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Monday, 10 December 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Derby end Leeds run and Fleetwood start life after Mellon


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Sqf hugh larkin

Leeds United have been on a roll in the past couple of weeks but that came to an end in the early kick-off on Saturday at Pride Park. Nigel Clough's Derby County beat the team that his father managed for an uncomfortable 44 days and the star role came from a product of the County youth system.

Will Hughes is a 17 year old attracting Premier League attention and it's easy to see why as he gave Leeds all sorts of problems. The midfielder has been a fixture in the senior team this season and already has an England under-21 cap to his name.

This win took The Rams up to 10th spot and punctured the Leeds resurgence. The fans still have a quarter-final with Chelsea to look forward to but the play-offs still look a long way off.

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Fleetwood Town were in a play-off berth last weekend but it didn't save Micky Mellon's job. His sacking shows how ruthless life is in the lower divisions as ambitious clubs are not satisfied with just winning a Football League place any more.

Crawley and Stevenage both went straight from the Conference to League One and clearly the Fleetwwod chairman Andy Pilley sees his side going the same way.  It's incredibly harsh on Mellon whose side clinched the title last season with two games to spare.

There has been criticism of defensive approach this season and losing at home to lowly Aldershot in the FA Cup didn't help following two league losses to Accrington Stanley and Dagenham & Redbridge - two more teams from the League Two bottom half.

Graham Alexander takes over the hot seat but the Cod Army could only manage a 0-0 with Southend in his first home game. It will be a couple of months before it's clear whether the bold decision to lever out Mellon pays dividends.

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Walsall's promising start to their League One campaign has really ground to a halt and after benefiting from an early own goal at neighbours Coventry City, the sky fell in on them at the Ricoh Arena.

The Sky Blues were able to forget their own debt problems as they racked up a 5-1 win and Walsall are now sitting just above the relegation places - familiar territory for the Saddlers in recent seasons.

Their form since the end of September has been alarming and boss Dean Smith needs to inspire another inspirational run like the efforts that preserved their third tier status in the past two seasons.

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Mick McCarthy continues to provide evidence that an early decision to change the manager can pay big dividends as Ipswich Town registered another home victory against Millwall.

While everything isn't perfect at Portman Road the squad have developed a priceless ability to take three points in some games despite playing poorly in others. It would be something of a surprise if they went down now.

DJ Campbell has really found a run of form since the new boss came in but his form might be causing McCarthy some worries as the striker is on loan from QPR and Harry Redknapp might decide to bring him back to the Premier League.

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Hugh Larkin

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