Bolton Wanderers will enter administration, chairman Ken Anderson has confirmed. 

Bolton Wanderers' rearranged home match against Brentford will not take place and their opponents will instead be awarded a 1-0 victory, the English Football League (EFL) has confirmed.

Relegated Bolton called off the Championship fixture last weekend as their players went on strike over unpaid wages for March and April.

It was announced on Thursday that the game would be rescheduled for Tuesday, May 7, two days after the final round of league fixtures in the second tier.

However, a further decision has been taken to give Brentford the three points, with the EFL to open disciplinary proceedings against Bolton.

"Following the decision taken by Bolton Wanderers' Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to issue a prohibition notice preventing Tuesday's rearranged Championship fixture with Brentford from taking place, the EFL will not be asking that the game is played at a future date," read a statement from the governing body.

"There is no provision under EFL Regulations to direct clubs to play at a later date than four days past the conclusion of the season and, as a result, it has been determined that Brentford will be awarded the three points on the basis of a 1-0 victory.

"As a consequence, Bolton Wanderers is now deemed to be guilty of misconduct by the EFL which will result in disciplinary proceedings against the club being taken at an appropriate time.

"The decision to award the victory to Brentford is taken under Regulation 33.2 and is independent of the proceedings referred to above."

Bolton Wanderers' suspended Championship match against Brentford has been rearranged for Tuesday, May 7, the English Football League (EFL) has confirmed. 

The game was originally scheduled for last weekend but did not take place after Bolton's players went on strike over unpaid wages for March and April. 

The new date is two days after the end of the regular Championship season. 

Bolton have already been relegated to League One and find themselves in dire financial straits, with the club announcing on Thursday that Laurence Bassini's attempt to purchase them from owner Ken Anderson had fallen through.

There is a risk of Bolton being placed into administration and, should that come to pass, the EFL would not insist on the game being played. 

"The rationale for adopting that approach is that it is the [EFL] board's view that any administrator should be allowed to concentrate their efforts and available funding on finding a purchaser for the club, rather than staging the fixture in these unprecedented circumstances," the EFL said in a statement. 

Bolton Wanderers' clash with Nottingham Forest will go ahead as planned as the beleaguered club have confirmed their first-team players will be available, according to a statement from the English Football League (EFL).

Already relegated from the second tier, Bolton's final home fixture with Brentford, scheduled for April 27, was postponed amid an ongoing player strike over unpaid wages - a decision that was backed by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

The club's ownership situation remains unresolved, with a proposed takeover by Laurence Bassini having reportedly not progressed, but the EFL has indicated that Wanderers' trip to the City Ground on Sunday will take place.

"Bolton Wanderers has confirmed to the EFL that its first-team squad will be available for the club’s away fixture against Nottingham Forest at the weekend," read the statement.

"As a result, the game will take place as originally scheduled on Sunday, May 5, kick-off 12:30pm, along with all other Championship fixtures.

"The EFL board will determine on Thursday, May 2 as to what arrangements are to be put in place in regards to last week's suspended fixture with Brentford and details will be confirmed in due course."

The English Football League (EFL) has confirmed Bolton Wanderers' postponed fixture with Brentford will not take place this week amid an ongoing player strike.

The game was initially scheduled for April 27, but Bolton were unable to field a team after players refused to play in protest at unpaid wages - a decision backed by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

Hopes that the game might be played on Wednesday have been dashed by the EFL, which said in a statement that Bolton had not made arrangements to play the game at the earliest opportunity.

A proposed takeover by former Watford owner Laurence Bassini has reportedly not progressed, leaving the club facing a winding up petition on May 8 should the situation remain unresolved.

An EFL statement said: "The EFL has this morning [Tuesday] confirmed that Bolton Wanderers' suspended Championship fixture with Brentford will not be played this week.

"The EFL Board will now determine on Thursday 2 May 2019 as to what arrangements are to be put in place in regards to the fixture and Bolton Wanderers will be instructed accordingly.

"As previously advised EFL Regulations do provide for any league match to be played within four days of the end of the normal playing season (Sunday 5 May 2019).

