Championship results: Nottingham Forest go top with win against Stoke, Fulham close gap on leaders as they beat Wigan at home

27 Sep

Nottingham Forest temporarily went top of the Championship as they beat Stoke City on Friday night.

Forest came from behind to win 3-2 at the Bet365 Stadium against Nathan Jones’ side who are still searching for their first win of the season.

Nottingham Forest went top of the Championship
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In the Championship‘s other game on Friday, Fulham beat Wigan 2-0 to close the gap to the play-off places.

Lee Gregory gave Stoke the ideal start at home when he put them 1-0 up after just 10 minutes as they were searching for a much needed three points to take pressure off the manager.

That lead lasted 25 minutes before Joe Lolley pounced on a Jack Butland mistake to equalise.

Sammy Ameobi scored the second goal for Nottingham Forest
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Sammy Ameobi put Forest ahead two minutes after the break before Lewis Grabban scored a third after 61 minutes.

James McClean gave the home side some hope as he got one back five minutes from the end but it could not spark the comeback they needed.

Stoke could find themselves bottom of the Championship by the end of the weekend if Huddersfield pick up a point.

Forest are flying high at the top of the table with five wins, three draws and one defeat from their opening nine games.

Fulham got themselves back on track with their first win in four games as they beat Wigan 2-0 at home.

Fulham beat Wigan on Friday night
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Joe Bryan opened the scoring just after the half-time break before Tom Cairney sealed the result in the 82nd minute.

Results:

Fulham 2-0 Wigan

Stoke 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Jamie Carragher urges Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make two key decision

27 Sep

Jamie Carragher believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still resembles an interim manager at Manchester United.

The Red Devils have had a poor start to the season with Premier League defeats to Crystal Palace and West Ham.

They also scraped a 1-0 win against minnows Astana in the Europa League and had to rely on penalties to beat Rochdale in the Carabao Cup.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to convince Man United supporters that he can bring the good times back to Old Trafford
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Solskjaer is under some pressure to turn things around but the turmoil shows no sign of abating.

Carragher wants the United boss to do two things to try and stamp his authority at the club.

He wrote in the Telegraph: “Let’s be honest. There is an understandable reluctance from United supporters, ex-players or anyone with a love or affiliation to the club to admit the coach is not performing at the required level for a club of such stature.

“Solskjaer is not liked by United fans. He is loved. It is too difficult for many to bring themselves to point the finger at him in the way they did David Moyes, Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho.

“To me, Solskjaer still resembles an interim manager – in place to clear the dressing room of expensive, under-performing names and put the spine of a team together for his successor.

“In my view he will never lead United to a Premier League title or win the Champions League because even if he achieves the goal of restoring stability, I believe he will be replaced by an established, elite coach.

“It may not be in his nature, but that is why it has reached the stage where it would be wise of Solskjaer to help himself more by putting pressure on those above to make more signings during the January transfer window as he may not be in charge for another one.

“He should also take a firm decision by immediately appointing Harry Maguire captain. He can be empowered to take such big decisions by his popularity.”

Charlton vs Leeds: £15million man to make full debut, Arsenal loanee to stay on bench as Lee Bowyer faces former club

27 Sep

Marcelo Bielsa’s in-form Leeds will be looking to maintain their push from promotion to the Premier League when they travel to Charlton on Saturday.

Both sides have enjoyed good starts to the season with the Whites top of the Championship table and the newly-promoted Addicks in eighth place after eight games.

Marcelo Bielsa is one of England’s most highly thought of managers
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Leeds are vying for automatic promotion after narrowly missing out last season, while survival is Charlton’s priority.

The clash sees Lee Bowyer, a popular figure at Elland Road following his seven-year playing spell in West Yorkshire, face off against his former club as a manager.

Despite back-to-back losses for Bowyer’s men, it looks set to be a cracking game with Charlton suffering just two league defeats at home in almost a year.

Bowyer believes it will be the toughest test of the season for his team, but has vowed to go all out for victory.

“It’s a massive challenge. For me they’re the best team in the league,” he said.

“They should have gone up last season but fell just short. I watched Leeds the season before he took over and what he’s done is unbelievable. There’s not much difference to the squad that he [Marcelo Bielsa] took over and the squad that he’s got now. So, I have the utmost respect for him and all his staff and what they’ve done there.

