigours of the Premier League, in which they sit just four points above the bottom three, plus a spate of absences including Junior Stanislas and Josh King. Wigan sit top of League One and currently boast a nine-game unbeaten run in the division, of which six were wins, so their morale will be high and they will fancy this. I reckon this is the hardest of the lot to call and I can see it going to extra time, maybe even penalties. For the sake of romance, I'll tip Wigan to reach round four. Score prediction: 1-1 (AET), Wigan to win on penalties 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.
  15. Huddersfield Town have signed Norwich City midfielder Alex Pritchard for an undisclosed fee on a three-and-a-half-year deal. The 24-year-old joined the Canaries for £8m from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2016 and scored seven goals in 38 league games. Pritchard joins David Wagner's side for a fee understood to be in the region of £12m, with the option for the club to extend his deal by a further year. He is Town's second signing this month after defender Terence Kongolo joined on loan from Monaco on 2 January. Pritchard told Huddersfield Town TV: "I think it will be the right club for me - I have spoken to the manager a couple of times now. Just the way they play football and the togetherness of the team is a perfect fit for me." Wagner added: "I'm very happy to be able to welcome Alex to Huddersfield Town. He is exactly the type of player that we like to work with at this club. "Alex is a young, British player who arrives as one of the top performers in the Sky Bet Championship and with a desire to prove himself in the Premier League. "Now we will work hard with him to give him every possibility of being a success for us in the top division." 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. Here we are at matchday 25 of the Championship, the final one of 2017. The table has already shaped up nicely but who will enjoy a happy New Year's Eve? Football Manics previews all 12 fixtures. Kickoff Saturday 3pm unless otherwise specified. Cardiff City vs. Preston North End (Fri, 7:45pm) Cardiff have lost ground on table-topping Wolves and been overtaken by Bristol City in second after back-to-back losses against Bolton and Fulham, so Neil Warnock will be desperate to get his side back on track. Preston have gone eight matches unbeaten and stand to go seventh - just a point behind Sheffield United - should they win in Wales, but they have a number of injury concerns. Although the Lilywhites have been in great form, I reckon Cardiff will have been given a big kick up the backside by Warnock and, in front of their own fans, get the win. Score prediction: 2-1 Millwall vs. Queens Park Rangers (Fri, 7:45pm) Millwall claimed a creditable draw against Wolves at The Den last time out and will be hoping to build on it against a QPR side slowly returning to form, though they may be without Conor McLaughlin and Tom Elliott. The R's, who will be without the suspended Josh Scowen, have won one and drawn two of their last three but have collected only one win from their last 19 away games in the Championship. The Den is an intimidating arena and it's likely to be even more so given it's a East vs West London clash, plus with QPR struggling away, I fancy Millwall to come up trumps. Score prediction: 1-0 Barnsley vs. Reading Paul Heckingbottom's side are currently on the longest winless run in the Championship, having not won any of their last nine games in the competition. Reading's form has also taken a tumble in recent weeks, falling to three straight defeats and without a win in four. Barnsley are too close to the bottom three for comfort while Reading will also be looking over their shoulders, but I fancy the visitors to have enough quality to earn a win. Score prediction: 1-3 Birmingham City vs. Leeds United Bottom side Birmingham will be boosted by the return of striker Sam Gallagher from suspension as they look for a first win in eight league matches. Leeds playmaker Samu Saiz will return for the trip to the Midlands after missing the last two games with a calf problem for a side with the best form in the league, boasting five wins and a draw from their last six. Worst recent form against best recent form - would it be too obvious to guess an away win or is this the archetypal coupon-buster? I'm going to stick my neck out and go for a draw. Score prediction: 1-1 Brentford vs. Sheffield Wednesday Brentford, who could back Ollie Watkins and Alan Judge to the XI, have lost just twice in their last 16 games and are unbeaten at home in their last 10. The managerless Owls, meanwhile, are looking to record back-to-back away victories in the Championship for the first time since April, when they won their final three away trips of 2016-17. Griffin Park has established itself as a bit of a fortress and Wednesday, despite being free of the ineffective Carlos Carvalhal, may not have enough in