"The EFL reserves its position in relation to the club not making the arrangements to play the game at the earliest opportunity and this matter will be brought to the attention of the Independent Disciplinary Commission the club has been referred to at the appropriate time."

Bolton's relegation to League One was confirmed when they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on April 19.

Bolton Wanderers' home game against Brentford has been called off after their players refused to play in protest at unpaid wages.

The troubled club "regrettably" confirmed less than 24 hours before the scheduled kick-off time that the Championship fixture would not be taking place on Saturday.

The EFL described the developments as "disappointing" in a statement on its website, adding that Bolton are now guilty of misconduct and will be referred to an Independent Disciplinary Commission.

Their players had released a statement earlier on Friday that they would not be fulfilling the remaining two matches in the season due to monies owed - a decision that won the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

Both the squad and coaching staff members have still not been paid for March and first-team players reportedly refused to train for 48 hours this month in protest after club workers also went unpaid.

"This situation is creating mounting mental, emotional and financial burdens for people through no fault of their own," the statement from the players read. "The mental pressure has affected some people to the extent that they feel they are unable to perform their jobs sufficiently.

"These are unprecedented circumstances and are affecting every aspect of our lives, placing great strain on ourselves and our families."

Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini last week agreed a last-minute takeover of the club to prevent them going into administration. The deal hoped to lead to the settlement of a High Court case related to an unpaid tax bill.

Bolton's relegation to League One was confirmed last week by their 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.

Bolton Wanderers players are refusing to play their last two Championship matches of the season due to unpaid wages – a decision that has won the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

Squad and coaching staff members have still not been paid for March and first-team players reportedly refused to train for 48 hours this month in protest after club workers also went unpaid.

In a statement released on Friday, the players said they will not take to the field for fixtures against Brentford and Nottingham Forest until the matter is resolved.

"This situation is creating mounting mental, emotional and financial burdens for people through no fault of their own," the statement read. "The mental pressure has affected some people to the extent that they feel they are unable to perform their jobs sufficiently.

"These are unprecedented circumstances and are affecting every aspect of our lives, placing great strain on ourselves and our families.

"During this time, we have remained patient in hope of some explanation but information from the club has been extremely limited and very confusing. What we have been told changes constantly.

"With deep regret, we have decided not to fulfil our remaining fixtures unless we are paid. We understand that this will disappoint our fans and for this we sincerely apologise.

"We realise this may be seen as drastic action but we feel we have no other options left. This decision has not been taken lightly and is not a reaction to this one particular incident.

"We have suffered numerous issues this season, and recent seasons, brought on by the mismanagement of this club. We have been operating in a near untenable environment for some time and it is the accumulation of these issues that have resulted in our decision."

The PFA has lent its support to the Bolton players, saying: "The players have shown great patience and loyalty towards the club all season, but today, they have reached a point where action is necessary.

"The PFA has been working with the club since the beginning of the season and we have done all we can to resolve this issue including giving Bolton Wanderers a substantial loan to cover players' salaries in December. 

"We will continue to support and represent the players and work towards a longer-term solution in the best interests of the players and Bolton Wanderers Football Club."

Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini last week agreed a last-minute takeover of the club to prevent them going into administration.

Under-fire Bolton chairman Ken Anderson said he was "very pleased" to hand over ownership of the club, with the deal hoped to lead to the settlement of a High Court case related to an unpaid tax bill.

Bolton's relegation to League One was confirmed last week by their 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, with the club having been in the Premier League as recently as 2012. 

Leeds United's push for promotion from the Championship took another twist as they went down 2-1 at home to 10-man Wigan Athletic.

Sheffield United's victory over Nottingham Forest earlier in the day had moved the Blades second and piled the pressure back on Leeds, and Marcelo Bielsa's side were unable to respond as they slumped to a shock defeat.

Elsewhere, Middlesbrough leapfrogged Bristol City – who could only draw with Reading – into the play-off places, while West Brom boosted their slim hopes of automatic promotion thanks to a late comeback win against Hull City.

At the other end of the table, Bolton Wanderers were relegated after losing to Aston Villa while Rotherham United remain in the bottom three despite a battling display in a 4-3 loss away at Swansea City.

There were wins for Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers, with the points shared between Birmingham City and Derby County, while Brentford drew at Millwall in a London derby.

