Tag Archives: stephen

Neil Lennon raging at Celtic snub in Player of the Year

A slap in the face! Lennon's anger at Celtic stars' absence from PFA shortlist

By
Stephen Mcgowan

PUBLISHED:

12:26 GMT, 25 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:12 GMT, 25 April 2013

Neil Lennon has vowed to boycott the PFA Scotland awards dinner — after branding the absence of any Celtic stars from the Player of the Year shortlist ‘abysmal’.

A vote by the nation’s professional players ahead of the Players’ Union dinner will see Motherwell’s Michael Higdon, Inverness Caley Thistle’s Andrew Shinnie, Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn and Hibernian’s Leigh Griffiths battle it out for the top prize.

Irate that the feats of his players in winning the SPL title and reaching the last 16 of the Champions League have earned no recognition from their peers, however, Lennon — who is likely to be shortlisted for Manager of the Year — will vote with his feet on May 5 by staying away from the annual Glasgow dinner.

Three out of four: (from left) Niall McGinn, Andrew Shinnie and Michael Higdon are up for the PFA Scotland award

Three out of four: (from left) Niall McGinn, Andrew Shinnie and Michael Higdon are up for the PFA Scotland award

‘I won’t go, no,’ said the Celtic boss.

‘The players haven’t discussed that yet. There weren’t many of them in yesterday, so I’ll speak to them tomorrow and see how they feel about it.

‘I’m surprised to say the least. Are you voting for the best player in Scotland or are you voting for the most improved player

‘I have no axe to grind with any of the nominees — I think that they have all had fine seasons.

‘But for none of our first-team players to be on the senior shortlist is bewildering to say the least.

‘I think the outcome of those votes yesterday belittles all those efforts from the players. It is abysmal.’

Not good enough: Neil Lennon has hit out after his Celtic players were overlooked for the PFA Scotland award

Not good enough: Neil Lennon has hit out after his Celtic players were overlooked for the PFA Scotland award

Celtic players have won the PFA Scotland award in the main category in six of the last seven years.
Of the view that their peers have taken his side’s domestic dominance for granted in the absence of Rangers, however, Lennon describes the perceived snub to his team as a ‘slap in the face’.

‘The players are not happy. They feel as if they’ve been slapped in the face, almost. There was a bit of ill-feeling there yesterday,’ he said.

‘I do feel the influence you media guys have — and I’m not blaming you guys — with the nonsense about “one-horse race”, “foregone conclusion” and “no competition” all plays a part in people taking the club, or the players, for granted.

‘Hooper’s got 28 goals this season and
people keep telling me that he’s not having his best season. But he’s
two goals short of 30, which is a pretty decent return for a
24-year-old.’

Young guns: Dundee United pair Gary Mackay-Steven (left) and Stuart Armstrong (right) are nominated with Celtic's Victor Wanyama

Young guns: Dundee United pair Gary Mackay-Steven (left) and Stuart Armstrong (right) are nominated with Celtic's Victor Wanyama

‘We made the last 16 of the Champions League with 10 points, which is a record for a Scottish team.

‘And on a budget which was very limited compared to other clubs in the past — so these players have performed heroically.

‘Semi-final of the League Cup, Scottish Cup Final, championship … I don’t think they could have done much more this season, really, and for that not to be recognised by their peers is very disappointing.’

Aberdeen midfielder Jim Bett was the last non-Old Firm player to collect the accolade, back in 1989-90.

Celtic’s Charlie Mulgrew collected the main prize last year.

Cardiff 1 Barnsley 1 – match report: Stephen Foster equaliser denies Bluebirds

Cardiff 1 Barnsley 1: Last-minute equaliser stuns hosts, but Bluebirds remain on track for Premier League

By
Andrew Gwilym, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

21:08 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:08 GMT, 9 April 2013

Stephen Foster grabbed a dramatic last-gasp equaliser to earn Barnsley a valuable point and hold up Cardiff's promotion push.

The hosts had looked set to move a step closer to the Barclays Premier League when centre-half Ben Turner guided home Kim Bo-Kyung's corner just before the hour mark.

