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Championship Chat: Bowyer job on line

James Dixon praises the clubs for the Hillsborough tributes, slams Blackburn, talks up QPR's promotion chances and tips Millwall to stay up.

The Sky Bet Championship is often overlooked for the glamour and glitz of the Premier League, but there's much to be celebrated in the second tier as we find out in this weekly Thursday column.

The race for promotion, and the bid to stay in the second tier, is likely to be as competitive as ever, as we examine all the key talking points from the weekend, and also take a look at what's to come in the matches ahead.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the story comment box, below, or follow me on Twitter here.

To see all the latest Championship goals, click here.

Goal of the week:

Kieffer Moore, Yeovil v Bournemouth

In a weekend of high-quality strikes Kieffer Moore just edged it over the competition. Latching on to a loose ball following a half-clearance from the Cherries defence, before lashing the ball into the top corner from 20 yards out. Not only was it a spectacular hit, it's one that he'll remember for a while coming in the local derby.

Worthy of mentions: Jacob Butterfield Middlesbrough v Burnley; Johnny Russell Derby v Huddersfield; Jake Forster-Caskey Brighton v Charlton; Junior Hoilett QPR v Nottingham Forest; Nedum Onuoha QPR v Forest; Lewis McGugan Watford v Millwall; Luke Murphy Leeds v Blackpool.

Team of the week:

(4-3-3) Dimitrios Konstantopoulos; Kieran Trippier, Nedum Onuoha, Jonathan Woodgate, Stephen Ward; Luke Murphy, Ravel Morrison, Jesse Lingard; Lee Tomlin, Atdhe Nuhiu, Jermaine Beckford.

Special mention this week goes to Leeds United midfielder Luke Murphy. The big summer signing from Crewe has struggled to get to grips with life at the Yorkshire club and after scoring on his debut he's failed to recapture the form that saw him make the step up into the Championship.

However, Murphy was instrumental in Leeds' 2-0 win over Blackpool on Saturday, scoring both goals, including an exquisite finish for his second. With the club about to embark on a new chapter in its history, Murphy's performance could have placed himself perfectly for the club going forward and could yet prove himself to be a key member of the team in the future.

Quote of the week: Brian McDermott, Leeds United

After a massive win for the club, Brian McDermott's relief was clear to see in his interview after the game which saw his side end a dismal run of defeats. He was also eager to go on the charm offensive, perhaps with an eye on next season, and praised the club's new owner.

"The win was a great relief. It was a big result for us," McDermott said. "We are on 50 points and that should be enough, but you can't think like that. I can only think about our next match at Barnsley.

"Thank God we have got Massimo Cellino in charge because I didn't know where this club was going. The fans gave him a really good reception and I am delighted for him. We've all got paid and this club feels like a different, more secure place now."

Player of the week: Ravel Morrison

Following a big solo performance in QPR's 5-2 win over Nottingham Forest it was the player who undoubtedly has Premier League class who took the game by the scruff of the neck.

With Forest battling back twice to level the game, on QPR's recent run, it wouldn't have been too surprising if the Harry Redknapp's men would have ended up with a draw.

However, Morrison's pace and attacking intent from midfield took the game away from Forest and was involved heavily in the final three goals, which included an excellent finish for the Rs.

One thing he is yet to master is his levels of consistency but if he can reproduce a performance like this during the play-offs, he could be the difference, especially on the big stage.

Disappointment of the week: Blackburn Rovers

Saturday's 3-3 draw at Sheffield Wednesday will come as no surprise to Rovers fans in what has become a reoccurring theme for the club this season as they were held for the fourth time in six games.

With the club in the running for albeit an unlikely play-off place before the game the relinquishing of the 3-1 first-half lead ends any hopes for the season. With Jordan Rhodes in the side, goals were never going to be Blackburn's issue but the leaky defence has shipped 11 goals in their last six and that could ultimately cost Gary Bowyer his job at the end of the season.

Game of the week: Sheffield Wednesday 3 Blackburn Rovers 3

A brace from Atdhe Nuhiu rescued a point for Wednesday as the home side battled from 3-1 down at half-time to snatch a point in the 95th minute.

Jordan Rhodes, Craig Conway and Michael Keane scored Rovers' three with Lewis Buxton pulling one back for the Owls in the 30th minute.

The home side's resurgence in the second half was rounded-off by Atdhe Nuhiu's double as both side's were forced to settle for a point apiece in the six-goal thriller.