them to come away with a win. Score prediction: 0-0 Burton Albion vs. Norwich City Luke Murphy, who was ineligible against parent club Leeds, returns to contention for Burton as they attempt to halt a run of eight straight home defeats against Norwich. The Canaries, meanwhile, will check on midfielder Wes Hoolahan and forward Cameron Jerome who both missed the Boxing Day win at Birmingham as they bid to put their inconsistent recent form behind them and claim back-to-back victories. Burton are definitely a League One side playing in the Championship and I think Norwich will have just enough to sneak away with victory at the Pirelli Stadium. Score prediction: 0-1 Hull City vs. Fulham Hull leading scorer Jarrod Bowen is nearing full fitness and could be utilised to try and help the Tigers, with just one win in their last 10, edge further away from danger. Slavisa Jokanovic's side, meanwhile, are looking to record three consecutive Championship wins for the first time since April and could have Aboubakar Kamara available again. Fulham have beaten Hull twice in 2017 already and I fancy them to get a hat-trick, Nigel Adkins having failed to build on his debut win over Brentford thus far. Score prediction: 0-2 Ipswich Town vs. Derby County Ipswich are set to be without Teddy Bishop for the visit of Derby because of a hamstring injury, but Kevin Bru, Cole Skuse, Flynn Downes and Tom Adeyemi could be back as the Blues seek to get back to winning ways. Derby will be a tough opponent, however, with four wins and a draw from their last five games and no goals conceded in that time. Incidentally, the last win to get a goal and a win over the Rams was Ipswich, winning 1-0 at Pride Park, but I feel the momentum is with Derby now and back them to win. Score prediction: 1-3 Middlesbrough vs. Aston Villa Tony Pulis takes charge of his first Boro match against an Aston Villa side woefully out of form. The Teessiders have three wins and three defeats from their last six, while Villa have three draws and two losses from their last five. Hard to call but given the visitors' injury woes and bad form, plus the new manager effect for Boro and playing at home, I fancy the hosts to edge it. Score prediction: 2-1 Nottingham Forest vs. Sunderland An inconsistent side struggling for form takes on a team who has been woeful for most of the season but is showing signs of revival. Forest, who are expected to have ex-Mackem Daryl Murphy back against his former club, have just one win in their last six, though they've triumphed in five of the last seven on home turf. Sunderland, meanwhile, lost at Sheffield United last time out but now have two wins and two draws from their last six and I expect them to get something at the City Ground. Score prediction: 2-2 Sheffield United vs. Bolton Wanderers The Blades arrested a woeful run of form with a 3-0 hammering of Sunderland last time out and will be desperate to keep that run going against another struggling side. Although Bolton remain in the bottom three, they are more than capable of notching up wins, with two in their last five including against Cardiff. However, United have scored at least once in each of their last eight home games while Bolton are winless on the road, so I fancy the hosts to come through unscathed. Score prediction: 2-0 Bristol City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (Sat, 5:30pm) And here is the final Championship match of 2017, the surprise high-flyers of the season against the rich, powerful table-toppers. Both sides are in superb form, City winning seven and drawing two of their last 10 and Wolves winning eight and drawing two. Wolves, however, have won more points away from home than any other Championship team this season (26) so I reckon they'll finish their 2017 with a bang. Score prediction: 1-3 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.
  17. Here we are at gameweek 23, the exact halfway point of the Championship season and the last set of fixtures before Christmas. How will the table shape up at the midway point of the campaign? Football Manics takes a look. All fixtures Saturday 3pm kickoff unless otherwise stated. Norwich City vs. Brentford (Friday, 7:45pm) First up this weekend is tonight's meeting between a below-par Norwich side and an inconsistent Brentford outfit. The Canaries have lost six and won just one of their last nine fixtures to slip to 16th in the table, with reports of Daniel Farke's training methods being too much for the players. Brentford, meanwhile, have won just one of their last six and their ability to hold onto a lead is under scrutiny, having lost a league-high 21 points from winning positions this season. Score prediction: 1-2 Bolton Wanderers vs. Cardiff City A meeting between two sides at different ends of the table, Bolton stopped the rot with a win over Barnsley a few weeks ago but they haven't built on it. The Trotters have conceded the highest proportion of their opponents' shots in