EFL: Chris Coleman’s unhappy return while Scott Carson’s form continues

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EFL: Chris Coleman’s unhappy return while Scott Carson’s form continues
EFL: Chris Coleman’s unhappy return while Scott Carson’s form continues


Cardiff kept up their push for automatic promotion but it was another bad day at the office for Sunderland

January can prove a crucial time for English Football League clubs, with the opportunity for campaigns to be shaped by both results on the pitch and transfer dealings off it.

After the bumper programme over Christmas and New Year, most clubs got back to their bread and butter after a hiatus for FA Cup ties last weekend.

BBC Sport takes a look at five things you may have missed from Saturday’s action, including Sunderland’s continuing travails and and one player’s hopes of an England call-up.

An unhappy return for Cookie

You can’t say it’s been going brilliantly for Chris Coleman since he swapped the Wales job for the hotseat at Sunderland back in November.

He would not have enjoyed the return to his homeland to face promotion-chasing Cardiff, as the Black Cats conceded four second-half goals and had Didier Ndong sent off in a 4-0 defeat.

It was their fifth loss in 10 league games since Coleman took over, and Sunderland remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship, three points from safety.

Sunderland have picked up 10 points from a possible 30 since Chris Coleman took charge

The Cardiff City Stadium has not created good memories for the 47-year-old recently – with his final game there in October as Wales boss being a 1-0 defeat by the Republic of Ireland which ended his country’s hopes of a place at the World Cup in Russia.

Moreover, Coleman has now failed to win any of the nine club games in which he has managed against Welsh sides in the Football League, having never beaten Cardiff or Swansea in eight meetings while in charge of Coventry.

Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock, meanwhile, saw his side end a four-game losing streak in the league to maintain their hopes of automatic promotion to the Premier League.

A goalscoring return at Lincoln

Lincoln have been enjoying their first season back in the EFL since 2010-11, with the Imps currently in the thick of the play-off race in League Two.

And, like any management team, brothers Danny and Nicky Cowley will surely be looking to further bolster their squad during the transfer window to maintain their momentum.

They brought back a familiar face to Sincil Bank earlier this week as Lee Frecklington re-signed from Rotherham, having originally left Lincoln for Peterborough nine years ago.

Lee Frecklington (centre, number 19) celebrates his goal for Lincoln with the home support at Sincil Bank

The 32-year-old last scored for the club against Bournemouth in a League Two clash in January 2009, and the midfielder made an immediate impact on his second debut for the club, netting 37 minutes into his return against Notts County.

The Imps went on to draw 2-2 but Frecklington’s league experience could prove crucial as Lincoln chase a second successive promotion.

Can Carson grab a spot on the plane to Russia?

Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson last played for England in 2009

As the season draws to a close over the coming months and spring draws closer, there will be plenty of talk about the upcoming World Cup this summer.

Several EFL players could be on show, including Brentford defender Andreas Bjelland for Denmark and Bristol City’s Icelandic centre-back Hordur Magnusson.

But, does Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson have a chance of gaining an England recall?

Rams boss Gary Rowett has been bigging up the 32-year-old, who won the last of his four caps in a win over Sweden back in 2009.

Derby County’s media team joined in the calls for Scott Carson to get an England call-up in this update on Twitter

Carson had a night to forget against Croatia in a European Championship qualifier at Wembley in November 2007, but the former Liverpool and West Brom man kept his sixth clean sheet in eight league games as County won 3-0 at Birmingham.

He says he will not “give up hope” on getting a call from national boss Gareth Southgate.

Norwich’s Angus Gunn joined the senior squad in November, so perhaps a place on the plane to Russia is not out of the question for Carson.

Shrimpers woes continue

The pressure on Southend boss Phil Brown is quite intense at the moment.

The Shrimpers suffered their seventh defeat in eight league games as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Fleetwood, and are now just two points above the League One relegation zone.

However, Brown told BBC Essex he does not fear for his job and that “a couple of moments of madness by senior pros” cost his side.

Southend were ninth, eight points off the play-offs, before their slump started and Brown knows he needs to halt the slide to extend their stay in the third tier into a fourth season.

“Teams are coming to Roots Hall and smelling blood,” the 58-year-old said.

“The thought we can finish the season strong and get in the play-offs is long gone. Nothing magical is going to get us out of it other than hard work.”

Spireites upset table-toppers Luton

The bottom of League Two can be an unforgiving place, with clubs looking to avoid the unwelcome drop into non-league.

A relegation battle can make or break a manager, especially a rookie like Jack Lester at Chesterfield.

The 42-year-old had lost nine of his first 17 league games following his appointment in September by his former club, for whom he scored 94 goals in six years as a player.

The visit of free-scoring league leaders Luton must have been daunting, but goals from Joe Rowley and Jack McCourt ended the Spireites’ six-match winless run with a 2-0 victory.

Chesterfield recorded their first win since 9 December – and just their sixth in the league this season – against Luton

It also moved them out of the relegation zone, although Lester’s men are just one point ahead of 23rd-placed Forest Green Rovers.

There is plenty of work to do to ensure survival, but victory over the Hatters gave Lester a welcome boost.

“The performance was really good; we out-ran them, out-worked them and out-fought them,” he told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“The squad has been stretched and we are working to bring in some tough characters. It is all about progression.”



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