Bielsa: We need to stay calm

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa accepts that it is difficult to stay calm as the Championship campaign reaches a climax.

Leeds face Wigan Athletic on Friday and can be backed at 4/11 to beat the Latics, who are 6/1 to be relegated this season.

Sheffield United's recent wobbles have allowed Leeds to move closer to automatic promotion and Bielsa is keen to finish the job off.

"It is true that it is difficult to stay calm," said the 63-year-old former Chile and Argentina manager. "When the atmosphere close to you is excited it is more difficult to be calm inside yourself.

"You need to have a link with the amateur spirit, because then you have a link with the fans and at the same time there are no footballers who are not fans or don't have this feeling. Professionals need to have balance and calm.

"Our objective is to be focused for the three points that we play for in each game. After every game we have to adapt to the new reality that is the table."

Leeds are 1/5 to be promoted this season while Sheffield United can be backed at 4/5 to go up.

Lambert looks to the positives

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert insists the future is bright for the Suffolk side even though they will be playing in League One next season.

Ipswich will start the 2019/20 season in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1957 after their relegation was confirmed on Saturday when they could only draw 1-1 with Birmingham City at Portman Road.

Former Norwich City, Aston Villa and Stoke City boss Lambert was appointed Town manager almost six months ago but was unable to lift the club away from trouble.

Lambert admitted: "It's gut-wrenching, it's horrible. You can't put it into words what it feels like. It might not feel like it at this moment in time, but it will be an incredible learning curve. The players will come back stronger for it, they really will.

"My view is that this club could be brilliant again. It might take a little bit of time but it could be so good here.

"We'll analyse what went wrong. I can't comment on what happened previously. I can only comment on what I've seen from October onwards. But there is so much to look forward to here. I think it's exciting.

"Whether transfers come in or not, I don't know what's going to happen. I think the club needs a couple of bodies in to try and help and freshen it up."

Bolton seem certain to be joining Ipswich in League One next season while Rotherham United are 2/7 to go down, Wigan Athletic 6/1 and Millwall 12/1.

McClaren axed by ailing R’s

Queens Park Rangers have sacked head coach Steve McClaren after winning just one of their last 15 games in the Championship to tumble down the standings.

The former England boss took charge at Loftus Road in May of last year, agreeing a two-year contract to success Ian Holloway in the R's hotseat.

However, things have not gone as planned for the Londoners, who were in contention for a potential play-off place at the turn of the year.

Since then then have dropped way down to 17th place, although they are eight points clear of the relegation places with seven games left to play this season.

Director of football Les Ferdinand told the club's official website: "Steve has worked incredibly hard during his time with us.

"But, as we start to make plans for next year, we feel this change is necessary now – rather than wait until the end of the season, or risk having to make such a decision early in the new campaign."

Assistant coach John Eustace will take charge of Rangers while the search for a new manager gets under way and his first task will be to get his players ready for a trip to Carrow Road on Saturday to take on current table-toppers Norwich City.

The Canaries are five points clear of the chasing pack, having won their last seven league games.

Earlier this season the meeting of the two sides at Loftus Road ended 1-0 to the visitors, with Teemu Pukki netting the only goal of the games 19 minutes from time.

Norwich are 4/9 to win the game on Saturday and are 13/2 to do so by a 2-0 margin, with City 5/4 to keep a clean sheet.

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Lambert eyes derby shock

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert insists he is only interested in winning Sunday's game when he returns to Norwich City.

Town are struggling at the foot of the table while the Canaries, who Lambert managed between 2009 and 2012, are pushing for promotion.

Ipswich, 1/16 to be relegated this season, are 17/2 to secure a shock victory in the derby clash at Carrow Road.

Town have failed to clinch a derby win since 2009, but Lambert said: "It doesn't matter if it's Norwich or whatever, the important thing is we have to start winning games.

"I know this one has got added spice, whether it's me going back there, or the intense rivalry, or the separation in the table and it has been too long for this club to wait to beat their local rivals.

"Everything may be against us but they will have to earn the right to beat us. I'm not going there waiting for things to happen. I want us to make things happen."

Meanwhile, Teddy Bishop has signed a new contract which will keep him at Portman Road until the summer of 2021.

The midfielder, who has struggled with a succession of injuries in the last three years, has made 71 appearances for the club.

Bielsa urges perspective in defeat

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa says his players must refocus on the task in hand after surrendering top spot in the Championship to Norwich City.

The Whites were beaten 3-1 by the Canaries at Elland Road on Saturday and lost top sot on goal difference as a consequence, but Bielsa says that there is no reason to panic.

And the Argentinian is even more keen to keep things steady with United as their next assignment is a trip to fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough next Saturday.

Bielsa told reporters: "We still need too many chances to score and we need to be much more clinical. We did not make our possession count.

"We have now lost the previous defensive solidity and that is down to me, not the players. I feel deeply responsible.

"We need to be better in possession. We lost the ball at key times for the first two goals we conceded and it has cost us a defeat.

"We have to keep this defeat in perspective and maintain our focus. We have another big game next weekend at Middlesbrough and we will prepare thoroughly for that."

Leeds United are available at 1/2 to gain promotion this season, while they are 7/4 to win the Championship title.

The Whites last played in the English top-flight during the 2003/04, when they were relegated alongside Wolves and Leicester City.

