EFL Championship

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Wayne Rooney begins player-coach stint at Derby County

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DERBY, England (AP) Former England captain Wayne Rooney was given a rousing reception before taking his place among Derby County’s coaching staff for the first time at the start of his 18-month stint as player-coach at the second-tier English club.

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Rooney watched from the dugout as 14th-place Derby drew with Queens Park Rangers 1-1 at Pride Park on Saturday.

England’s all-time leading scorer, who is not eligible to play until January, had his name chanted by Derby fans when he was introduced to supporters on the field before kickoff. He applauded in reply.

Rooney left Major League Soccer side DC United in October.

USMNT forward Novakovich leaves Reading, moves to Serie B

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American forward Andrija Novakovich has signed with Serie B side Frosinone, bringing to an end his five years on the books at EFL Championship side Reading.

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The 22-year-old, who has made three appearances for the U.S. men’s national team, had previously been loaned out to Telstar (Dutch second division) where he scored 22 goals in 38 games two seasons ago, and Fortuna Sittard (Eredivisie) where he bagged 11 goals in 30 games last season.

Novakovich’s contract with Reading was set to expire next summer, thus the club elected to cash in (for a presumably small transfer fee) now. The player, meanwhile, can begin the next chapter of his career now, rather than waiting a further 12 months and enduring another loan move.

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Frosinone spent last season in Serie A before being relegated back to the second division after one season. They finished 19th, 13 points out of 17th.

Various reports had previously linked Novakovich to clubs in Germany and the Netherlands throughout the summer.

Novakovich spent all of the preseason as a member of Reading’s first team and gave a good account of himself, by all reports. He made his first appearance for the club in four years just last month, but had since fallen away from the first-team squad.=

Huddersfield fire Siewert three games into Championship season

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Jan Siewert was hired to replace David Wagner as Huddersfield Town manager on Jan. 21, with the Terriers bottom of the Premier League and quite clearly headed for an inevitable relegation.

Fast-forward nearly seven months, and Siewert has been fired by Huddersfield after three games without a win in the EFL Championship.

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Siewert began his tenure 10 points adrift of safety from relegation, but then finished 20 points back of 17th place.

Siewert’s only victory (in any competition) as Huddersfield manager (19 games) came in a 1-0 upset of Wolverhampton Wanderers, last season’s seventh-place finishers in the PL.

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Huddersfield’s decision came down Friday night, just minutes after the club suffered a 2-1 home defeat to fellow relegated side Fulham. Huddersfield sit 20th (of 24 teams) with just a single point from their first three games of the season.

The Terriers were also bounced from the League Cup by League One side Lincoln City last week.

Bilic back in England at Championship side West Brom

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WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) Former Croatia coach Slaven Bilic is back in club management at second-tier team West Bromwich Albion in England.

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Bilic has been out of work since being fired by Saudi club Al-Ittihad in February, only five months into the job. Prior to that, he spent two-plus years at West Ham in the Premier League before being fired in November 2017.

West Brom lost in the League Championship playoffs last month and is preparing for a second season in the second tier.

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Bilic says “Albion have convinced me they want to return to the Premier League. Albion have a short-term project and a long project and they do not clash.”

John Terry finalist for vacant Middlesbrough job

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In a matter of just a few days’ time, John Terry could be named the new manager of side Middlesbrough.

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According to a report from the Guardian, Terry is being considered as one of three finalists, alongside former Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic and former Boro defender (and current first-team coach) Jonathan Woodgate, for the EFL Championship side’s vacant job.

Terry has reportedly spoken to the Boro hierarchy in recent days, and chairman Steve Gibson is expected to make a final decision over who will replace Tony Pulis following the weekend. Boro spent the entirety of the 2018-19 season jostling for a place in the promotion playoffs, but finished seventh and missed out by a single point.

After announcing his retirement from playing in October, Terry was named assistant coach on Dean Smith’s staff at Aston Villa, where he has remained throughout the season and will do so through Monday’s promotion playoff final against Derby County.

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Jokanovic led Fulham to promotion last season before he was fired in November as the Cottagers appeared headed for an immediate relegation back down to the Championship, which ultimately came to pass.

Woodgate came through the Boro academy and played for the club on two occasions, 2006-2007 and again from 2012-2016. He was named a member of Steve Agnew‘s coaching staff in March 2017, less than a year after ending his playing days.