 

PROMOTION RACE TAKES ANOTHER TURN

With Sheffield United having beaten Forest, the pressure was on Leeds to deliver at Elland Road, and a rampant start looked set to pave the way for Bielsa's side to move back into second place.

Wigan went down to 10 men in the 14th minute – Cedric Kipre receiving his marching orders for a deliberate handball – and though Pablo Hernandez missed the resulting penalty, Leeds had the lead soon after thanks to Patrick Bamford's third goal in as many games.

But Wigan would not roll over, and having restored parity on the stroke of half-time, Gavin Massey doubled his tally in the 62nd minute when he headed Leon Clarke's cross in.

Leeds rushed to respond, but could not find an equaliser, and were fortunate that Reece James' free-kick did not dip under the bar.

The victory lifted Wigan five points clear of the relegation places, while Leeds sit third, behind Sheffield United on goal difference, with just three games left to play.

BAGGIES ON THE BOUNCE

Two successive away defeats had cast doubt over West Brom's promotion hopes, but the Baggies are firmly back in the driving seat for the play-offs after they followed up Saturday's 4-1 hammering of Preston with a dramatic win over Hull.

Todd Kane's double cancelled out Kieran Gibbs' opener at The Hawthorns, but Dwight Gayle was on hand to be West Brom's hero.

Having ensured that Hull's lead lasted just three minutes when he headed home from close range, Gayle nodded in his sixth goal in three games to claim the points with five minutes remaining.

West Brom sit fourth, and may still harbour hopes of pushing Leeds and Sheffield United in the automatic promotion race, though a play-off spot seems more likely.

BORO CAPITALISE ON BRISTOL CITY SLIP

Bristol City kicked off the day's proceedings against Reading, but had to rely on a Josh Brownhill equaliser to secure a share of the spoils at Ashton Gate.

That opened up the chance for Middlesbrough to move back into the play-off places, and Tony Pulis' side took their opportunity thanks to Britt Assombalonga's early goal against Stoke City.

The Potters have been in dismal form under Nathan Jones, and since he took over on January 12, Stoke have scored the fewest goals, attempted the fewest shots and attempted the fewest shots on target in the league.

BOLTON BACK IN LEAGUE ONE

It was always unlikely that Bolton would escape the drop, and a fourth successive defeat finally confirmed their relegation to League One.

Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini has agreed a deal to buy Wanderers, but they will play next season in the third tier after goals from Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham saw Aston Villa ease to a comfortable victory.

Two of the relegated teams have now been confirmed - with Ipswich Town already down, though the race to avoid the drop remains on for Rotherham, despite Paul Warne's side ending up on the losing side of a seven-goal thriller at Swansea. 

Millwall sit on 43 points following their draw with Brentford, while Birmingham edged closer to safety by drawing 2-2 with Derby at home.

Sheffield United failed to put maximum pressure on Leeds United in the Championship promotion race with a dramatic 1-1 home draw against Millwall, while Ipswich Town were relegated to League One.

With Leeds in action later in the day against Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road, the Blades had a chance to go two points ahead of Marcelo Bielsa's men and Gary Madine's goal seemed to have earned them victory.

Ben Marshall missed a late penalty for Millwall after John Egan was sent off, but Jake Cooper struck deep in added time for the relegation-threatened visitors.

Aston Villa's home win against Bristol City tightened the race for the top six, with West Brom, Middlesbrough and Derby County all collecting three points too, but Ipswich's time in the second tier is over.

 

BLADES LACK CUTTING EDGE

Sheffield United have lost form at a bad time of the season, with Chris Wilder's side having won only one of their past four Championship matches to hand the advantage to Leeds.

Madine's third league goal since joining on loan from Cardiff City in the January transfer window looked to have put his side clear of Leeds, at least temporarily.

But nerves struck in the closing stages and, after Egan was dismissed for handball having blocked a header from Tom Elliott, Marshall missed the resulting penalty.

Millwall punished the 10 men, however, with Cooper's diving header in the fifth minute of added time pushing the Lions two points clear of the relegation zone.


READING BOOSTED, IPSWICH DROP

Yakou Meite hit a priceless double for Reading in a 2-1 home win over Brentford that moved the Royals four points clear of the bottom three.