“It’s going to be a tough game. they’re up the top for a reason. It’s going to be a good challenge.

“We’ve got a game plan and we’re at home. We’re not going to sit back and invite pressure because it’ll be like when teams play Manchester City, the law of averages says that they’re going to score at some stage. We have to play our game. No one seems to do that, everyone seems to give them too much respect and sit off of them, we won’t be doing that we’re going to play the way that we play; that’s got us to where we are today.”

Below, talkSPORT.com takes a look at how both sides could line up at The Valley.

Charlton’s likely line up

Bowyer will be looking for a reaction from his players after disappointing defeats to Birmingham and Wigan.

And once again, he will be without talisman Lyle Taylor, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

It is no coincidence that Charlton’s only league defeats of the season have come during Taylor’s absence.

The 29-year-old had netted five goals in his opening six Championship games before his injury setback earlier this month.

Now, the responsibility lies on Tomer Hemed, a free transfer arrival from Brighton last month, to score the goals for the Addicks.

Hemed started his first Charlton game in last weekend’s defeat at Wigan, but was hooked off after 62 minutes.

Lee Bowyer spent seven years of his playing career with Leeds
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Bowyer could revert to a 3-5-2 shape, a formation that helped Charlton win last season’s League One play-off final, to nullify Leeds’ attack.

Dillon Phillips will be looking to continue his solid start to the season in goal, with former Leeds captain Jason Pearce back in defence.

Pearce was only deemed fit enough for the bench in the Wigan loss due to a minor groin issue.

He could have Naby Sarr and Tom Lockyer on either side of him with Chris Solly and Ben Purrington operating the wing-back roles.

Bowyer would be wise to turn to experienced pro Darren Pratley, who could be partnered in midfield by Josh Cullen and Conor Gallagher.

Hemed and Jonathan Leko failed to impress at the DW Stadium, but could be given another chance against Leeds.

Is this how Charlton will line up against Leeds?
buildlineup.com

Leeds’ likely line up

Bielsa will be without his star man Pablo Hernandez, who has been ruled out with a muscular problem.

But the Argentine has confirmed Helder Costa, who signed from Wolves on an initial one-year loan which will be made permanent next summer, will replace the veteran midfielder.

Costa, who will cost Leeds £15million, has been restricted to substitute appearances in the Championship so far, but Bielsa has confirmed he will be unleashed from the start this weekend.

Bielsa is unlikely to change a back four that has conceded just four goals this season. So goalkeeper Kiko Casilla will continue in goal with Stuart Dallas, Ben White, captain Liam Cooper and Ezgjan Alioski in front of him.

Will Patrick Bamford keep his place in Leeds’ starting XI?
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Right-back Luke Ayling could make the matchday squad for the first time in the 2019/20 campaign after recovering from an ankle injury.

Leeds academy graduate Kalvin Phillips is expected to anchor the midfield in Bielsa’s preferred 4-1-4-1 formation.

With Costa and Jack Harrison occupying the wide positions, Adam Forshaw could return to partner Mateusz Klich in the middle of the park.

Forshaw has missed Leeds’ past two games with a hip injury, but is is back in contention to start.

Patrick Bamford, without a goal in his last three games, will be hoping to break his drought with Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah breathing down his neck for a starting place.

Is this how Leeds will line up against Charlton?
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Charlton boss Lee Bowyer desperate to ask Marcelo Bielsa how Leeds maintain such extraordinary fitness levels

27 Sep

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer plans to pick Marcelo Bielsa’s brain on Saturday when Championship leaders Leeds travel to The Valley.

The Whites’ latest promotion attempt has got off to a flyer with five wins from their opening eight games, dispelling any fears of a hangover from last season’s bitter disappointment.

Bowyer is a big fan of the charismatic Leeds boss
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Many expected Charlton to be battling for survival at the other end of the table, but victory on Saturday would move the Addicks level on points with Bielsa’s men.

Bowyer, who made more than 250 appearances for Leeds, still keeps a keen eye on his former club and revealed his admiration for their current manager.

“I watched Leeds before he took over, and what he’s done with that squad is unbelievable,” said Bowyer.

