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McCarthy’s Bluebirds fly into Championship play-off places

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Derby County's George Edmundson with the ball as Cardiff City's Joe Bennett (left) goes down injured in a potentially serious blow to Mick McCarthy's side during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Derby County's George Edmundson with the ball as Cardiff City's Joe Bennett (left) goes down injured in a potentially serious blow to Mick McCarthy's side during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Derby County's George Edmundson with the ball as Cardiff City's Joe Bennett (left) goes down injured in a potentially serious blow to Mick McCarthy's side during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff climbed into the top six of the Championship with a 4-0 victory over Derby as Wayne Rooney suffered the heaviest defeat of his managerial career.

Leandro Bacuna’s brace, a trademark Kieffer Moore header and a late Will Vaulks belter saw Cardiff end the Rams’ recent revival by making it 24 points from McCarthy’s 10 games in charge.

But victory came at a cost as defender Joe Bennett suffered what appears to be a serious injury after 33 minutes.

Bennett was moving towards the ball unchallenged as he collapsed to the turf, the left-back laying motionless for six minutes before medics took him away on a stretcher.

Derby had headed to the Welsh capital in good form with six wins in nine games easing their relegation worries, but this was a sobering exercise for Rooney whose team were second-best in all areas.

Mason Bennett’s late winner saw Millwall earn a 2-1 win over Preston at The Den and edged the Lions closer to the play-off spots.

The deadlock was broken emphatically when Ched Evans lashed in a stunning early volley before Scott Malone levelled with a wonder goal of his own.

But Bennett beat the odds to win an aerial duel with Preston ’keeper Daniel Iversen and nod home the winner five minutes from time

Substitute George Saville made an instant impression as he struck an 87th-minute winner to earn Middlesbrough a 2-1 victory at lowly Coventry.

Substitute Saville poked home from close range two minutes after being brought on to move Boro within three points of the play-off places.

Grant Hall had earlier opened his Middlesbrough account with a fine header from a Paddy McNair free-kick to cancel out an early own goal from Anfernee Dijksteel that had given Coventry the lead.

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