the Championship this season (14.2%), while Cardiff have conceded the lowest (6.8%). Although the Bluebirds (and Neil Warnock) haven't got a good record over Bolton, I fancy the away manager to claim his first win at the Macron Stadium with his team in such good form. Score prediction: 1-3 Fulham vs. Barnsley The Cottagers will be hoping to bounce back from last week's loss to Sunderland, a team that hadn't won at home in over a year, as well as a record of three wins in their last 11 games. A home game against Barnsley, the team boasting the worst form in the division, should in theory be a straightforward assignment, but with the Tykes having been taken over, morale among their players and fans could be much improved. That said, I fancy Fulham to have the edge over their opponents and claim all three points. Score prediction: 1-0 Leeds United vs. Hull City Leeds have scored in every one of their last 10 league games and if they score in this match, they'll equal the longest-such record seen in the division this season - set by the day's opponents between September and November. Nigel Adkins's side lost last week against Cardiff and playoff-chasing Leeds are another tough proposition, especially given Hull's lengthy injury list. The Tigers have conceded a league-high 16 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this season and, up against a Leeds side that knows where the goal is, I fancy the hosts to emerge victorious. Score prediction: 2-1 Preston North End vs. Nottingham Forest Preston have an outside chance of sneaking into the playoffs should they beat an inconsistent Forest side and other results go their way. The Lilywhites have won four of their last five - the other was a draw - so they're in good form, while the Reds could fall to their fifth away league defeat in a row. I can see this game being a potential coupon-buster, however, so I'm going to go for a draw. Score prediction: 1-1 Queens Park Rangers vs. Bristol City QPR's horrendous run came to an end with victory at Birmingham City last weekend and Ian Holloway could stick with the same starting XI. Bristol City, meanwhile, have a clean bill of health and go into this game on the back of an exhilarating win over Manchester United in the EFL Cup. Will the Robins use the momentum of the victory over Jose Mourinho's side to keep up their good work in the league this season and win at Loftus Road, or will the return to the grind be exploited by QPR? I think it'll be a case of the former. Score prediction: 0-2 Reading vs. Burton Albion The Royals' recent form is decent, with two wins, three draws and a defeat in the last six, but they have 13 points fewer than this time last year when they finished third, so questions might be asked of Jaap Stam's progress with the squad. Burton, meanwhile, continue to labour in the division given the lack of resources compared to the rest of the teams in the league, but are boosted from a 1-0 win at Bolton in their last Championship away game. However, I still fancy Reading to have too much for their opponents, so for me it's a home win. Score prediction: 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday vs. Middlesbrough Carlos Carvalhal is surely on borrowed time, with the Owls in such terrible form at present - no win in six and two defeats in a row, not befitting a side aiming for the playoffs. Boro aren't faring much better, with their early season promise hindered by a failure to get a good winning run going. I can see the crowd at Hillsborough getting restless quickly though, especially if Boro strike first, and I fancy the visitors to leave with all three points. Score prediction: 1-3 Sunderland vs. Birmingham City Chris Coleman's spell at Sunderland has so far yielded very positive results, including a first home win in nearly a year and a surge out of the bottom three. In contrast, Birmingham's appointment of Steve Cotterill has failed to reap rewards, the Blues sitting bottom of the table having lost their last three and four of the last five. It'll probably be a tight and nervy game but I expect a rejuvenated Sunderland - team and fans - to win at a buzzing Stadium of Light. Score prediction: 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Ipswich Town Wolves continue to lead the table, having overcome their draw with Sunderland to beat Sheffield Wednesday last time out to stay four points ahead of Cardiff. Ipswich continue to blow hot and cold but they're still very much in playoff contention, though their form on the road hasn't been great - 12 away defeats this calendar year. I expect that to continue, with Nuno Espirito Santo's high-quality side to see off inconsistent opposition. Score prediction: 3-1 Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United (Saturday, 5:30pm) The final Championship game before Christmas, Villa will be desperate to arrest a three-game winless run as their automatic promotion hopes continue to fade away. United's form has taken a tumble in recent weeks, with three defeats in a row and no wins since mid-November's victory at struggling Burton, though like Villa, they remain in playoff contention. The Blades haven't kept a clean sheet in the Champ since mid-October so, even though Villa have personnel problems, I fancy them to claim all three points. Score prediction: 2-1 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.
