Forest fires, Good Evans, Jewell row
Welcome to The Trawler, your weekly submersion through the teeming waters of life in the Championship, League One and League Two. You might be surprised what you find down there.
Nottingham Forest's 3-0 loss to Southampton might not look that bad in isolation. After all, Saints are leading the Championship and have proved themselves capable of some scintillating attacking play this season. What's more, Forest played most of the second half with 10 men after losing captain Luke Chambers to a controversial red card.
But when you consider it was Forest's fifth straight home defeat in the league, and the fact they haven't scored a goal at the City Ground since November, there are clearly deeper problems for manager Steve Cotterill to address.
Cotterill started with four wins from six after taking over from Steve McClaren last October, but it proved a monumental false dawn. Forest have managed just three goals in their last 10 games - all of them coming in the 3-1 defeat of Ipswich, and the gloom is thickening.
Reflecting on the decision to send off Chambers for an alleged elbow on Saturday, an enraged Cotterill summed up the mood at the club perfectly.
"I didn't think we got the rub of the green with any decisions. But maybe we didn't earn it," he said. "It's an indication that just about everything that can go wrong is going wrong for us. These are tough days."
Next up for Forest, a well-timed trip to face second-placed West Ham at Upton Park.
Looking to the Evans
Former Manchester City striker Ched Evans has been blazing a trail with Sheffield United this season. The 23-year-old Welsh international took his tally to 18 in all competitions with a goal in United's 3-0 win against Bury in League One, and no doubt further encouraged any would-be suitors in the January window.
"Of course I'd like to keep hold of him (Evans)," said United manager Danny Wilson after the game. "You look at the work ethic from both strikers, they worked themselves to a standstill. If you get that from any player, it's absolute heaven for a manager."
And with that, the number of potential Evans buyers tripled in a sentence.
Wednesday run ends
Sheffield Wednesday lost their season-long unbeaten home record on Saturday, with a 1-0 defeat to League One promotion rivals Charlton at Hillsborough.
Johnnie Jackson's sweetly struck free-kick was the difference between the two sides, and it kept Charlton four points clear at the top of the table. "The will to win was there and it was a fantastic piece of quality to win it," said Addicks manager Chris Powell.
The Championship has welcomed two American imports from the MLS, with Robbie Rogers swapping Ohio for Leeds on a permanent deal (work permit pending) and George John arriving on loan at West Ham from Dallas.
Former Columbus Crew winger Rogers is a 24-year-old with a rising reputation, who's been a regular in the U.S. national squad under Jurgen Klinsmann and is keen on making his mark in Europe. John is a 24-year-old central defender with FC Dallas, who will be considered for a permanent deal if he impresses at Upton Park.
The deals come in the wake of loan arrangements with MLS clubs for Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry - who have landed in the Premier League with Everton, Aston Villa and Arsenal respectively.
Jewell in sexism row
Ipswich manager Paul Jewell found himself in a sexism row last week, after blasting the female assistant referee who turned down his struggling side's late penalty appeal in a 2-1 Championship loss to Birmingham.
"Everyone thought to a man it was a penalty, but not a woman," Jewell said. "The referee didn't have a good view of it, I thought the lineswoman, or whatever she's called, had a great view and it's a stonewall penalty and a sending off. But he didn't give it and you'd better ask him why he didn't give it - or why she didn't give it."
West Ham vice-president Karren Brady said Jewell had channelled the spirit of Andy Gray and Richard Keys in his outburst, but the man himself denies being in any way derogatory to women. "I don't think what I said was sexist and will argue all day long with anyone who says it was," Jewell said.
Di Canio corner
Paolo di Canio was serving a touchline ban for Swindon's 2-1 win against Rotherham in League Two, but there was no stopping the Italian making his presence felt in the press room after the game.
"To play 40 minutes under pressure wasn't easy, but they have been warriors and this is the way to play to win something," Di Canio said. "You have work for your life and that is what all my players did ... This is the way to challenge for the title."
We live in hope that somebody at Swindon Town is making a Di Canio documentary this season.
This week's "telling it like it is" award goes to Bury manager Richie Barker, who reacted to his team's 3-0 loss to Sheffield United with a reference to the clubs' relative financial firepower. But was it an excuse, or wasn't it?
"There's probably at least one player in their team that earns as much as my entire squad," Barker said. "If anybody needed any clarification of how difficult it is, then there it is. I'm not going to use that as an excuse because we matched them in the first half and the defending was poor in the second."