“There’s not much difference between that squad and the squad now, so I’ve the upmost respect for him and his staff.

“They’re the best team in the league, they should’ve gone up last season.

“But they’re at the top now, and at the top for a reason.”

And Bowyer is especially impressed with one thing in particular, revealing he plans to ask Bielsa how Leeds maintain such extraordinary fitness levels.

“Their fitness is unbelievable, I’ve not seen anything like it in this division, and I’ve watched every team,” Bowyer added.

Bowyer’s Charlton have made a fine start to life in the Championship
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“The way they attack, break and get back in defence is great to watch.

“I’ll ask him how the hell has he got his lads to the fitness that he has?! I’d love to know!

“It might be to do with the sports scientist but I’d love to know or what they do.

“Our lads are laying on the floor in bits with the running we do.

“I’d love to know the type of running they do, he’s from a different country so he may have different ways of doing things, it’d be great to see the way they work.”

Todd Kane left Chelsea to chase Premier League dream and is convinced Mark Warburton can deliver for QPR fans

27 Sep

Todd Kane could have been plying his trade in the Premier League this season if it wasn’t for Mark Warburton’s intervention.

The 25-year-old turned down a new contract at boyhood club Chelsea in the summer, opting to drop down to the Championship to join Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer.

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Todd Kane has made a fine start to life at Loftus Road[/caption]

It brought an end to an 18-year stint at Stamford Bridge, one in which the experienced full-back failed to make a single first team-appearance.

That isn’t a topic Kane likes to mull over, at least for the time being, his full focus is on his new chapter at QPR.

Walking away from Stamford Bridge was a tough call for Kane to make, but one he knew he had to make.

Eight loan spells had taken its toll on the defender. He now wanted to be somewhere he could call ‘home’ – making the short journey across west London to do just that.

Kane, who has already racked up 150 senior appearances in the Dutch top flight, Championship and League One, had four offers on the table immediately after leaving Chelsea.

It proved to be a waiting game for Kane though, with Middlesbrough and Hull – where he spent the entirety of the 2018/19 season on loan – among the interested suitors.

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The 25-year-old failed to make a single first-team appearance in 18 years at Chelsea[/caption]

talkSPORT.com also understands a move to Derby – who were managed by Frank Lampard at that time – was a serious possibility at one stage.

That particular deal hinged on whether or not Jayden Bogle left the club amid Premier League interest, but the youngster remained, meaning Kane stayed at Hull.

Evidently, he was not short on offers – with newly-promoted Sheffield United also having a long-standing interest in the defender.

The Blades had an offer accepted for Kane in January, but the deal dragged on and thus wasn’t able to get finalised, so he ended up staying on the Tigers’ books for the duration of the season.

Kane was intent on taking his time over his next move – a ‘career-defining’ one in his words – but one thing was for sure it wouldn’t be another temporary solution.

That was something he made clear the day he joined Hull back in July 2018.

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Kane, middle, spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Hull City – the eighth loan of his professional career[/caption]

Fast forward a year on and after another productive loan spell, it was time for Kane to make some big decisions.

It was now mid to late July and by his own admission the former England Under-19 international was getting increasingly ‘frustrated’ his long-term future had yet to resolved.

That’s when the phone rang. Former Rangers and Brentford boss Warburton reached out to Kane to see if he’d be interested in coming to QPR. Kane liked what he heard and the pair duly met up soon after.

It was during this same period the 57-year-old pulled the plug on a season-long loan deal for highly-rated Chelsea full-back Dujon Sterling – something talkSPORT.com revealed at that time.

A matter of days later and Kane was a QPR player. So why did he turn his back on a potential opportunity to remain in the Premier League in favour of the Rs?

“It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever had to make in football,” he said. “I got a call off Mark [Warburton] one day out of the blue.

“He made me feel wanted straight away and asked if we could arrange to meet as soon as possible. For a manager to do that goes a long way – you don’t forget those things.

Mark Warburton was a major factor in Kane’s decision to join QPR
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“It’s normally always a director or an agent dictating everything in terms of initial meetings, so it was refreshing – especially being a free agent at the time – to have a manager contact me.