Meite struck twice in the first 15 minutes and, although Neal Maupay replied for the Bees with his 22nd Championship goal of the season, Jose Gomes' side held on.

Survival hopes are over for Ipswich, though, with Paul Lambert's side relegated despite Gwion Edwards' equaliser earning a 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham City, who are now six points above the danger zone.

Rotherham United came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Stoke City, Michael Smith and Matt Crooks scoring in the second half to move the Millers within a point of safety.

QPR recorded their first win under caretaker boss John Eustace by thrashing mid-table Swansea City 4-0 at Loftus Road, Tomer Hemed with a double that sees Rangers pull eight points clear of Rotherham.

Bolton Wanderers, meanwhile, are likely to follow Ipswich through the trap door. Their 4-0 loss at Derby was their fifth defeat in six Championship matches and they are nine points adrift of 21st-placed Wigan Athletic, with the visit of leaders Norwich City to come on Sunday.


VILLA ON THE CHARGE

Bolton's next game is at home to Villa, with Dean Smith's men making it eight wins in a row courtesy of a 2-1 victory over top-six rivals Bristol City.

Goals from Tammy Abraham and Conor Hourihane set up Villa's win, although Famara Diedhiou hit back for Bristol City, who had been unbeaten in their last five games.

Middlesbrough continue to improve after a six-game losing streak seemed to have ended their play-off hopes, with a 1-0 win over Hull City secured thanks to Britt Assombalonga's first-half goal.

But slim top-six hopes are fading fast for Nottingham Forest and Preston North End. Forest lost 2-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers, their third straight defeat, while it is four reverses in a row for Preston after they went down 4-1 at West Brom.

Dwight Gayle fired in a hat-trick for James Shan's Baggies, who are close to guaranteeing a play-off place and are only six points behind Sheffield United.

Leeds United leapfrogged Sheffield United into second place in the Championship after a 2-0 win away at Preston North End on Tuesday.

Patrick Bamford scored twice as Marcelo Bielsa's side moved two points ahead of the Blades, who are in action against Birmingham City on Wednesday.

West Brom's automatic promotion hopes suffered a potentially fatal blow with a 3-2 defeat to Bristol City, while Middlesbrough boosted their play-off hopes with a win away at struggling Bolton Wanderers.

There were also wins for Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City against Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Stoke City respectively.

BAMFORD PUNISHES 10-MAN NORTH END

Leeds and Sheffield United are locked in a pulsating battle for the Championship's second automatic promotion place and Bielsa's side have cranked up the pressure ahead of the Blades' visit to Birmingham.

Their cause was helped by the dismissal of Ben Pearson, who received a straight red card for hauling down Bamford as he went through on goal shortly after the interval.

The visitors took full advantage of their numerical superiority in the 62nd minute when Bamford powered home from 25 yards.

The former Chelsea striker then added a second 14 minutes from time, heading in Mateusz Klich's right-wing cross to seal a vital three points.

BAGGIES' TOP-TWO HOPES DEALT A BLOW

West Brom are now nine points behind Leeds in fourth after three goals in the opening 19 minutes set Bristol City on their way to a important victory in the play-off battle.

The Robins, who are four points ahead of seventh-place Middlesbrough in fifth, stormed ahead thanks to goals from Josh Brownhill, Andreas Weimann and Jack Hunt.

Dwight Gayle reduced the deficit two minutes into the second half before Jay Rodriguez added a second 16 minutes from time.

They were unable to find a leveller, though, as caretaker boss Jimmy Shan suffered a second defeat in four days.

FLETCHER KEEPS PULIS' MEN IN PLAY-OFF RACE

Middlesbrough ended a torrid run of form to push Bolton Wanderers closer to relegation.

Tony Pulis' side had lost their last six games in the league, but Ashley Fletcher scored twice to move them to within two points of sixth-placed Aston Villa.

Bolton, meanwhile, remain eight points from safety with just five games left to preserve their Championship status for another season.

RAMS WELL BEATEN IN LANCASHIRE

Derby County's hopes of sneaking a play-off place suffered a setback as Blackburn Rovers ran out 2-0 winners at Ewood Park, while Sheffield Wednesday jumped above Nottingham Forest into ninth after a resounding 3-0 win at Hillsborough.