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Adkins warns against complacency

Hull City manager Nigel Adkins has demanded that his players do not get carried away by their excellent recent run.

The Tigers, who host Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, have won their last five Championship matches and have moved up to 13th in the table.

Hull are 11/10 to beat the Owls and 15/2 to win the match 2-1.

Adkins is expecting a tough Yorkshire derby against Wednesday who have appointed Steve Bruce as their next manager.

The South Yorkshire side are 16th in the table and 25/1 to be relegated this term.

"It will be a tough game and they have a squad of really good players with quite a strong attacking force," said Adkins.

"There has been a change of manager there and Steve Bruce will come in next month, but his coaching staff are already in there so the methods of how they want to go and perform are being put in place.

"They're on a good run of form themselves and they've brought a few players back into it, Keiren Westwood for example who had been left out in the cold a little bit.

"There's a spirit about them as well, so we know it's going to be challenging. We've been on a good run of form but we can't have any complacency kicking in."

Town land veteran Collins

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert is keen to add more new faces to his squad after completing the signing of the former West Ham defender James Collins.

The 35-year-old Welshman has signed a deal with the Championship's bottom club until the end of the season.

Collins made 69 league appearances for Cardiff City before joining the Hammers in 2005. He moved on to Aston Villa for £5million four years later before returning to West Ham in 2012.

Collins, who won 51 caps for Wales, was released by the east London side at the end of last season.

"James has a great presence about him and that can be huge for us," said Lambert. "He has played at the highest level and his experience will be vital. We're delighted to have him here."

Lambert has signed four other players – Callum Elder, Will Keane, Collin Quaner and Simon Dawkins – this month as he tries to steer Town out of the relegation zone.

He still hopes to bring in further signings though, adding: "We'll try and do something but we can't keep flooding the place with loans, because you can only have five in the matchday squad.

"That's where the loan system falls down because you then have to manage them, which is difficult in itself."

Ipswich, 1/8 to be relegated this season, are 29/20 to beat Rotherham United at Portman Road on Saturday.

Jones relishes Potters chance

New Stoke City manager Nathan Jones hopes to be able to make a big impression with the Championship club, having been chosen to succeed Gary Rowett.

Jones admits he took a difficult decision to leave Luton Town, where he had been in charge for three years – having guided the Hatters to promotion to League One last season.

This term they are well on course to gain a second successive promotion, as they currently occupy the second automatic promotion place, behind Portsmouth.

And Jones has confirmed that he had previously turned down several offers from Championship clubs, but felt that his latest opportunity was the right one to take.

He told his new club's official website: "I have had other opportunities in the Championship before with numerous clubs, but none of those were of the stature and standing of Stoke City.

"This is a club with wonderful tradition, it has a Premier League structure in every regard, barring the league this year of course.

"I believe I am an appointment for the long-term here. I want to win games and I want to instil a culture and a philosophy that people are going to really get behind and be proud of.

"Along the way there will be some ups and downs, hopefully plenty of ups, but when we get our philosophy implemented and get working with the players, I'm sure they're going to respond."

Stoke currently stand in 14th place in the Championship table, eight points adrift of the play-off places.

They are next in action on Saturday when they head to Griffin Park to take on Brentford, with the Potters 2/1 to win the game and 9/4 to secure a draw.

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Luhukay leaves Owls

Jos Luhukay has left Sheffield Wednesday by mutual consent with immediate effect less than 12 months after being named manager at Hillsborough.

The 55-year-old Dutchman leaves with the Owls 18th in the Championship table, six points above the relegation zone.

Chairman Dejphon Chansiri said: "I would like to place on record my thanks to Jos for the efforts he has given to Sheffield Wednesday.

"But now is the right time for both parties to move on and I wish him all the very best for the future."

Coach Lee Bullen will take caretaker charge of the team until a new permanent manager is appointed.

Wednesday have won just one of their last 10 games and are 4/1 to be relegated this season while Rotherham United are 6/4 to go down.

Luhukay has managed several Bundesliga sides during his career including Hertha Berlin, VFB Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach.

He worked under Jupp Heynckes at Monchengladbach and was in charge of Stuttgart until September 2016 before taking charge of Wednesday, who lost 2-1 at Swansea City last weekend.

Lambert desperate for new faces

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert will not allow anyone to leave Portman Road in January until he has signed the players he desires.

Lambert is desperate to strengthen his squad but may enter the loan market rather than make permanent signings in order to bring in experienced Championship players.

Jonas Knudsen and Bartosz Bialkowski are both expected to leave Portman Road in January but Lambert is refusing to confirm anything just yet.

"Nobody will leave until I think we can get people in, nobody," said the former Aston Villa and Stoke City boss.

"I will not sanction anyone to go out until I think we can get people in who can help us. Maybe then I might let one or two go out, but until then I'll never release anyone.

"I need to look at the club's interests and I won't put any player's interests before the club. That's important. There are one or two out of contract in the summer and we have to look at that."

Veteran Stoke City duo Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch have been linked with loan switches to Ipswich while Lambert seems certain to cancel the loans of Tayo Edun and Jordan Graham next month.

Ipswich are seven points adrift at the foot of the table after winning just one of their first 21 Championship games of the campaign.

They are 1/6 to be relegated this term, while Bolton Wanderers are 4/11 to go down and Reading 8/11.