The Welsh side also hit the post through Craig Bellamy, but they were punished for failing to capitalise on their dominance when Foster's deflected shot trickled over the line with what was effectively the last kick of the match.

Late drama: Foster is mobbed (middle) after scoring the equaliser for Barnsleyequaliser for Barnsley

Late drama: Foster is mobbed (middle) after scoring the equaliser for Barnsley

Match facts

Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Turner, Barnett, Taylor, Smith (Conway 80), Kim (Whittingham 68), Gunnarsson, Mutch, Bellamy, Mason Mason (Helguson 58).

Subs not used: Lewis, Gestede, Noone, Nugent.

Booked: Gunnarsson, Barnett.

Scorer: Turner 59.

Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman, Hassell, Foster, Kennedy, Mellis (Dagnall 70) , Dawson, O'Brien (Cywka 61) , Perkins, Harewood (Scotland 67) , O'Grady.

Subs: Alnwick, Scotland, Dagnall, Jones, Cywka, Rose, Patterson.

Booked: O'Grady.

Scorer: Foster 90.

Referee: Fred Graham (Essex)

Attendance: 22,584.

Latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Despite the setback, Cardiff's
promotion still appears a formality as they now lead third-placed
Watford by nine points with five games remaining.

Barnsley, though, will not care about
spoiling the party after stealing a point which moves them two clear of
the drop zone, despite being penned in their own half for much of the
game.

The tone of the contest was set
during a confident start from the hosts, which saw Tommy Smith, Bellamy
and Aron Gunnarsson all got away shots on goal, although Luke Steele was
only required to save the first of those efforts.

Bellamy came close to rewarding the
bright opening in the 18th minute – Steele diverting his shot against
the post after the Wales international retrieved Smith's fizzing ball
across the box.

Barnsley were happy to drop deep and
look to hit on the break, but it took almost half an hour for them to
threaten the Cardiff goal; Marlon Harewood had the ball in the net but
was correctly called back for offside.

Jordan Mutch, Kim and Gunnarsson were
enjoying the run of midfield, and Steele made an excellent save to tip
the former Birmingham man's stinging drive round the post.

The midfield trio linked beautifully
again on 37 minutes, and it took a brave Foster block to deny Gunnarsson
as he prepared to pull the trigger.

The extent of Cardiff's dominance was
such it appeared a case of when, not if, they would open the scoring,
but the Tykes gave them a real scare early in the second half.

The Bluebirds were slow to react to a
short corner and Bobby Hassell just failed to make a telling contact
with David Perkins' pin-point cross.

Cardiff responded to the wake-up call
and a lovely touch from Mutch set up Kim for the Korean to fire across
goal, while Leon Barnett could not adjust in time after Steele punched
poorly in his own six-yard box.

Going up Cardiff will hope they can still gain promotion with the remaining five games

Going up Cardiff will hope they can still gain promotion with the remaining five games

Going up Cardiff will hope they can still gain promotion with the remaining five games

Going up Cardiff will hope they can still gain promotion with the remaining five games

The pressure had to tell, and the goal finally came from an unlikely source.

Kim whipped a dangerous corner into
the six-yard box and Turner stuck out a leg to guide the ball just
inside the post for his first goal of the season.

The lead was almost doubled three
minutes later. Mutch had a shot blocked by Hassell, while Barnett and
Gunnarsson had efforts cleared off the line from the resulting corner.

With a single-goal lead, Cardiff were
far from out of sight, and Harewood spurned Barnsley's best chance of
the night with a tame effort from Stephen Dawson's astute pass.

Substitute Heidar Helguson wasted a
wonderful chance to wrap up the three points in stoppage time, and it
proved costly as Foster's shot took a big deflection to leave David
Marshall stranded and level the scores.

Wilfried Zaha and Ian Holloway charged by FA following Leeds clash

Zaha charged for flashing middle finger at Leeds fans… as Holloway joins him in dock

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

16:14 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:19 GMT, 12 March 2013

Wilfried Zaha has been charged by the FA following his gesture towards at Leeds fans last weekend.