Result of the week: Millwall 2 Watford 2

Martyn Woolford's stoppage time crucial equaliser will feel like a huge boost to Ian Holloway and his men as the relegation-threatened club extended on their unbeaten run to four games.

The result now means the Lions are just one point behind fellow-strugglers Charlton and Saturday's result could prove vital in the race to stay in the Championship and in his interview after the match, Holloway was clearly optimistic: "It looked like 'good night' at 2-1, but the great thing about this club is that they keep fighting and I hope the fans can be as proud of the players as I am.

"I gestured 2-2 at the away fans at the end. They were giving me stick all game. I don't think I'll be sending them a Christmas card.

"If we can put a sequence together, we've got a chance."

Celebration of the week: Jake Forster-Caskey Brighton v Charlton

After scoring Brighton's third and wrapping up the match against Charlton, Forster-Caskey risked the wrath of the referee by taking off his shirt and displayed his name to the Brighton faithful. I can't be sure whether he wanted to let the crowd know his is a name to look out for in the future or if he has an agreement with the club to promote the club's shirt printing handiwork, and with his name taking up 14 characters I'm sure the club would benefit with the printing of a few more of his replica shirts.

Hot topic of the week: The 25th anniversary of Hillsborough

In what was a reflective weekend for the world of football, the league's 24 clubs paid their respects to the 96 victims and their families of the tragedy. With the football away from centre stage, all the clubs can be commended for their efforts, and special praise must go to the work done at Hillsborough on Saturday.

Both Wednesday coach Stuart Gray and Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer laid wreaths behind the goal in front of the West Stand where a Liverpool shirt and scarf were also placed.

The club also marked the day by changing 96 blue seats to white and placing a single red rose on each on the lower tier of the stand at the same end of the ground.

In his post-match interview, Gray paid tribute to the victims: "No father, no mother, or no son or daughter should lose anybody at a football game.

"It was just a sad, sad occasion, what happened 25 years ago - but I think the players played their part, the fans played their apart and both clubs played their part today."

What's to come...

Live on Sky:

Blackpool v Burnley, Friday 5.15pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports 1HD

Doncaster v Derby, Friday 7.30pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports 1HD

Leicester v QPR, Saturday 12.15pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports 1HD

Leeds v Nottingham, Monday 5.15pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports 1HD

By James Dixon, follow me on Twitter here.


Headlines for Ipswich this week

        Latest Ipswich Fixtures               Latest Ipswich Results                 Latest Table

  • Championship Chat: Bowyer job on line


  • James Dixon praises the clubs for the Hillsborough tributes, slams Blackburn, talks up QPR's promotion chances and tips Millwall to stay up.

  • Regional Rumours in the Press: United eyeing Reus


  • Manchester United are reportedly considering a move for Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus, while Gus Poyet is determined to stay at Sunderland.

  • Championship: Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy expects Aaron Cresswell interest


  • Mick McCarthy is preparing himself for some interest in Aaron Cresswell during the transfer window, but believes Tyrone Mings is ready to step up if required.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is targeting the play-offs


  • Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is targeting momentum as the club push for promotion via the play-offs.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Ipswich close on play-off spot by beating Doncaster 2-1


  • Tyrone Mings enjoyed an afternoon of two halves as Ipswich squeezed past Doncaster with a 2-1 victory.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Brighton assistant buoyant; Charlton disappoint Riga


  • Assistant head coach Nathan Jones believes Brighton are in a "realistically fantastic position" after the 3-0 victory over Charlton took them into the play-off positions for the second time this season.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Doncaster boss furious after defeat; McCarthy delighted


  • Doncaster manager Paul Dickov was left fuming after his relegation-threatened team lost 2-1 to play-off chasing Ipswich following a frantic finish at Portman Road.

  • Championship Chat: Foxes ready for PL


  • James Marshment congratulates Leicester on promotion, discusses Burnley and Bournemouth's hopes of joining them, and welcomes Leeds' takeover.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Ipswich ease to 2-0 win over Huddersfield


  • Winger Paul Anderson boosted Ipswich's play-off hopes with an early belter to help his side claim a 2-0 win at lacklustre Huddersfield.

  • Championship: Huddersfield boss Mark Robins blasts team after defeat to Ipswich


  • Huddersfield manager Mark Robins was scathing of his players following the 2-0 home defeat to Ipswich, describing their display as the "most abject performance of any team I have managed".