Friday 26 May 2017

Woe for Brady as struggling Norwich slip down table

Norwich's Robbie Brady. Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Norwich's Robbie Brady. Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

It was a grim St Stephen's Day for Irish internationals Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan, as struggling Norwich slumped to another defeat at in-form Reading.

Jaap Stam's side moved to third in the table following a 3-1 win at the Madejski Stadium, with Paul McShane skippering from centre-half and Irish midfielder Liam Kelly also part of the starting team.

Norwich, though, are sliding out of contention, with manager Alex Neil fighting to save his job after the pre-season promotion candidates dropped to 12th in the table.

Brady was wanted by top-flight sides in the summer, yet Norwich were reluctant to sell and he stayed with the intention of returning to the highest level at the first attempt.

The key member of Martin O'Neill's World Cup tilt may have to evaluate his options again in January, with the Canaries 15 points behind second-placed Brighton.

Norwich's East Anglia rivals Ipswich are also in bad shape after a 2-0 home loss to Fulham left Mick McCarthy's charges in 16th. The longest serving manager in the division has also come under fire in recent weeks.

Promised

Preston boss Simon Grayson is the second-longest serving manager and the new club of Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan were taken apart 4-1 by a well regarded Leeds team, who have climbed to fifth.

Boyle and Horgan are ineligible to play until January.

Blackburn also have a substantial Irish contingent, although they are failing to set the world alight and a 2-0 defeat at Barnsley keeps them in the bottom three.

Darragh Lenihan has been one of the few bright sparks for Owen Coyle's team, but he was sent off in the final minutes, with Irish hopeful Conor Hourihane again playing an important part for the hosts. Anthony Stokes and Jack Byrne were not even a part of the Rovers' matchday squad.

Chris Hughton's Brighton can go top if they win today's lunchtime encounter at home to QPR. They are a point behind leaders Newcastle who suffered a surprise defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at St James' Park, with Keiren Westwood outstanding for the victors in a 1-0 triumph.

Simon Cox reminded the wider world of his existence by nabbing a brace for Southend against AFC Wimbledon in League One.

In League Two, there was a dramatic win for Paul Cook's Portsmouth at Newport County.

David Forde picked the ball out of the net twice to leave the visitors facing a shock defeat. However, three second-half goals gave Pompey all three points, with ex-Shamrock Rovers man Enda Stevens nabbing the equaliser.

Irish Independent

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