The Crystal Palace star was being
berated by fans in Palace's 2-2 Championship draw with Leeds on March 9, and
responded by grinning and sticking up his middle finger.

Palace have been hit with a double
charge in relation to the same game after manager Ian Holloway was also
hit by the FA following his alleged misconduct towards match officials.

Response: Wilfried Zaha had a message for the Leeds fans giving him stick

Response: Wilfried Zaha had a message for the Leeds fans giving him stick

Top form: Zaha again showed the star quality yesterday that earned a move to Manchester United

Top form: Zaha again showed the star quality yesterday that earned a move to Manchester United

Zaha has already
apologised for swearing at Leeds supporters after they gave him abuse
for his impending transfer to Manchester United.

Both Zaha and Holloway have until 4pm on Friday March 15 to respond to the charge.

Zaha posted on his Twitter profile: 'On
that note I also wanted to apologise for the gesture I did towards the
Leeds fans in yesterday's game. Very unprofessional from me.'

United fans took to Twitter to praise their new signing, saying he was 'getting into practice'.

Whether Sir Alex Ferguson would approve of this gesture is another matter entirely.

Eyes on the ball: Zaha used his head to get past Leeds defender Lee Peltier

Eyes on the ball: Zaha used his head to get past Leeds defender Lee Peltier

Wing wizard: Zaha cuts inside to beat Leeds United's Stephen Warnock

Wing wizard: Zaha cuts inside to beat Leeds United's Stephen Warnock

Burnley 0 Hull City 1 – match report

Burnley 0 Hull City 1: Quinn fires Tigers into second as Bruce ploy pays off

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

22:17 GMT, 11 March 2013

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UPDATED:

01:55 GMT, 12 March 2013

Steve Bruce had good cause for a jubilant two-fisted salute after his double substitution helped lift Hull into second place in the Championship at Turf Moor on Monday night.

In a game where quality was as low as the sub-zero temperature, little had gone right for Hull prior to Bruce sending on Jay Simpson and Robert Koren in an attack-minded change in the 64th minute.

Just two minutes later, Simpson controlled a Koren pass with his back to goal and quickly relayed it to Stephen Quinn, whose unerring left-foot volley flew low past Lee Grant on its way into the net.

Flying high: Quinn celebrates the winning strike

Flying high: Quinn celebrates the winning strike

Upward force: Stephen Quinn hit a rocket against Burnley to send the Tigers into second place

Upward force: Stephen Quinn hit a rocket against Burnley to send the Tigers into second place

Championship table

It was enough to lift Hull above
Watford into second, and a relieved Bruce could afford to smile as he
said: ‘It was a great result that puts us in a great frame of mind for
the weekend, but I think Sky viewers might have been switching over to
the History Channel long before the end.

‘If you lot managed to scribble
anything worthwhile from that, then good luck to you. ‘It was never
going to be pretty on a horrible night, and it was a case of battling
for everything we got. I felt we had to try and win the match with the
substitutions, but I didn’t expect it to happen inside two minutes.

‘This is a crazy league, with nothing
much between top and bottom, but we have given ourselves a wonderful
chance of going up. We’ve got Watford at home in a couple of weeks and
we are really looking forward to the challenge.’

In a first half full of misplaced
passes, Burnley carved out the only semblance of a goal threat when Ross
Wallace went on a purposeful run and let fly with a 25-yard drive that
had keeper David Stockdale stretching to tip over.

Taking a tumble: Charlie Austin collides with Hull's Paul McShane at a snowy Turf Moor

Taking a tumble: Charlie Austin collides with Hull's Paul McShane at a snowy Turf Moor

There were few signs of improvement in
the second half, though Grant was finally extended in the 52nd minute
when George Boyd set up Gedo for an angled drive that was pushed round
the post by the diving Burnley keeper.

Bruce decided it was time for a change
and he can scarcely have made many better judgments as Hull manager as
his two substitutes combined to set up Quinn for the cleanest of
strikes.