Elsewhere, Swansea City ran out 3-1 winners over Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium.

Sheffield United moved back ahead of Leeds United as the battle for the second automatic promotion spot in the Championship intensified on Saturday. 

The Blades, who had fallen behind their Yorkshire rivals last weekend, battled to a 1-0 win at Preston North End, while Leeds fell to a shock loss at Birmingham City.

Leaders Norwich City prevailed in the early kick-off, thrashing QPR, while Aston Villa's fine form continued with a dramatic win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Bristol City, Derby County, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest all dropped points in pursuit of a play-off spot.

In the fight for survival, Bolton Wanderers' misery continued with a loss to Ipswich Town, but there were big wins for Rotherham United and Millwall.

BLADES STAY SHARP TO RECLAIM SECOND

It has been a thrilling battle between the Blades and Leeds and this weekend belonged to Chris Wilder's men.

David McGoldrick's first-half goal settled matters at Deepdale, where Preston's top-six hopes took a hit.

But it was Marcelo Bielsa's men who suffered arguably the biggest shock of the day, beaten 1-0 by a Blues side who had lost five on the bounce.

Che Adams' goal proved decisive and came just after Patrick Bamford had struck the post for Leeds.

Those results came after Norwich had thrashed QPR 4-0 at Carrow Road, with Teemu Pukki on target twice as the Canaries moved seven points clear heading into the final six games.

BRUCE TASTES BITTER DEFEAT 

Wednesday boss Steve Bruce faced his former employers at Hillsborough and saw his side ship two late goals in a 3-1 loss.

It was 1-1 heading into injury time, with Albert Adomah and Tammy Abraham netting to boost Villa's promotion hopes.

Dean Smith's charges are now fifth after a sixth league win on the bounce.

As for Wednesday, their dreams of a late surge into the top six look to have been ended.

PLAY-OFF HOPEFULS STUTTER

It was not only the Owls who fluffed their lines on Saturday, with Derby held to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Brentford.

Frank Lampard's side, who led three times, remain two points behind sixth-placed Bristol City, who also had to settle for a point following Nathan Byrne's last-gasp leveller for Wigan Athletic.

Tony Pulis' Boro lost 3-1 at Swansea City, and Forest were beaten 2-1 by lowly Rotherham.

 

TENSION BUILDS IN SURVIVAL BATTLE

That win for the Millers, who occupy the final relegation spot, put them within a point of Reading.

The Royals lost 3-1 at Hull City, while Millwall moved a point clear of the danger zone thanks to a 2-0 home win over high-flying West Brom.

Ahmed Hegazi in particular had a day to forget for the Baggies, scoring an own goal and seeing red.

Bolton, whose very future hangs in the balance, could find no solace on the pitch as Collin Quaner's double saw rock-bottom Ipswich to a 2-1 win.

Elsewhere, Stoke City prevailed 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers.

Bolton Wanderers' next two home Championship matches are in doubt after the club was ordered to keep fans out of the stadium on safety grounds.

The regional Safety Advisory Group has placed a prohibition notice on the club, meaning supporters cannot enter the University of Bolton Stadium until it can be proved they can "deliver the matchday operation to the standard required".

It means the games against Ipswich on April 6 and Middlesbrough on April 9 are under threat.

The EFL said in a statement on Tuesday: "Whilst disappointed, the EFL understands the rationale for the position taken by the SAG at this time. 

"However, we still hope the fixtures will take place as planned. We will work with the club and offer them any practical assistance that is available to us in an attempt to find a successful and timely resolution to the issue."

Bolton told the SAG they are unable to commit to meeting safety requirements prior to a High Court hearing on Wednesday, which is related to unpaid debts.

On Monday, players reportedly refused to train after staff were not paid salaries on time for the second month in a row.

Chairman Ken Anderson confirmed on Tuesday that he has accepted an offer for the club "of less than what I paid, so I am not holding out for a big profit as is continuously and incorrectly bandied around in the media and on social media".

