Championship round-up: Leeds' big top spins as Massimo Cellino sacks Darko Milanic

A look at the the second-tier of English football

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The Independent Online

Leeds’ managerial circus took another turn on Saturday as Massimo Cellino, the club’s trigger-happy owner, sent Darko Milanic packing after six games in charge. Milanic, whose predecessor David Hockaday was also granted only six outings, was dismissed almost immediately after the 2-1 defeat by  Wolves at Elland Road.

Neil Redfearn, who bridged the gap between Hockaday and Milanic with 10 points from 12 as the caretaker, will resume temporary duties tomorrow morning.

Cellino asked Nicola Salerno, his director of football, to tell Milanic after the Slovene had defended his position in his post-match press conference. Cellino said: “I want to apologise to the supporters, they deserve better results.”

As Wolves came from behind, substitute Leon Clarke scored an 85th-minute winner that effectively ended Milanic’s reign after only 32 days, a spell that makes Brian Clough’s “damned” 44 days look a long haul.

Ashley wins Gers battle

Mike Ashley has won the battle for control of Rangers after the Ibrox board rejected the 11th-hour loan bid from Brian Kennedy, the owner of Sale Sharks. Newcastle United’s owner – who already has an 8.92 per cent stake in the club – will strengthen his grip on the Light Blues boardroom after his £2m offer was accepted by the club’s directors yesterday morning.

Kennedy – a member of the Blue Knights consortium which failed to stop the club from sinking into liquidation in the summer of 2012 – had made a last-gasp £3m counter offer but the cash-strapped Ibrox outfit has decided to put its faith in Ashley.

Ashley has already announced that he will not sell the Magpies until the end of next season at the earliest and he is prevented from owning more than 10 per cent of Rangers by a deal struck with the Scottish Football Association.

As part of yesterday’s agreement, chief executive Graham Wallace will follow director Philip Nash in stepping down.

On the pitch, Rangers won 3-0 at Dumbarton in the Scottish Championship to reduce the gao to the league leaders Hearts, who take on Hibernian in the Edinburgh derby at lunchtime, to six points.

Birmingham nightmare

Bournemouth romped to an outstanding 8-0 victory at managerless Birmingham as the misery continued for the home fans.

A goal down in two minutes to Brett Pitman and reduced to 10 men three minutes later it proved a nightmare for Birmingham’s caretaker manager, Malcolm Crosby. They could do nothing right and Bournemouth capitalised on the situation to add two further goals in the first half through Callum Wilson and Matt Ritchie.

Marc Pugh (pictured) added the fourth, fifth and seventh goals after the break with substitute Tokelo Rantie converting an 80th minute penalty. Rantie completed Birmingham’s humiliation with the eighth goal four minutes from time.

Forest suffer first home loss

Nottingham Forest suffered their first defeat at the City Ground this season as three goals in 11 second-half minutes helped Blackburn to a 3-1 victory. It had looked for long periods as though Forest would claim their first win in seven matches when Matty Fryatt had edged them into the lead with a poacher’s finish in the 37th minute. But Alex Baptiste, once of Mansfield Town, drove the visitors level in the 66th minute, substitute Rudy Gestede headed them in front for the first time with 15 minutes to go and Jordan Rhodes (above) bagged his fifth of the season two minutes later.

Lennon wins again

Neil Lennon toasted a “magnificent” second-half spell which helped Bolton to record a victory in the Northern Irishman’s first home game in charge. Wanderers defeated Brentford 3-1 to edge closer to safety in the Championship as Lennon claimed his second win from his first three games. Thirteen days on from the ex-Celtic boss’ appointment and a week after victory at Birmingham in his maiden match, Neil Danns and substitutes Mark Davies and Craig Davies scored to ensure Lennon got off to a winning start at the Macron Stadium.

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