Charlie Austin headed narrowly wide in
the last minute of added time to leave Burnley manager Sean Dyche
admitting: ‘It was nearly but not quite, and we are paying the price for
playing with fear.

‘Too many are not playing with the freedom and effervescence you need to affect games.

‘There is an expectation level, but I have told the players they have to deal with that.’

On the ball: Alex Bruce (left) gets a foot in against Burnley's Keith Treacy

On the ball: Alex Bruce (left) gets a foot in against Burnley's Keith Treacy

Gedo handed Grant a more thorough examination in the 53rd minute, drawing a sharp near-post stop after Boyd rode a couple of challenges in midfield to play him through.

In response Dyche sent on Vokes in place of Treacy and the Wales international striker almost made an immediate impact when he looped a glancing header from Charlie Austin's right-wing cross past the far post.

Steve Bruce went one better in the 64th minute with a double change, Koren and Jay Simpson replacing Bruce Jnr and Gedo, that paid instant dividends.

Dejected: Burnley manager Sean Dyche walks off after his side's defeat to Hull

Dejected: Burnley manager Sean Dyche walks off after his side's defeat to Hull

Koren drifted into space on the right and his cross found Simpson, whose calmly rolled pass teed-up Quinn to finish clinically.

Burnley failed to mount a sustained response, Vokes seeing a first-time effort deflected behind by Chester in the 75th minute, and when Austin hesitated in a promising attacking position by turning back and hitting a pass out of play the locals showed their displeasure.

The 26-goal striker has scored his side's only two goals in the past six games and might have levelled late on had he not misjudged a header from Vokes' centre.

Wilfried Zaha swears at Leeds fans over Manchester United abuse

Zaha gives Leeds fans the middle finger after abuse over transfer to Man United

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

21:55 GMT, 9 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:31 GMT, 10 March 2013

Manchester United's new signing Wilfried Zaha was spotted swearing at Leeds United fans on Saturday.

The Crystal Palace attacker was being berated by Leeds supporters over his transfer to their bitter rivals.

He responded by grinning and sticking up his middle finger at them.

Response: Wilfried Zaha had a message for the Leeds fans giving him stick

Response: Wilfried Zaha had a message for the Leeds fans giving him stick

Top form: Zaha again showed the star quality yesterday that earned a move to Manchester United this summer

Top form: Zaha again showed the star quality yesterday that earned a move to Manchester United this summer

Red Devils fans took to Twitter to praise their new signing, saying he was 'getting into practice'.

Whether Sir Alex Ferguson would approve of this gesture is another matter entirely.

Eyes on the ball: Zaha used his head to get past Leeds player Lee Peltier

Eyes on the ball: Zaha used his head to get past Leeds player Lee Peltier

Wing wizard: Zaha cuts inside to beat Leeds United's Stephen Warnock

Wing wizard: Zaha cuts inside to beat Leeds United's Stephen Warnock

Palace fought hard and earned a 2-2 draw with Leeds thanks to a late goal by Glenn Murray.

The Eagles frontman hit a brace – and so did Leeds' Steve Morison – as they shared the spoils at Selhurst Park.

Welsh fly-half Ceri Sweeney will join Exeter at the end of the season

Sweeney to swap Cardiff for Exeter in bid to make his mark on Premiership

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

10:36 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:36 GMT, 10 March 2013

Former Wales fly-half Ceri Sweeney will join Exeter at the end of the season, his current club Cardiff Blues have announced.

Sweeney has made over 100 appearances since joining the Blues from Newport Gwent Dragons in the summer of 2008, guiding them to the EDF Energy Cup in 2009 and the Amlin Challenge Cup the following year.

'I've really enjoyed my time with the Blues, they are a fantastic club and the supporters have been outstanding,' he said.

Talent: Ceri Sweeney played in the 2003 World Cup for Wales

Talent: Ceri Sweeney played in the 2003 World Cup for Wales

'For me, it's my home region and with the young players they have coming through the ranks, the future of the club certainly looks very bright.'

The 33-year-old will bring a wealth of experience with him to Sandy Park.