He also apologised to non-playing staff for the delay over wages, adding: "Fortunately, they did not choose to go on strike and their loyalty to the club cannot be questioned, unlike the players' decision, which unfortunately has a negative rather than a positive logic behind it.

"I am not quite sure what the players think striking will achieve."

Bolton are five points from safety in the Championship, with seven matches remaining.

Leeds United moved up to second place in the Championship table by capitalising on Sheffield United's slip-up at home to Bristol City. 

With leaders Norwich City in action away to Middlesbrough later on Saturday, there was a chance for the Yorkshire rivals to stake their promotion claims. 

While an Andreas Weimann treble earned Bristol City a surprise victory, Pablo Hernandez struck a brace to help Leeds see off Millwall at Elland Road. 

Derby County thrashed Rotherham United 6-1 to climb into the play-off places while there was a big win at the other end of the table for Bolton Wanderers.

 

HERNANDEZ THE HERO

Leeds supporters were put through a heart-stopping match as Marcelo Bielsa's side twice came from behind to beat Millwall 3-2 and leapfrog Sheffield United in the process.

The hosts looked as panicky as the crowd when Ben Thompson headed Millwall in front after 10 minutes and their nerves were not helped when Patrick Bamford had a penalty saved by David Martin in the 19th minute.

Leeds came to life just after the half-hour mark when Hernandez finished a sweeping passing move with a neat finish, but Liam Cooper brought down Ben Marshall 10 minutes into the second half and the Lions winger converted the ensuing penalty himself.

Substitute Barry Douglas crossed for Luke Ayling to pop up with a superb headed goal and Bielsa's commitment to attacking football paid off as his side poured forward in search of a winner that arrived, Tyler Roberts cutting the ball back for Hernandez to hammer home.


BLADES BLUNTED

Chris Wilder's men had won eight in a row at home in the league, not even conceding in front of their own fans in 2019, so few would have expected Bristol City to take the points at Bramall Lane. 

Billy Sharp's 23rd Championship goal of the season put Sheffield United in front in the sixth minute and Scott Hogan also scored for the hosts, though Weimann twice equalised to bring his side level. 

And the former Aston Villa forward completed his treble in the 83rd minute to end a five-game winless run in the league for Lee Johnson's men, who move up to eighth place with their play-off hopes revived. 

Aston Villa's 2-1 triumph at home to Blackburn Rovers, their fifth Championship win in a row, leaves Dean Smith's team fifth. Derby are just behind after Martyn Waghorn's hat-trick helped thrash Rotherham, although Middlesbrough can move back into the top six by avoiding defeat against Norwich. 

Nottingham Forest's 2-1 win against Swansea City, a comeback victory at the City Ground secured thanks to late Daryl Murphy and Molla Wague goals, also keeps Martin O'Neill's men in the hunt for a play-off place but Sheffield Wednesday's top-six charge was dented by a 0-0 draw at Stoke City.


HOPE FOR BOLTON

Off the field issues continue to make the headlines for Bolton Wanderers, but Phil Parkinson's side moved within five points of safety with a 2-1 victory at Queens Park Rangers. 

Goals from Will Buckley and Callum Connolly set up their second win in four Championship games, although a late reply from Nahki Wells made for a nervy finish at Loftus Road.

QPR are now winless in five Championship games and pressure is growing on former England manager Steve McClaren, while Reading are four points clear of the drop zone after a 2-1 triumph over Preston North End. 

Wigan Athletic also edged up to 40 points by virtue of a goalless draw at home to Brentford, but Ipswich Town's fate is close to being sealed with a 2-0 home loss to Hull City leaving the Tractor Boys 13 points adrift with only seven games to play.

Pablo Hernandez scored a brace as Leeds United eased to a 3-0 win away to Reading to move top of the Championship.

With Norwich City in action at home to Hull City on Wednesday, Marcelo Bielsa's men knew they had the chance to take top spot.

And they wasted no time at the Madejski Stadium, Mateusz Klich getting them up and running with the opener in the 14th minute.

Luke Ayling created that goal and the right-back was soon at it again, setting up Hernandez for the first of his brace.

And when Hernandez added his second of the game just before half-time, Leeds were heading into top spot with nine games to go.

