Derby County

Derby County slideshow

Manchester United reserves have suffered a humiliating relegation from the top flight of Premier League 2. Managed by former Sunderland coach, Ricky Sbragia, United's under-23 team had given themselves a slim chance of survival with a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Manchester City on Friday night. But Derby County's 1-0 win over West Ham on Monday night sealed United's fate, leaving them five points adrift of safety with just one game remaining. Manchester United drop into second tier of Premier League Two despite having finished as champions in three of the last five seasons. United were crowned champions in the first year of the competition's new format, after it replaced the Premier Reserve League in 2012/13. Ricky Sbragia during his time as caretake manager of Sunderland Credit: Getty Images The under-23s' relegation comes just days after their under-18s clinched the Premier League northern title with a 2-1 win over Man City. Sbragia was appointed under-23s coach in July last year having previously worked at the club as reserves coach from 2002 to 2005. The 61-year-old replaced Warren Joyce, who left for an ill-fated four-month spell as manager of Wigan Athletic. United's relegation comes with the club's senior side facing a must-win FA Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham.
Manchester United reserves relegated from Premier League Two top flight
Manchester United reserves have suffered a humiliating relegation from the top flight of Premier League 2. Managed by former Sunderland coach, Ricky Sbragia, United's under-23 team had given themselves a slim chance of survival with a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Manchester City on Friday night. But Derby County's 1-0 win over West Ham on Monday night sealed United's fate, leaving them five points adrift of safety with just one game remaining. Manchester United drop into second tier of Premier League Two despite having finished as champions in three of the last five seasons. United were crowned champions in the first year of the competition's new format, after it replaced the Premier Reserve League in 2012/13. Ricky Sbragia during his time as caretake manager of Sunderland Credit: Getty Images The under-23s' relegation comes just days after their under-18s clinched the Premier League northern title with a 2-1 win over Man City. Sbragia was appointed under-23s coach in July last year having previously worked at the club as reserves coach from 2002 to 2005. The 61-year-old replaced Warren Joyce, who left for an ill-fated four-month spell as manager of Wigan Athletic. United's relegation comes with the club's senior side facing a must-win FA Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham.
Manchester United reserves have suffered a humiliating relegation from the top flight of Premier League 2. Managed by former Sunderland coach, Ricky Sbragia, United's under-23 team had given themselves a slim chance of survival with a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Manchester City on Friday night. But Derby County's 1-0 win over West Ham on Monday night sealed United's fate, leaving them five points adrift of safety with just one game remaining. Manchester United drop into second tier of Premier League Two despite having finished as champions in three of the last five seasons. United were crowned champions in the first year of the competition's new format, after it replaced the Premier Reserve League in 2012/13. Ricky Sbragia during his time as caretake manager of Sunderland Credit: Getty Images The under-23s' relegation comes just days after their under-18s clinched the Premier League northern title with a 2-1 win over Man City. Sbragia was appointed under-23s coach in July last year having previously worked at the club as reserves coach from 2002 to 2005. The 61-year-old replaced Warren Joyce, who left for an ill-fated four-month spell as manager of Wigan Athletic. United's relegation comes with the club's senior side facing a must-win FA Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham.
Manchester United reserves relegated from Premier League Two top flight
Manchester United reserves have suffered a humiliating relegation from the top flight of Premier League 2. Managed by former Sunderland coach, Ricky Sbragia, United's under-23 team had given themselves a slim chance of survival with a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Manchester City on Friday night. But Derby County's 1-0 win over West Ham on Monday night sealed United's fate, leaving them five points adrift of safety with just one game remaining. Manchester United drop into second tier of Premier League Two despite having finished as champions in three of the last five seasons. United were crowned champions in the first year of the competition's new format, after it replaced the Premier Reserve League in 2012/13. Ricky Sbragia during his time as caretake manager of Sunderland Credit: Getty Images The under-23s' relegation comes just days after their under-18s clinched the Premier League northern title with a 2-1 win over Man City. Sbragia was appointed under-23s coach in July last year having previously worked at the club as reserves coach from 2002 to 2005. The 61-year-old replaced Warren Joyce, who left for an ill-fated four-month spell as manager of Wigan Athletic. United's relegation comes with the club's senior side facing a must-win FA Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham.
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves celebrates with Conor Coady and Benik Afobe after scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves celebrates with Conor Coady and Benik Afobe after scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Premier League clubs are planning urgent talks over Wolverhampton Wanderers’ imminent return to the world’s richest league amid concerns over their relationship with agent Jorge Mendes. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that several top-flight teams want to discuss Mendes’ business links to Wolves owners Fosun at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Friday after claims it represents a conflict of interest for the super-agent. So-called ‘Big Six’ and smaller clubs alike are said by more than one source to fear that Mendes’ relationship with the Midlanders could give them an unfair advantage in the transfer market, as it is alleged to have done during their march towards promotion. Since Wolves were taken over by Fosun International in July 2016 – months after a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate bought a 20 per cent stake in Mendes’s Gestifute agency – they have signed several of the Portuguese’s clients. They include manager Nuno Espirito Santo and Championship record signing Ruben Neves, who scored one of the goals of the season against Derby County on Wednesday to move the club one win from ending their six-year Premier-League exile. THAT. IS. OUTRAGEOUS! Ruben Neves with yet another absolute rocket to make it Wolves 2-0 Derby County! Watch live on Sky Sports Football now! https://t.co/Sq3nx9RstY— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 11, 2018 Mendes has represented some of football’s biggest names, including Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. It is unclear whether anything could be done under current top-flight rules to curb Mendes’ influence at Wolves, with one source revealing there is “a feeling it needs to be addressed” but that there are fears executive chairman Richard Scudamore may be “powerless” to act. One option could be for the 20 teams to attempt to introduce a regulation outlawing the kind of shareholding Fosun’s subsidiary holds in Gestifute. The Telegraph revealed last month that unrest among Wolves’ promotion rivals – including Derby, Leeds United and Aston Villa – over the influence of Mendes had led to demands for an English Football League investigation into whether the club had breached its, or Football Association, rules. Days later, the row went public when Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani reacted to his side’s defeat against Wolves by questioning the legality of their links to Mendes in an extraordinary Twitter rant. Wolves Q&A | Have they broken any rules? The EFL responded by announcing the matter had been raised at a meeting of its board “in light of recent concerns raised by a number of clubs” and promising to convene a meeting with Wolves. It also said: “The club was explicitly informed in July 2016 of all the requirements it was expected to meet as part of the change of control, and appropriate arrangements were put in place to ensure compliance.” The matter remains unresolved after being discussed by the EFL board again at its latest meeting, with the league still awaiting correspondence from the club. Fosun’s takeover of Wolves was approved in 2016 after it was deemed their relationship with Mendes did not breach FA conflict-of-interest rules prohibiting agents having an interest in a club, or a club having an interest in an agency. Questions over Mendes’ potential to influence transfers at the club arose again after they signed Ivan Cavaleiro from Monaco for £7.2 million, although it was Gestifute executive Valdir Cardoso whose name was on the paperwork. They then twice smashed the Championship transfer record in a matter of months to sign Mendes players, paying £12.8m to Benfica for Helder Costa in January last year and £15.8m to Porto for Neves in the summer, as well as recruiting Diogo Jota on a season-long loan from Atletico. Former Porto and Valencia manager Nuno – Mendes’ first-ever client – also arrived to take charge at Molineux in the close season. The EFL has declined to comment on Wolves or the concerns of Premier League sides. The Premier League, which must apply its owners and directors test once Wolves secure promotion, also declined to comment. Wolves declined to comment after issuing a statement last month, saying: “We are very clear on FA and EFL regulations and always comply with them explicitly. Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is a client of Jorge Mendes Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We welcome any form of communication with the EFL to reiterate our position. “We fully anticipate the release of a further EFL statement in support of Wolves and the club’s operations to bring a prompt resolution to this matter.” Wolves also said last summer: “It is a matter of public record that Fosun have a percentage stake in the Gestifute company headed up by Jorge Mendes. Jorge is available as an adviser to the owners, in the same way as many other agents and influential figures within football are. Wolves have signed players within his portfolio, including last year’s player of the season Helder Costa, as well as players from other intermediaries.” Gestifute did not respond to requests for comment.
Exclusive: Wolves under attack over Jorge Mendes relationship as Premier League clubs plan to hold urgent talks
Premier League clubs are planning urgent talks over Wolverhampton Wanderers’ imminent return to the world’s richest league amid concerns over their relationship with agent Jorge Mendes. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that several top-flight teams want to discuss Mendes’ business links to Wolves owners Fosun at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Friday after claims it represents a conflict of interest for the super-agent. So-called ‘Big Six’ and smaller clubs alike are said by more than one source to fear that Mendes’ relationship with the Midlanders could give them an unfair advantage in the transfer market, as it is alleged to have done during their march towards promotion. Since Wolves were taken over by Fosun International in July 2016 – months after a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate bought a 20 per cent stake in Mendes’s Gestifute agency – they have signed several of the Portuguese’s clients. They include manager Nuno Espirito Santo and Championship record signing Ruben Neves, who scored one of the goals of the season against Derby County on Wednesday to move the club one win from ending their six-year Premier-League exile. THAT. IS. OUTRAGEOUS! Ruben Neves with yet another absolute rocket to make it Wolves 2-0 Derby County! Watch live on Sky Sports Football now! https://t.co/Sq3nx9RstY— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 11, 2018 Mendes has represented some of football’s biggest names, including Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. It is unclear whether anything could be done under current top-flight rules to curb Mendes’ influence at Wolves, with one source revealing there is “a feeling it needs to be addressed” but that there are fears executive chairman Richard Scudamore may be “powerless” to act. One option could be for the 20 teams to attempt to introduce a regulation outlawing the kind of shareholding Fosun’s subsidiary holds in Gestifute. The Telegraph revealed last month that unrest among Wolves’ promotion rivals – including Derby, Leeds United and Aston Villa – over the influence of Mendes had led to demands for an English Football League investigation into whether the club had breached its, or Football Association, rules. Days later, the row went public when Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani reacted to his side’s defeat against Wolves by questioning the legality of their links to Mendes in an extraordinary Twitter rant. Wolves Q&A | Have they broken any rules? The EFL responded by announcing the matter had been raised at a meeting of its board “in light of recent concerns raised by a number of clubs” and promising to convene a meeting with Wolves. It also said: “The club was explicitly informed in July 2016 of all the requirements it was expected to meet as part of the change of control, and appropriate arrangements were put in place to ensure compliance.” The matter remains unresolved after being discussed by the EFL board again at its latest meeting, with the league still awaiting correspondence from the club. Fosun’s takeover of Wolves was approved in 2016 after it was deemed their relationship with Mendes did not breach FA conflict-of-interest rules prohibiting agents having an interest in a club, or a club having an interest in an agency. Questions over Mendes’ potential to influence transfers at the club arose again after they signed Ivan Cavaleiro from Monaco for £7.2 million, although it was Gestifute executive Valdir Cardoso whose name was on the paperwork. They then twice smashed the Championship transfer record in a matter of months to sign Mendes players, paying £12.8m to Benfica for Helder Costa in January last year and £15.8m to Porto for Neves in the summer, as well as recruiting Diogo Jota on a season-long loan from Atletico. Former Porto and Valencia manager Nuno – Mendes’ first-ever client – also arrived to take charge at Molineux in the close season. The EFL has declined to comment on Wolves or the concerns of Premier League sides. The Premier League, which must apply its owners and directors test once Wolves secure promotion, also declined to comment. Wolves declined to comment after issuing a statement last month, saying: “We are very clear on FA and EFL regulations and always comply with them explicitly. Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is a client of Jorge Mendes Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We welcome any form of communication with the EFL to reiterate our position. “We fully anticipate the release of a further EFL statement in support of Wolves and the club’s operations to bring a prompt resolution to this matter.” Wolves also said last summer: “It is a matter of public record that Fosun have a percentage stake in the Gestifute company headed up by Jorge Mendes. Jorge is available as an adviser to the owners, in the same way as many other agents and influential figures within football are. Wolves have signed players within his portfolio, including last year’s player of the season Helder Costa, as well as players from other intermediaries.” Gestifute did not respond to requests for comment.
