19 December 2009 ~ With a reduced programme of Premier League fixtures today, the national media will be taking an increased interest in the Championship, which has just undergone its most tumultous week of the season so far. There have been managerial departures at third from bottom Sheffield Wednesday and Reading, one place above them, while two clubs in the top half have experienced major upheavals.
Watford make the trip to bottom-placed Peterborough after a week of fearing administration. But last night former chairman Jimmy Russo accepted a deal over the repayment of a £4.8 million loan by the club's majority shareholder, Lord Ashcroft. Graham Taylor had publicly labelled Russo a “bad man”, which irked the former creditor: "He should've been more selective with his words. He really should look at that again and pick up the phone – if he's big enough."
Meanwhile the sack-happy owners of QPR have been busy again, with Jim Magilton finally parting company with the club following allegations of a headbutt aimed at Hungarian midfielder Akos Buzsaky after a 3-1 defeat at Watford on December 7. Magilton supposedly left by "mutual consent", though the decision appears about as mutual as Tiger Woods's inevitable split from Elin Nordegren. Paul Hart, lately dumped by Portsmouth, has brought in as Magilton's successor and incredibly becomes QPR's eighth manager since Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore took over in August 2007. Rangers host fellow play-off hopefuls Sheffield United at Loftus Road.
In the build-up to Rangers' match with Sheffield United, Hart has promised to "cause a bit of damage in the Championship". This may mean that he sees the club as serious promotion contenders, although it could also be a reference to the appointment of the notoriously combative Mick Harford as QPR's assistant manager. Gareth Burton