New owners at the bottom
After a full programme of fixtures in midweek, the big news today in the Championship is that Bolton Wanderers finally have new owners.
They came back with a late, late penalty to draw at home against Ipswich on Tuesday, a first point in four games, and look doomed to drop into League One football next season for the first time in over twenty years.
The front man is their former striker and record signing Dean Holdsworth along with agent Ken Anderson and they now own 94.5% of the club with the remaining 5.5% owned by a number of individual shareholders.
It’s been a very interesting week for them. Yesterday they commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Burnden Park Disaster which saw 33 spectators killed at an FA Cup tie against Stoke.
But in today’s football terms they remain at the bottom and ten points from safety which suggests they are going to have to find something like title winning form to stay up. To be honest they and Charlton look out of it but look what’s been happening at Rotherham where Neil Warnock is even doing us favours.
Still in the bottom three, they are now only a point behind MK having just won three successive games. They kicked that run off with a 2-1 win against Brentford at home but who would have even thought they might get six points and no goals conceded from a game at Sheffield Wednesday followed by a home game against Middlesbrough, but that’s exactly what they have done.
Lee Frecklington scored the late goal on Tuesday to defeat Middlesbrough, much to the delight of the Burnley fans at Fulham.
It’s the bottom two to go now I’d suggest with Fulham and Bristol City also very much still in the fight to avoid that third relegation place.
Middlesbrough, despite that defeat, remain second. That’s because Hull didn’t play because they were in FA Cup action against Arsenal. Hull had to sit and watch Brighton go above them but it is only one point after they were held by Sheffield Wednesday who remain sixth.
Derby are still fifth and likely to stay there for a while, but what a good job new boss Darren Wassall is doing with a third defeat in six games, this one against QPR. He needs to stick to the club’s priorities and make sure they lose a few more so they don’t finish in the top six to enable them to avoid play-off success.
Cardiff, Ipswich and Birmingham are hovering just behind that top six. Ipswich were the only ones to win in midweek. They and Ipswich are now only a point behind Wednesday with Birmingham a further point behind. One point from three games appears to have made things very difficult for Preston having had a good run to get close to those clubs.
Going back to the bottom of the league, two of them met in a goalless draw on Tuesday night. The game was Charlton v MK and visiting manager Karl Robinson was left fuming over a late red card incident.
Charlton had Yaya Sanogo, on loan from Arsenal, sent off in stoppage time for elbowing Anthony Kay and Robinson wants him banned beyond the three games he’ll get; he wants him banned from playing again this season.
I’ve seen the incident and it is shocking. Referee Charles Breakspear doesn’t hesitate in showing the red card but the player is reluctant to go and eventually has to be marched off by one of his team mates.
“It was disgusting,” fumed Robinson. “He should be banned for the rest of the season. He’s clearly, off the ball, had a go and then a second one. I was expecting to see the police in the tunnel at the end of the game because the challenges were so bad.
Charlton boss Jose Riga said: “We don’t need this, of course. It was similar to Harry Lennon in the Preston game. I know behind what we try to do and in the context, there is a big frustration, but that is not the way to show it.
“We don’t need this situation. He knows he did wrong. He apologised for that, but in reality, it’s too late.”
He was one of three players shown a red card on Tuesday. Greg Halford went in Rotherham’s win and Fabio was dismissed in Cardiff’s 2-0 home defeat against Leeds.
Sanogo will now serve a three match ban whilst both Halford and Fabio will be suspended for one game each. Also out of action this Saturday is Preston’s Joe Garner having reached ten yellow cards.
This weekend seems the amnesty for ten yellow card suspensions, so no player with less than nine can now pick up such a ban.
There are a number of players walking a tight rope. Should any of those listed below pick up a yellow card this weekend it will be their tenth and will bring a two match ban.
Those on nine yellow cards are:
Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham)
Corry Evans (Blackburn)
Mark Davies (Bolton)
El-Hadji Ba (Charlton)
Dan Burn (Fulham)
Joel Lynch (Huddersfield)
Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough)
Greg Cunningham (Preston)
Richard Smallwood (Rotherham)
Kevin McDonald (Wolves)
The players who have already reached ten yellow cards this season and have already received two match suspensions are:
13: Kyle McFadzean (MK)
12: Samir Carruthers (MK)
12: Sam Hutchinson (Sheffield Wednesday)
11: Mark Hudson (Huddersfield)
10: Giuseppe Bellusci (Leeds)
10: Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough)
10: Joe Garner (Preston)
Each club’s disciplinary records (red and yellow cards) can be found along with the leading goalscorers, the ten highest and lowest attendances and each club’s average attendance at Goalscorers – Discipline – Attendances which can be found in 2015/16 Stats on the top menu.
Nine of the weekend fixtures will be played on Saturday and two on Sunday. The Brighton v Reading game is off due to Reading’s involvement in the FA Cup and that will now be played on Tuesday along with two other games outstanding.
The fixtures are
Saturday 12th March
Blackburn v Leeds (12:30 p.m. kick off)
Bolton v Preston
Cardiff v Ipswich
Fulham v Bristol City
Huddersfield v Burnley
Hull v MK
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday
QPR v Brentford
Rotherham v Derby
Sunday 13th March
Wolves v Birmingham (1:15 p.m. kick off)
Charlton v Middlesbrough (3:30 p.m. kick off)
Tuesday 15th March
Brighton v Reading
Hull v Nottingham Forest
Ipswich v Blackburn