He made his debut for Wales in the 2003 Six Nations against England and also featured in two World Cups, winning a total of 35 caps for his club – the last of them in 2007.

Key man: Sweeney won 35 caps for his country in his international career

Key man: Sweeney won 35 caps for his country in his international career

Sweeney is now excited to make his mark in the Aviva Premiership.

'Exeter are a fantastic club and as soon as I heard they were interested in me, I was keen to talk to them and have a look around the place,' he added.

'Like a lot of people, I've watched how they have risen over the last few years and how they've made a real name for themselves, not just in the Premiership, but in Europe as well.

Longevity: Only the career of Stephen Jones prevented him from more caps

Longevity: Only the career of Stephen Jones prevented him from more caps

'It's an exciting move for me and my young family and it's a fresh challenge.

'I know it will be the first time I've played club rugby outside of Wales, but the thought of testing myself in the Premiership is something I'm really keen to do.'

Stephen Hendry backs Ronnie O"Sullivan to defend World Championship … if he wants to

Hendry backs O'Sullivan to defend World Championship … if he wants to

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

23:50 GMT, 23 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 23 February 2013

Stephen Hendry is convinced Ronnie
O'Sullivan would be a serious Crucible contender if he decides to cut
short his break from the sport to defend the World Championship title.

O'Sullivan, 37, will make a statement regarding his future in the sport at a press conference in London at midday on Tuesday.

He has played only one low-profile
match in competition this season, and announced in November he would be
skipping the rest of the campaign for personal reasons.

Title holder: Ronnie O'Sullivan

Title holder: Ronnie O'Sullivan

But there has been speculation almost ever since that O'Sullivan would be unable to resist the temptation to make a bid for a fifth world title.

He has apparently reached a decision, and Hendry expects it to be that O'Sullivan will make a dramatic comeback.

The entry deadline for the World Championship is the end of February, and the scheduling of his press conference for Tuesday – two days before the deadline – has only heightened speculation O'Sullivan will play.

'I would presume that's what it's for but you never know with Ronnie,' Hendry told talkSPORT.

'When I spoke to him last year, I said, “All you'll need is three or four weeks of really good practice … and you'll be well capable of winning it”.

'Maybe play a couple of best-of-19s against some top players and he'll be ready.'

Hendry says it would be positive news for snooker if the Chigwell cueman was ready to return.

Backing Ronnie: Retired snooker legend Stephen Hendry

Backing Ronnie: Retired snooker legend Stephen Hendry

'Absolutely, especially for the other players because you don't want to win the World Championship with the best player not there,' Scotland's seven-time world champion said.

Hendry retired last May, and it remains a possibility that O'Sullivan will say he too is bowing out of snooker on Tuesday.

Jimmy White, who wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he thought O'Sullivan was planning not to play, is now not so sure what to expect.

'Looking at the time frame, probably he will play,' White said. 'Who says he hasn't been practising, who knows that

'He may be saying he's never going to play again, who knows'

White promised: 'If Ronnie does decide to play, I'll go over there and give him some practice games.'

Steven Gerrard: My Liverpool and England team-mates are always ribbing me for my dress sense

Gerrard: My team-mates from London and abroad are always ribbing me for my dress sense

By
Vaz Sayed

PUBLISHED:

11:33 GMT, 22 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 22 February 2013

It seems captaining club and country doesn't exclude Steven Gerrard from a bit of friendly ribbing from team-mates.

The Liverpool skipper has revealed he and old friend Jamie Carragher are often made fun of for their fashion sense.

Gerrard told players from London and abroad like to poke fun at the 'Scouse style', while Carragher conceded the two of them have been responsible for some 'rascal' gear.

Shell shock: Steven Gerrard (centre) has revealed his teammates make fun of his clothes

Shell shock: Steven Gerrard (centre) has revealed his teammates make fun of his clothes

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard shows his dejection during the UEFA Europa League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Jamie Carragher during the Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and Zenit St Petersburg

(Above) Stephen Gerrard (left) and Jamie Carragher (right) in action for Liverpool in the Europa League, it was Carragher's last European game for the club. The pair in training (below)

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher during a training session at Melwood Training Ground, Liverpool.

