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Championship Focus: West Brom, Leeds improve promotion chances with wins

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By no means is the race for promotion within the Championship sealed and delivered, but West Brom and Leeds United continue to add to their lead on the rest of the pack.

Despite playing the final 13 minutes down a player after Romaine Sawyers saw a straight red card, the Baggies went on to earn a formidable 3-0 win over Bristol City.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Sheffield United loanee Callum Robinson opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, while Hal Robsun-Kanu sealed his brace with 11 minutes left in regular time. With the victory, Wes Brom extends their league unbeaten streak to five matches, and their total point to 66.

At Elland Road, Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United registered their first back-to-back wins since October, following a minimal-margin victory over Reading. Leeds holds a five-point cushion on third-place Fulham.

Meanwhile, with goals quick fire goals from Paul Gallagher and Alan Browne over a four-minute stretch against an aching Hull City, Preston moved into play-off contention.

Saturday’s results

Brentford 2-2 Blackburn
Bristol City 0-3 West Brom
Swansea City 3-1 Huddersfield
Wigan Athletic 1-0 Millwall
Barnsley 1-0 Middlesbrough
Birmingham 3-3 Sheffield Wednesday
Nottingham Forest 0-0 QPR
Preston 2-1 Hull City
Charlton 3-1 Luton Town
Stoke City 2-0 Cardiff City
Leeds United 1-0 Reading

USMNT defender Eric Lichaj tears ankle ligaments

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31-year-old U.S. international Eric Lichaj has torn ankle ligaments while playing for Hull City and is expected to miss a considerable amount of time, possibly the remainder of the season.

Lichaj, the Hull City captain, sustained the injury in the 70th minute of Hull City’s 1-1 road draw at Reading last weekend. He was absent for Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Blackburn.

“Eric and Herbie [Kane] are going to be out for the foreseeable future – at least two or three months which means they’re probably going to miss the rest of the season,” said Hull City manager Grant McCann. “They’ve both torn ligaments in their ankles. It’s exactly the same injury, which is bizarre. It is two blows for us. I think both are going to get a second opinion from a specialist. But it is very unlikely we will see them again this season.”

Lichaj has missed just three Hull City matches this season, and the Tigers have lost all three by a combined 7-1. Otherwise, the right-back has been on the pitch for all 29 matches, seeing the field for all but 65 total minutes across those games. Hull sits 14th in the Championship table. The injuries are piling up for Hull City, who were missing a colossal 12 first-team players in the loss to Blackburn on Tuesday.

The timing is brutal for Lichaj, who had just worked his way back into the U.S. national team setup after a solid seven years on the periphery. Lichaj has 16 total caps for the U.S. national team, half of which came in 2010 and 2011 near his debut. After the 2011 Gold Cup, he made just three substitute appearances until returning to regular consideration in 2017, since when he’s made five appearances and has been an unused substitute 11 more times.

West Ham announces prolific Championship scorer Bowen

Jarrod Bowen
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Hull City had sold Jarrod Bowen to West Ham United.

The prolific Championship scorer comes with a reported $24 million fee which could rise to $33 million with add-ons.

Bowen, 23, has 52 goals in three Championship seasons with the Tigers. He did not score in seven Premier League matches during the 2016/17 season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Primarily a winger, Bowen joins an Irons team that has in-form Robert Snodgrass on that spot but stars Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson suffering from injuries.

West Ham’s 23 points have them in 17th place, but only by goal differential. Bottom Three sides Bournemouth and Watford also have 23 points.

The Irons season has been a monumental disappointment, and David Moyes‘ appointment has changed very little. He’ll be hoping the new blood helps his cause.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

FA Cup fourth round preview, score picks

Manchester United advances in FA Cup
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The FA Cup fourth round is here as we are down to the final 32 teams in the oldest knockout competition in the world.

[ LIVE: All the FA Cup scores here

There are some intriguing storylines set up for the games across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as Liverpool and Man United face tricky trips to lower-league opponents, while Southampton host Tottenham, Norwich head to Burnley and Arsenal travel to Bournemouth in two all-PL ties.

Brentford hosting Leicester is one for the purists, while West Brom, Millwall, Hull City and Oxford will all fancy their chances of knocking out their Premier League opponents as plenty of teams will rotate their squads.

Below we reveal our score predictions for each game, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.


FRIDAY

Northampton Town 0-3 Derby County – 3 p.m. ET
QPR 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday – 3 p.m. ET


SATURDAY (all 10 a.m. ET kick offs unless otherwise stated)

Brentford 1-2 Leicester – 7:30 a.m. ET
Burnley 3-1 Norwich City
Coventry City 1-3 Birmingham City
Millwall 1-1 Sheffield United
Newcastle United 2-0 Oxford United
Portsmouth 2-1 Barnsley
Reading 2-0 Cardiff City
Southampton 1-1 Tottenham
West Ham 1-2 West Brom
Hull City 1-3 Chelsea – 12:30 p.m. ET


SUNDAY

Man City 2-2 Fulham – 8 a.m. ET
Tranmere 1-3 Man United – 10 a.m. ET
Shrewsbury 1-4 Liverpool – 12 p.m. ET


MONDAY

Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal  – 3 pm E.T.

Americans Abroad: Championship and 2.Bundesliga primer

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Plenty of focus over the next few weeks will be given to the many Americans playing in the Premier League and Bundesliga, but the seasons of several USMNT prospects, alumni, or current players in the lower levels are already underway.

[ MORE: Messi suspended ]

We already showed you Julian Green’s terrific goal for 2.Bundesliga side Gruether Furth on Friday. Here is a list of several other Yanks to monitor this season in Europe.

English Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — The Latics purchased Robinson from Everton, and USMNT fans will be hoping the left back continues to grow with full-time duty in England’s second tier.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — Reading also liked what it saw from the gumption-filled American center back, and Frank Lampard has shipped the former New York Red Bull out for a second stint.

Andrija Novakovich, Reading — A loan stint in the Eredivisie saw goals in bunches, but some cold streaks. Can he earn regular playing time at his parent club?

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain has been a mainstay in England, and has performed well when called upon by the national team. He just hasn’t been called too often.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The longtime Stoke City man just signed a deal to return to the R’s.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Will the creative midfielder rebound from his summer injury to impress new manager Phillip Cocu.

Tim Ream, Fulham — The longtime defender is back with the Cottagers following relegation to the second tier.

Luca De La Torre, Fulham — At 21, he’ll have a chance to impress Scott Parker. Relegation was good to the young center midfielder.

Also of note: Cameron Carter-Vickers is currently with Spurs, as he’s yet to play in preseason due to injury. He’s been linked with a loan to Leeds United after spending last season on loan to Swansea City and Ipswich Town. There’s also Lynden Gooch at Sunderland, still in League One after failing in a bid to reclaim a place in the Championship. Gboly Ariyibi of Nottingham Forest is reportedly wanted by Motherwell after a loan stint there last season. QPR’s Giles Phillips has been loaned to League One’s Wycombe Wanderers.

2.Bundesliga

Green, Greuther Furth — In addition to Friday’s goal, he’s gone 90 in both of Furth’s matches so far this season.

Khiry Shelton, Paderborn — He’s yet to appear in a match through two matches this season, but made two sub appearances last season.

Kevin Lankford, FC St. Pauli — The 20-year-old left winger is yet to appear for FCSP through two weeks.

Bobby Wood, Hamburg — The same is true for Wood, who went on loan to Hannover 96 last season.

There are several other dual nationals, like Ken Gipson of Sandhausen, but they are not yet on the USMNT radar.