Birmingham City moved into third place in the Championship last night with a 3-1 win at Barnsley, while Middlesbrough moved into the top six by beating struggling Millwall 3-1 at the New Den.
In-form Birmingham showed no signs of fatigue in their 44th game of the season as they followed up their impressive FA Cup draw at Chelsea with a deserved victory against Barnsley at Oakwell. The win extends their unbeaten run to 16 games.
Chris Burke set the ball rolling with an early opener which was deflected in off the Barnsley captain Rob Edwards and the impressive Keith Fahey was also on target in the first half after Craig Davies had brought the home side level. Fahey fired home a venomous left-foot drive from 20 yards which went in off the far post.
Nathan Redmond sealed the points for Chris Hughton's side with a third goal to leave Blues five points behind second-placed Southampton with a game in hand.
However, Hughton warned: "We've also got two teams above us who at this moment don't look like losing a game. I certainly think that any team that finishes above West Ham and Southampton will go up automatically."
Marvin Emnes scored twice as Middlesbrough made it successive wins to move back into the play-off places. Darius Henderson pulled one back for Millwall but a late strike from Curtis Main condemned them to another defeat.
"We saw two sides of the Middlesbrough team," the Boro manager, Tony Mowbray, said, "the quality we possess but also the fighting spirit and the ability to dig in."