Premier League clubs are planning urgent talks over Wolverhampton Wanderers’ imminent return to the world’s richest league amid concerns over their relationship with agent Jorge Mendes. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that several top-flight teams want to discuss Mendes’ business links to Wolves owners Fosun at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Friday after claims it represents a conflict of interest for the super-agent. So-called ‘Big Six’ and smaller clubs alike are said by more than one source to fear that Mendes’ relationship with the Midlanders could give them an unfair advantage in the transfer market, as it is alleged to have done during their march towards promotion. Since Wolves were taken over by Fosun International in July 2016 – months after a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate bought a 20 per cent stake in Mendes’s Gestifute agency – they have signed several of the Portuguese’s clients. They include manager Nuno Espirito Santo and Championship record signing Ruben Neves, who scored one of the goals of the season against Derby County on Wednesday to move the club one win from ending their six-year Premier-League exile. THAT. IS. OUTRAGEOUS! Ruben Neves with yet another absolute rocket to make it Wolves 2-0 Derby County! Watch live on Sky Sports Football now! https://t.co/Sq3nx9RstY— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 11, 2018 Mendes has represented some of football’s biggest names, including Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. It is unclear whether anything could be done under current top-flight rules to curb Mendes’ influence at Wolves, with one source revealing there is “a feeling it needs to be addressed” but that there are fears executive chairman Richard Scudamore may be “powerless” to act. One option could be for the 20 teams to attempt to introduce a regulation outlawing the kind of shareholding Fosun’s subsidiary holds in Gestifute. The Telegraph revealed last month that unrest among Wolves’ promotion rivals – including Derby, Leeds United and Aston Villa – over the influence of Mendes had led to demands for an English Football League investigation into whether the club had breached its, or Football Association, rules. Days later, the row went public when Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani reacted to his side’s defeat against Wolves by questioning the legality of their links to Mendes in an extraordinary Twitter rant. Wolves Q&A | Have they broken any rules? The EFL responded by announcing the matter had been raised at a meeting of its board “in light of recent concerns raised by a number of clubs” and promising to convene a meeting with Wolves. It also said: “The club was explicitly informed in July 2016 of all the requirements it was expected to meet as part of the change of control, and appropriate arrangements were put in place to ensure compliance.” The matter remains unresolved after being discussed by the EFL board again at its latest meeting, with the league still awaiting correspondence from the club. Fosun’s takeover of Wolves was approved in 2016 after it was deemed their relationship with Mendes did not breach FA conflict-of-interest rules prohibiting agents having an interest in a club, or a club having an interest in an agency. Questions over Mendes’ potential to influence transfers at the club arose again after they signed Ivan Cavaleiro from Monaco for £7.2 million, although it was Gestifute executive Valdir Cardoso whose name was on the paperwork. They then twice smashed the Championship transfer record in a matter of months to sign Mendes players, paying £12.8m to Benfica for Helder Costa in January last year and £15.8m to Porto for Neves in the summer, as well as recruiting Diogo Jota on a season-long loan from Atletico. Former Porto and Valencia manager Nuno – Mendes’ first-ever client – also arrived to take charge at Molineux in the close season. The EFL has declined to comment on Wolves or the concerns of Premier League sides. The Premier League, which must apply its owners and directors test once Wolves secure promotion, also declined to comment. Wolves declined to comment after issuing a statement last month, saying: “We are very clear on FA and EFL regulations and always comply with them explicitly. Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is a client of Jorge Mendes Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We welcome any form of communication with the EFL to reiterate our position. “We fully anticipate the release of a further EFL statement in support of Wolves and the club’s operations to bring a prompt resolution to this matter.” Wolves also said last summer: “It is a matter of public record that Fosun have a percentage stake in the Gestifute company headed up by Jorge Mendes. Jorge is available as an adviser to the owners, in the same way as many other agents and influential figures within football are. Wolves have signed players within his portfolio, including last year’s player of the season Helder Costa, as well as players from other intermediaries.” Gestifute did not respond to requests for comment.
Exclusive: Wolves under attack over Jorge Mendes relationship as Premier League clubs plan to hold urgent talks
Premier League clubs are planning urgent talks over Wolverhampton Wanderers’ imminent return to the world’s richest league amid concerns over their relationship with agent Jorge Mendes. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that several top-flight teams want to discuss Mendes’ business links to Wolves owners Fosun at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Friday after claims it represents a conflict of interest for the super-agent. So-called ‘Big Six’ and smaller clubs alike are said by more than one source to fear that Mendes’ relationship with the Midlanders could give them an unfair advantage in the transfer market, as it is alleged to have done during their march towards promotion. Since Wolves were taken over by Fosun International in July 2016 – months after a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate bought a 20 per cent stake in Mendes’s Gestifute agency – they have signed several of the Portuguese’s clients. They include manager Nuno Espirito Santo and Championship record signing Ruben Neves, who scored one of the goals of the season against Derby County on Wednesday to move the club one win from ending their six-year Premier-League exile. THAT. IS. OUTRAGEOUS! Ruben Neves with yet another absolute rocket to make it Wolves 2-0 Derby County! Watch live on Sky Sports Football now! https://t.co/Sq3nx9RstY— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 11, 2018 Mendes has represented some of football’s biggest names, including Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. It is unclear whether anything could be done under current top-flight rules to curb Mendes’ influence at Wolves, with one source revealing there is “a feeling it needs to be addressed” but that there are fears executive chairman Richard Scudamore may be “powerless” to act. One option could be for the 20 teams to attempt to introduce a regulation outlawing the kind of shareholding Fosun’s subsidiary holds in Gestifute. The Telegraph revealed last month that unrest among Wolves’ promotion rivals – including Derby, Leeds United and Aston Villa – over the influence of Mendes had led to demands for an English Football League investigation into whether the club had breached its, or Football Association, rules. Days later, the row went public when Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani reacted to his side’s defeat against Wolves by questioning the legality of their links to Mendes in an extraordinary Twitter rant. Wolves Q&A | Have they broken any rules? The EFL responded by announcing the matter had been raised at a meeting of its board “in light of recent concerns raised by a number of clubs” and promising to convene a meeting with Wolves. It also said: “The club was explicitly informed in July 2016 of all the requirements it was expected to meet as part of the change of control, and appropriate arrangements were put in place to ensure compliance.” The matter remains unresolved after being discussed by the EFL board again at its latest meeting, with the league still awaiting correspondence from the club. Fosun’s takeover of Wolves was approved in 2016 after it was deemed their relationship with Mendes did not breach FA conflict-of-interest rules prohibiting agents having an interest in a club, or a club having an interest in an agency. Questions over Mendes’ potential to influence transfers at the club arose again after they signed Ivan Cavaleiro from Monaco for £7.2 million, although it was Gestifute executive Valdir Cardoso whose name was on the paperwork. They then twice smashed the Championship transfer record in a matter of months to sign Mendes players, paying £12.8m to Benfica for Helder Costa in January last year and £15.8m to Porto for Neves in the summer, as well as recruiting Diogo Jota on a season-long loan from Atletico. Former Porto and Valencia manager Nuno – Mendes’ first-ever client – also arrived to take charge at Molineux in the close season. The EFL has declined to comment on Wolves or the concerns of Premier League sides. The Premier League, which must apply its owners and directors test once Wolves secure promotion, also declined to comment. Wolves declined to comment after issuing a statement last month, saying: “We are very clear on FA and EFL regulations and always comply with them explicitly. Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is a client of Jorge Mendes Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We welcome any form of communication with the EFL to reiterate our position. “We fully anticipate the release of a further EFL statement in support of Wolves and the club’s operations to bring a prompt resolution to this matter.” Wolves also said last summer: “It is a matter of public record that Fosun have a percentage stake in the Gestifute company headed up by Jorge Mendes. Jorge is available as an adviser to the owners, in the same way as many other agents and influential figures within football are. Wolves have signed players within his portfolio, including last year’s player of the season Helder Costa, as well as players from other intermediaries.” Gestifute did not respond to requests for comment.
Rúben Neves celebrates scoring Wolves’ second goal against Derby County with a 30-yard volley.
Wolves get ready to celebrate promotion after Rúben Neves’ stunning volley
Rúben Neves celebrates scoring Wolves’ second goal against Derby County with a 30-yard volley.
Derby manager Gary Rowett hailed Ruben Neves as “a Champions League player” after the stunning strike that took Wolves to the brink of a return to the Premier League. The Molineux club’s £15.8 million record signing hit the goal of the Championship season early in the second half to put Molineux in party mood ahead of a Sunday lunchtime clash with Birmingham City that will confirm promotion and perhaps the title if they win. Positioned almost 30 yards from goal as Derby’s Chris Baird headed away a corner, the former Porto player flicked the ball up, slightly behind him with the outside of his right boot, before delivering an angled, dipping volley high into the farthest corner of the Derby goal, giving Scott Carson no chance. “It’s the first time as a manager I’ve almost applauded the opposition’s goal,” Rowett said. “I genuinely thought, what do you do about that? It was so good. He is 35 yards out, his touch is actually not brilliant because it takes the ball away from him, and the last thing our goalkeeper and back four think is he’s going to shoot. “To hit it with that precision, power, dip, accuracy, is Champions League stuff, not Championship stuff. “They have three or four players who are Premier League standard but Neves is a Champions League player.” Top scorer Diogo Jota had taken advantage of some poor Derby defending to give his side a sixth-minute lead with his 15th Championship goal. The victory, Wolves’ 28th of the season, stretches their lead over second-placed Fulham to 11 points and gives them a 12-point advantage over Cardiff. Should Fulham drop points at Brentford on Saturday, their return to the Premier League after a six-year absence will be confirmed regardless of their result on Sunday, while a win would see them crowned champions as well with three matches to spare if Cardiff drop points at Norwich on Saturday. Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is not a man prone to excessiveness in his praise for his players – in contrast to some of his celebrations – but even he had to applaud Neves. “He has great talent and we are very fortunate to have him,” he said. “It was a very good goal, a beautiful goal and I am very pleased. “But it is all about the squad. You have to be humble and work hard and the rewards will come and now we focus on Sunday, the next game. It is no different.” Derby remain fifth but are far from certain of finishing in the play-off positions with only three points covering fifth to ninth place. Match details Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-3): Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White 82), Afobe (Costa 66), Jota (Bonatini 74). Substitutes not used: Norris (g), N’Diaye, Batth, Hause. Derby County (4-4-1-1): Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Weimann, Huddlestone, Ledley (Palmer 73), Lawrence; Vydra (Hanson 85); Nugent (Jerome 81). Substitutes not used: Roos (g), Forsyth, Keogh, Thomas. Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex) Bookings: Wolves: Bennett. Attendance: 28,503.
