As I write, Steve Evans’ position at Leeds United looks less than secure after the weekend Championship fixtures came to an end last night with his team suffering a big and humiliating 4-0 defeat against Brighton at the Amex Stadium.
With Brighton just five points behind us, and with a game in hand, prior to the game, I watched it in the hope that Leeds, not a side I would often want to win, could get something from the game. But when Lewis Dunk headed home unmarked seven minutes before half time it took them 4-0 up as Leeds tried this new idea of not bothering to defend.
Brian McDermott, the current Reading boss, was in charge when the saviour of Leeds, or so their fans would have you believe, Massimo Cellino took over. McDermott went and all of Dave Hockaday, Darko Milanic, Neil Redfearn and Uwe Rösler have since followed him through the exit door. It is still three months short of two years since McDermott started that procession.
Evans, in 2006, came close to becoming the first Football League manager to be jailed after admitting helping Boston cheat the taxman out of £250,000, and in doing so helping them to reach the Football League. He’s since managed Crawley and Rotherham but there are suggestions this morning that he might be axed by Cellino, who walked out at half time, having been ordered by the Italian last night not to speak to the press after the shambolic performance.
The win didn’t move Brighton up the table. The remain in fourth place and are now just a point behind both Hull and Middlesbrough and a further point behind Burnley who, as I’m sure you are aware, went top of the league after the win at Bolton.
That win enabled us to go top when Hull could only draw their home game against Sheffield Wednesday on the Friday night. I was appalled a week earlier at the performance of referee Tim Robinson in our home game against Rotherham; I’m sure Sheffield Wednesday won’t be happy with him either. His shocking decision to send off Fernando Forestieri for diving as Michael Dawson held his hands up for fouling him was as bad a decision as I’ve seen all season.
I was stunned, given his performance at Burnley, that this referee was even considered for a high profile Championship match on television six days later. Over the next week he will referee two League Two games.
Hull have a game in hand on us while Middlesbrough, the other team with one point less, have two games in hand, the first of them coming at Ewood Park tonight against Blackburn, a game postponed on Boxing Day.
They won comfortably at Fulham, scoring both their goals in the 2-0 win in the first twenty minutes though Albert Adomah and a Grant Leadbitter penalty.
The top four are now six points head of Derby in fifth place. Not of course as though it matters at Pride Park where promotion is not a priority. They went to Molineux to face a Wolves side who hadn’t won in seven games, but two goals from George Saville, the second coming four minutes from time, saw them end that poor run at Derby’s expense.
Cardiff ended Preston’s recent impressive run to move into seventh place. I recall two seasons ago that, for some time, the gap between us and seventh was a crucial one. We have thirteen points more than Cardiff right now which suggests, at least, we are going to get a top six finish.
There won’t be a top six finish for some clubs and looking at the bottom we still have Bolton and Charlton fighting to avoid that last place. While Bolton were losing against us, Charlton, despite a hat trick from Yaya Sanogo, were beaten 4-3 at home by Reading.
They are now four points behind Rotherham who beat Brentford to get their first win under Neil Warnock. It’s moved the Millers to within three points of MK and a potential escape. Brentford, however, are very much on the slide with just seven points from their last ten games.
The leading goalscorers, each club’s red and yellow card counts, the highest and lowest attendances and each club’s average attendance can all be found in Goalscorers – Discipline – Attendances which can be found in 2015/16 Stats on the top menu.
The weekend fixtures will be played from Thursday to Saturday with the extra game tonight. The fixtures are below.
Tuesday 1st March
Blackburn v Middlesbrough
Thursday 3rd March
Birmingham v Hull
Friday 4th March
Middlesbrough v Wolves
Saturday 5th March
Bristol City v Cardiff (kick off 12 noon)
Burnley v Blackburn (kick off 12:30 p.m.)
Brentford v Charlton
Derby v Huddersfield
Ipswich v Nottingham Forest
Leeds v Bolton
MK v QPR
Preston v Brighton
Reading v Fulham
Sheffield Wednesday v Rotherham