Blackpool down and Mackay out after 20 weeks

Frank Dalleres
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TROUBLED Blackpool’s relegation was confirmed while Wigan ended the controversial tenure of manager Malky Mackay on a tumultuous day in the Championship yesterday.

The Seasiders were condemned to drop into English football’s third tier with six games remaining after Rotherham’s 1-0 win over Brighton left Blackpool 19 points from safety. Lee Clark’s men host Reading tonight.

Wigan, who sit just one place above Blackpool in 23rd, sacked Mackay following a home defeat to Derby, just four and a half months – or 20 weeks – after hiring the former Cardiff and Norwich boss. Mackay’s appointment in November caused a storm as he was – and remains – under investigation by the Football Association over allegations he sent racist, homophobic and sexist text messages.

Wigan chairman David Sharpe called it a “difficult decision” to terminate the contract of Mackay, who took just 19 points from a possible 72 and left them eight points from safety with five to play.

Sharpe added: “I feel that for the long term future of the club, there needs to be a change now.”

At the other end Bournemouth came from two goals behind at home to Birmingham to win 4-2 and go top, as previous leaders Middlesbrough dropped out of the automatic promotion places to fourth.

Norwich climbed to second with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday, while Troy Deeney became the first Watford player to score 20 goals for three seasons in a row as they beat Middlesbrough.

Derby’s triumph at Wigan, their first in eight games, lifted them to fifth, while Wolves went sixth after winning a seven-goal thriller with Leeds. Brentford dropped out of the play-off places with a 2-2 draw against fellow promotion chasers Nottingham Forest.