Wolves can clinch Premier League promotion this weekend after easing past Derby County
Derby manager Gary Rowett hailed Ruben Neves as “a Champions League player” after the stunning strike that took Wolves to the brink of a return to the Premier League. The Molineux club’s £15.8 million record signing hit the goal of the Championship season early in the second half to put Molineux in party mood ahead of a Sunday lunchtime clash with Birmingham City that will confirm promotion and perhaps the title if they win. Positioned almost 30 yards from goal as Derby’s Chris Baird headed away a corner, the former Porto player flicked the ball up, slightly behind him with the outside of his right boot, before delivering an angled, dipping volley high into the farthest corner of the Derby goal, giving Scott Carson no chance. “It’s the first time as a manager I’ve almost applauded the opposition’s goal,” Rowett said. “I genuinely thought, what do you do about that? It was so good. He is 35 yards out, his touch is actually not brilliant because it takes the ball away from him, and the last thing our goalkeeper and back four think is he’s going to shoot. “To hit it with that precision, power, dip, accuracy, is Champions League stuff, not Championship stuff. “They have three or four players who are Premier League standard but Neves is a Champions League player.” Top scorer Diogo Jota had taken advantage of some poor Derby defending to give his side a sixth-minute lead with his 15th Championship goal. The victory, Wolves’ 28th of the season, stretches their lead over second-placed Fulham to 11 points and gives them a 12-point advantage over Cardiff. Should Fulham drop points at Brentford on Saturday, their return to the Premier League after a six-year absence will be confirmed regardless of their result on Sunday, while a win would see them crowned champions as well with three matches to spare if Cardiff drop points at Norwich on Saturday. Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is not a man prone to excessiveness in his praise for his players – in contrast to some of his celebrations – but even he had to applaud Neves. “He has great talent and we are very fortunate to have him,” he said. “It was a very good goal, a beautiful goal and I am very pleased. “But it is all about the squad. You have to be humble and work hard and the rewards will come and now we focus on Sunday, the next game. It is no different.” Derby remain fifth but are far from certain of finishing in the play-off positions with only three points covering fifth to ninth place. Match details Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-3): Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White 82), Afobe (Costa 66), Jota (Bonatini 74). Substitutes not used: Norris (g), N’Diaye, Batth, Hause. Derby County (4-4-1-1): Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Weimann, Huddlestone, Ledley (Palmer 73), Lawrence; Vydra (Hanson 85); Nugent (Jerome 81). Substitutes not used: Roos (g), Forsyth, Keogh, Thomas. Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex) Bookings: Wolves: Bennett. Attendance: 28,503.
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves in action with Derby County's Matej Vydra Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves in action with Derby County's Matej Vydra Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota in action with Derby County's Andreas Weimann Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota in action with Derby County's Andreas Weimann Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves celebrates with Conor Coady after scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves celebrates with Conor Coady after scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves celebrates with Conor Coady and Benik Afobe after scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolves' Ruben Neves celebrates with Conor Coady and Benik Afobe after scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota scores their first goal Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Derby County - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 11, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota scores their first goal Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Wolves edged ever closer to a Premier League return as Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves secured victory over Derby County on Wednesday.
Wolves 2 Derby County 0: Neves screamer puts leaders on the brink
Wolves edged ever closer to a Premier League return as Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves secured victory over Derby County on Wednesday.
Wolves can clinch Premier League promotion this weekend after easing past Derby County
Wolves can clinch Premier League promotion this weekend after easing past Derby County
Wolves can clinch Premier League promotion this weekend after easing past Derby County
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
The Championship promotion race: Will Cardiff, Fulham or Aston Villa claim second spot?
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
The Championship promotion race: Will Cardiff, Fulham or Aston Villa claim second spot?
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
The Championship promotion race: Will Cardiff, Fulham or Aston Villa claim second spot?
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
​If you have been following WWE's build-up to Sunday's WrestleMania, you will have witnessed John Cena hitting the absent Undertaker with some harsh insults over the past month or so. However, Cardiff City centre back Sean Morrison decided to cut a short promo himself and take aim at Derby County; specifically defensive pairing Richard Keogh and Jason Shackell, who is currently on loan at Millwall. The ​video, which surfaced online after reportedly being leaked from the Bluebirds' private...
Cardiff's Sean Morrison Brands Richard Keogh 'Insecure C***' In Shocking Leaked WhatsApp Video
​If you have been following WWE's build-up to Sunday's WrestleMania, you will have witnessed John Cena hitting the absent Undertaker with some harsh insults over the past month or so. However, Cardiff City centre back Sean Morrison decided to cut a short promo himself and take aim at Derby County; specifically defensive pairing Richard Keogh and Jason Shackell, who is currently on loan at Millwall. The ​video, which surfaced online after reportedly being leaked from the Bluebirds' private...
​If you have been following WWE's build-up to Sunday's WrestleMania, you will have witnessed John Cena hitting the absent Undertaker with some harsh insults over the past month or so. However, Cardiff City centre back Sean Morrison decided to cut a short promo himself and take aim at Derby County; specifically defensive pairing Richard Keogh and Jason Shackell, who is currently on loan at Millwall. The ​video, which surfaced online after reportedly being leaked from the Bluebirds' private...
Cardiff's Sean Morrison Brands Richard Keogh 'Insecure C***' In Shocking Leaked WhatsApp Video
​If you have been following WWE's build-up to Sunday's WrestleMania, you will have witnessed John Cena hitting the absent Undertaker with some harsh insults over the past month or so. However, Cardiff City centre back Sean Morrison decided to cut a short promo himself and take aim at Derby County; specifically defensive pairing Richard Keogh and Jason Shackell, who is currently on loan at Millwall. The ​video, which surfaced online after reportedly being leaked from the Bluebirds' private...
 By Graham Banks The victory may have been ugly and tinged with good fortune but Gary Rowett could not have cared less at Deepdale yesterday. After eight winless games, Rowett’s Derby arrested their slump thanks to Tom Lawrence’s free-kick and a missed Preston penalty, leaving them strongly placed to clinch a play-off place. “It didn’t matter how we won, how ugly the performance was,” said Rowett. “I couldn’t give a monkey’s if we didn’t play attractive football. We tried to play attractive on Friday and lost to the bottom team. It’s a massive boost and hopefully gives the players a bit of breathing space to play with more composure.” That shocking Sunderland reverse had left Derby with little margin for error over the season’s concluding games and, when Andre Wisdom was judged to have pushed over Alan Browne after 36 minutes, Rowett admitted he feared the worst. But Browne himself, having been kept waiting by Derby keeper Scott Carson, struck the left-hand post and the ball flew wide. Credit: ACTION IMAGES Preston’s frustrations mounted when Tom Barkhuizen was judged to have fouled former Preston forward David Nugent on 53 minutes, handing Lawrence a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Derby’s first, and only, on-target shot took a slight deflection off the wall but should still have been dealt with by Chris Maxwell who could only touch it into the corner of his net. In the celebrations that followed, Lawrence broke the nose of team-mate Nugent with a stray elbow but the Derby striker insisted: ‘‘I’ll probably have two black eyes tomorrow but it’s worth it for the three points.” “If you look at the performance, we passed the ball well and had 19 shots but at this stage of the season all that matters is results,” said Preston manager Alex Neil. Team lineups Preston (4-2-3-1) Maxwell; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Cunningham; Pearson, Gallagher; Barkhuizen (Bodin 73), Browne (Moult 63), Robinson (Johnson 79); Maguire. Subs Rudd, Clarke, Harrop, Earl. Booked Pearson. Derby (4-2-3-1) Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Huddlestone, Ledley; Weimann, Vydra (Palmer 73), Lawrence (Hanson 88); Nugent. Subs Roos, Forsyth, Keogh, Jerome, Thomas. Booked Nugent. Referee T Harrington (Cleveland).
Preston North End 0 Derby County 1: Relief for Gary Rowett as Rams end winless run
By Graham Banks The victory may have been ugly and tinged with good fortune but Gary Rowett could not have cared less at Deepdale yesterday. After eight winless games, Rowett’s Derby arrested their slump thanks to Tom Lawrence’s free-kick and a missed Preston penalty, leaving them strongly placed to clinch a play-off place. “It didn’t matter how we won, how ugly the performance was,” said Rowett. “I couldn’t give a monkey’s if we didn’t play attractive football. We tried to play attractive on Friday and lost to the bottom team. It’s a massive boost and hopefully gives the players a bit of breathing space to play with more composure.” That shocking Sunderland reverse had left Derby with little margin for error over the season’s concluding games and, when Andre Wisdom was judged to have pushed over Alan Browne after 36 minutes, Rowett admitted he feared the worst. But Browne himself, having been kept waiting by Derby keeper Scott Carson, struck the left-hand post and the ball flew wide. Credit: ACTION IMAGES Preston’s frustrations mounted when Tom Barkhuizen was judged to have fouled former Preston forward David Nugent on 53 minutes, handing Lawrence a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Derby’s first, and only, on-target shot took a slight deflection off the wall but should still have been dealt with by Chris Maxwell who could only touch it into the corner of his net. In the celebrations that followed, Lawrence broke the nose of team-mate Nugent with a stray elbow but the Derby striker insisted: ‘‘I’ll probably have two black eyes tomorrow but it’s worth it for the three points.” “If you look at the performance, we passed the ball well and had 19 shots but at this stage of the season all that matters is results,” said Preston manager Alex Neil. Team lineups Preston (4-2-3-1) Maxwell; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Cunningham; Pearson, Gallagher; Barkhuizen (Bodin 73), Browne (Moult 63), Robinson (Johnson 79); Maguire. Subs Rudd, Clarke, Harrop, Earl. Booked Pearson. Derby (4-2-3-1) Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Huddlestone, Ledley; Weimann, Vydra (Palmer 73), Lawrence (Hanson 88); Nugent. Subs Roos, Forsyth, Keogh, Jerome, Thomas. Booked Nugent. Referee T Harrington (Cleveland).
 By Graham Banks The victory may have been ugly and tinged with good fortune but Gary Rowett could not have cared less at Deepdale yesterday. After eight winless games, Rowett’s Derby arrested their slump thanks to Tom Lawrence’s free-kick and a missed Preston penalty, leaving them strongly placed to clinch a play-off place. “It didn’t matter how we won, how ugly the performance was,” said Rowett. “I couldn’t give a monkey’s if we didn’t play attractive football. We tried to play attractive on Friday and lost to the bottom team. It’s a massive boost and hopefully gives the players a bit of breathing space to play with more composure.” That shocking Sunderland reverse had left Derby with little margin for error over the season’s concluding games and, when Andre Wisdom was judged to have pushed over Alan Browne after 36 minutes, Rowett admitted he feared the worst. But Browne himself, having been kept waiting by Derby keeper Scott Carson, struck the left-hand post and the ball flew wide. Credit: ACTION IMAGES Preston’s frustrations mounted when Tom Barkhuizen was judged to have fouled former Preston forward David Nugent on 53 minutes, handing Lawrence a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Derby’s first, and only, on-target shot took a slight deflection off the wall but should still have been dealt with by Chris Maxwell who could only touch it into the corner of his net. In the celebrations that followed, Lawrence broke the nose of team-mate Nugent with a stray elbow but the Derby striker insisted: ‘‘I’ll probably have two black eyes tomorrow but it’s worth it for the three points.” “If you look at the performance, we passed the ball well and had 19 shots but at this stage of the season all that matters is results,” said Preston manager Alex Neil. Team lineups Preston (4-2-3-1) Maxwell; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Cunningham; Pearson, Gallagher; Barkhuizen (Bodin 73), Browne (Moult 63), Robinson (Johnson 79); Maguire. Subs Rudd, Clarke, Harrop, Earl. Booked Pearson. Derby (4-2-3-1) Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Huddlestone, Ledley; Weimann, Vydra (Palmer 73), Lawrence (Hanson 88); Nugent. Subs Roos, Forsyth, Keogh, Jerome, Thomas. Booked Nugent. Referee T Harrington (Cleveland).
