Football League Daily – Khumalo Joins Preston Survival Bid
Preston boss Phil Brown capped off an excellent two weeks on Friday by signing Tottenham’s South African defender Bongani Khumalo on a loan deal until the end of the season. Brown has overseen something of a revival in recent weeks; his Preston side – while still rooted to the foot of the league – have recorded back-to-back victories, leaving the Championship's longest serving club with a genuine chance of survival. A magnanimous Brown was quick to praise Harry Redknapp for allowing the South African star to make the journey north: “He has done us a massive favour letting us borrow a player of Bongani's quality and stature who has come to us on loan until the end of the season. The lad's currently on international duty and has a game against Egypt at the weekend. Hopefully he will come through that unscathed and we will see the benefits of his qualities."
Brown went on to speak of the skills that Khumalo will hopefully show at Preston: "He's a big lad, he's a quick central defender and with the right type of coaching and the right type of mentality and approach to the games, hopefully he'll be a massive success at Preston North End. He's a raw talent but he's the captain of his country already, although he's a young man, which is quite impressive, hence the reason why Harry paid so much money for him in the window.”
Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Notts County saw Lee Clark’s Huddersfield leapfrog Peterborough and reclaim the second of League One’s automatic promotion spots. Clark, however, is wisely refusing to celebrate just yet; the former Newcastle midfielder believes that the fight for promotion will only be decided on the last day of the season. “I want us to win them [Huddersfield’s seven remaining fixtures] all, but even if we do it still might not be enough. Southampton have games in hand and Peterborough are also going very well. It could go right to the wire.”
Gus Poyet’s Brighton, conversely, seem unlikely to have to wait much longer to ensure their promotion to the Championship. The runaway League One leaders won again at the weekend – a 2-1 defeat of Swindon – and manager Poyet has assured fans that he will not allow his charges to ease off as they approach the final straight. “I'm not going to stop,” said the Uruguayan. “We want to get the wins the sooner the better and it's important we finish well in order to build for next season.” Brighton’s victory saw them move on to 80 points, fourteen more than third-placed Peterborough. While the battle for second place is likely to intensify over the coming weeks, one can expect the Seagulls to coast over the finish line quite comfortably as they prepare for life in the Championship.