Round-up : Kendall coy on Rovers

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The Independent Online
The post-match talk after the 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane between Sheffield United and Stewart Houston's Queen's Park Rangers centred not on promotion prospects - the clubs are seventh and eighth - but on the managerial vacancy at Blackburn Rovers for which the Blades' manager Howard Kendall and Houston's assistant Bruce Rioch have been mentioned.

"I am sure my chairman will contact me if there is an approach from Blackburn," Kendall hedged. And the match? "We got a result through passion rather than flowing football. We didn't want to lose. We have to be satisfied with the way we came back."

Like political party leaders politely jostling for the moral high ground in preparation for a much fiercer debate in May, Norwich City and Bolton Wanderers, the First Division pacemakers, are basing their campaigns on a manifesto of quality football. This weekend, the Canaries had the better of the argument, a 3-2 win at Birmingham cutting to a point the lead held by Bolton, who drew at Barnsley on Friday night.

Crystal Palace's new striker Neil Shipperley, signed last week from Southampton for pounds 1m, didn't score in their all-too easy 3-0 defeat of Grimsby but was a constant, unsettling threat. Bruce Dyer just before the break, Carl Veart with his sixth of the season and a rasping 15-yard shot into the corner by Dougie Freedman were the Eagles' scorers as they moved up a place to third.

The fizz of midweek Coca-Cola Cup heroics often goes flat but Charlton Athletic and Stoke City, the First Division sides who held Liverpool and Arsenal respectively to 1-1 draws, found enough encouragement in those results to beat Oxford (2-0) and Portsmouth (3-1) in the league. Oxford have not managed a goal in six matches. Reading won their ill-tempered derby with Swindon 2-0. Trevor Morley scored both, the first his fifth successful penalty of the season.

John Aldridge, the Tranmere player-manager, relegated himself to the subs' bench for the visit to Ipswich and watched Rovers win 2-0, the first goal a 30-yard drive from Ged Brennan.

In Scotland, Paul Gascoigne presented his acceptable face to score a second-half hat-trick as Rangers beat Motherwell 5-0. Brian Laudrup bagged the other two and said: "It has been a difficult period for him [Gascoigne] and he knows he can play better. Perhaps his goals will help him get back to his best."

Finally, several hundred Brighton fans got their demonstration in first, marching from the BR station to the Goldstone Ground in Hove before Albion's match against Third Division leaders Fulham, to demand that chairman Bill Archer sell up.

During the match, Fulham fans in the 8,837 crowd spilled on to the pitch. Brighton's chief executive, David Bellotti, fled the directors' box 63 minutes into the match after a sustained verbal assault. A firework, aimed at the directors' box, exploded short of its target in the main stand.