Bluebirds soar ten points clear
Tommy Smith marked his first start since October by firing Cardiff 10 points clear at the top of the Championship with a 2-1 win at Blackpool.
Smith, who has previously earned promotion to the top flight with Watford and QPR, came back from a hamstring injury with a substitute appearance against Ipswich last weekend and his deflected second-half volley - a maiden strike for the Bluebirds - proved enough to sink Blackpool in an even contest.
Kim Bo-Kyung put Cardiff in front in the 54th minute but Gary Taylor-Fletcher levelled on the hour. And just four minute later Smith produced the goal which secured all three points.
Hull were unable to retake second place from Leicester as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Peterborough at London Road.
Leicester moved into the automatic promotion spots with victory over Middlesbrough on Friday night and, although Hull took the lead in the 33rd minute via an own goal from Joe Newell, Posh grabbed a point courtesy of Grant McCann's penalty 11 minutes from time.
Former Eagles boss Dougie Freedman returned to Crystal Palace for the first time with Bolton and came away with a point in a goalless draw.
Gianfranco Zola's Watford cemented their place in the top six with a thumping 4-0 win over Huddersfield, who are without a league win since November. Troy Deeney opened the scoring from the penalty spot with the final kick of the first half and Matej Vydra added a brace (57, 74) before Cristian Battocchio polished off the scoring four minutes from time.
Burnley continued their good run under manager Sean Dyche and are four points behind Watford after a 2-0 victory at Millwall - Sam Vokes (19) and Danny Ings (59) netting the goals.
Michael Appleton was officially unveiled as Blackburn's third manager of the season on Thursday but his first week did not have a happy ending as Rovers went down 2-1 to Charlton. A long-range strike from Dale Stephens opened the scoring for the Addicks in the 26th minute and, although Jordan Rhodes levelled three minutes after half-time, Yann Kermorgant struck the winner in the 64th minute.
The lunchtime game saw East Midlands rivals Derby and Nottingham Forest meet at Pride Park and they fought out a 1-1 draw. Chris Cohen opened the scoring for Forest just after the half-hour mark but that was cancelled out by Jamie Ward seven minutes after the break.
Nikola Zigic salvaged a much-needed point for Birmingham with an injury-time equaliser against play-off chasing Brighton in a 2-2 draw. Steven Caldwell put Blues ahead in the 18th minute but Ashley Barnes (24) and David Lopez Moreno (43) looked to have won it before Zigic capitalised on an error by Tomasz Kuszczak.
Sean O'Driscoll's appointment as Bristol City boss failed to change their fortunes as Ross McCormack earned a 1-0 victory for Leeds at Elland Road.
An 89th-minute equaliser from Danny Rose secured a 1-1 draw for Barnsley against Ipswich, for whom Luke Chambers had opened the scoring 11 minutes after half-time, while Dean Saunders is still searching for his first win as Wolves boss following a 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.