Suited and booted: (left to right) Jonjo Shelvey, Jay Spearing and Steven Gerrard before the FA Cup Final match between Chelsea and Liverpool which the Blues won 2-1

Suited and booted: (left to right) Jonjo Shelvey, Jay Spearing and Steven Gerrard before the FA Cup Final match between Chelsea and Liverpool which the Blues won 2-1

In a joint interview with Four Four Two magazine Carragher said: 'You've had some real rascal gear haven't you'

Gerrard said: 'I think we're both guilty of wearing some rascal gear over the past 14 or 15 years. We try to keep our feet on the ground and stick to what other Scousers are wearing. We don't want to change too much.

'The London lads and foreign lads don't appreciate the Scouse dress sense, so we've developed some thick skin from the stick we've taken!'

Scousers have had the mickey taken out of their fashion sense for years after they became notorious for wearing shell-suits and white trainers.

Trend setter: Liverpool legend John Alrridge in his Tranmere days

Trend setter: Liverpool legend John Alrridge in his Tranmere days

Infamous: Liverpool wore white suits to the 1996 FA Cup final, they lost 1-0 to Mancheter United

Infamous: Liverpool wore white suits to the 1996 FA Cup final, they lost 1-0 to Mancheter United

Outside influences: Liverpool's foreign players like Daniel Agger (right) often mock the local stars for their clothes

Outside influences: Liverpool's foreign players like Daniel Agger (right) often mock the local stars for their clothes

And their WAGs haven't escaped criticism either with their Scouse-brows, going out in public with hair curlers in and even led to the Liverpool Fashion Show from banning the 'Scouse look' last year.

A source said: 'It's fair to say both Steven and Jamie have had some fashion howlers over the years.

'When Steven was younger he tried to keep up with emerging fashions more but he ended up with some huge fashion disasters.

'Over the years he's taken a bit of stick so him and Jamie now stick to a more conventional dress which ties in with what a lot of the Scousers are wearing.

'But that has also led to a lot of mickey taking because their more stylish team mates tell them that they haven't got a clue about clothes. They'll never be able to pull off what the likes of David Beckham and Mario Balotelli can get away with.'

At your side: The pair have been loyal servants to the club and are adored by the Kop fans

At your side: The pair have been loyal servants to the club and are adored by the Kop fans

Hull 1 Blackburn 0 match report: Rovers come back to earth as Gedo blaster keeps Tigers in the hunt

Hull 1 Blackburn 0: Rovers come back to earth as Gedo blaster keeps Tigers in the hunt

By
Richard Gibson

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 19 February 2013

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UPDATED:

23:36 GMT, 19 February 2013

Mohamed Gedo — remember the name. At this rate you’ll be hearing it a great deal more between now and the end of the season.

For the third time in a week, the 28-year-old Egypt international opened the scoring at the KC Stadium to put second-placed Hull on their way.

Following strikes in wins against
Derby and Charlton, Gedo altered the contest against Blackburn,
eliminators of Arsenal from the FA Cup. He ghosted in at the far post to
guide in Stephen Quinn’s dink to the far post.

Get in: Hull striker Gedo (centre) celebrates his third goal in as many games

Get in: Hull striker Gedo (centre) celebrates his third goal in as many games

Match facts

Hull: Stockdale, Chester, Hobbs, Bruce, Elmohamady, Meyler, Evans (Olofinjana 88), Quinn, Brady, Koren (Fathi 90), Gedo (Cairney 89). Subs not used: Jakupovic, Rosenior, Simpson, Proschwitz.
Booked: Evans.

Goals: Gedo 52, Elmohamady 67.

Blackburn:
Kean, Orr, Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson, Williamson (Campbell 59),
Lowe, Murphy, Rekik (Bentley 59), Rhodes, Kazim-Richards. Subs not used: Usai, Givet, Pedersen, Markus Olsson, Nuno Gomes.

Booked: Kazim-Richards, Orr, Martin Olsson, Rekik.

Attendance: 15,981.