“By doing that he showed me just how much he wanted me at this football club.

“I had meetings with other managers there and other clubs, but I just felt that something else would be out there by biding my time.

“Yes, there was Premier League interest in him and plenty of other clubs, but it was about what club was the right fit for me at this stage of my career.

“When I met Mark my point was proven. I knew that QPR was going to be the club that I’d eventually join.”

He continued: “It was a honest conversation where he spoke about what he wanted to, the club’s structure, style of play and everything like that – it sold itself really.

“I wanted to go somewhere where I felt the most comfortable as a person, and the manager’s methods and ideology were the same as mine, and with the manager here that’s exactly what I got.

“I walked out of that meeting and I said to myself ‘I want to play for that manager’.

“I called my agent straight after the meeting with Mark and told him to get the deal done. Forty eight hours later I was a QPR player.”

It was very much second time lucky for the Rs where Kane was concerned, after a failed attempt to sign him three years earlier.

Kane, who looks to have cemented his spot in Warburton’s starting XI as his first-choice right-back, says being back ‘home’ has been a huge bonus for him being the family man he is.

“Wherever my loan spells have been I’ve never been close to home. I’d had enough of being on the road and I missed seeing my family on a regular basis,” he admitted.

“It’s a different feel being down south than up north. Some people might not understand that, but it’s just a weird feeling.

“You feel welcome at the club, don’t get me wrong, but ultimately you’re living in a hotel for months and then you’re getting up and moving again. I didn’t want to be doing that any longer.

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Kane is a former England Under-19 international[/caption]

“Being in the same league and having a manager who has the same football philosophy that I’ve been brought up with at Chelsea meant it was a no-brainer, but being able to live in London was the icing on the cake.”

Kane gets visibly emotional as talk turns towards the role models in his life. There is no hesitation in his answer.

Maxine Kane has been with her son every step of the way on his colourful, yet challenging career so far. And Todd certainly hasn’t forgotten that.

“Being brutally honest she is the number one person in the world to me, and that’s no disrespect to anyone else, but she’s been through everything with me,” he explains.

“It was such an amazing feeling to call my mum and dad up and tell them ‘I’m coming home’.

“My mum was over the moon when I told her the good news [that I’d be signing for QPR].

“We have a real mother and son relationship. Every single day I will talk to her, whether that’s about football or just general life.

“She’s been with me from such a young age to now. She’s never missed a game, home or away, and that includes when I’ve been abroad.

“Obviously my dad and my siblings have been there for me as well, but from day one it’s been my mum.

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Stoke vs Nottingham Forest (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Sheffield United vs Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
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“I want to reward my family with my own success and it’s important. I’m a family man, and some people might not fully support their children’s dreams, but mine most certainly have.

“To be able to finish training now and pop over and see my mum and dad and go out with them, it means the world to me.

“Being happy off the pitch is the most important thing as a footballer, and in general life, as then you can perform to the best of your ability in whatever line of work you’re involved in.”

So does Kane have any regrets when it comes to how his career has panned out so far? And is he confident he can realise his Premier League dream now with QPR?

“I have none whatsoever [regrets]. Everything happens for a reason. We all go down different paths and it takes some longer than others to realise their dream in this game.

“I obviously hoped to be playing in the Premier League by now, but that hasn’t transpired so far.

“I’ve spent the majority of my time on loan and when my chance looked as though it was around the corner at Chelsea I did my ACL and for whatever reason I never got a look in again.

The future looks a lot brighter at the Kiyan Prince Foundation after a turbulent couple of years
QPR FC

“In regards to Chelsea you look at the bigger picture and it might say released or out of contract next to my name, but at the end of the day there was a contract on the table and it didn’t get sorted out.

“I was at that football club since the age of eight, and it will always hold a special place in my heart but that chapter in my life has closed now.

“I’m a QPR player for the next four years and beyond and I want to get this club back to the Premier League.

“I’m really happy at this football club, but I just want the fans to remain patient – as they have been all season – and continue embracing what the manager is trying to do here.

“You can have someone else come through the door and play long ball football, so the only thing I’d say to QPR fans is be careful what you wish for – there’s a good man in charge of this club at this moment who plays the game the right way.