  18. Matchday 22 of the Championship gets underway on Friday night and, as we approach the halfway point of the season, it's still all up for grabs in the top three, the playoffs and the bottom three. What twists and turns can we expect from this weekend's football? Football Manics previews all 12 fixtures from the latest Championship matchday. All kickoffs Saturday 3pm unless otherwise stated. Sheffield Wednesday vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (Friday, 7:45pm) The Owls are winless in five and under-fire manager Carlos Carvalhal is serving a touchline ban, while Wolves saw their charge stunted somewhat against Sunderland last week but will be eager to restore their winning run. I tip the visitors to claim a routine victory at Hillsborough. Score prediction: 1-3 Derby County vs. Aston Villa Derby have bounced back from their defeat to Ipswich Town by winning their last two (and four of their last five), while Steve Bruce's plans were left in disarray after Henri Lansbury, Alan Hutton and Chris Samba were all ruled out through injury over the last week. Villa to put up a good fight but the Rams to claim all three points IMHO. Score prediction: 2-1 Sunderland vs. Fulham Sunderland are slowly but surely improving since Chris Coleman came on board as manager and, even though Fulham have rediscovered some of their panache from last season, they're still quite inconsistent, so I reckon the Black Cats will win their first home game in a year. Score prediction: 1-0 Preston North End vs. Sheffield United Preston have turned a corner, winning their last two games, while the Blades, for all their playoff ambitions, have picked up just one point from their last four matches. However, I reckon the visitors will rediscover their form today. Score prediction: 0-1 Birmingham City vs. Queens Park Rangers A clash between two woefully out of form sides, Brum have won just one of their last six, while QPR haven't beaten an opponent since October. Although one side could well get the better of their opponent, I reckon a draw is on the cards. Score prediction: 1-1 Ipswich Town vs. Reading Mick McCarthy's side have won just two in six but could be boosted with the return of David McColdrick and a near fully-fit squad to choose from, while Reading haven't lost in six. I fancy the points to be shared at Portman Road. Score prediction: 2-2 Brentford vs. Barnsley The Bees are unbeaten in their last nine league games at Griffin Park, although six have ended as draws, while the Tykes have lost five in a row and have kept just one clean sheet in their last 18 Championship away games. Home win, in my opinion. Score prediction: 2-0 Millwall vs. Middlesbrough Boro are aiming to build on last week's victory over Ipswich, which ended a run of back-to-back defeats, and have no new injury or suspension worries. Millwall have however impressed in their last two games (beating Sheff Utd and drawing away at Villa) so I fancy them to get something from this home game. Score prediction: 1-1 Leeds United vs. Norwich City Leeds continue to blow hot and cold, their last six games reading LWLWDW, and although they've overcome a recent blip, haven't recorded back to back wins since September. Norwich did beat a lacklustre Sheff Wed side last time out but I expect the Whites to pile more pressure on Daniel Farke. Score prediction: 2-1 Bristol City vs. Nottingham Forest The Robins continue to fly high, with three wins on the trot (including against Sheff Utd and Boro), while Forest boast three wins from their last six but all against struggling opposition (Bolton, Norwich, QPR) and also lost against Birmingham, so I expect City to have too much for them at Ashton Gate. Score prediction: 3-1 Bolton Wanderers vs. Burton Albion Another relegation six pointer as two struggling sides duke it out at the Macron. Bolton have edged out of the bottom three with two wins and two draws from their last six but there is very little between the bottom four. Burton have lost four of their last five and I fancy the Trotters to emerge victorious from this game. Score prediction: 2-0 Cardiff City vs. Hull City (Saturday, 5:30pm) The Bluebirds will look to bounce back from a draw with Reading last time out, before which they won four in a row, but they will be missing captain Sean Morrison. Although Hull turned a corner by beating Brentford last week, they're still amid an injury crisis and a trip to the second-placed side in the Championship may prove a bridge too far at this stage. Score prediction: 3-1 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. We're