Preston North End 0 Derby County 1: Relief for Gary Rowett as Rams end winless run
By Graham Banks The victory may have been ugly and tinged with good fortune but Gary Rowett could not have cared less at Deepdale yesterday. After eight winless games, Rowett’s Derby arrested their slump thanks to Tom Lawrence’s free-kick and a missed Preston penalty, leaving them strongly placed to clinch a play-off place. “It didn’t matter how we won, how ugly the performance was,” said Rowett. “I couldn’t give a monkey’s if we didn’t play attractive football. We tried to play attractive on Friday and lost to the bottom team. It’s a massive boost and hopefully gives the players a bit of breathing space to play with more composure.” That shocking Sunderland reverse had left Derby with little margin for error over the season’s concluding games and, when Andre Wisdom was judged to have pushed over Alan Browne after 36 minutes, Rowett admitted he feared the worst. But Browne himself, having been kept waiting by Derby keeper Scott Carson, struck the left-hand post and the ball flew wide. Credit: ACTION IMAGES Preston’s frustrations mounted when Tom Barkhuizen was judged to have fouled former Preston forward David Nugent on 53 minutes, handing Lawrence a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Derby’s first, and only, on-target shot took a slight deflection off the wall but should still have been dealt with by Chris Maxwell who could only touch it into the corner of his net. In the celebrations that followed, Lawrence broke the nose of team-mate Nugent with a stray elbow but the Derby striker insisted: ‘‘I’ll probably have two black eyes tomorrow but it’s worth it for the three points.” “If you look at the performance, we passed the ball well and had 19 shots but at this stage of the season all that matters is results,” said Preston manager Alex Neil. Team lineups Preston (4-2-3-1) Maxwell; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Cunningham; Pearson, Gallagher; Barkhuizen (Bodin 73), Browne (Moult 63), Robinson (Johnson 79); Maguire. Subs Rudd, Clarke, Harrop, Earl. Booked Pearson. Derby (4-2-3-1) Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Huddlestone, Ledley; Weimann, Vydra (Palmer 73), Lawrence (Hanson 88); Nugent. Subs Roos, Forsyth, Keogh, Jerome, Thomas. Booked Nugent. Referee T Harrington (Cleveland).
Preston North End 0 Derby County 1: Relief for Gary Rowett as Rams end winless run
Preston North End 0 Derby County 1: Relief for Gary Rowett as Rams end winless run
Preston North End 0 Derby County 1: Relief for Gary Rowett as Rams end winless run
Preston North End 0 Derby County 1: Relief for Gary Rowett as Rams end winless run
Preston North End 0 Derby County 1: Relief for Gary Rowett as Rams end winless run
Preston North End 0 Derby County 1: Relief for Gary Rowett as Rams end winless run
Soccer Football - Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County - Deepdale, Preston, Britain - April 2, 2018 Derby County's Scott Carson in action Action Images/Craig Brough
Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County - Deepdale, Preston, Britain - April 2, 2018 Derby County's Scott Carson in action Action Images/Craig Brough
Soccer Football - Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County - Deepdale, Preston, Britain - April 2, 2018 Derby County's Tom Huddlestone Preston North End's Callum Robinson Action Images/Craig Brough
Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County - Deepdale, Preston, Britain - April 2, 2018 Derby County's Tom Huddlestone Preston North End's Callum Robinson Action Images/Craig Brough
Soccer Football - Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County - Deepdale, Preston, Britain - April 2, 2018 Derby County's Tom Lawrence scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough
Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County - Deepdale, Preston, Britain - April 2, 2018 Derby County's Tom Lawrence scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough
Soccer Football - Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County - Deepdale, Preston, Britain - April 2, 2018 Derby County's Tom Lawrence celebrates with teammates after he scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough
Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Preston North End vs Derby County - Deepdale, Preston, Britain - April 2, 2018 Derby County's Tom Lawrence celebrates with teammates after he scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough
Hope is fragile thing for Sunderland, a gentle flame too easily extinguished. Having pulled off a shock victory at promotion chasing Derby County on Good Friday, rekindling belief they could avoid relegation, Chris Coleman’s side predictably followed it up with a painful home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. It has been like this for far too long, it has become a habit, first in the Premier League and now in the Championship. League One beckons. Sunderland have not won two games in a row since November 2016 and this was their 12th home defeat of the season. Even when they play reasonably well, they still manage to lose. That is one of the worst things you can say about a football team. With six games left to play and with just one win in their last 14, the Black Cats are five points from safety. They look doomed. After spending so long clinging on to their place in the Premier League, surviving but never anything more during a decade long-stay in the top flight, the Black Cats look as though they will tumble through the Championship without even so much as gaining a foothold. To put the scale of their demise into some sort of context, only four teams have previously been relegated from the second tier in English football the year after falling out of the top division. “We did more than enough today to come away with a good result and I haven’t always been able to say that,” said Coleman. “I can’t fault us, but I can fault the referee. He should have given us a penalty and they should have been down to ten men and the game is very different. “We conceded two soft goals, but overall it’s difficult to say to the players they’ve played badly. The thing is, I’d rather play badly and win. We just haven’t had any luck. We had the performance, but not the result. “We’re not giving up, we can beat any team in this division, we’ve seen that already this season, so it’s not inconceivable we can still stay up. If we hadn’t had the performances we’ve had in the last two games, maybe I wouldn’t believe that, but I do. It’s still possible.” Indeed, Sunderland were the better team for much of the first half, Donald Love firing over from distance before free-kicks from Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady were saved by Joe Wildsmith. The second-half was more entertaining as Wednesday took the lead, against the run of play, with their first shot on target, Lucas Joao smashing home a knockdown from Atdhe Nuhiu. Chris Coleman has refused to give up on surviving relegation Credit: GETTY IMAGES Sunderland responded immediately, George Honeyman heading in Lynden Gooch’s excellent cross to the far post. The home side looked the more likely to score a second and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but it was the visitors who did thanks to some terrible defending at a set piece, goalkeeper Lee Camp motionless as the ball flew over four Sunderland players and was tapped in by Tom Lees. A few minutes later, Wednesday killed the game with a third goal from Nuhiu, as Sunderland once again failed to deal with a cross in the box. “We didn’t have a lot of chances but we were very efficient when we did,” said Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay. “Sunderland had the chances to score more than one goal, but we had a fantastic goalkeeping performance when we needed it. We have moved away from the dangerous situation at the bottom of the table and can look forward to the remainder of the season.” Lineups Sunderland (4-2-3-1) Camp, Love, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo (Matthews 64), Cattermole, McNair, Honeyman (Ejaria 83), McGeady, Gooch (Asoro 83), Fletcher Subs: Steele, LuaLua, McManaman, Maja. Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1) Wildsmith, Hint, Vanancio, Lees, Fox (Thorniley 8), Boyd, Pelupessy, Bannan (Jones 83), Joao, Reach, Nuhiu Subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Butterfield, Matias, Forestieri Attendance: 29,786 Referee: Simon Hooper.
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Hope is fragile thing for Sunderland, a gentle flame too easily extinguished. Having pulled off a shock victory at promotion chasing Derby County on Good Friday, rekindling belief they could avoid relegation, Chris Coleman’s side predictably followed it up with a painful home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. It has been like this for far too long, it has become a habit, first in the Premier League and now in the Championship. League One beckons. Sunderland have not won two games in a row since November 2016 and this was their 12th home defeat of the season. Even when they play reasonably well, they still manage to lose. That is one of the worst things you can say about a football team. With six games left to play and with just one win in their last 14, the Black Cats are five points from safety. They look doomed. After spending so long clinging on to their place in the Premier League, surviving but never anything more during a decade long-stay in the top flight, the Black Cats look as though they will tumble through the Championship without even so much as gaining a foothold. To put the scale of their demise into some sort of context, only four teams have previously been relegated from the second tier in English football the year after falling out of the top division. “We did more than enough today to come away with a good result and I haven’t always been able to say that,” said Coleman. “I can’t fault us, but I can fault the referee. He should have given us a penalty and they should have been down to ten men and the game is very different. “We conceded two soft goals, but overall it’s difficult to say to the players they’ve played badly. The thing is, I’d rather play badly and win. We just haven’t had any luck. We had the performance, but not the result. “We’re not giving up, we can beat any team in this division, we’ve seen that already this season, so it’s not inconceivable we can still stay up. If we hadn’t had the performances we’ve had in the last two games, maybe I wouldn’t believe that, but I do. It’s still possible.” Indeed, Sunderland were the better team for much of the first half, Donald Love firing over from distance before free-kicks from Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady were saved by Joe Wildsmith. The second-half was more entertaining as Wednesday took the lead, against the run of play, with their first shot on target, Lucas Joao smashing home a knockdown from Atdhe Nuhiu. Chris Coleman has refused to give up on surviving relegation Credit: GETTY IMAGES Sunderland responded immediately, George Honeyman heading in Lynden Gooch’s excellent cross to the far post. The home side looked the more likely to score a second and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but it was the visitors who did thanks to some terrible defending at a set piece, goalkeeper Lee Camp motionless as the ball flew over four Sunderland players and was tapped in by Tom Lees. A few minutes later, Wednesday killed the game with a third goal from Nuhiu, as Sunderland once again failed to deal with a cross in the box. “We didn’t have a lot of chances but we were very efficient when we did,” said Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay. “Sunderland had the chances to score more than one goal, but we had a fantastic goalkeeping performance when we needed it. We have moved away from the dangerous situation at the bottom of the table and can look forward to the remainder of the season.” Lineups Sunderland (4-2-3-1) Camp, Love, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo (Matthews 64), Cattermole, McNair, Honeyman (Ejaria 83), McGeady, Gooch (Asoro 83), Fletcher Subs: Steele, LuaLua, McManaman, Maja. Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1) Wildsmith, Hint, Vanancio, Lees, Fox (Thorniley 8), Boyd, Pelupessy, Bannan (Jones 83), Joao, Reach, Nuhiu Subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Butterfield, Matias, Forestieri Attendance: 29,786 Referee: Simon Hooper.
Hope is fragile thing for Sunderland, a gentle flame too easily extinguished. Having pulled off a shock victory at promotion chasing Derby County on Good Friday, rekindling belief they could avoid relegation, Chris Coleman’s side predictably followed it up with a painful home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. It has been like this for far too long, it has become a habit, first in the Premier League and now in the Championship. League One beckons. Sunderland have not won two games in a row since November 2016 and this was their 12th home defeat of the season. Even when they play reasonably well, they still manage to lose. That is one of the worst things you can say about a football team. With six games left to play and with just one win in their last 14, the Black Cats are five points from safety. They look doomed. After spending so long clinging on to their place in the Premier League, surviving but never anything more during a decade long-stay in the top flight, the Black Cats look as though they will tumble through the Championship without even so much as gaining a foothold. To put the scale of their demise into some sort of context, only four teams have previously been relegated from the second tier in English football the year after falling out of the top division. “We did more than enough today to come away with a good result and I haven’t always been able to say that,” said Coleman. “I can’t fault us, but I can fault the referee. He should have given us a penalty and they should have been down to ten men and the game is very different. “We conceded two soft goals, but overall it’s difficult to say to the players they’ve played badly. The thing is, I’d rather play badly and win. We just haven’t had any luck. We had the performance, but not the result. “We’re not giving up, we can beat any team in this division, we’ve seen that already this season, so it’s not inconceivable we can still stay up. If we hadn’t had the performances we’ve had in the last two games, maybe I wouldn’t believe that, but I do. It’s still possible.” Indeed, Sunderland were the better team for much of the first half, Donald Love firing over from distance before free-kicks from Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady were saved by Joe Wildsmith. The second-half was more entertaining as Wednesday took the lead, against the run of play, with their first shot on target, Lucas Joao smashing home a knockdown from Atdhe Nuhiu. Chris Coleman has refused to give up on surviving relegation Credit: GETTY IMAGES Sunderland responded immediately, George Honeyman heading in Lynden Gooch’s excellent cross to the far post. The home side looked the more likely to score a second and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but it was the visitors who did thanks to some terrible defending at a set piece, goalkeeper Lee Camp motionless as the ball flew over four Sunderland players and was tapped in by Tom Lees. A few minutes later, Wednesday killed the game with a third goal from Nuhiu, as Sunderland once again failed to deal with a cross in the box. “We didn’t have a lot of chances but we were very efficient when we did,” said Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay. “Sunderland had the chances to score more than one goal, but we had a fantastic goalkeeping performance when we needed it. We have moved away from the dangerous situation at the bottom of the table and can look forward to the remainder of the season.” Lineups Sunderland (4-2-3-1) Camp, Love, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo (Matthews 64), Cattermole, McNair, Honeyman (Ejaria 83), McGeady, Gooch (Asoro 83), Fletcher Subs: Steele, LuaLua, McManaman, Maja. Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1) Wildsmith, Hint, Vanancio, Lees, Fox (Thorniley 8), Boyd, Pelupessy, Bannan (Jones 83), Joao, Reach, Nuhiu Subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Butterfield, Matias, Forestieri Attendance: 29,786 Referee: Simon Hooper.