“I truly believe we have the right man at the helm and a squad of sufficient quality which mean can fight for promotion over the next couple of years.”

And realising that top-flight dream would be nothing more than Kane deserves, having endured his fair share of setbacks in his still relatively young career.


QPR entertain West Brom on Saturday with live commentary on the game beginning from 12:30pm on talkSPORT 2.

Derby players’ drinking session happened after game of ‘foot golf’ was cancelled, as video of Mason Bennett being sick emerges

27 Sep

What was supposed to be a game of ‘foot golf’ descended into a heavy drinking session, a car crash and the captain sustaining a serious knee injury.

Two of Derby County’s senior players – Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett – were charged with drink driving this week and skipper Richard Keogh suffered his injury in the crash.

Derby captain Keogh has made more than 350 appearances for the club since joining in 2012
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Derby have condemned the incident, while manager Phillip Cocu said plans to play foot golf as a team bonding session after training were changed because of the rain, so the squad went bowling instead, followed by a team meal.

The Rams have revealed Keogh was among those who continued drinking and Cocu admitted his captain is ‘extremely down’ and ‘feels responsible’ for the incident.

Cocu, who has yet to decide whether Lawrence and Bennett could feature against Birmingham on Saturday, said: “The first idea was foot golf but the weather was really bad so we changed plans and went bowling.

“After that there was a team dinner where the team sat together for some bonding. Most of the players left around 8pm and a small group stayed and continued at the bar.

Phillip Cocu was not at the dinner that led to two of his players arrested and his captain out for the season with injury
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“Due to an alcohol-related incident we’ve lost our captain for the rest of the season, so in the end it was bad news for the whole team.

“It’s bad news and a bad situation for everybody at the club.”

A video later emerged showing 23-year-old Bennett downing a pint and being sick in a toilet.

Someone can be heard shouting ‘get it all out, Mas’ as the forward throws up.

Another is heard saying: ‘F***ing three pints of Peroni are f*****g strong these days’.

Bennett was filmed by his team-mates drinking pints
SnapChat/ Tom Huddlestone
The 23-year-old was then seen vomiting into a urinal
SnapChat/ Tom Huddlestone
‘I’ve had more than three’, he is heard saying to team-mates who goad him as he wipes his mouth clean
SnapChat/ Tom Huddlestone

Cocu, who was not present at the meal, suggested there will be disciplinary action taken against those involved but is eager to establish exactly what went on first.

Asked whether 33-year-old Keogh’s injury could even be career-threatening, the Dutchman simply reiterated it is ‘a very serious injury’.

“I’ve spoken to him. He was [at the training ground] for a short moment and I spoke briefly to him because there’s a lot going on.

“He’s extremely down, of course, because he realises what’s going on for him personally and of course as a responsible player, as captain, to not be part of the team any more does something to you.

“I think he feels responsible, yeah.

“The more senior players always have to step up and take responsibility and it’s now had a huge effect on him personally. It’s a lot to deal with for him.”

A statement from Championship club on Tuesday condemned the incident.

“The players were out as part of a scheduled team-building dinner with staff and while the majority of them acted responsibly and left at around 8pm and were not involved, a small group, including the team captain Richard Keogh, continued drinking into the night. They should have known when to stop and also ignored the opportunity to be driven home using cars laid on by the club, and chose to stay out.

“The players involved in the incident on Tuesday evening will be subject to a rigorous internal investigation under the club’s code of conduct and disciplinary procedures, but over and above any punishment they receive we will be expecting them to become involved with the excellent work the Community Trust does helping the communities we serve.

“We have been very clear about our attitude towards alcohol and the players know that at certain and specific times of the season they are permitted a drink together as a group in a controlled environment.

Rooney will link up with Derby in January under manager Phillip Cocu
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“Those involved in Tuesday’s incident know they will pay a heavy price for their actions, but also that we will support them with their rehabilitation back into the squad and team.

“We fully support the work of our partners at Drinkaware and the unsanctioned actions of this small group of players is totally at odds the stance that both Drinkaware and Derby County Football Club take regards alcohol. We will be using this situation to redouble our efforts in highlighting the dangers posed by alcohol.

“We would also like to thank the emergency services for their swift help.”