edging ever closer to the halfway point of the season and into the festive period, which means a feast of football that will make your eventual turkey indulgence seem tame in comparison. Matchday 21 of the Championship is nearly upon us, so let's have a quick glance at this weekend's fixtures and have a go at predicting the results (kickoffs Saturday 3pm unless otherwise stated). Sheffield United vs. Bristol City (Friday, 7:45pm) First up is a very tasty Friday night clash between fourth-placed Sheffield United and third-placed Bristol City. Both sides exceeding early-season expectations, both like to attack - although City's recent form has been better than United's - so I'm going for a score draw. Score prediction: 2-2 Hull City vs. Brentford Nigel Adkins' first match in charge of Hull, he needs to get an immediate reaction from his demoralised players against a team doing well for themselves and having rebounded from their collapse at QPR with victory over Fulham. Dean Smith's side to edge it. Score prediction: 1-2 Fulham vs. Birmingham City Both sides are in the middle of an injury crisis and not having the best time in the league at present, but with Birmingham playing away, languishing in the drop zone and potentially in need of drafting in the under-23s, it should be straightforward for Fulham. Score prediction: 2-0 Barnsley vs. Derby County Barnsley have lost their last four on the bounce and haven't won in five, plus captain Angus MacDonald is still ill and unlikely to feature. Derby have no fresh injury concerns and should have too much for the beleaguered Tykes. Score prediction: 1-3 Nottingham Forest vs. Bolton Wanderers Forest come into this game on the back of two league defeats, conceding four at Ipswich, while Bolton claimed three very valuable points against Barnsley last time out. That said, I see the Reds edging this with Kieran Dowell to play a key role. Score prediction: 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Sunderland A team flush with cash, quality players and a top manager who bagged the MOTM award for November against a side bereft of money, quality and morale. Chris Coleman may be overseeing some shoots of recovery but away at Molineux, I can't see them getting anything. Score prediction: 3-0 Burton Albion vs. Preston North End As if things weren't difficult enough for bottom-placed Burton already, their injury woes show no sign of letting up, with Lloyd Dyer, Sean Scannell, Matty Lund and Joe Mason all doubts, while Jamie Allen has been given time off due to a family bereavement. Preston, meanwhile, are welcoming players back - should be a routine win for them. Score prediction: 0-2 Middlesbrough vs. Ipswich Town Despite the quality in their squad, Boro's form has taken a downturn and they're off the playoff pace, having lost three of their last four, with Ipswich above them in the table. The Blues have won their last two so they'll be fancying this, but I think they'll cancel each other out. Score prediction: 0-0 Aston Villa vs. Milwall Villa's automatic promotion hopes are in danger of slipping away, with Wolves and Cardiff now well ahead in the top two, despite Steve Bruce's side still very much in good form. They're desperate to keep chasing and a game against Millwall, yet to win on the road this season, is very much a home banker, despite Villa's injury issues. Score prediction: 2-0 Queens Park Rangers vs. Leeds United QPR have only picked up one point from their last five games - and that from two goals down against Brentford - and are in danger of slipping further towards the drop zone, while Leeds will be eager to bounce back from their failure to beat Aston Villa, and I reckon they'll pile more misery on Ian Holloway and co. Score prediction: 2-3 Norwich City vs. Sheffield Wednesday (Saturday 5:30pm) Norwich's form is one of the worst in the division, having been in playoff contention at the end of October but are now closer to the bottom three than the top six. Wednesday are in the middle of an unbeaten run but four draws have also seen them slip downwards. More of the same for both sides I reckon. Score prediction: 1-1 Reading vs. Cardiff City (Monday 8pm) The final fixture of gameweek 21, Neil Warnock's side will be hoping to keep up the pressure on Wolves away at Reading. Both sides are unbeaten in their last four and the Bluebirds are hoping to extend their winning run to five. Warnock's experience plus a team in brilliant form means Cardiff should be able to get the better of Jaap Stam's side. Score prediction: 1-2 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. Football is supposed to be a game borne of love, passion and loyalty. But for every Jamie Carragher or Francesco Totti, there will always be a polar opposite who will break his fans' hearts for his own gain. In this article, Football Manics looks at the top 10 snakes in English football. 