The Championship on Saturday afternoon…29/12/2018

There was a full Championship programme this Saturday afternoon with the Irish management team and their scouts in attendance at a number of venues. Birmingham City striker Lukas Jutkiewicz is believed to be on the review list and the goalless draw with visitors Brentford for whom Alan Judge was an eighty second minute substitute at St Andrews was expected to receive some attention. Bristol City and Callum O’Dowda  welcomed Rotherham United to Ashton Gate where Richie Towell started for the visiting ‘Millars’ but was red carded on seventy two minutes as his side lost to the only goal. Anthony Forde and Ryan Manning, who may at this juncture be outside the Irish management viewing circle, were introduced from the bench late in the second half as was defender Sean Raggett, who has just recovered from a lengthy injury absence. Midfielder Alan Browne has scored eight goals this season for Preston North End but missed out today through injury when Aston Villa and fellow midfielders Conor Hourihane and Glenn Whelan visited Deepdale. Striker Scott Hogan disappointingly remained on the substitute bench for the ‘Villians’, but Graham Burke started for the hosts with seventeen year old Cork born midfielder Adam O’Reilly replacing him for the final five minutes as the sides played out a one all draw. The Bramall Lane contest between Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers provided a host of Irish hopefuls, with John Egan, Jack O’Connell, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick in the ‘Blades’ starting eleven as they secured a three nil victory over their visitors who included Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams in their starting eleven. McGoldrick was again on target with the third goal on eighty two minutes.