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Hope is fragile thing for Sunderland, a gentle flame too easily extinguished. Having pulled off a shock victory at promotion chasing Derby County on Good Friday, rekindling belief they could avoid relegation, Chris Coleman’s side predictably followed it up with a painful home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. It has been like this for far too long, it has become a habit, first in the Premier League and now in the Championship. League One beckons. Sunderland have not won two games in a row since November 2016 and this was their 12th home defeat of the season. Even when they play reasonably well, they still manage to lose. That is one of the worst things you can say about a football team. With six games left to play and with just one win in their last 14, the Black Cats are five points from safety. They look doomed. After spending so long clinging on to their place in the Premier League, surviving but never anything more during a decade long-stay in the top flight, the Black Cats look as though they will tumble through the Championship without even so much as gaining a foothold. To put the scale of their demise into some sort of context, only four teams have previously been relegated from the second tier in English football the year after falling out of the top division. “We did more than enough today to come away with a good result and I haven’t always been able to say that,” said Coleman. “I can’t fault us, but I can fault the referee. He should have given us a penalty and they should have been down to ten men and the game is very different. “We conceded two soft goals, but overall it’s difficult to say to the players they’ve played badly. The thing is, I’d rather play badly and win. We just haven’t had any luck. We had the performance, but not the result. “We’re not giving up, we can beat any team in this division, we’ve seen that already this season, so it’s not inconceivable we can still stay up. If we hadn’t had the performances we’ve had in the last two games, maybe I wouldn’t believe that, but I do. It’s still possible.” Indeed, Sunderland were the better team for much of the first half, Donald Love firing over from distance before free-kicks from Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady were saved by Joe Wildsmith. The second-half was more entertaining as Wednesday took the lead, against the run of play, with their first shot on target, Lucas Joao smashing home a knockdown from Atdhe Nuhiu. Chris Coleman has refused to give up on surviving relegation Credit: GETTY IMAGES Sunderland responded immediately, George Honeyman heading in Lynden Gooch’s excellent cross to the far post. The home side looked the more likely to score a second and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but it was the visitors who did thanks to some terrible defending at a set piece, goalkeeper Lee Camp motionless as the ball flew over four Sunderland players and was tapped in by Tom Lees. A few minutes later, Wednesday killed the game with a third goal from Nuhiu, as Sunderland once again failed to deal with a cross in the box. “We didn’t have a lot of chances but we were very efficient when we did,” said Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay. “Sunderland had the chances to score more than one goal, but we had a fantastic goalkeeping performance when we needed it. We have moved away from the dangerous situation at the bottom of the table and can look forward to the remainder of the season.” Lineups Sunderland (4-2-3-1) Camp, Love, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo (Matthews 64), Cattermole, McNair, Honeyman (Ejaria 83), McGeady, Gooch (Asoro 83), Fletcher Subs: Steele, LuaLua, McManaman, Maja. Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1) Wildsmith, Hint, Vanancio, Lees, Fox (Thorniley 8), Boyd, Pelupessy, Bannan (Jones 83), Joao, Reach, Nuhiu Subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Butterfield, Matias, Forestieri Attendance: 29,786 Referee: Simon Hooper.
​Sunderland provided one of the biggest coupon busters of the weekend on Friday night as they, somewhat astonishingly, secured a 4-1 win at Derby County. George Honeyman's tame but deflected effort opened the scoring early on before Ashley Fletcher grabbed his first goal for the club with a well-taken finish; after capitalising on Richard Keogh's defensive howler which would have looked more suited at the Stadium of Light. Despite the Rams hitting back via a stunning Matej...
FanView: Why Sunderland Must Learn From History to Make Derby Win Count in Relegation Battle
​Sunderland provided one of the biggest coupon busters of the weekend on Friday night as they, somewhat astonishingly, secured a 4-1 win at Derby County. George Honeyman's tame but deflected effort opened the scoring early on before Ashley Fletcher grabbed his first goal for the club with a well-taken finish; after capitalising on Richard Keogh's defensive howler which would have looked more suited at the Stadium of Light. Despite the Rams hitting back via a stunning Matej...
​Sunderland provided one of the biggest coupon busters of the weekend on Friday night as they, somewhat astonishingly, secured a 4-1 win at Derby County. George Honeyman's tame but deflected effort opened the scoring early on before Ashley Fletcher grabbed his first goal for the club with a well-taken finish; after capitalising on Richard Keogh's defensive howler which would have looked more suited at the Stadium of Light. Despite the Rams hitting back via a stunning Matej...
FanView: Why Sunderland Must Learn From History to Make Derby Win Count in Relegation Battle
​Sunderland provided one of the biggest coupon busters of the weekend on Friday night as they, somewhat astonishingly, secured a 4-1 win at Derby County. George Honeyman's tame but deflected effort opened the scoring early on before Ashley Fletcher grabbed his first goal for the club with a well-taken finish; after capitalising on Richard Keogh's defensive howler which would have looked more suited at the Stadium of Light. Despite the Rams hitting back via a stunning Matej...
Craig Forsyth endured a personal nightmare as Championship promotion hopefuls Derby County lost 4-1 at home to Sunderland on Friday.
Sunderland boost survival hopes with shock win at Derby
Craig Forsyth endured a personal nightmare as Championship promotion hopefuls Derby County lost 4-1 at home to Sunderland on Friday.
Nuno Espirito Santo was forced to defend himself amidst suggestions he had celebrated excessively after Wolverhampton Wanderers took another significant step towards clinching a Premier League return. Tony Pulis refused to criticise his opposite number, despite an incendiary reaction from the Portuguese coach, after a dramatic victory for the nine-man Championship leaders saw the Molineux manager gesticulate wildly while jumping provocatively in front of the Middlesbrough bench. "I didn't see all the incidents afterwards, they were obviously delighted as they'd just won," Pulis said, after a pulsating contest that saw the visitors play out the final 20 minutes two men down after red cards for Ruben Neves and Matt Doherty. "To be honest, I don't know the fella (Nuno)," Pulis added. "It might be different if he was someone I knew. I'd have been delighted as well, but I'd have reacted differently. He's very welcome to come into my room, but I doubt he will." For his part, Nuno admitted his emotions momentarily got the better of him as his side restored their six-point advantage at the top of the table thanks to a first victory on Teeside since 1951. In mitigation, he insisted he wasn't alone, though the regular sight of at least four of his backroom staff sprinting from the visitor's bench to protest every contentious decision soon became grating. "Everyone in the stadium lost control," Nuno insisted, claiming decisions by Stuart Attwell, who issued 10 yellow cards in addition to two reds, added to the fractious atmosphere, although Pulis reserved praise for the referee. "It's difficult to control your emotions when a bad decision can cost you," the Molineux manager added. "The referee was not able to control the teams." Even with nine men, Wolves look too good for the Championship. It appears increasingly a matter of when, not if, they are promoted back to the Premier League as in the space of 90 breathless minutes they accumulated more points than they had managed over the previous 26 years in this corner of the North East. They now require a maximum of three wins from their remaining seven games, and their elevation to the top flight is likely to be sealed on April 11 when they entertain Derby County, another of the pre-season promotion favourites who, like Middlesbrough, have been left to fight for the minor placings in what is starting to resemble a procession for pole position. Wolves are unbeaten in 27 games when they have taken the lead this season, meaning the outcome here looked in little doubt once the visitors' dominance was rewarded by scoring twice in the space of five minutes as half-time approached. Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates scoring for Wolves Credit: GETTY IMAGES Barry Douglas was the source of both goals, first when showing his vision to send over an inviting cross in the 32nd minute for the unmarked Helder Costa to volley in a fourth goal in his last nine league appearances, after Boro failed to clear when the Portuguese midfielder saw his initial shot from a narrow angle saved by Darren Randolph. The advantage was soon doubled, Randolph saving Willy Boly's near-post header from a Douglas corner, only for the ball to loop across goal where Ivan Cavaleiro had the simple task of nodding home into an unguarded net. With Wolves content to sit back and defend their lead, the onus fell on Middlesbrough to make the running after the break, but it was a task which proved largely beyond them as the visitors coped with relative ease, at least until Neves made an unnecessarily early exit with 25 minutes remaining, picking up a second caution inside two minutes for an ugly lunge at George Friend. Doherty's second caution for a flailing elbow, Friend again the victim, as the pair challenged for an aerial ball saw Wolves further diminished shortly after, but their opponents failed to take advantage until Patrick Bamford's fine volley in the fourth minute of stoppage time set up a nervy final 90 seconds. Wolves safely negotiated it, though, to cap a display which speaks volumes for the qualities possessed by the best team currently outside the Premier League. Pulis said: "They've invested well and will do so again when they go up." Team details Middlesbrough (4-3-3) Randolph; Shotton (Cranie 70), Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton (Assombalonga 70), Leadbitter (Howson 63), Besic; Traore, Bamford, Downing. Subs: Konstantopoulos, Fry, Baker, Harrison Wolves (3-4-3) Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Costa (Gibbs-White 84), Afobe (Bonatini 63), Cavaleiro (N'Diaye 58). Substitutes: Norris, Batth, Vinagre, Hause. Referee Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Middlesbrough 1 Wolves 2: Nuno Espirito Santo forced to defend wild celebrations in front of Boro bunch
Nuno Espirito Santo was forced to defend himself amidst suggestions he had celebrated excessively after Wolverhampton Wanderers took another significant step towards clinching a Premier League return. Tony Pulis refused to criticise his opposite number, despite an incendiary reaction from the Portuguese coach, after a dramatic victory for the nine-man Championship leaders saw the Molineux manager gesticulate wildly while jumping provocatively in front of the Middlesbrough bench. "I didn't see all the incidents afterwards, they were obviously delighted as they'd just won," Pulis said, after a pulsating contest that saw the visitors play out the final 20 minutes two men down after red cards for Ruben Neves and Matt Doherty. "To be honest, I don't know the fella (Nuno)," Pulis added. "It might be different if he was someone I knew. I'd have been delighted as well, but I'd have reacted differently. He's very welcome to come into my room, but I doubt he will." For his part, Nuno admitted his emotions momentarily got the better of him as his side restored their six-point advantage at the top of the table thanks to a first victory on Teeside since 1951. In mitigation, he insisted he wasn't alone, though the regular sight of at least four of his backroom staff sprinting from the visitor's bench to protest every contentious decision soon became grating. "Everyone in the stadium lost control," Nuno insisted, claiming decisions by Stuart Attwell, who issued 10 yellow cards in addition to two reds, added to the fractious atmosphere, although Pulis reserved praise for the referee. "It's difficult to control your emotions when a bad decision can cost you," the Molineux manager added. "The referee was not able to control the teams." Even with nine men, Wolves look too good for the Championship. It appears increasingly a matter of when, not if, they are promoted back to the Premier League as in the space of 90 breathless minutes they accumulated more points than they had managed over the previous 26 years in this corner of the North East. They now require a maximum of three wins from their remaining seven games, and their elevation to the top flight is likely to be sealed on April 11 when they entertain Derby County, another of the pre-season promotion favourites who, like Middlesbrough, have been left to fight for the minor placings in what is starting to resemble a procession for pole position. Wolves are unbeaten in 27 games when they have taken the lead this season, meaning the outcome here looked in little doubt once the visitors' dominance was rewarded by scoring twice in the space of five minutes as half-time approached. Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates scoring for Wolves Credit: GETTY IMAGES Barry Douglas was the source of both goals, first when showing his vision to send over an inviting cross in the 32nd minute for the unmarked Helder Costa to volley in a fourth goal in his last nine league appearances, after Boro failed to clear when the Portuguese midfielder saw his initial shot from a narrow angle saved by Darren Randolph. The advantage was soon doubled, Randolph saving Willy Boly's near-post header from a Douglas corner, only for the ball to loop across goal where Ivan Cavaleiro had the simple task of nodding home into an unguarded net. With Wolves content to sit back and defend their lead, the onus fell on Middlesbrough to make the running after the break, but it was a task which proved largely beyond them as the visitors coped with relative ease, at least until Neves made an unnecessarily early exit with 25 minutes remaining, picking up a second caution inside two minutes for an ugly lunge at George Friend. Doherty's second caution for a flailing elbow, Friend again the victim, as the pair challenged for an aerial ball saw Wolves further diminished shortly after, but their opponents failed to take advantage until Patrick Bamford's fine volley in the fourth minute of stoppage time set up a nervy final 90 seconds. Wolves safely negotiated it, though, to cap a display which speaks volumes for the qualities possessed by the best team currently outside the Premier League. Pulis said: "They've invested well and will do so again when they go up." Team details Middlesbrough (4-3-3) Randolph; Shotton (Cranie 70), Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton (Assombalonga 70), Leadbitter (Howson 63), Besic; Traore, Bamford, Downing. Subs: Konstantopoulos, Fry, Baker, Harrison Wolves (3-4-3) Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Costa (Gibbs-White 84), Afobe (Bonatini 63), Cavaleiro (N'Diaye 58). Substitutes: Norris, Batth, Vinagre, Hause. Referee Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Nuno Espirito Santo was forced to defend himself amidst suggestions he had celebrated excessively after Wolverhampton Wanderers took another significant step towards clinching a Premier League return. Tony Pulis refused to criticise his opposite number, despite an incendiary reaction from the Portuguese coach, after a dramatic victory for the nine-man Championship leaders saw the Molineux manager gesticulate wildly while jumping provocatively in front of the Middlesbrough bench. "I didn't see all the incidents afterwards, they were obviously delighted as they'd just won," Pulis said, after a pulsating contest that saw the visitors play out the final 20 minutes two men down after red cards for Ruben Neves and Matt Doherty. "To be honest, I don't know the fella (Nuno)," Pulis added. "It might be different if he was someone I knew. I'd have been delighted as well, but I'd have reacted differently. He's very welcome to come into my room, but I doubt he will." For his part, Nuno admitted his emotions momentarily got the better of him as his side restored their six-point advantage at the top of the table thanks to a first victory on Teeside since 1951. In mitigation, he insisted he wasn't alone, though the regular sight of at least four of his backroom staff sprinting from the visitor's bench to protest every contentious decision soon became grating. "Everyone in the stadium lost control," Nuno insisted, claiming decisions by Stuart Attwell, who issued 10 yellow cards in addition to two reds, added to the fractious atmosphere, although Pulis reserved praise for the referee. "It's difficult to control your emotions when a bad decision can cost you," the Molineux manager added. "The referee was not able to control the teams." Even with nine men, Wolves look too good for the Championship. It appears increasingly a matter of when, not if, they are promoted back to the Premier League as in the space of 90 breathless minutes they accumulated more points than they had managed over the previous 26 years in this corner of the North East. They now require a maximum of three wins from their remaining seven games, and their elevation to the top flight is likely to be sealed on April 11 when they entertain Derby County, another of the pre-season promotion favourites who, like Middlesbrough, have been left to fight for the minor placings in what is starting to resemble a procession for pole position. Wolves are unbeaten in 27 games when they have taken the lead this season, meaning the outcome here looked in little doubt once the visitors' dominance was rewarded by scoring twice in the space of five minutes as half-time approached. Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates scoring for Wolves Credit: GETTY IMAGES Barry Douglas was the source of both goals, first when showing his vision to send over an inviting cross in the 32nd minute for the unmarked Helder Costa to volley in a fourth goal in his last nine league appearances, after Boro failed to clear when the Portuguese midfielder saw his initial shot from a narrow angle saved by Darren Randolph. The advantage was soon doubled, Randolph saving Willy Boly's near-post header from a Douglas corner, only for the ball to loop across goal where Ivan Cavaleiro had the simple task of nodding home into an unguarded net. With Wolves content to sit back and defend their lead, the onus fell on Middlesbrough to make the running after the break, but it was a task which proved largely beyond them as the visitors coped with relative ease, at least until Neves made an unnecessarily early exit with 25 minutes remaining, picking up a second caution inside two minutes for an ugly lunge at George Friend. Doherty's second caution for a flailing elbow, Friend again the victim, as the pair challenged for an aerial ball saw Wolves further diminished shortly after, but their opponents failed to take advantage until Patrick Bamford's fine volley in the fourth minute of stoppage time set up a nervy final 90 seconds. Wolves safely negotiated it, though, to cap a display which speaks volumes for the qualities possessed by the best team currently outside the Premier League. Pulis said: "They've invested well and will do so again when they go up." Team details Middlesbrough (4-3-3) Randolph; Shotton (Cranie 70), Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton (Assombalonga 70), Leadbitter (Howson 63), Besic; Traore, Bamford, Downing. Subs: Konstantopoulos, Fry, Baker, Harrison Wolves (3-4-3) Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Costa (Gibbs-White 84), Afobe (Bonatini 63), Cavaleiro (N'Diaye 58). Substitutes: Norris, Batth, Vinagre, Hause. Referee Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Middlesbrough 1 Wolves 2: Nuno Espirito Santo forced to defend wild celebrations in front of Boro bunch
Nuno Espirito Santo was forced to defend himself amidst suggestions he had celebrated excessively after Wolverhampton Wanderers took another significant step towards clinching a Premier League return. Tony Pulis refused to criticise his opposite number, despite an incendiary reaction from the Portuguese coach, after a dramatic victory for the nine-man Championship leaders saw the Molineux manager gesticulate wildly while jumping provocatively in front of the Middlesbrough bench. "I didn't see all the incidents afterwards, they were obviously delighted as they'd just won," Pulis said, after a pulsating contest that saw the visitors play out the final 20 minutes two men down after red cards for Ruben Neves and Matt Doherty. "To be honest, I don't know the fella (Nuno)," Pulis added. "It might be different if he was someone I knew. I'd have been delighted as well, but I'd have reacted differently. He's very welcome to come into my room, but I doubt he will." For his part, Nuno admitted his emotions momentarily got the better of him as his side restored their six-point advantage at the top of the table thanks to a first victory on Teeside since 1951. In mitigation, he insisted he wasn't alone, though the regular sight of at least four of his backroom staff sprinting from the visitor's bench to protest every contentious decision soon became grating. "Everyone in the stadium lost control," Nuno insisted, claiming decisions by Stuart Attwell, who issued 10 yellow cards in addition to two reds, added to the fractious atmosphere, although Pulis reserved praise for the referee. "It's difficult to control your emotions when a bad decision can cost you," the Molineux manager added. "The referee was not able to control the teams." Even with nine men, Wolves look too good for the Championship. It appears increasingly a matter of when, not if, they are promoted back to the Premier League as in the space of 90 breathless minutes they accumulated more points than they had managed over the previous 26 years in this corner of the North East. They now require a maximum of three wins from their remaining seven games, and their elevation to the top flight is likely to be sealed on April 11 when they entertain Derby County, another of the pre-season promotion favourites who, like Middlesbrough, have been left to fight for the minor placings in what is starting to resemble a procession for pole position. Wolves are unbeaten in 27 games when they have taken the lead this season, meaning the outcome here looked in little doubt once the visitors' dominance was rewarded by scoring twice in the space of five minutes as half-time approached. Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates scoring for Wolves Credit: GETTY IMAGES Barry Douglas was the source of both goals, first when showing his vision to send over an inviting cross in the 32nd minute for the unmarked Helder Costa to volley in a fourth goal in his last nine league appearances, after Boro failed to clear when the Portuguese midfielder saw his initial shot from a narrow angle saved by Darren Randolph. The advantage was soon doubled, Randolph saving Willy Boly's near-post header from a Douglas corner, only for the ball to loop across goal where Ivan Cavaleiro had the simple task of nodding home into an unguarded net. With Wolves content to sit back and defend their lead, the onus fell on Middlesbrough to make the running after the break, but it was a task which proved largely beyond them as the visitors coped with relative ease, at least until Neves made an unnecessarily early exit with 25 minutes remaining, picking up a second caution inside two minutes for an ugly lunge at George Friend. Doherty's second caution for a flailing elbow, Friend again the victim, as the pair challenged for an aerial ball saw Wolves further diminished shortly after, but their opponents failed to take advantage until Patrick Bamford's fine volley in the fourth minute of stoppage time set up a nervy final 90 seconds. Wolves safely negotiated it, though, to cap a display which speaks volumes for the qualities possessed by the best team currently outside the Premier League. Pulis said: "They've invested well and will do so again when they go up." Team details Middlesbrough (4-3-3) Randolph; Shotton (Cranie 70), Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton (Assombalonga 70), Leadbitter (Howson 63), Besic; Traore, Bamford, Downing. Subs: Konstantopoulos, Fry, Baker, Harrison Wolves (3-4-3) Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Costa (Gibbs-White 84), Afobe (Bonatini 63), Cavaleiro (N'Diaye 58). Substitutes: Norris, Batth, Vinagre, Hause. Referee Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Paul Clement has previously managed Swansea City and Derby County.
Reading appoint Paul Clement as manager after sacking Jaap Stam
Paul Clement has previously managed Swansea City and Derby County.
Paul Clement is set to fly back from the United States to make his return to management with Reading. Clement will cut short a holiday in Los Angeles to accept the job at the Championship club, following the dismissal of Jaap Stam on Monday. The 46-year-old was dismissed by Swansea in December with the club bottom of the Premier League and swiftly emerged as Reading’s No1 choice, ahead of former Birmingham manager Steve Cotterill. Reading’s chief executive Ron Gourlay knows Clement well from their time together at Chelsea and believes he can guide the club away from the relegation zone. Stam was sacked after just one win in 18 games, less than a year after leading Reading into the Championship play-off final. The club's 3-2 defeat at Norwich City on Saturday left them in 20th place, three points adrift of the relegation zone. Jaap Stam was sacked on Monday Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire It is understood Clement's appointment could be confirmed in the next 24 hours. Clement has Championship experience after eight months in charge at Derby County.
