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Championship roundup: Watford falling out of automatic promotion contention

Ben Whitley - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

London, Jan 21, 2023 (AFP) - Watford manager Slaven Bilic was frustrated after a 1-1 home draw with Rotherham on Saturday did little for his side's hopes of automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Watford defender Joao Ferreira's fine 20-yard shot early in the second half cancelled out Shane Ferguson's first-half opener.

Watford also hit the woodwork twice to the annoyance of their fans at Vicarage Road.

Bilic's men sit third, 13 points adrift of second-placed Sheffield United and a huge 18 behind leaders Burnley in the race for automatic promotion.

"I'm disappointed with the result, obviously," said Bilic. "The plan was to win, no matter how difficult every game is, especially in the Championship.

"We started well, especially on the right side, and I told the players I can't ask more from them at the moment, but we are missing enough quality in the middle of the park and especially up front."

Norwich, fresh from a 4-0 win at Preston in new manager David Wagner's first league game in charge, continued their revival with a 4-2 victory at Coventry.

The Canaries raced into a 3-0 lead inside 18 minutes through a Michael Rose own goal and strikes by Onel Hernandez and Josh Sargent.

Coventry, however, hit back as goals from Jamie Allen and Kasey Palmer in an extraordinary opening 26 minutes cut into Norwich's lead.

Kieran Dowell, however, made the game safe for Norwich with the visitors' fourth goal in the 65th minute.

Preston inflicted a fifth straight league defeat on Birmingham in a 2-1 win at St Andrew's that saw 39-year-old referee Rebecca Welch enter the record books.

In the first Championship game to be refereed in full by a female official, goals from Ryan Ledson and captain Alan Browne in the opening 15 minutes won the game for the away side.

The match was temporarily halted when three Birmingham fans ran onto the pitch in the 77th minute to protest against the club's board.

Birmingham substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz's late goal proved to be only a consolation.

Wigan remain rooted to the bottom of the table following a second home defeat by Luton in four days, with the Hatters winning 2-0.

Luton, who knocked Wigan out of the FA Cup in midweek, needed a mere 11 minutes to open the scoring through Harry Cornick.

They doubled their lead nine minutes after the break through Elijah Adebayo, with Wigan manager Kolo Toure now without a win from his last seven games.

Championship roundup: Watford falling out of automatic promotion contention
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