In August, Derby announced they would complete the shock signing of England and Man United legend Wayne Rooney as player/coach.

The 33-year-old said the opportunity to return home was too good to refuse and the Rams will need all his experience to lift them from 18th in the table and get their promotion bid back on track.

Richard Keogh ruled out for season with injury suffered in car crash which saw Derby team-mates charged with drink-driving

26 Sep

Richard Keogh has been ruled out for the season after being involved in a car crash with Derby team-mate Tom Lawrence earlier this week.

Lawrence was, along with Mason Bennett, charged with drink-driving following a collision on the A6 in Derby, with the Wales international’s Range Rover Sport understood to have hit a lamppost.

According to the Telegraph, Keogh was in the back seat of Lawrence’s car which struck the lamppost, and he’s been left with injuries as a result of the incident.

Derby captain Keogh has made over 350 appearances for the club since joining in 2012
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Derby announced on Thursday that club captain Keogh sustained a serious knee injury which will keep him sidelined until the end of the season.

The Championship club have launched an internal investigation into the incident, which occurred following a night out sanctioned by the club.

A Rams statement read: “The players were out as part of a scheduled team-building dinner with staff and while the majority of them acted responsibly and left at around 8pm and were not involved, a small group, including the team captain Richard Keogh, continued drinking into the night. They should have known when to stop and also ignored the opportunity to be driven home using cars laid on by the club, and chose to stay out.

“The players involved in the incident on Tuesday evening will be subject to a rigorous internal investigation under the club’s code of conduct and disciplinary procedures, but over and above any punishment they receive we will be expecting them to become involved with the excellent work the Community Trust does helping the communities we serve.

“We have been very clear about our attitude towards alcohol and the players know that at certain and specific times of the season they are permitted a drink together as a group in a controlled environment.

“Those involved in Tuesday’s incident know they will pay a heavy price for their actions, but also that we will support them with their rehabilitation back into the squad and team.

“We fully support the work of our partners at Drinkaware and the unsanctioned actions of this small group of players is totally at odds the stance that both Drinkaware and Derby County Football Club take regards alcohol. We will be using this situation to redouble our efforts in highlighting the dangers posed by alcohol.

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

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“We would also like to thank the emergency services for their swift help.”

Following the incident, Derbyshire Police released a statement reading: “Two men have been charged with drink driving after a collision involving a Range Rover Sport and a Mercedes GLC at the junction of Burley Hill and the A6 at Allestree, last night shortly before midnight (Tuesday, 24 September).

“Mason Bennett, 23, of Whaley Thorns near Mansfield and Tom Lawrence, 25, of Duffield were arrested at the scene and charged earlier today. They are due to appear at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 15 October at 9.30am.”

Danny Mills stunned ‘Dirty Leeds’ won FIFA Fair Play award and jokes Marcelo Bielsa should be sacked

24 Sep

The irony wasn’t lost on Danny Mills as Leeds United picked up the award for fair play at the Best FIFA Football Awards.

The former Whites defender joked on talkSPORT that manager Marcelo Bielsa should be sacked for tarnishing the club’s ‘dirty Leeds’ reputation.

Leeds were surprise winners of the Fair Play gong at the Best FIFA awards inn Milan on Monday night.

They won the award for Bielsa’s act of sportsmanship against Aston Villa, allowing their promotion rivals a free goal after taking the lead in their clash back in April while Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia lay injured on the field.

Many saw it as a way of apology after the club’s ‘Spygate’ scandal, with Bielsa admitting to watching all of United’s opponents train in the build-up to matches.

Leeds were fined £200,000 and Bielsa paid it out of his own pocket.

Bielsa and Leeds won praise for their conduct against Aston Villa in April
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Nevertheless, Bielsa’s act of fair play was officially recognised by FIFA at Monday’s glitzy do, and Mills could only laugh when asked about it on Tuesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“I think Bielsa should be sacked!

“You can’t have Leeds winning a fair play award, it’s outrageous!

“What happened to ‘dirty Leeds’? The whole ethos of the club is built on ‘dirty Leeds’ – this shouldn’t be happening!”

Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa win Fair Play prize at FIFA Football awards for role in Aston Villa game despite ‘spygate’ row

24 Sep

It’s official, ‘Dirty Leeds’ play fair.