Referee: Tim Robinson.

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

His acquisition, on loan from Al
Ahly, has provided the East Yorkshire club with the firepower they have
lacked since top scorer Sone Aluko was sidelined through injury. Once
ahead there was only going to be one result, and it was no surprise when
another of Hull’s Egyptian trio, Ahmed Elmohamady, arrived to sidefoot
in Robbie Brady’s raking cross from the left.

‘We needed someone to come in and for
him to get three in three has been the icing on the cake for us,’ said
Hull manager Steve Bruce. ‘I know he’ll hit a wall but hopefully with
the sun shining as we get into spring, he will thrive.’

A fortnight ago, Hull trailed both
Cardiff and Leicester but results since have seen them narrow the Welsh
club’s lead to five points and return to the automatic promotion places.

‘It’s quite refreshing for the League
because nobody really fancied Crystal Palace, Watford and ourselves, so
it’s fair play to all three,’ Bruce added.

‘That’s the best we have played this
year. It was a complete performance from start to finish. There was a
hunger and freshness about us from back to front. We have good energy
levels and some of them look as if they can run a million miles.’

Two outstanding saves from young
Blackburn goalkeeper Jake Kean denied David Meyler in either half to
restrict Hull’s winning margin to two.

Crunching: Corry Evans goes in hard on Colin Kazim-Richards

Crunching: Corry Evans goes in hard on Colin Kazim-Richards

In contrast, Blackburn’s attacking
players had a wretched night, particularly DJ Campbell, whose decision
to snub promotion-chasing Hull on transfer-deadline day three weeks ago,
drew boos for his every mistake after coming on as a substitute on the
hour.

Fellow striker Colin Kazim-Richards,
scorer of the winning goal at the Emirates, had the visitors’ solitary
chance but Hull goalkeeper David Stockdale parried his fourth-minute
effort before scooping up the rebound ahead of the predatory Jordan
Rhodes.

‘Obviously after the euphoria of the
weekend there was always a danger the players would not be able to pick
themselves up and repeat that type of performance,’ said Blackburn
manager Michael Appleton.

In fact, Turkey international
Kazim-Richards was fortunate to remain on the field until the interval
after escaping cautions for shoving Alex Bruce in the chest and
wrestling Meyler to the turf either side of receiving a yellow card from
referee Tim Robinson for an aerial challenge on Jack Hobbs.

Stephen Kelly signs for Reading

Ireland defender Kelly switches Fulham for Reading as Jol chases Huddlestone

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

17:01 GMT, 11 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:35 GMT, 11 January 2013


On the move: Fulham defender Stephen Kelly

On the move: Fulham defender Stephen Kelly

Reading have completed the signing of right-back Stephen Kelly from Fulham – while Cottagers boss Martin Jol has admitted that he is interested in Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

Kelly was a main part of Jol's team last season but struggled for games this campaign. Fulham would not reveal how much the transfer fee for the Republic of Ireland international was.

The defender has become Reading's third signing in the January transfer window after the arrivals of Hope Akpan from Crawley and Daniel Carrico from Sporting Lisbon.

Jol said: 'We won't lose any other players. It's one single player who could go in this transfer window. Kelly is the only one.

'I thought it was good for him because he wanted to play. Last year he played all the games almost so I thought it was good for him to talk to Reading and they decided to take him and he decided to go there. I never say never but the players I want to keep here will be here after the 31st.'

Jol is still keen to strengthen his squad in the transfer window and clearly sees Fulham's midfield as an area he needs to improve.

On the radar: Martin Jol is still tracking Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone

On the radar: Martin Jol is still tracking Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone

He is still interested in defensive midfielder Derek Boateng, who is at Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and also Tottenham's Huddlestone, whom he has monitored for years.

The 56-year-old added: 'Over the last six years I had an interest in Tom Huddlestone but he was injured and then went to Stoke. I think he failed a medical there but I am not sure, so he went back to Spurs.

'If Tom is fit, he is always in the back of my mind but as I told you before, I won't speculate on names. I can't say Tom is not on my list because I like him.'