Championship round-up: Shocking debut for James leaves Coppell plenty to do

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The Independent Football

Bristol City 0-3 Millwall

Steve Coppell admitted that Bristol City have an awful lot of improving to do after his side crashed to a comprehensive home defeat to Millwall in their Championship opener at Ashton Gate on Saturday.

The Robins' big summer recruit, England goalkeeper David James, endured a miserable debut as they were ripped apart by the newly-promoted Londoners in the second half. Darren Ward, Danny Schofield and Paul Robinson all found the target, although James did prevent a fourth with a superb point-blank save from James Henry.

"The way the match went was an indication that we have an awful lot of work to do to be competitive," Coppell said.

Middlesbrough 1-3 Ipswich Town

The bookies' favourites stumbled to opening-day defeat against Roy Keane's Ipswich at the Riverside, their first league loss there this year. Boro led at the break through a goal from Scott McDonald but lost their way after the visitors upped their tempo and scored twice in two minutes through Tommy Smith and Tamas Priskin. Jon Stead made sure of all three points late on. "We can have no complaints," Gordon Strachan, the Boro manager, said. "The better side won. In the first half we did all right but football can be a cruel game. I thought the massive deflection for their first goal was a bit unfair because it was going well wide."

QPR 4-0 Barnsley

Rangers' Adel Taarabt could one day play for Barcelona or Real Madrid, according to his manager Neil Warnock. The Moroccan was man of the match for Warnock's men and one of the goalscorers along with Heidar Helguson, Jamie Mackie and Fitz Hall.

"Twenty years ago, I wouldn't have taken Adel Taarabt," Warnock said. "But I've said to my players to look at the good things he does and not the bad.

"He's got real talent. He thinks he should be playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona, and I've told him that if he sticks with me he can get there."

Reading 1-2 Scunthorpe

Garry Thompson's controversial goal helped the visitors on their way to an impressive win at the Madejski Stadium.

Thompson appeared to have been flagged offside as he gave the Iron an early lead but the goal stood to the fury of the Reading manager, Brian McDermott. Gylfi Sigurdsson drew the Royals level with a typically fine hit but giant centre-half Rob Jones was able to head in a second-half winner.

The visitor's manager Nigel Adkins said: "It's a great result because this is a difficult place to go to. In the first 10 minutes they gave us lots of problems. The win was great credit to all the players."

Preston North End 0-2 Doncaster

Darren Ferguson blamed his side's home defeat to Doncaster on poor finishing. First-half goals from James O'Connor and James Hayter did for North End at Deepdale, as the Lilywhites laboured in front of goal.

Ferguson said: "If you don't take your chances, you struggle. We had five second-half chances but we did not keep the ball well enough in the first half. If we got one we were back in the game."