The Championship side were surprise winners of the Fair Play gong at the Best FIFA awards.

Bielsa and Leeds won praise for their conduct against Aston Villa in April
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Leeds and manager Marcelo Bielsa won plaudits in April for allowing Aston Villa a free goal in the game and the act of sportsmanship has been recognised officially.

Angry scenes broke out after Mateusz Klich scored for Leeds while Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia lay injured on the field. Bielsa insisted Leeds, despite the attempts of former defender Pontus Jansson to stop them, allow Villa to score immediately from the kick-off.

Captain Liam Cooper and fitness coach Benoit Delaval collected the award on Bielsa’s behalf at the ceremony in Milan.

The coach is currently in his second season at Elland Road and caused a stir in January when he admitted to having watched all of United’s opponents train in an incident dubbed ‘Spygate’.

The club was fined £200,000 as a result – a penalty Bielsa paid out of his own pocket – and the 64-year-old was the subject of some derision as a result.

When Leeds became a dominant force during the 1960s and 1970s under Don Revie, the club earned the title ‘Dirty Leeds’ for their disciplinary record.

When announced as winners, Gary Lineker tweeted a spy emoji in reply to the announcement.

West Brom maintain unbeaten Championship record as Matt Phillips hits brace in entertaining victory over struggling Huddersfield

22 Sep

West Brom remain unbeaten in the Championship after they came from behind twice to consign basement side Huddersfield to a 4-2 defeat at The Hawthorns on Sunday.

The Baggies displayed their battling qualities once more – they have now recovered 15 points from losing positions in their opening eight games – with two goals in five second-half minutes giving Slaven Bilic’s men all three points.

Slaven Bilic’s West Brom remain unbeaten in the Championship this season
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Huddersfield, who started the match on the back of an 18-match winless run in all competitions, led 2-1 at the break.

Lewis O’Brien gave the Terriers a 16th-minute lead which was cancelled out by Matt Phillips three minutes later, while Karlan Grant restored their narrow advantage 10 minutes before the interval.

On-loan West Ham winger Diangana crossed for Darrell Furlong to head home to make it 2-2 after 70 minutes.

His mazy solo run teed up Phillips to complete his brace and edge the hosts in front before Semi Ajayi grabbed a fourth at the death.

West Brom had the first chance of the match when striker Charlie Austin’s first-time shot was deflected just wide off Chris Schindler from Phillips’ quick cross.

But Huddersfield replied by taking the lead with their first attack. O’Brien raced from the centre circle and exchanged passes with Fraizer Campbell before rifling a low left-footed drive past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone into the far bottom corner.

The Terriers’ lead did not last long as the home side drew level. Phillips stroked a sidefooted effort in off the post after Austin – with his back to goal – had helped Furlong’s short ball to him 15 yards out.

Huddersfield regained the lead after some awful defending from the hosts. Kyle Bartley’s pass from Johnstone was intercepted by Trevoh Chalobah and Elias Kachunga exchanged passes with him before finding Grant, who poked past the goalkeeper from six yards for his sixth goal of the season.

Diangana replaced Filip Krovinovic at half-time and the hosts started the second half on top.

Phillips volleyed a difficult ball over the crossbar, then Jake Livermore’s shot was headed over the woodwork by Tommy Elphick, before Phillips’ curling cross hit the outside of the post.

Albion continued applying pressure and Austin’s glancing header was saved by goalkeeper Kamil Grabara, before Livermore’s first-time effort from 20 yards flew a couple of feet wide.

Phillips unleashed an angled drive which Grabara tipped wide before West Brom equalised from the resulting corner.

Darnell Furlong put in an outstanding display for the Baggies in the 3-2 victory over Huddersfield
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Phillips passed short to Diangana, who crossed for Furlong to send a powerful, downward header in off the post for his first league goal in almost three years.

Diangana turned provider again as the Baggies took the lead, beating three players before crossing the ball in for Phillips to sidefoot under the diving Grabara.

The unmarked Ajayi sealed the three points late on with a far-post header from Matheus Pereira’s corner.

The Baggies move up to fourth in the Championship, just a point behind the joint leaders Leeds and Swansea at the top.