Birmingham strengthen squad for promotion bid


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The Independent Football

Birmingham City have bolstered their Championship promotion push with the twin signings of Peter Ramage and Caleb Folan. Versatile 28-year-old defender Ramage has joined on loan from Queen's Park Rangers until the end of the season, having spent the first half of the campaign with Crystal Palace, making 23 appearances.

Former Hull striker Folan has been on trial at Birmingham since his release by American side Colorado Rapids at the start of February, impressing manager Chris Hughton.

The 29-year-old moved to the United States from Hull in March 2011 but lasted less than a year across the Atlantic before mutually parting ways with the Rapids on 3 February, having scored six goals in 26 appearances.

Hughton has been busy in the transfer market recently, with forward Erik Huseklepp and winger Andros Townsend arriving on loan deals from Portsmouth and Tottenham respectively last week.

Norwich have agreed to extend Korey Smith's loan spell with Barnsley until the end of the season. The 21-year-old midfielder has made six appearances for Barnsley since arriving at the end of January, all of them in manager Keith Hill's starting line-up.

"I'm looking forward to carrying on my work with Keith Hill and [assistant manager] David Flitcroft, continuing to developing and gaining some more experience," he told Barnsley's official website.

Leicester striker Jeff Schlupp has signed a new deal to keep him with the Foxes until June 2015. The 19-year-old Ghana international has made 17 appearances for the club, scoring five goals.

Manager Nigel Pearson said: "Jeff is a promising young player with a lot of potential. At just 19, he remains a player with a lot to learn in the game but he has already shown a lot of quality and scope to improve."

West Bromwich defender Paul Downing has extended his loan deal at Barnet until the end of the season. The centre-back originally joined the club in November, featuring 21 times.

One player leaving Lawrie Sanchez's Barnet squad is Jordan Obita, who returns to Reading following a one-month spell at Underhill.

The Carlisle manager, Greg Abbott, accepts it is proving difficult for his side to win over the club's stay-away fans. The Cumbrians bounced back from last week's heavy televised defeat at Brentford with a last-gasp 3-2 win over Yeovil at home on Saturday, but only 4,265 turned up to watch the game at Brunton Park.

"We were very aware that many of the fans who had stopped coming to watch us had seen that performance [at Brentford] on their television screen," Abbott said.

"They will have switched it off thinking 'I told you so' and it will be very hard to win them over. It's those same fans who didn't see us beat Sheffield United, or Yeovil away, or the fantastic game at Preston, their only impression of us was a very, very bad display."