BLADES MAINTAIN THE PRESSURE

Sheffield United moved within a point of Norwich thanks to their 2-0 win at home to Brentford despite Gary Madine's first-half red card.

Captain Oliver Norwood converted a penalty to put the Blades in front before Madine was dismissed, David McGoldrick striking late to seal the points.

Bristol City moved into sixth spot, replacing Derby County, despite Lee Johnson's men failing to beat bottom side Ipswich Town at home, Lloyd Kelly scoring an own goal to hand the Tractor Boys a point.

Ipswich are 11 points adrift of safety with Paul Lambert's side now having drawn five of their past six Championship fixtures by the same 1-1 scoreline.

 

OWLS FLYING HIGH UNDER BRUCE

Sheffield Wednesday's unbeaten run under new manager Steve Bruce continued with a 2-0 win away to crisis club Bolton Wanderers.

Steven Fletcher and Rolando Aarons struck either side of half-time to send the Owls up to ninth in the table, just three points outside the play-off places.

Wigan Athletic remain two points above the relegation zone after a crushing 3-0 defeat away to Blackburn Rovers, Danny Graham netting a brace at Ewood Park.

Norwich City and Leeds United each scored second-half winners as the Championship promotion race kicked up a gear on Saturday.

Leaders Norwich twice trailed at home to Bristol City but triumphed 3-2 thanks to Kenny McLean's brace, while Ezgjan Alioski's fortunate goal handed Leeds a 2-1 defeat of Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road.

A 2-0 home win against freefalling QPR saw Middlesbrough solidify their fifth place behind West Brom and Sheffield United, who meet at The Hawthorns later in the day, while Preston North End boosted their play-off hopes with a 3-1 success at FA Cup quarter-finalists Millwall.

Bottom side Ipswich Town were denied a crucial victory at Wigan Athletic by Joe Garner's injury-time goal while Reading and Rotherham United are locked together on 30 points after playing out a 1-1 draw.

 

LEADERS WORK HARD FOR WINS

Norwich and Leeds did not have it easy with both of the Championship's top two having been in grave danger of dropping decisive points in the battle to reach the Premier League.

Bristol City were in front twice at Carrow Road thanks to goals from Jamie Paterson and Callum O'Dowda but McLean's second of the game, a superb 25-yard drive, saw the leaders prevail.

Patrick Bamford's penalty put Leeds in front against Bolton but, after Mark Beevers hit back from close range for the relegation-threatened Wanderers, Alioski kept Marcelo Bielsa's men two points off top spot.

There was more than a stroke of luck about the winner, however, as Alioski's intended cross curled and dipped over the head of visiting goalkeeper Remi Matthews.

 

ADAMS' HOT STREAK CONTINUES AFTER MULGREW MAGIC

With sixth-placed Bristol City beaten there was a chance for the chasing pack to make up ground on the play-off spots, but Birmingham City could only draw 2-2 at home to Blackburn Rovers.

In-form striker Che Adams scored twice - taking his 2019 Championship tally to 10 - by hitting both the opening and final goals of a gripping contest at St. Andrew's.

Rovers captain Charlie Mulgrew scored direct from a corner for the third time this season but, after Danny Graham had seemingly won it for Tony Mowbray's men, Adams tucked home from a tight angle for a share of the spoils.

Stoke City and Aston Villa also drew on the day tributes were paid to the late goalkeeping great Gordon Banks, with Sam Vokes' first strike since joining the Potters from Burnley cancelled out by Albert Adomah's goal.

LATE DRAMA AT THE BOTTOM

Despite manager Paul Lambert serving a touchline ban, Ipswich were on track for a huge win at Wigan thanks to Will Keane's first-half penalty, but Garner struck from close range in the 91st minute to deny his former club and earn the Latics a point.

Ovie Ejaria's goal had given Reading a vital lead at home to Rotherham, with the Royals set to move three points away from the drop zone. But a scruffy finish from Semi Ajayi with 11 minutes to go kept the Millers on Reading's tail.

Meanwhile, Said Benrahma hit a hat-trick as Brentford thumped Hull City 5-1 and, after Adam Reach's brace, Steven Fletcher scored an overhead kick in Sheffield Wednesday's 3-1 success against Swansea City at Hillsborough.

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