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Championship Chat: Mogga exit no shock

James Marshment feels for Tony Mowbray, blasts Birmingham, hails Rudi Austin, and looks ahead to Burnley-QPR in this week's Championship Chat.

Last Updated: 25/10/13 at 08:50 Post Comment   

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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 weekend's goals, click here.

Goal of the weekend: Paddy McCourt, Barnsley v Middlesbrough

McCourt twisted and turned his way past three Middlesbrough defenders in the box before squeezing a low shot past Jason Steele to set the Tykes on their way to a 3-2 win over the Teessiders.

It was a great way for the former Celtic player to net his first goal for Barnsley, with the only sour note being that he picked up a match-ending injury in the process of netting.

Worthy of mentions: Lewis McGugan, Watford v Derby; Henri Lansbury, Nottm Forest v Bournemouth; Simon Church, Charlton v Blackburn.

Team of the week: (4-4-2) Scott Carson; Kieran Trippier, Jason Shackell, Shane Duffy, Craig Cathcart; Scott Arfield, Rodolph Austin, Niko Kranjcar, Craig Bryson; Ross McCormack, Tom Ince.

Special mention this week goes to Leeds midfielder Rudi Austin, whose best performance of the season coincided with Leeds' best display to date, and also saw the Jamaican midfielder register his first of the season.

Sunday's performance was all the more remarkable given he'd only arrived back in Yorkshire 48 hours earlier following midweek international action for Jamaica. But on Sunday's evidence, Austin has the quality to play in the Premier League if he maintains his high standards. From Leeds' point of view, hopefully that's with them, and not with Norwich City!

Quote(s) of the week: Mick McCarthy

Always good value, the Ipswich boss reacted with a certain pinch of indignation when questioned if he's interested in a return to the Republic of Ireland hotseat.

"Listen, I've been favourites for jobs before and never been anywhere near the bloody job," he said. "I'm not interested in it - or in the speculation. We've lost today [1-0 at home to Burnley] and I'm really annoyed about it, so perhaps think about that before you ask me another question." Ouch!

Player of the weekend: Scott Arfield, Burnley

The former Scotland Under-21 midfielder moved across the Pennines over the summer, leaving Huddersfield for Burnley, for very little fanfare. But his free transfer has proven one of the best pieces of business of late in the second tier, helping to transform the Clarets' fortunes as they continue their unlikely push for promotion.

Arfield popped up to grab the winner in their hard-fought 1-0 win at Ipswich on Saturday, his goal not only keeping Burnley top of the table, but also help the club to their best start to a season in 115 years.

Gaffe of the week: Darius Henderson, Nottingham Forest

There's likely to be a hair's breadth that separates the top teams in the automatic promotion shake-up this season, so Henderson's miss against Bournemouth at the weekend, could yet prove extremely costly.

With the Tricky Trees already a goal to the good thanks to another Henri Lansbury's special ('his mother Angela would be proud', as Jeff Stelling might say!) Henderson rounded Cherries keeper Ryan Allsop to leave himself with an open goal and surely ensure the victory was safe.

But Henderson somehow managed to miss the target from 16 yards; his move proving all the more costly as Marc Pugh fired home an injury-time equaliser for Bournemouth.

Game of the week: Watford 2 Derby 3

The Rams are second to only table-topping Burnley when it comes to picking up points on the road this term, but a trip to the previously impregnable Vicarage Road looked a game too far for Steve McClaren's men.

However, a brace from Jamie Ward, combined with telling contributions in midfield from Craig Bryson and Will Hughes, set the Rams on their way to an impressive 3-2 victory.

If the Rams can find more consistency at home, they could yet force their way into the play-off picture this season.

Watch highlights of the game in the video above.

Result of the week: Millwall 2 QPR 2

On the surface, it may seem unusual picking a team drawing at home as the result of the week. But given Millwall not only twice came from behind to pinch a point against promotion favourites QPR, they also have to be given credit for not once, but twice, breaching a defence that before the game had not conceded for an impressive 865 minutes.

Disappointment of the week: Birmingham City

Wow, where to start with their display against Leeds in the televised Sky game on Sunday lunchtime. The Blues were run ragged by the rejuvenated Whites, and although you have to give Leeds credit for their display, much of Birmingham's downfall was down to their shambolic defensive display.

Although he's very inexperienced at just 21, on-loan Blues centre-half Dan Burn had an afternoon to forget as he toiled against Leeds forward Matt Smith, who finished with a brace, but really could have had three or four.

Burn wasn't the only culpable party for Blues, and manager Lee Clark clearly has an enormous job on his hands to keep the club in the division.

Celebration of the week: Steve McClaren, Derby

Complete with that incomparable Cheshire cat smile, McClaren celebrated Connor Sammon's winner for Derby at the weekend by handing out high fives to three of his staff on the Rams bench. (Yes, really!).

While it's nice to see managers show a bit of emotion when their teams score, I'd hate to see what he'd do if the Rams won promotion?!

Hot topic of the week: Mowbray leaves Middlesbrough

It's synonymous with the modern game, but the shelf life of a football manager appears to be getting shorter and shorter.

Although it didn't come as a surprise to see Mowbray shown the door by Middlesbrough given they'd only won one of their previous 10 games, it still exemplified how quickly you can get past your sell-by date in the Championship.

If anyone should have succeeded at a club, it was Mowbray. Locally born, Mowbray made 348 appearances for the Teessiders and is ranked seventh on their list of all-time iconic players. In fact, his departure was seen as very much a sad day for all at the club as my colleague, Graeme Bailey, reflects on here.

But clearly that love the club held for him as a player clearly couldn't translate into management, with his axing now leaving Charlton's Chris Powell as the division's longest serving boss. He's been in the job just over two and a half years having been appointed in January 2011!

What's to come...

Live on Sky:

There's a triple helping of Championship games live on the box this weekend with the following teams all getting the live Sky Sports treatment:

Middlesbrough v Doncaster (Sky Sports 1HD, Friday 7.45pm kick-off); Barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday (Sky Sports 1HD, Saturday 12.15pm kick-off); Brighton v Watford (Sky Sports 1HD, Monday 7.45pm kick-off).

Match of the weekend:

Burnley v QPR

The top two collide as Burnley look to maintain their place at the top of the table against Harry Redknapp's promotion favourites.

Bet of the weekend:

Derby to beat Birmingham to nil (9/4). A £10 bet with Sky Bet pays £32.50 at the time of writing.

By James Marshment, follow me on Twitter here.

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