Gillingham v Rotherham preview
Atletico Madrid were unable to leapfrog Real Madrid into second
spot as they were held by Valencia.
A 1-1 draw in the Vicente Calderon stadium was not enough to
move above their city rivals as Valencia produced a spirited
display to keep their own Champions League hopes alive.
Jonas surprised the home side inside five minutes but Radamel
Falcao promptly beat the offside trap at the other end to stab the
ball home and restore parity within a minute.
Despite home pressure after the break, that’s how it stayed and
the result leaves Atletico a point behind Real with Valencia just a
point outside the top four themselves.
Earlier on Sunday, bottom-club Deportivo La Coruna recorded
back-to-back victories for the first time this season after a
narrow win over fellow strugglers Real Mallorca.
Victor Casadesus gave Gregorio Manzano’s side the lead but a
wonderful goal from Silvio put Deportivo back on level terms before
Veteran defender Carlos Marchena gave the visitors the lead
early in the second half and Riki extended the advantage, before
Alfaro scored late on to set up a tense finish. But Deportivo held
on to keep their hopes of survival alive with the Galician side now
just four points from safety.
Osasuna were another side whose hopes of avoiding relegation
were handed a huge boost after they came from a goal down to win at
Valladolid in fine fashion.
An own goal by Ruben gave the hosts an early lead but two goals
by Kike Sola within 10 minutes after half-time put Jose
Mendilibar’s side ahead. Miguel De Las Cuevas then scored his first
goal for the club to make sure of the points and lift Osasuna seven
points clear of the drop zone.
Elsewhere, Real Sociedad’s hopes of a Champions League place
suffered a setback as they were held to a draw at Espanyol. In
fact, they left the Cornella-El Prat grateful for a point after
Javi Lopez’s own-goal inside the final quarter of an hour denied
the hosts all three points.
It was the second time Sociedad had come from behind in the
match, David Zurutuza scoring either side of strikes from Sergio
Garcia and Christian Stuani in an eventful first half.
Sociedad remain in fourth but are now just a point clear of
Malaga in fifth as the race for the final Champions League spot
The Italian, who left Swindon in February, will take charge from
Monday morning as the replacement for Martin O’Neill who was sacked
on Saturday after the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.
Chairman Ellis Short said: “Paolo is hugely enthused by the
challenge that lies ahead of him. He is passionate, driven and
raring to get started.
“The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to
ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status.
“I think that the chances of that are greatly increased with
Paolo joining us.
“Our fans have shown tremendous patience and understanding this
“They have continued to back the team in huge numbers, both home
and away, and that is something that continues to inspire all of us
in our drive to give them the successful club they deserve.
“That remains our primary aim.”
The Sunderland job is only Di Canio’s second in management after
his spell at Swindon and he was a big success in Wiltshire, guiding
the Robins to promotion to League One.
Di Canio, 44, played for Lazio, Juventus, Napoli and AC Milan
before making a move to Britain where he played for Celtic,
Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Charlton.
Within minutes of Di Canio’s appointment, David Miliband
announced he has resigned from his role as vice-chairman and
non-executive director of the club due to Di Canio’s “past
Within seven games of the Premier League season left Sunderland
are just one point above the relegation zone.
The evening started well for the Bavarians when Nikola Djurdjic
headed them in front in the second minute, but goals from Takashi
Inui, Stefan Aigner and Alexander Meier turned the game around.
Sercan Sararer brought Furth back to within a goal, but they
were unable to find an equaliser as they remain rooted to the foot
of the Bundesliga, 14 points from safety with seven games left.
Frankfurt are now fifth, level on points with fourth-placed
Schalke and still in the hunt for a place in the Champions League
Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking saw his side relinquish a
two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw against former club Nurnberg.
Diego and Ivica Olic had put the Wolves into a commanding
position, but Nurnberg mounted a spirited comeback to take a share
of the spoils thanks to second-half goals by Timmy Simons and Per
On-loan midfielder Adam Reed is expected to make his home debut
for the Minstermen against their relegation rivals.
Reed, drafted in from Sunderland last week, made his first
appearance for the club in Saturday’s goalless draw at Bristol
Striker Michael Coulson could make his first start since
damaging knee ligaments in October.
Coulson returned as a second-half substitute on Saturday and is
set to be involved again.
Teenager Tom Platt is hoping to retain his place, but fellow
midfielder Scott Kerr remains doubtful with a calf strain.
Defender Lanre Oyebanjo returned on Saturday after missing the
previous four games due to a calf injury, while centre-half Chris
Doig is hoping to shake off a knock.
City – three points from safety with five games remaining – are
chasing their first win in 17 league games in a bid to escape an
instant return to the Blue Square Bet Premier Division.
Pilgrims boss John Sheridan is hoping Saturday’s goal hero Jason
Banton will be fit to feature on Easter Monday.
