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Monday, 05 March 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Cardiff Complete A Bad Week And Dave Jones Takes the Wednesday Hot Seat


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Of all the teams not  to encounter after the disappointment of their Carling Cup Final defeat,West Ham would have been top of Cardiff City's list. Sam Allardyce brought his brand of ultra-professional football to South Wales and took three valuable points back to London.

Results like this one give ammunition to those who argue that the Carling Cup is an irrelevance for many clubs. The Bluebirds don't have a trophy for 120 minutes of unrelenting effort last Sunday and this loss leaves them outside the play-off berths in the Championship - would three points have been more important than an unsuccessful tilt at the Carling Cup?

West Ham might not play the best football in the division but ever since August they have looked like a team that will go up automatically. Those Hammers fans who doubted Sam Allardyce's suitability to Upton Park are being satisfied by watching a team produce the points on the board week in, week out.

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Dave Jones stepped into the vacant manager's role at Sheffield Wednesday after the Owls decided to dispense with Gary Megson's services with the club lying third in League One - going one better than Huddersfield, who ditched Lee Clark when the Terriers were fourth.

Jones is well-versed in clubs that have a desperate need for success. He took Wolves up to the top flight after a long absence but then found himself out when the team didn't take swiftly to top flight football.

The logic of removing Megson at this point is difficult to follow, especially as Wednesday only managed a point against strugglers Rochdale. Then again they did make up some ground on Sheffield United, who fell to a surprise home defeat to Oldham Athletic - time to sack Danny Wilson perhaps?

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The yo-yo situation in the League Two relegation zone continued as both Dagenham & Redbridge and Hereford United produced home victories putting Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town back in the bottom two slots.

Northampton found yet another way to cause agony for their fans by conceding a two-goal lead at Cheltenham. The first was a penalty and the second came in the 90th minute. A point at Cheltenham would have looked a good result on Saturday morning but by 4.45 on Saturday evening Cobblers fans were bemoaning their luck yet again.

Improved form by all the bottom sides has brought Macclesfield and Barnet back into the relegation battle and even Bradford City and AFC Wimbledon need a couple more wins to make their places safe.

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In the Blue Square Premier  Stockport County won at Darlington in a battle between two former Football League clubs desperate not to sink further down the pyramid. County's single goal victory sent the cash-troubled Quakers into the relegation zone for the first time this season.

For Stockport, they now have a seven point cushion to the drop zone and their campaign has stabilised a little after the experiment of former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann is his first managerial role. The experienced Jim Gannon is now the man in charge.  

At the other end of the table Mansfield Town forced a home win over Lincoln City, to take close order on the play-off berths. The Stags have endured tough times since dropping into the Blue Square and this is the first time they have threatened to bring League football back to North Nottinghamshire.

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Hugh Larkin

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