Pearson expects tense battle for promotion

AFP| Updated: Dec 27, 2013, 23:49 PM IST

London: Leicester manager Nigel Pearson believes the battle for promotion to the Premier League will go right down to the wire.

Pearson`s team defeated promotion rivals Reading 1-0 at the King Power Stadium on Thursday thanks to a 21st minute penalty from David Nugent after Anthony Knockaert was brought down by Shaun Cummings.

Reading had a goal from Pavel Pogrebnyak ruled out for offside in the 66th minute as they staged a second half fightback.

But Leicester held on to go top of the Championship with a win that built on their impressive victory at QPR last Saturday.

"The last two results have been very good for us. In fact, when you look at the last three league games, including Burnley which we drew and were unlucky not to win, we have done very well," Pearson said.

"But I think that we need to because it really is tight. It`s that stage of the season where you can very quickly fall behind or you can do a bit of catching up. So it has been a good week for us so far.

"We have done okay so far this season and it will be tight all the way through I am sure."

Leicester`s win knocked Burnley down to second place after the previous leaders were beaten 1-0 at Middlesbrough.

Emmanuel Ledesma`s goal gave Middlesbrough back-to-back wins for the first time in 2013, sparking wild celebrations from the home players and fans.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said that it was a sign of Burnley`s changed status that the hosts celebrated the goal so intensely.

"Their bench`s reaction told a story," he said.

"They were up and screaming; they were buzzing. You`d have thought they had won the lottery rather than scored against Burnley but that is a sign of how far we have come.

"In this league it is all about fine margins and in this game the margins were incredibly tight."

Third placed QPR missed a chance to draw level on points with Leicester after crashing to a 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

Millwall are looking for a new manager after sacking Steve Lomas in the immediate aftermath of a 4-0 thrashing at Watford.

Former Manchester City and West Ham midfielder Lomas was dismissed just six months into his reign at The Den following a miserable run of results in the second tier.

The Lions are languishing just three points above the relegation zone after their third successive defeat and Lomas, who was never accepted by many Millwall fans due to his time as captain of their bitter rivals West Ham, was told he was sacked in a meeting with chief executive Andy Ambler soon after full-time at Watford.

Fourth placed Derby were left to rue Chris Martin`s missed penalty as Huddersfield snatched a 1-1 draw, while play-off hopefuls Leeds drew 1-1 at Blackpool.

David McGoldrick`s brace took his season`s tally to 11 and helped Ipswich claim a 3-0 win at Doncaster.

Lawrie Wilson`s brace and a goal for Yann Kermorgant sealed struggling Charlton`s 3-2 home victory over Brighton.

Wigan drew 0-0 with 10-man Birmingham, Bournemouth beat Yeovil 3-0 and Bolton won 1-0 at Barnsley, while Blackburn drew 0-0 with Sheffield Wednesday.