Banton scored a brilliant solo goal in first-half stoppage time
as Sheridan’s side overcame Devon rivals Exeter City 1-0 in front
of League Two’s biggest gate of the season, 13,251, at Home
The on-loan Crystal Palace forward. who has now scored six goals
in 11 games since joining Plymouth, was substituted after 72
“Jason hasn’t trained all week,” Sheridan said. “He has had a
bit of a stiff back. We will just have to assess him. It might be a
case of changing one or two because we have got a long trip and we
had a very hard game against Exeter. Whoever comes in I expect them
to fill the boots of the player they replace.”
Anthony Charles and Warren Feeney are set to miss out again
while midfielder Lee Cox (shoulder) is an injury doubt. He was
replaced by Luke Young at half time against Exeter and will be
assessed ahead of the clash with a City side four points below the
Gulls manager Alan Knill has a selection dilemma at left-back
for the Easter Monday encounter.
Former Arsenal youngster Tom Cruise is available again having
served his one-match ban for the red card he picked up against
But his place in the side was taken by long-serving defender
Kevin Nicholson in the 1-0 loss at Northampton, leaving Knill with
a decision to make.
Scot Craig Easton is sidelined again with a calf injury while
Billy Bodin and Nathan Craig are pushing for starts should Knill
decide to freshen things up after the long Friday night trip to
Strike duo Rene Howe and Elliot Benyon looked lively once more
against the promotion-chasing Cobblers and they are set to continue
their partnership upfront.
Torquay sit four points above the relegation zone having lost
just one of their last five games.
Bantams striker Nahki Wells could return to the starting
Wells has started among the substitutes in the last four
matches, but set up the equaliser for James Hanson in Friday’s home
draw with Southend after stepping off the bench and is pushing for
Midfielder Ricky Ravenhill recovered from a shin injury to start
against Southend, but Nathan Doyle and Will Atkinson could come
into contention if manager Phil Parkinson wants to add some fresh
legs for a second game in four days.
Matt Duke is hoping to return in place of Jon McLaughlin as
Parkinson continues to rotate his goalkeepers, while defenders Carl
McHugh and Michael Nelson are also pushing for recalls.
Bradford are chasing their first league win in four games on the
road as they bid to keep their outside play-off hopes alive.
Shrimps boss Jim Bentley hopes to have top scorer Jack Redshaw
available from the start on Easter Monday.
A groin problem restricted Redshaw to bench duty against Oxford
but the former Manchester City youngster came on to fire his 16th
goal of the season in stoppage time and secure a 1-1 draw.
Chris Holroyd is the man most likely to make way to accommodate
Will Haining’s recovery from a hamstring injury to complete 90
minutes handed an unexpected boost to Bentley at centre-back
against the U’s.
But it remains a problem position for them, and Bentley must
assess Andy Parrish (thigh) and will be without the experienced
Nick Fenton (calf).
Chairboys goalkeeper Matt Ingram is expected to line up in goal
again, having made his professional bow on Friday.
The youngster’s big day was spoilt by Accrington’s late winner
at Adams Park but the club’s youth product looks set to retain his
place as Gareth Ainsworth’s men look for the three points he
believes will secure League Two football for another season.
Ingram was handed his debut because Tottenham recalled keeper
Jordan Archer from his loan spell in the build up to kick-off on
Friday to provide back up to Brad Friedel after an injury to Hugo
Archer had made 29 appearances this season for Ainsworth’s side
before returning to White Hart Lane.
QPR loanee Bruno Andrade returned to the matchday squad after
injury and the winger is pushing for a start,while Leon Johnson and
Marvin McCoy will hope to keep their places after being recalled to
the starting XI.
The hosts are almost at full-strength as they look to take
another step towards promotion.
Saturday’s 2-2 draw away at Fleetwood leaves Martin Allen’s side
six points clear at the top and 10 points ahead of fourth-placed
Their game against fellow promotion-hopefuls Rotherham will have
to be navigated without the services of Andy Frampton, who serves
the final game of his three-match ban.
The only other worry is midfielder Charlie Lee, who missed
Saturday’s game through illness and will be assessed.
Allen handed a rare start to Callum Davies at the weekend and,
despite impressing, he is likely to return to the bench with Steven
Gregory restored to the midfield.
Adam Birchall was also given the nod at Fleetwood but he will
face competition from Deon Burton and Weston for his place in the
Millers boss Steve Evans could name an unchanged side for Easter
Monday’s crunch promotion tie.
Evans’ side did their hopes of pinching a top-three spot the
world of good on Good Friday when they beat AFC Wimbledon and he
could keep the faith.
Evans made four changes for the Dons match as he handed starts
to Joe Skarz, Scott Shearer, Kari Arnason and Daniel Kearns and all
four are expected to keep their shirt.
It was Shearer’s first start in goal since October following
knee and elbow injuries, so he may just be monitored ahead of
Right-back Mark Bradley is their only absentee as he battles a
Rotherham are currently four points adrift of third-placed
Northampton with a game in hand.