Bruce sings the praises after his side go top

LONDON: Birmingham boss Steve Bruce insists his side will only get better after watching them go top of the English Championship. 

Bruce’s team moved into first place thanks to a 3-0 home win against Plymouth on Saturday and previous leaders Preston’s 2-0 defeat at Luton. 

The victory, secured through first-half goals from Nicklas Bendtner, Matthew Upson and Gary McSheffrey, was Birmingham’s seventh in their last nine matches, but Bruce believes there is plenty more to come from his young team. 

“It’s nice to be top of the table but it is only the beginning of December. There are five months to go still,” he said. 

“But what is pleasing is the huge improvement that is now evident compared to when we started the season. 

“We made huge changes in the summer, letting 15 players go and having to rebuild the new team. It was a huge gamble and it is paying off. 

“All the lads are pulling in the right direction and I do believe we will get even better. We look a real threat to the opposition.” 

Preston boss Paul Simpson admitted his side were well below their best as they slumped to a surprise loss against Luton. 

Rowan Vine and Carlos Edwards scored in the first half as Mike Newell’s team ended a run of seven consecutive defeats. 

Simpson said: “We just didn’t start the game at all. The second half we were better, but in the first half we were dreadful.” 

Newell revealed he had turned to Rudyard Kipling to inspire his players as he pinned his poem ‘If’ to the dressing room wall before the match. 

“I’ve read Kipling for years and it’s something I believe in,” Newell said. 

“I’ve had it pinned up on my wall in my office. I tried putting it up in the dressing room for the lads as well, but I don’t think any of them could make head nor tail of it!” 

Cardiff are without a win or a goal in their last four matches after being frustrated by Colchester in a 0-0 draw at Ninian Park. 

Bluebirds manager Jones will try to strengthen his squad when the transfer window re-opens in January and he said: “We are going through a bad patch and are just about hanging in there. 

“We are in a dip but must keep battling away until January when hopefully I can bring in some help.” 

Hull boss Phil Parkinson will not quit despite his side’s second heavy defeat in a week. 

Just four days after losing 5-1 at Colchester, a result Hull chairman Adam Pearson labelled “embarrassing”, Parkinson’s team slumped to a 4-2 home loss against Southampton. 

But under-pressure Parkinson said: “We (Parkinson and Pearson) had a brief chat about the game like we always do. In terms of anticipated further discussions, who knows.” 

Leeds manager Dennis Wise was furious with linesman Karl Evans after his struggling team were held to a 2-2 home draw by relegation rivals Barnsley. 

Wise claimed Evans denied Leeds a much-needed win by ruling out Matt Heath’s second half header and he said: “I’ve just shown him it and he doesn’t know what he’s seen, but he’s still making out he’s seen something, some kind of foul.  

“I’m disappointed he couldn’t turn round and have the decency to say he’d made a mistake. There was nothing from their goalkeeper. It was a fair goal.” 

West Bromwich boss Tony Mowbray revealed Ronnie Wallwork, currently on loan at Barnsley, was operated on for several hours after he was stabbed seven times outside a Mancheter nightclub on Thursday. 

Mowbray, speaking after his side beat Derby 1-0, said: “The players have been very, very concerned, as has everyone at the club. 

“I understand he was in the operating theatre for five or six hours but we have been in regular touch with his family who inform us he is now sitting up in bed and is going to be fine.” – AFP 

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