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Monday, 06 February 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Hughton's Birmingham Maintain Promotion Push


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Sqf hugh larkin

A much truncated programme because of the weather. And some of the games that were completed only just made it - Birmingham and Southampton fans were especially unlucky to be slated for the late kick-off at snowy St Andrew's and the two sides put on a creditable show.

Only Sporting Braga have won at St Andrew's this year so a goalless draw may well turn out to be a more than satisfactory result for Nigel Adkins by the time May comes round. As for the Blues, they continue to be very tough to beat and this was a decent performance on the back of their stunning midweek win at Leeds.

Chris Hughton's ability to get the most from a reduced squad might well be the model for what Ken Bates wants at Elland Road, although many managers might fight shy of taking the hot seat. Neil Warnock is a name very much on the frame which promises fireworks, if nothing else.

Hughton continues to enhance the reputation he built at Newcastle although he may be developing a slightly unwanted reputation as a man to turn to when a club has no money to spend. However, if he can engineer a way back to the top flight for the Blues, he may be able to stay on longer than he did on Tyneside.

Birmingham supporters have always been the most realistic of the West Midlands 'Big Four' and they have an appreciation for gritty, solid football, as delivered by the current squad. Chris Hughton's patient and thoughtful approach could make him a legend in the blue half of the city.

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While Birmingham settled into fifth spot, West Ham were proving their credentials for the title against Millwall. Despite having Kevin Nolan dismissed after just nine minutes they still found a way to beat their fierce rivals.

Like most top teams, they dug deep and got a winner from an unlikely source. Defender Winston Reid came up with a 20-yard strike to open a four-point cushion to former pacesetters Southampton.

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Not much action in League One but Sheffield Wednesday also demonstrated the priceless ability to get a result from an average performance. Gary Megson admitted his team were 'so-so' at home to Yeovil but they still came from behind to win 2-1.

The win put them back into second place in what seems like a race to finish behind Charlton. It's been a sound week for the Owls after they fought back to secure a point at promotion rivals MK Dons in midweek.

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Almost the whole League Two programme bit the dust. Only Plymouth's game with Southend survived and it proved to be another morale-booster for Argyle fans.

The team fought back from two down to bag a precious point with loanee Alex McDonald becoming an instant hero at Home Park by netting the equaliser. Argyle still lie in the bottom two but the spirit at the club is high and they are a good bet to beat the drop after their fightback from a dreadful autumn.

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Fleetwood's Cup heroics are over and the Cod Army are back to the serious business of winning promotion. Visitors Tamworth nearly stole the points on Saturday but the prolific Jamie Vardy rescued a draw.

It's now a two-horse race with Wrexham for the one automatic promotion slot. With both keeping up the pace, the Welsh side's visit to the Lancashire coast on April 10 could be decisive.

KickNews.net - Football News & Transfers

Related Articles:

The View From Outside the Premier League: The Onward March of Crawley and a New Era at Accrington Stanley

The View From Outside the Premier League: West Ham go top as Coventry shock Middlesbrough

The View From Outside the Premier League: Birmingham hit six while Southampton get back in the groove

The View From Outside the Premier League: Robins Fly High and Rhodes Terrorises Wycombe

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The View From Outside the Premier League: Southampton dominate at the Dell

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The View From Outside the Premier League: Fleetwood sit on the Chairboys and Swindon show their class in the FA Cup

Arsenal, Coventry and Leicester: Can a new ground be blamed for a lack of success?

Leicester get the blues in front of the TV cameras yet again

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Yeovil look up for the fight

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Hugh Larkin

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