Ainsworth in frame for QPR job

The caretaker manager lays out credentials after 1-0 win over Birmingham
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The Independent Football

Gareth Ainsworth put forward a strong case to be named Queen's Park Rangers's permanent manager by guiding his 10-man side to a surprise 1-0 victory over Birmingham City on Tuesday night. But the club's co-owner Flavio Briatore also had a hand in the victory, shouting instructions to this new manager from the stands.

Ainsworth, who was appointed the caretaker manager after Iain Dowie was sacked last Friday, looked on as Rangers – who played the second half a man down following Mikele Leigertwood's sending-off – triumphed thanks to Samuel Di Carmine's screamer.

"It's all been very sudden but the boys are as tight as ever and it showed," Ainsworth said. "I've got a taste for it. It's something I want to pursue in my career but I'm just taking it game by game."

The Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy praised Sylvan Ebanks-Blake after the striker's brace in Tuesday night's 2-1 win over Swansea City took them back to the top of the Coca-Cola Championship.

"I was worried about this game because Swansea are a good side," McCarthy said. "They pass the ball as well as anybody but Sylvan is a good player and nobody else in our team could have scored that first goal."

Cardiff City left it late before sealing a 2-0 victory over Blackpool that took the Bluebirds third in the table and for manager David Jones it was worth the wait. Peter Whittingham and the prolific Ross McCormack finally broke through in the last eight minutes. "We had to be patient and although we dominated for long periods it was a very tough match," Jones said.

"The front players worked well but the final pass never seemed to come off. The longer it [the game] went on, the deeper their defence went, and the chances started to appear."

Derby County extended their unbeaten home run to six matches with a 3-1 win over Norwich City. Paul Green opened the scoring after 14 minutes when he tapped home from close range after Nathan Ellington had rounded Norwich goalkeeper David Marshall. Ellington got his second assist of the night when he crossed for Rob Hulse to head home just before the half hour. John Kennedy pulled one back in the second half but Derby substitute Przemyslaw Kazmierczak secured the win with 10 minutes left.

Nottingham Forest ended their 11-match winless run with a 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace, which moved them off the foot of the table. Chris Cohen's free-kick eluded everyone as Forest took the lead, and after Shefki Kuqi equalised, Matt Thornhill secured a vital win.

Robbie Blake's goal 10 minutes from time gave Burnley a 1-0 win over Reading. The striker shot from 20 yards past goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann to give Owen Coyle's side three points.

Plymouth Argyle manager Paul Sturrock and striker Steve MacLean sealed a double over their former club Sheffield Wednesday with a 1-0 win at Hillsborough. Sturrock's side won the corresponding fixture 4-0 earlier this month and MacLean's goal ensured victory this time after 23 minutes.

Ipswich Town were left to rue a Pablo Counago penalty miss as they drew 1-1 with Charlton Athletic. Owen Garvan had given the hosts the lead but after Counago's miss Nick Bailey levelled with eight minutes left.

Jon Macken's first-half goal ensured Barnsley claimed bragging rights from their South Yorkshire derby against Doncaster Rovers. Sheffield United and Bristol City missed a host of chances at Ashton Gate where the game ended in a goalless draw.

Billy Jones and Ross Wallace scored a goal apiece to give Preston North End a 2-0 win over Watford at Deepdale. David McGoldrick and Clinton Morrison scored as Southampton and Coventry City shared the points.

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