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Some rounds of fixtures just seem more meaningful than others, and the latest EFL Championship games have certainly delivered in terms of surprises. The big leaders experienced shocks, while others proved they are there for the long haul.
Let’s be honest; anyone placing an EFL Championship bet is going to have ups and downs over the course of the season; that’s just a fact given the nature of a bruising league that is very much a marathon and not a sprint.
Norwich City 2-3 Preston North End
Dean Smith’s side came into the game off the back of a nine-match unbeaten run and were the overwhelming favourites to defeat Preston, but it wasn’t to be. Everything appeared to be going according to plan for the Canaries, with United States international Josh Sargent scoring within two minutes, but a brace from Danish forward Emil Riis put the away side in front.
Gabriel Sara then levelled for the home team, but loaned-in forward Troy Parrot saw his effort deflected in late on to give Ryan Lowe’s side a deserved victory that lifts them closer to the play-off picture.
Stoke City 3-1 Sheffield United
Top-of-the-table Sheffield United also fell to a surprise defeat, this time away at Stoke City, albeit the defeat didn’t see Paul Heckingbottom’s team drop from the EFL Championship summit.
Among the scorers for Stoke City in their 3-1 win over the Blades was veteran defender Phil Jagielka, who headed in the Potters’ second as well as providing an assist for their first, not bad for a 40-year-old.
Jagielka appeared 287 times for Sheffield United between 1999 and 2007 and will have been happy to see he is still very capable of making an impact in the second tier.
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Reading
Michael Beale’s Loftus Road side entertained Reading in the Friday night game, and the West London side came from behind to cement their place in the push for automatic promotion.
Former Newcastle United, Liverpool and West Ham forward Andy Carroll put Paul Ince’s side ahead from the spot on the half-hour mark, but Scottish forward Lyndon Dykes scored twice to give QPR a well-deserved win.
Coventry 0-1 Burnley
While all around them, teams were losing their heads, Vincent Kompany’s Burnley picked up a crucial win away at strugglers Coventry City. Nathan Tella scored the only goal of the game, and it lifted the Turf Moor side to within two points of the top.
Now is very much the right time to back the Clarets to win the title, and with BoyleSports, you can grab a healthy 9/2 on Kompany doing just that.
Time Runs Out for Baggies Boss
Quite how Steve Bruce managed to stay in his job at the Hawthorns this long is a mystery to most, but the veteran boss has now been fired.
The 61-year-old spent just eight months as West Brom manager, and he’s won just eight of the 32 games he was in charge of the club. They now sit in 22nd place in the Championship, which is the lowest the Midlands club have been in over 20 years.
Now the focus of football betting sites moves to who might replace Bruce in charge, and some interesting names are in the running. Here’s a look at the current front-runners.
Next West Brom Manager Betting Odds
Roy Keane 5/1
Chris Wilder 6/1
Sean Dyche 6/1
Scott Parker 8/1
Carlos Corberan 10/1