Reading turn to Paul Clement to succeed Jaap Stam as manager
Paul Clement is set to fly back from the United States to make his return to management with Reading. Clement will cut short a holiday in Los Angeles to accept the job at the Championship club, following the dismissal of Jaap Stam on Monday. The 46-year-old was dismissed by Swansea in December with the club bottom of the Premier League and swiftly emerged as Reading’s No1 choice, ahead of former Birmingham manager Steve Cotterill. Reading’s chief executive Ron Gourlay knows Clement well from their time together at Chelsea and believes he can guide the club away from the relegation zone. Stam was sacked after just one win in 18 games, less than a year after leading Reading into the Championship play-off final. The club's 3-2 defeat at Norwich City on Saturday left them in 20th place, three points adrift of the relegation zone. Jaap Stam was sacked on Monday Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire It is understood Clement's appointment could be confirmed in the next 24 hours. Clement has Championship experience after eight months in charge at Derby County.
Paul Clement is set to fly back from the United States to make his return to management with Reading. Clement will cut short a holiday in Los Angeles to accept the job at the Championship club, following the dismissal of Jaap Stam on Monday. The 46-year-old was dismissed by Swansea in December with the club bottom of the Premier League and swiftly emerged as Reading’s No1 choice, ahead of former Birmingham manager Steve Cotterill. Reading’s chief executive Ron Gourlay knows Clement well from their time together at Chelsea and believes he can guide the club away from the relegation zone. Stam was sacked after just one win in 18 games, less than a year after leading Reading into the Championship play-off final. The club's 3-2 defeat at Norwich City on Saturday left them in 20th place, three points adrift of the relegation zone. Jaap Stam was sacked on Monday Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire It is understood Clement's appointment could be confirmed in the next 24 hours. Clement has Championship experience after eight months in charge at Derby County.
Reading turn to Paul Clement to succeed Jaap Stam as manager
Paul Clement is set to fly back from the United States to make his return to management with Reading. Clement will cut short a holiday in Los Angeles to accept the job at the Championship club, following the dismissal of Jaap Stam on Monday. The 46-year-old was dismissed by Swansea in December with the club bottom of the Premier League and swiftly emerged as Reading’s No1 choice, ahead of former Birmingham manager Steve Cotterill. Reading’s chief executive Ron Gourlay knows Clement well from their time together at Chelsea and believes he can guide the club away from the relegation zone. Stam was sacked after just one win in 18 games, less than a year after leading Reading into the Championship play-off final. The club's 3-2 defeat at Norwich City on Saturday left them in 20th place, three points adrift of the relegation zone. Jaap Stam was sacked on Monday Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire It is understood Clement's appointment could be confirmed in the next 24 hours. Clement has Championship experience after eight months in charge at Derby County.
Hands down the best football picture of the week is John Gregory posing with the Indian Super League trophy in traditional Tamil Nadu clothing. Why is he doing that, you ask? Because he’s only the manager of Chennaiyin FC, who recently brought home the big cup to fortress Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Since he hit the big time in the late 1990s, John’s career has followed that well-trodden path from Aston Villa, to Derby County, QPR, to Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, F.C. Ashdod, FC Kairat, and then the most exotic of all, Crawley Town, before he slid into the managerial hotseat in Chennaiyin last year. With his famously progressive views on depression I could not and still cannot understand how someone so young, fit, handsome and wealthy can suffer from such an illness ... and of course art... What the f*** is art? A picture of a bottle of sour milk lying next to a smelly old jumper? To me it's a load of s***. I'd say football is art it is perhaps a little surprising that this proud son of Scunthorpe has chosen to broaden his horizons around the world. John in more traditional habitat as he signs George Boateng (left) and Najway Ghrayeb with Deadly Doug Credit: PA But then he is far from the only old skool gaffer yelling “First post! First post!” at some terrified unfortunates in a language they do not speak somewhere hot, dusty, and requiring of jabs. Peter Reid The most Proper Football Man of all Proper Football Men, Reidy is most associated with Manchester City, and then Sunderland, where his Tall Man-Small Man, keep it simple, 26 pints of Four Star after the match approach worked really well for quite a while. Until it didn’t. The Blue Monkey Magic had all but gone after spells at Leeds and Coventry, and with top-flight job offers not exactly flooding in, Reidy gave Chris Kamara’s leg one last manly joshing squeeze, and took himself off to Bangkok. The local press loved him but thought he didn’t smile enough, which seems odd, because he’s a jovial fellow. Perhaps he didn’t like the grub. He's certainly doing a decent job here as he meets the local top man. Peter Reid meeting Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Credit: Reuters On the pitch, results were… well, they were mixed. "Communication has been tricky but football is a universal language," said Reidy, who is from Liverpool. "But the substitutions are a real nightmare. Their names and nicknames are difficult and I'm convinced I'm taking the wrong players off," he said. Reidy famously didn’t bother too much about learning the players’ names, and coached them instead by referring to them by their squad numbers. Weirdly, this did not seem to work all that well and Reidy was out of there after a year. But Reidy had got the taste for it now, and after a brief sojourn back at Plymouth Argyle, took himself to another storied port: Mumbai! Bandana Boy: Reidy with the traditional (??? maybe???) Mumbai hankie-on-the-head Credit: ISL Reidy's spell in India was mostly distinguished by headgear. Hat act: Reidy of the Raj Credit: ISL These pictures were photoshopped by the BBC in a deliberate attempt to discredit Reidy. Yes boss: The universal comedy language of a foreigner in a funny hat Credit: ISL Steve McClaren Assistant to Jim Smith in 1996, Steve emerged from under the wing of the Bald Eagle to become Sir Alex’s right-hand, before Boro and his legendary World Cup winning spell with England (no, wait...) The Immortal Brolly Credit: Getty Has eventually proved himself to be a decent manager as well as a good feller, but McClaren’s tragedy and glory is that he will always be known for two things. Brolly Comedy Dutch accent McClaren won the League with Twente, which was no mean feat. He was named Dutch Managersh of the Yearsh, but decided to leave nevertheless. Spells at Wolfsburg, a return to Twente, a return to Derby, a spell as a Hollywood accent coach (not really) never quite took and he last popped up for a brief spell at Maccabi Tel Aviv. That's not how you spell 'shmoke and a pancakesh' : Steve McClaren signs his contract while FC Twente chairman Joop Munsterman watches Credit: Getty Unclear if he tried to do a comedy German as well... We can only speculate as to the horrible pronunciation Steve might attempt with "Wolfskin" Credit: Getty Graeme Souness The cauldron of fury that is Turkish football was a match made in The Hell for the cauldron of fury that is Graeme Souness. The Galatasaray gaffer caused a tremendous row when he beat Fenerbache and planted a Galatasaray flag in the centre of their pitch. Wind-up legend: Souness plants the flag Credit: Reuters With his flair for the dramatic and love of the argy-bargy, Souey was a popular figure in Turkey, but the lure of home was too much and he returned for markedly less storied spells at the likes of Newcastle. Also had spell in Benfica where he attracted ridicule by signing a load of old knackers merely because they had played in England (Brian Deane! Mark Pembridge! Worthy heirs to Eusebio!) Stuart Baxter Finn-tastic: Wales manager John Toshack (right) turns away dejected as Finland coach Stuart Baxter (far left) celebrates Credit: PA Bucking the trend for British gaffers more at home in Darlington than Delhi, Baxter has had a long career managing everywhere BUT Blighty. His CV reads: Örebro SK, IF Skarp, Vitória Setubal, Halmstads BK, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Vissel Kobe, AIK, Lyn, England Under-19 (the only outlier), South Africa, Vissel Kobe, Helsingborgs IF, Finland, Kaizer Chiefs (the Johannesburg football team, not the I Predict A Riot hit-makers), Gençlerbirliği, SuperSport United, South Africa. The man must love an Air Miles.
The curious case of émigré John Gregory, and other 90s managers who ended up in odd places
Hands down the best football picture of the week is John Gregory posing with the Indian Super League trophy in traditional Tamil Nadu clothing. Why is he doing that, you ask? Because he’s only the manager of Chennaiyin FC, who recently brought home the big cup to fortress Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Since he hit the big time in the late 1990s, John’s career has followed that well-trodden path from Aston Villa, to Derby County, QPR, to Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, F.C. Ashdod, FC Kairat, and then the most exotic of all, Crawley Town, before he slid into the managerial hotseat in Chennaiyin last year. With his famously progressive views on depression I could not and still cannot understand how someone so young, fit, handsome and wealthy can suffer from such an illness ... and of course art... What the f*** is art? A picture of a bottle of sour milk lying next to a smelly old jumper? To me it's a load of s***. I'd say football is art it is perhaps a little surprising that this proud son of Scunthorpe has chosen to broaden his horizons around the world. John in more traditional habitat as he signs George Boateng (left) and Najway Ghrayeb with Deadly Doug Credit: PA But then he is far from the only old skool gaffer yelling “First post! First post!” at some terrified unfortunates in a language they do not speak somewhere hot, dusty, and requiring of jabs. Peter Reid The most Proper Football Man of all Proper Football Men, Reidy is most associated with Manchester City, and then Sunderland, where his Tall Man-Small Man, keep it simple, 26 pints of Four Star after the match approach worked really well for quite a while. Until it didn’t. The Blue Monkey Magic had all but gone after spells at Leeds and Coventry, and with top-flight job offers not exactly flooding in, Reidy gave Chris Kamara’s leg one last manly joshing squeeze, and took himself off to Bangkok. The local press loved him but thought he didn’t smile enough, which seems odd, because he’s a jovial fellow. Perhaps he didn’t like the grub. He's certainly doing a decent job here as he meets the local top man. Peter Reid meeting Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Credit: Reuters On the pitch, results were… well, they were mixed. "Communication has been tricky but football is a universal language," said Reidy, who is from Liverpool. "But the substitutions are a real nightmare. Their names and nicknames are difficult and I'm convinced I'm taking the wrong players off," he said. Reidy famously didn’t bother too much about learning the players’ names, and coached them instead by referring to them by their squad numbers. Weirdly, this did not seem to work all that well and Reidy was out of there after a year. But Reidy had got the taste for it now, and after a brief sojourn back at Plymouth Argyle, took himself to another storied port: Mumbai! Bandana Boy: Reidy with the traditional (??? maybe???) Mumbai hankie-on-the-head Credit: ISL Reidy's spell in India was mostly distinguished by headgear. Hat act: Reidy of the Raj Credit: ISL These pictures were photoshopped by the BBC in a deliberate attempt to discredit Reidy. Yes boss: The universal comedy language of a foreigner in a funny hat Credit: ISL Steve McClaren Assistant to Jim Smith in 1996, Steve emerged from under the wing of the Bald Eagle to become Sir Alex’s right-hand, before Boro and his legendary World Cup winning spell with England (no, wait...) The Immortal Brolly Credit: Getty Has eventually proved himself to be a decent manager as well as a good feller, but McClaren’s tragedy and glory is that he will always be known for two things. Brolly Comedy Dutch accent McClaren won the League with Twente, which was no mean feat. He was named Dutch Managersh of the Yearsh, but decided to leave nevertheless. Spells at Wolfsburg, a return to Twente, a return to Derby, a spell as a Hollywood accent coach (not really) never quite took and he last popped up for a brief spell at Maccabi Tel Aviv. That's not how you spell 'shmoke and a pancakesh' : Steve McClaren signs his contract while FC Twente chairman Joop Munsterman watches Credit: Getty Unclear if he tried to do a comedy German as well... We can only speculate as to the horrible pronunciation Steve might attempt with "Wolfskin" Credit: Getty Graeme Souness The cauldron of fury that is Turkish football was a match made in The Hell for the cauldron of fury that is Graeme Souness. The Galatasaray gaffer caused a tremendous row when he beat Fenerbache and planted a Galatasaray flag in the centre of their pitch. Wind-up legend: Souness plants the flag Credit: Reuters With his flair for the dramatic and love of the argy-bargy, Souey was a popular figure in Turkey, but the lure of home was too much and he returned for markedly less storied spells at the likes of Newcastle. Also had spell in Benfica where he attracted ridicule by signing a load of old knackers merely because they had played in England (Brian Deane! Mark Pembridge! Worthy heirs to Eusebio!) Stuart Baxter Finn-tastic: Wales manager John Toshack (right) turns away dejected as Finland coach Stuart Baxter (far left) celebrates Credit: PA Bucking the trend for British gaffers more at home in Darlington than Delhi, Baxter has had a long career managing everywhere BUT Blighty. His CV reads: Örebro SK, IF Skarp, Vitória Setubal, Halmstads BK, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Vissel Kobe, AIK, Lyn, England Under-19 (the only outlier), South Africa, Vissel Kobe, Helsingborgs IF, Finland, Kaizer Chiefs (the Johannesburg football team, not the I Predict A Riot hit-makers), Gençlerbirliği, SuperSport United, South Africa. The man must love an Air Miles.
