Francis at breaking point

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Peter Taylor is not the only Midlands manager whose job prospects seem to be in jeopardy. Trevor Francis, the Birmingham City manager, is heading for a major row with his board of directors, who before yesterday's 0-0 draw at Crewe had warned that they "expect a massive improvement... continuation of the current lack of form would be unacceptable".

Francis said that the comments, made public on the day of a match, were not helpful. "Nobody is aware of why this has been done," he said. "I'm sure the board have their reasons. But the least I say at the moment, the better.

"For the players to read that on the morning of the game is wrong. It dampens their spirit and it dampens mine. I spoke to Karren [Brady, managing director] this morning and she told me all the supporters want me out. I needed support and got it from the three thousand who travelled to the game."

Francis has called for a meet with Brady today after which "a statement will be made". But, after six seasons at St Andrews, only nine months left on his contract, and recent form reading three defeats and two draws in five games, time may be short for the manager.

Elsewhere in the Midlands Wolves, the only unbeaten side in the Nationwide League, went to the top of the First Division after they won 3-0 at Rotherham. Two well-struck goals by Colin Cameron and Mark Kennedy in a five-minute spell midway through the first half put Wolves firmly in control.

Alex Rae's first goal for Wolves after his transfer from Sunderland wrapped up the comfortable win. Rotherham, the only side in all three Nationwide divisions without a win, stay bottom.

Sheffield United got their first home win of the season, 2-1 against Norwich City. Carl Asaba and Patrick Suffo both scored in the last five minutes of the first half. Midway through the second period a second yellow card saw Asaba dismissed and Steen Nedergaard pulled a goal back, but the Blades held on.

Crystal Palace's striker Dougie Freedman celebrated his call-up into the Scotland squad with two goals in the first 14 minutes against visitors Sheffield Wednesday, taking his season's tally to 10. Clinton Morrison also scored twice in the Eagles 4-1 win.

Jack Lester, the Nottingham Forest striker scored both goals in the 2-1 defeat of Stockport County, who had Pegguy Arphexad, on loan from Liverpool, in goal.

Bradford City sped into a two-goal lead first-half lead against Grimsby Town but the Mariners were level with 10 minutes remaining. Ashley Ward won it for the Bantams with three minutes left. Walsall and Millwall drew 0-0 at the Bescot Stadium.

There are also new leaders in the Second and Third Divisions. Brighton drew 1-1 at Cardiff City so Oldham Athletic, 4-1 winners over Notts County, go top of the Second, while Luton Town, who lost 2-1 to the 10 men of Plymouth Argyle (Mickey Evans was sent off in the 38th minute with the score 1-1) which means Rochdale, who beat Mansfield 3-1, top the Third.

Comments