10) Nick Barmby, Everton to Liverpool, 2000 Prior to 2000, no player had left Everton to join Liverpool for more than 40 years, with Dave Hickson the last man to do so in 1959. But at the turn of the century, Toffees fan favourite Nick Barmby - who had made 132 appearances and 24 goals - broke his fans' hearts by joining treble-chasing Liverpool for £6m in 2000. 9) Robin Van Persie, Arsenal to Manchester United, 2012 RVP was Arsenal's jewel in the crown; the captain, the top scorer, the heir to Thierry Henry. But all that changed when his relationship with the club soured and, in the summer of 2012, carried out the ultimate betrayal by joining bitter rivals Manchester United, helping the Red Devils to the Premier League title just nine months later. 8) Ashley Cole, Arsenal to Chelsea, 2006 Another former Arsenal talisman who did the dirty on the Gunners, Cole spectacularly fell out with his club, with months of contract negotiations - one of which left him "shaking with anger" and nearly caused him to drive off the road, apparently - not coming to fruition. What then followed was a big-money move to Chelsea, the Premier League's richest club at the time. 7) Raheem Sterling, Liverpool to Manchester City, 2015 Sterling was one of the most talented youngsters to come through the Liverpool ranks in recent years, but his refusal to sign a new contract at Anfield was followed up by a move to super-rich and successful Manchester City, a decision which so upset the Reds fans that one snuck into the Wembley function room after the League Cup final between the two clubs in 2016 specifically to confront him. 6) Andy Marshall, Norwich City to Ipswich Town (free transfer), 2001 Andy Marshall came through the ranks at Norwich City and made 195 appearances for them between 1994 and 2001. His last season at Carrow Road saw him perform so well that he was voted their player of the season. However, Marshall refused to sign a new contract, citing the desire to play Premier League football, and then left on a free transfer to bitter rivals Ipswich Town. 5) Kris Commons, Nottingham Forest to Derby County (free transfer), 2008 Commons was one of Nottingham Forest's key players between 2004 and 2008, scoring 32 goals in 138 appearances. However, the Scottish midfielder caused an uproar when he departed the City Ground for Derby County on a free transfer. To this day, Reds fans despite him as a Judas for the move. 4) Carlos Tevez, Manchester United to Manchester City, 2009 The Argentine hotshot caused uproad in the red half of Manchester when he turned his back on United. Among reported broken promises from Sir Alex Ferguson, Tevez turned his back on a permanent deal at the club to join Manchester City, complete with blue "Welcome to Manchester" billboard. 3) Fabian Delph, Aston Villa to Manchester City, 2015 Delph pledged his loyalty to Aston Villa on several occasions, even going as far as signing a new contract in January 2015. Just a few months later, he was a Manchester City player, linking up with the Citizens in a £8m deal. 2) Liam Noble, Forest Green Rovers to Notts County (free transfer), 2017 Noble, a talented but temperamental midfielder, left Notts County in 2016 to link up with non-league side Forest Green Rovers. They helped him rebuild his career, gave him the captain's armband and in return he helped fire them into the Football League. In 2017, a tug of war between his former club and then-current club with a £100,000 fee on the line eventually saw Noble sign a new deal at the New Lane. Then in October, he took indefinite leave for medical reasons, left the club by mutual consent citing a need to move closer to his family in the North East - and then joined County on a free transfer. 1) Sol Campbell, Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal (free transfer), 2001 To this day the bitterest transfer in English football, Campbell was Tottenham Hotspur's rock in defence, their captain, their star player. He repeatedly stressed his commitment to Spurs, but despite being valued at around £20m as one of England's finest defenders, he let his contract run down - and then joined Arsenal on a free transfer. Share your thoughts about this 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. Norwich City have completed the signing of Newcastle United defender Grant Hanley on a four-year contract. The 25-year-old, who has moved to Carrow Road for an undisclosed fee, only made 10 Championship appearances for Newcastle last season. In addition, he has not featured under Rafael Benitez this term in the Premier League after falling down the pecking order. Hanley, a Scotland international, told Norwich City TV: "Being able to come to a massive club and get games is a big motivation for me. "It's a club with high aspirations and a fresh start for me. As a defender, I'm a bit of an old-fashioned no-nonsense centre-half and you pride yourself on clean sheets. "We've got work to do on the training ground to improve that so I'm looking to hit the ground running. I can't wait to get started." Meanwhile, Norwich boss Daniel Farke added: "We're really pleased to sign Grant because it is clear our defensive line needs strengthening. "He is a quality defender with very solid experience and is a leader too. I really like his attitude and his desire to come and play for us as well as the attributes he will add on the pitch." 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.
