Coventry City managed to give themselves a much-needed Easter Monday pick-me-up to restore a bit of distance between their relegation rivals.
The pressure is certainly beginning to tell for some of the clubs scrapping it out for Championship survival, with fluctuating form and shock results from a Bank Holiday programme of twists and turns.
The Sky Blues ’ Good Friday defeat at QPR was long forgotten after Mark Robins ’s men took the full three points at home to Bristol City, while bottom two clubs Wycombe Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday put the cat among the pigeons with thumping wins themselves.
The Chairboys stunned third from bottom Rotherham United with a 3-0 win at the New York Stadium to back up their 1-0 home win over Blackburn on Friday, while the Owls dusted themselves down after their 1-0 defeat at Watford to stick a whopping five past Cardiff City at Hillsborough.
Meanwhile, just when Derby were feeling good about their 2-0 Pride Park win over Luton Town going into the Easter weekend, they dropped back into the mix with a 3-1 defeat at Reading.
Birmingham could have a further say on the current standings when they travel to third placed Brentford tonight while Huddersfield, who are just a point above Coventry on 43, travel to leaders Norwich City.
Here’s what the managers of City’s relegation rivals said after their latest set of results:
Wayne Rooney after Derby County’s 3-1 defeat at Reading:
The Rams are just a point and place above the Sky Blues on 43 points, having played one game more, with six to go.
“We put in a good performance [and] I felt we deserved something out of the game, but that is football.
“The goals that we gave away were sloppy ones. That does not help us and makes it difficult, but I think the performance from a lot of players was very good.
“Reading’s goalkeeper had a very good game and made some excellent saves.
“I think we were doing the right things, we were getting in very good positions, but if we give away the goals we gave away then we make it a lot more difficult for ourselves than it should be.”
He added: “I felt when Tom Lawrence scored we were building some momentum.
“We were looking dangerous when we were going forward and to give away such a sloppy goal, which really kills the game off, is disappointing.
“I am disappointed with the result, but there are a lot of positives and we have to focus on those, but also iron out some things too.”
Rotherham manager Paul Warne after the 3-0 home defeat by Wycombe:
The Millers remain third from bottom on 35 points, seven off the Sky Blues, with three games in hand.
“I think the occasion took control of some of the lads’ performances,” the manager said. “In a weird way, I think the lads wanted to win too much.
“I knew it was a big game. But I didn’t want the lads to go into it thinking it was a ‘must win’. After Wycombe scored, everything was a bit rushed and there was no tempo to the game. It never got any flow.”
Gareth Ainsworth’s visitors scored in the second minute and again in the 24th before wrapping up proceedings with an 83rd-minute third.
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The Millers fashioned several first-half opportunities and their failure to take them has left them with a mountain to climb.
“It is difficult picking the players up,” Warne said. “But we created enough chances to get something. It is my job to try to pick them up. The difficulty is that every personality is a little bit different.
“I knew this was going to be a really tough game. The first goal had a massive swing in the psyche of both sets of players.”
Sheffield Wednesday’s assistant manager Jamie Smith after the Owls thumped Cardiff 5-0 at Hillsborough:
The Owls remain second from bottom but are now level on 35 points with Rotherham with seven games remaining.
“It was an outstanding performance with and without the ball.
“We put our bodies on the line to keep the ball out of the net.
“We know we have got quality in the group. It is about bringing that out of them on a consistent basis.
“There are still seven games to go and we will continue to fight for every single point.
“It is about the lads having that belief and showing that quality.
“We got the rewards for the goals.
“There is real quality there and we have seen that from day one. Hopefully we will carry that on for the rest of the season.
“The clean sheet was just as pleasing as the goals.”
Wycombe Wanderers’ boss Gareth Ainsworth after the Chairboys beat Rotherham 3-0 at the New York Stadium:
The Chairboys remain bottom on 33 points and while only two points off Wednesday and Rotherham, are eight points from fourth bottom Birmingham with six left to play.
“We have had a few good performances but that is up there.
“A clean sheet away from home and what a tough place to come as we knew what we would be up against.
“I thought the lads were outstanding and they were clinical when they got their chances, and there were bodies on the line at the back as well.
“I am really proud as always as it was a real squad effort today as the subs made a difference as well.
“The spirit in the hotel last night wasn’t one of ‘we’ve got nothing to lose’ it was ‘we’re going for this’.
“I just wished we could have had a full squad that was fit at the start of the season as that would have been such a different story.
“We look forward now as there are six to go and we can do this, especially after today.”
The win means Wycombe have only lost one of their last five matches, picking up 10 points from a possible 15.