Reading came out on top in the big match of the week, whilst Southampton were hammered down by the Seaside and at the bottom, Coventry City finally escaped from the bottom three. Here, TheHardTackle picks a NPower Championship Team of the Week for Round 40:- —————  . GK – Maik Taylor (Millwall) Millwall held Cardiff City to a 0-0 draw, with keeper Maik Taylor in inspired form. Cardiff were looking for a home victory to halt a poor run and boost their play-off hopes, but former Northern Ireland keeper Taylor was at his best. First he denied Stephen McPhail and then produced further stops to keep out efforts from Kenny Miller and Joe Mason to give the Lions a well-earned point. RB – Inigo Calderon (Brighton and Hove Albion) Brighton had defender Inigo Calderon to thank for rescuing a point against fellow play-of hopefuls Middlesbrough. Tony Mowbray’s visitors took a deserved lead early in the second-half when Marvin Emnes near […]

Npower “Championship Tenner” is a weekly column that tells you the top 10 things to look forward to in England’s 2nd division. In this edition, Forest bask in the glory of hitting seven at Leeds, Reading must play without their lucky charm, there is a chink of light for crisis-club Portsmouth and “The Entertainers” are finally back. —- 1. Seven-Up Forest on a high…. Result of the week, if not the season so far in the Npower Championship, was Nottingham Forest’s stunning 7-3 victory over Leeds United at Elland Road. Star of the show was winger Gareth McCleary, who helped himself to four goals as Steve Cotterill’s men moved further clear of the relegation zone. Next up for a Forest team high on confidence is two games against in-form sides; fourth placed Brighton at home on Saturday, followed by a trip to local rivals Leicester City on Tuesday, a side which thumped Forest 4-0 in a FA Cup replay earlier […]

“Championship Tenner” is a weekly column that tells you the top 10 things to look forward to in England’s 2nd division. In this edition, there is a double header of fixtures again, the Championship Player of The Year aims to fire the leaders, Ian Holloway faces his former club and Ipswich town look for revenge. —- 1. Two sets of fixtures again Things couldn’t be any tighter as the Championship season draws to a climax. The top three are seperated by only three points, whilst with only a six point gap between fourth and 11th, there are plenty of teams in the race for a play-off place. At the bottom it is just as tight. Portsmouth are rooted to the bottom following their points deduction, but above them the likes of Coventry City, Doncaster Rovers and Nottingham Forest has seen more clubs pulled into the relegation dogfight, with seven points seperating five teams. The next week could see the league […]

“Championship Tenner” is a weekly column that tells you the top 10 things to look forward to in England’s 2nd division. In this edition, Southampton and West Ham face home matches, Reading aim to continue their super run and Portsmouth attempt to salvage their season. —- 1. Lunchtime Battle of the Blues The weekend’s action kicks off at Saturday lunchtime with a Midlands derby as Coventry City host Birmingham City. The two sides are at opposite sides of the league, with Birmingham sitting sixth in the table and the Sky Blues third from bottom. Having won 5 out of their last 8 games at The Ricoh Arena, strugglers Coventry will be hoping that their impressive home form continues as they look to escape the relegation zone. For promotion chasing Birmingham, this is their third Midlands derby in a row having lost to Nottingham Forest and drawn with Derby County. Boss Chris Hughton will be keen to see his side return to […]

Steve Cotterill’s honeymoon period at Nottingham Forest didn’t last very long. Inheriting an imbalanced squad left to him by Steve McClaren and, to some extent, Billy Davies, he managed to chalk up four wins in his first six games before going seven games without a goal. Results and performances have improved in recent weeks as he dragged the club out of the relegation zone, taking the pressure off himself as calls for his sacking recede — for the time being at least. Here’s a look at why Forest have improved in recent weeks: Loan players The return of Marlon Harewood on a short-term contract, after a spell in China, hasn’t exactly proved to be the homecoming he, or anybody, wanted. And fans scoffed as Cotterill added three defenders on loan during the transfer window as Wes Morgan left for Leicester City. But, in addition to Adlene Guedioura, the squad has looked far more balanced with Danny Higginbotham, George Elokobi and […]

In this weekend’s NPower Championship action, an outstanding goalkeeping display kept the leaders on top, Reading made it six wins from six and Leicester continued their charge towards the play-offs. Here, TheHardTackle picks a Team of The Week for Round 34 of the Championship. ————— . GK – Kelvin Davis (Southampton) The Saints stopper was in tremendous form as Southampton beat Leeds United to consolidate their place at the top of the table. After Rickie Lambert had given Nigel Adkins’ men an early lead, Davis single-handedly kept Leeds at bay. First he got down low to deny Luciano Becchio, then produced one of the saves of the season to deny the same player when a goal looked certain. Two further fantastic saves from Danny Webber efforts confirmed the points and a man of the match performance for Davis. RB – Nyron Nosworthy (Watford) Watford defender Nyron Nosworthy had a mixed afternoon at home to Burnley. Already one down, the defender […]

Another week in the NPower Championship sees two rounds of fixtures, Leeds entertain the leaders, Cardiff’s Wembley heroes return to league action and maybe an appearance by Robbie Fowler. Here, TheHardTackle highlights theses and more in the things you should be looking out for in the next seven days of Championship action. ———– 1. Two rounds of fixtures As the month of March starts, so too does the season run-in. With 13 games to play in two months, more for some teams, the games are going to come thick and fast. With this in mind, the next seven days sees two important rounds of fixtures. Whilst things will not be decided for at least another 6 weeks, the form which teams show now will go a long way to determining where they finish in this season’s NPower Championship. 2. Another Friday night, another Promotion battle After Reading beat Burnley 1-0 on a Friday night two weeks ago, the Football league […]