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Birmingham City cans Harry Redknapp

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Harry Redknapp said it wouldn’t be a problem for Birmingham City to finish in the Top Six of this season’s Football League Championship.

Maybe it won’t, but it’s not going to happen under the watch of the gabby Englishman.

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Redknapp, 70, has been fired by Birmingham after another loss, this time a home 3-1 embarrassment against Alex Neil‘s red-hot Preston North End.

Birmingham’s four points are second-bottom in the Championship, and two back of the final safety spot currently held by Sunderland.

Lee Carsley takes over on an interim basis, and will look to sort out a side that landed 14 new players this summer.

Now we wait for the inevitable posts inexplicably linking him to Premier League jobs.

Lampard issues Chelsea injury update; Pulisic remains out

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard issued a lengthy injury update after their 2-0 defeat against Man United and USMNT fans will not be happy to hear that Christian Pulisic remains out.

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Ahead of Chelsea’s pivotal top four clash at home against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard could be without as many as five key players.

Andreas Christensen broke his nose and came off at half time against United, while N’Golo Kante was subbed off early after yet another leg injury for the French superstar.

“Callum, no. Pulisic, no. N’Golo, no, from that today. Tammy is a maybe. It is not going our way with injuries at the moment but the players who come in they have to show that. That is what the squad is there for. It is frustrating,” Lampard told Chelsea TV when asked about availability for Saturday.

Lampard then gave an extra update on Kante, who walked through the mixed zone after the game looking okay and told the French journalists who were assembled that it wasn’t too bad.

“It is an adductor injury,” Lampard confirmed. “We will have to assess it and scan it. It doesn’t look great. It is on the same leg [as he injured before].”

With four wins in their last 14 Premier League games Chelsea are not in good form and are just one point ahead of fifth-place Tottenham ahead of their game this weekend.

They also have a nasty habit of dominating matches but are failing to put multiple chances away and with these injuries piling up it certainly makes Chelsea’s decision to not spend in the January window to strengthen their squad, especially in terms of strikers, very surprising.

With Bayern Munich coming up in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie next week, Lampard will hope Chelsea’s luck turns and plenty of players return from injury.

FC Cincinnati coach Jans resigns amid investigation over remarks

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CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans resigned amid an investigation by Major League Soccer of his use of a racial slur in the locker room.

Jans resigned late Monday, FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said: “The club had suspended Jans pending the investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from the MLS Players Association.

“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” Berding said.

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The club designated Yoann Damet as interim head coach while the team conducts a search. Cincinnati is training in Florida for its second season in MLS.

Cincinnati has been through two head coaches during its brief stay in the league. It fired Alan Koch after its 11th first-tier match, which left the expansion club with two wins, seven losses and two draws.

Damet also was the interim head coach while the team conducted a search that resulted in Jans’ hiring last August.

Cincinnati finished with the worst record in MLS in its inaugural season, with six wins, six draws and 22 losses. It scored a league-low 31 goals in 34 matches.

Cincinnati gained entry into MLS after a successful debut under Koch, who led the team to the semifinals of the United Soccer League’s playoffs in both 2017 and 2018.

German fans turn on fellow supporter for racist abuse

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BERLIN — The fans of German soccer club Preußen Münster showed how racist abuse can be handled, shouting “Nazis out! Nazis out!” after one of their own fans targeted a visiting player with monkey chants.

The perpetrator was a 29-year-old man who was forced out of the stadium. And the player, Würzburger Kickers defender Leroy Kwadwo, thanked the opposing fans their “exemplary” reaction.

“I was racially abused by one single spectator. It just makes me sad,” Kwadwo wrote on Saturday, a day after the match. “I indeed have a different skin color, but I was born here in this wonderful land that has given my family and I so much and made so much possible. I am one of you. I live here and can live my calling as a professional with the Würzburger Kickers.

“Something like yesterday just makes me sad and angry because everyone has to know, racism does not belong in OUR world. We all have the opportunity to oppose it and stop it if it happens.”

The incident occurred during a third-division match in Münster.

On Monday, Münster said it would seek to ban the suspect from all German stadiums for three years, the toughest possible sanction permitted under current regulations.

“The least we an do is ensure that this person is no longer allowed in our stadium,” Münster president Christoph Strässer said. “We will not tolerate racism or any form of discrimination. The issue of integration is naturally important to us as a sports club, and Article 1 of the constitution applies primarily, namely: Human dignity is sacrosanct. That goes for everyone in this country.”

The perpetrator also faces legal consequences. Local police said the man would be charged with incitement, which can lead to financial penalties and a jail term of three months to five years if convicted.

Referee Katrin Rafalski stopped the 0-0 draw in the 88th minute after being informed of the racist abuse by Kwadwo. It was followed by a stadium announcement against the abuse and the “Nazis out!” chants from the fans.

The German soccer federation praised the fans’ reaction on Twitter on Saturday.

“So sad and shameful as the racist incident against Leroy Kwadwo was, so exemplary was the immediate reaction to it,” the federation said. “The third division stands together and says, no to racism and discrimination!”

The incident occurred only days after Bundesliga club Schalke was fined 50,000 euros ($54,600) after some of its fans subjected Hertha Berlin player Jordan Torunarigha to racist abuse during a German Cup game on Feb. 4.

Torunarigha, the son of former Nigerian player Ojokojo Torunarigha, was targeted with monkey chants and was eventually sent off in extra time when he picked up a second yellow card after appearing increasingly upset as the game went on. The 22-year-old German defender was consoled by Schalke’s Amine Harit.

Numerous other racist incidents have tarnished European soccer this season.

On Sunday in Portugal, Porto striker Moussa Marega was visibly angered by monkey noises targeting him after he scored his team’s second goal in a 2-1 win at Guimarães. Several Porto and opposition players attempted to dissuade him from walking off the field in the 71st minute, when he demanded to be substituted.

Report: Braithwaite to Barcelona

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Martin Brathwaite is on the verge of signing for Barcelona in an emergency deal sanctioned by La Liga.

Over the last few weeks the Catalan giants have lost both Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele to what are essentially season-ending injuries and they asked Spain’s top-flight for special dispensation to sign a new striker.

28-year-old Braithwaite is their emergency man.

The former Middlesbrough striker currently plays in La Liga for struggling Leganes but the Danish international has a release clause of $21.6 million in his contract and Barca have reportedly triggered.

Multiple reports state that Braithwate will travel to Barcelona on Tuesday to complete the shock move with his agent already in talks to seal the deal.

Why Braithwaite? Barcelona probably only got the ruling from La Liga to sign an ’emergency striker’ if he wasn’t a superstar who would cost $150 million. Also, La Liga rules state the emergency signing has to already be registered in Spain or a free agent.

We are outside of the transfer window and this move is incredibly controversial as emergency signings are usually only made available outside of the transfer window if it involves a goalkeeper.

This is a head scratcher.

Have Barca not got enough attacking midfielders to play one of them in attack? Are there really no players from Barcelona B who can be promoted to the first team?

Barcelona’s La Liga rivals will not be happy about this. Braithwaite is not able to be registered for the Champions League but he could have a big impact in the tight title race in Spain as Quique Setien’s team currently sit in second place, one point behind leaders Real Madrid.

Braithwaite has hardly been prolific during his time at Leganes (eight goal in 20 games), but that is a much better record compared to when he played for Middlesbrough in the Championship nine goal in 40 games). Setien and Barca’s recruitment team have obviously seen that he can help out the team to hold up the ball and give them a Plan B in games.

If this move goes through you just know Braithwaite is going to score the goal which wins Barcelona the La Liga title. You just know that is going to happen.