  22. Norwich City manager Daniel Farke has claimed that the Canaries have pretty much completed their business in the transfer market for the summer. The East Anglians have so far brought in nine senior faces this summer, including Marley Watkins, James Husband and Marcel Franke. "Right now, sitting here, I expect that we will do nothing," Farke told reporters when asked about further additions. "Normally the agents leave you alone from September to December or February to May and at this stage you are either on the phone all day or else you throw it away. You have to make a choice. "I think we will do nothing. I am really relaxed. We have a good squad, I am happy with it. I have mentioned many times we won't fall asleep if there is a special option. "You can imagine some improvements in one or two areas of the squad but I am content. "We don't have any pressure. I am content with the squad and the numbers." 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.
  23. League Cup holders Manchester United have been drawn to face Championship outfit Burton Albion at Old Trafford in the third round of the competition. In the draw, held controversially in Beijing at 4:15am BST, Liverpool were handed an away tie at former Premier League champions Leicester City, while Arsenal host Doncaster Rovers of League One. The lowest-ranked team in the draw, third-tier Bristol Rovers, will travel to Molineux to face Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, who beat last season's runners-up Southampton on Wednesday evening. Other bumper ties include Manchester City's visit West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea hosting Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur to face either Barnsley or Derby County at Wembley. The ties will be played in the week beginning September 18. The competition is currently named the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons and is also known as the EFL Cup. EFL Cup third round draw: West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City Everton vs. Sunderland Leicester City vs. Liverpool Manchester United vs. Burton Albion Brentford vs. Norwich City Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Bristol Rovers Burnley vs. Leeds United Arsenal vs. Doncaster Rovers Bristol City vs. Stoke City Reading vs. Swansea City Aston Villa vs. Middlesbrough Chelsea vs. Nottingham Forest West Ham vs. Bolton Wanderers Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield Town Tottenham Hotspur vs. Barnsley/Derby County Bournemouth vs. Brighton 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. Norwich City have confirmed the signing of midfielder Marco Stiepermann on a three-year deal from VfL Bochum. The 26-year-old becomes the club's ninth signing of the summer, joining fellow Germans Christoph Zimmermann, Marcel Franke and Tom Trybull at Carrow Road. "I'm very happy to be joining a traditional club in England," Stiepermann told Norwich's website. "I've seen the city here and it's very nice. I didn't need a long time to think about it because I've known about Norwich City for a long time. It's good for me to play here. I know Marcel and Mario Vrancic and we spoke about the club, which was good." Canaries boss Daniel Farke added: "Marco is an all-rounder and a creative guy. He started his career as a number ten but the last season played as a holding midfielder and in the left full-back position a lot. "He will give us many options and is at a good age so that will help us to be more flexible." 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. Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of Norwich City winger Jacob Murphy for an undisclosed fee. The 22-year-old scored 10 times for the Canaries last season and was one of the standout performers for England at this summer's Under-21 European Championship in Poland. Murphy passed a medical in Dublin on Tuesday ahead of joining his new teammates on Wednesday following a deal thought to have cost the Magpies an initial fee of £10m, plus £2m worth of potential add-ons. "It was a childhood dream of mine to represent Newcastle and the opportunity is now here. I can't wait to get started," Murphy told the official Newcastle website. Toon boss Rafael Benitez added: "He's a young and talented player and hopefully he can develop even more here. "We hope he can show us the passion, commitment and ability that he showed in the Championship last season." 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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