Hands down the best football picture of the week is John Gregory posing with the Indian Super League trophy in traditional Tamil Nadu clothing. Why is he doing that, you ask? Because he’s only the manager of Chennaiyin FC, who recently brought home the big cup to fortress Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Since he hit the big time in the late 1990s, John’s career has followed that well-trodden path from Aston Villa, to Derby County, QPR, to Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, F.C. Ashdod, FC Kairat, and then the most exotic of all, Crawley Town, before he slid into the managerial hotseat in Chennaiyin last year. With his famously progressive views on depression I could not and still cannot understand how someone so young, fit, handsome and wealthy can suffer from such an illness ... and of course art... What the f*** is art? A picture of a bottle of sour milk lying next to a smelly old jumper? To me it's a load of s***. I'd say football is art it is perhaps a little surprising that this proud son of Scunthorpe has chosen to broaden his horizons around the world. John in more traditional habitat as he signs George Boateng (left) and Najway Ghrayeb with Deadly Doug Credit: PA But then he is far from the only old skool gaffer yelling “First post! First post!” at some terrified unfortunates in a language they do not speak somewhere hot, dusty, and requiring of jabs. Peter Reid The most Proper Football Man of all Proper Football Men, Reidy is most associated with Manchester City, and then Sunderland, where his Tall Man-Small Man, keep it simple, 26 pints of Four Star after the match approach worked really well for quite a while. Until it didn’t. The Blue Monkey Magic had all but gone after spells at Leeds and Coventry, and with top-flight job offers not exactly flooding in, Reidy gave Chris Kamara’s leg one last manly joshing squeeze, and took himself off to Bangkok. The local press loved him but thought he didn’t smile enough, which seems odd, because he’s a jovial fellow. Perhaps he didn’t like the grub. He's certainly doing a decent job here as he meets the local top man. Peter Reid meeting Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Credit: Reuters On the pitch, results were… well, they were mixed. "Communication has been tricky but football is a universal language," said Reidy, who is from Liverpool. "But the substitutions are a real nightmare. Their names and nicknames are difficult and I'm convinced I'm taking the wrong players off," he said. Reidy famously didn’t bother too much about learning the players’ names, and coached them instead by referring to them by their squad numbers. Weirdly, this did not seem to work all that well and Reidy was out of there after a year. But Reidy had got the taste for it now, and after a brief sojourn back at Plymouth Argyle, took himself to another storied port: Mumbai! Bandana Boy: Reidy with the traditional (??? maybe???) Mumbai hankie-on-the-head Credit: ISL Reidy's spell in India was mostly distinguished by headgear. Hat act: Reidy of the Raj Credit: ISL These pictures were photoshopped by the BBC in a deliberate attempt to discredit Reidy. Yes boss: The universal comedy language of a foreigner in a funny hat Credit: ISL Steve McClaren Assistant to Jim Smith in 1996, Steve emerged from under the wing of the Bald Eagle to become Sir Alex’s right-hand, before Boro and his legendary World Cup winning spell with England (no, wait...) The Immortal Brolly Credit: Getty Has eventually proved himself to be a decent manager as well as a good feller, but McClaren’s tragedy and glory is that he will always be known for two things. Brolly Comedy Dutch accent McClaren won the League with Twente, which was no mean feat. He was named Dutch Managersh of the Yearsh, but decided to leave nevertheless. Spells at Wolfsburg, a return to Twente, a return to Derby, a spell as a Hollywood accent coach (not really) never quite took and he last popped up for a brief spell at Maccabi Tel Aviv. That's not how you spell 'shmoke and a pancakesh' : Steve McClaren signs his contract while FC Twente chairman Joop Munsterman watches Credit: Getty Unclear if he tried to do a comedy German as well... We can only speculate as to the horrible pronunciation Steve might attempt with "Wolfskin" Credit: Getty Graeme Souness The cauldron of fury that is Turkish football was a match made in The Hell for the cauldron of fury that is Graeme Souness. The Galatasaray gaffer caused a tremendous row when he beat Fenerbache and planted a Galatasaray flag in the centre of their pitch. Wind-up legend: Souness plants the flag Credit: Reuters With his flair for the dramatic and love of the argy-bargy, Souey was a popular figure in Turkey, but the lure of home was too much and he returned for markedly less storied spells at the likes of Newcastle. Also had spell in Benfica where he attracted ridicule by signing a load of old knackers merely because they had played in England (Brian Deane! Mark Pembridge! Worthy heirs to Eusebio!) Stuart Baxter Finn-tastic: Wales manager John Toshack (right) turns away dejected as Finland coach Stuart Baxter (far left) celebrates Credit: PA Bucking the trend for British gaffers more at home in Darlington than Delhi, Baxter has had a long career managing everywhere BUT Blighty. His CV reads: Örebro SK, IF Skarp, Vitória Setubal, Halmstads BK, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Vissel Kobe, AIK, Lyn, England Under-19 (the only outlier), South Africa, Vissel Kobe, Helsingborgs IF, Finland, Kaizer Chiefs (the Johannesburg football team, not the I Predict A Riot hit-makers), Gençlerbirliği, SuperSport United, South Africa. The man must love an Air Miles.
The curious case of émigré John Gregory, and other 90s managers who ended up in odd places
Hands down the best football picture of the week is John Gregory posing with the Indian Super League trophy in traditional Tamil Nadu clothing. Why is he doing that, you ask? Because he’s only the manager of Chennaiyin FC, who recently brought home the big cup to fortress Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Since he hit the big time in the late 1990s, John’s career has followed that well-trodden path from Aston Villa, to Derby County, QPR, to Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, F.C. Ashdod, FC Kairat, and then the most exotic of all, Crawley Town, before he slid into the managerial hotseat in Chennaiyin last year. With his famously progressive views on depression I could not and still cannot understand how someone so young, fit, handsome and wealthy can suffer from such an illness ... and of course art... What the f*** is art? A picture of a bottle of sour milk lying next to a smelly old jumper? To me it's a load of s***. I'd say football is art it is perhaps a little surprising that this proud son of Scunthorpe has chosen to broaden his horizons around the world. John in more traditional habitat as he signs George Boateng (left) and Najway Ghrayeb with Deadly Doug Credit: PA But then he is far from the only old skool gaffer yelling “First post! First post!” at some terrified unfortunates in a language they do not speak somewhere hot, dusty, and requiring of jabs. Peter Reid The most Proper Football Man of all Proper Football Men, Reidy is most associated with Manchester City, and then Sunderland, where his Tall Man-Small Man, keep it simple, 26 pints of Four Star after the match approach worked really well for quite a while. Until it didn’t. The Blue Monkey Magic had all but gone after spells at Leeds and Coventry, and with top-flight job offers not exactly flooding in, Reidy gave Chris Kamara’s leg one last manly joshing squeeze, and took himself off to Bangkok. The local press loved him but thought he didn’t smile enough, which seems odd, because he’s a jovial fellow. Perhaps he didn’t like the grub. He's certainly doing a decent job here as he meets the local top man. Peter Reid meeting Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Credit: Reuters On the pitch, results were… well, they were mixed. "Communication has been tricky but football is a universal language," said Reidy, who is from Liverpool. "But the substitutions are a real nightmare. Their names and nicknames are difficult and I'm convinced I'm taking the wrong players off," he said. Reidy famously didn’t bother too much about learning the players’ names, and coached them instead by referring to them by their squad numbers. Weirdly, this did not seem to work all that well and Reidy was out of there after a year. But Reidy had got the taste for it now, and after a brief sojourn back at Plymouth Argyle, took himself to another storied port: Mumbai! Bandana Boy: Reidy with the traditional (??? maybe???) Mumbai hankie-on-the-head Credit: ISL Reidy's spell in India was mostly distinguished by headgear. Hat act: Reidy of the Raj Credit: ISL These pictures were photoshopped by the BBC in a deliberate attempt to discredit Reidy. Yes boss: The universal comedy language of a foreigner in a funny hat Credit: ISL Steve McClaren Assistant to Jim Smith in 1996, Steve emerged from under the wing of the Bald Eagle to become Sir Alex’s right-hand, before Boro and his legendary World Cup winning spell with England (no, wait...) The Immortal Brolly Credit: Getty Has eventually proved himself to be a decent manager as well as a good feller, but McClaren’s tragedy and glory is that he will always be known for two things. Brolly Comedy Dutch accent McClaren won the League with Twente, which was no mean feat. He was named Dutch Managersh of the Yearsh, but decided to leave nevertheless. Spells at Wolfsburg, a return to Twente, a return to Derby, a spell as a Hollywood accent coach (not really) never quite took and he last popped up for a brief spell at Maccabi Tel Aviv. That's not how you spell 'shmoke and a pancakesh' : Steve McClaren signs his contract while FC Twente chairman Joop Munsterman watches Credit: Getty Unclear if he tried to do a comedy German as well... We can only speculate as to the horrible pronunciation Steve might attempt with "Wolfskin" Credit: Getty Graeme Souness The cauldron of fury that is Turkish football was a match made in The Hell for the cauldron of fury that is Graeme Souness. The Galatasaray gaffer caused a tremendous row when he beat Fenerbache and planted a Galatasaray flag in the centre of their pitch. Wind-up legend: Souness plants the flag Credit: Reuters With his flair for the dramatic and love of the argy-bargy, Souey was a popular figure in Turkey, but the lure of home was too much and he returned for markedly less storied spells at the likes of Newcastle. Also had spell in Benfica where he attracted ridicule by signing a load of old knackers merely because they had played in England (Brian Deane! Mark Pembridge! Worthy heirs to Eusebio!) Stuart Baxter Finn-tastic: Wales manager John Toshack (right) turns away dejected as Finland coach Stuart Baxter (far left) celebrates Credit: PA Bucking the trend for British gaffers more at home in Darlington than Delhi, Baxter has had a long career managing everywhere BUT Blighty. His CV reads: Örebro SK, IF Skarp, Vitória Setubal, Halmstads BK, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Vissel Kobe, AIK, Lyn, England Under-19 (the only outlier), South Africa, Vissel Kobe, Helsingborgs IF, Finland, Kaizer Chiefs (the Johannesburg football team, not the I Predict A Riot hit-makers), Gençlerbirliği, SuperSport United, South Africa. The man must love an Air Miles.

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