Championship Analysis – Perfect start for Barmby as Hull roar to sixth after victory over Derby

Following the departure of Nigel Pearson to Leicester City, Hull City have, for the time being at least, turned to Nick Barmby to try and maintain the club’s impressive start to the season. Saturday’s fine 2-0 win at Derby was good enough to see the Tigers re-enter the play-off places.

Barmby becomes the first ever local-born manager of Hull – and with villages Barmby-on-the-Marsh and Barmby Moor also situated within the East Riding of Yorkshire, one could argue he is local by name as well. Admittedly it wasn’t until 2004 that the former England international first pulled on an amber and black shirt, having spent the bulk of his playing career in the top flight with the likes of Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool, but it hasn’t stopped Barmby becoming a cult hero – especially as he chose to drop two divisions to join the Tigers, and was instrumental in guiding the club up to the Premier League within four seasons.

At the time of writing Barmby is still only in charge in a caretaker capacity, though it would be a big surprise if he didn’t inherit the role from Pearson full-time. In addition to his local connections, Barmby became player-coach at the beginning of this season, and this seems a logical next step, both for he and the club.

A different Pearson – Adam, the club’s head of football operations – hinted it would be the case, telling the BBC: “We’re looking to build a Hull management team here with Nick at the top of that hierarchy and it’s a long-term project.” This was before Saturday’s win, and the team’s performance at Pride Park certainly won’t have done Barmby’s chances any harm.

As for the new Leicester boss, life started sweetly for him as well. Sunday’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace lifted the Foxes up to eighth, above the Eagles, in what continues to be a hugely congested top half of the table. A win for Palace would have nudged Hull back out of the play-offs.

Right at the summit, Southampton recorded yet another routine win in what looked pre-match to be a potential banana skin. Brighton pipped the Saints to the League One title last season but were brushed aside by their south-coast rivals at St Mary’s on Saturday. Southampton’s win kept their 100 per cent home record in tact, and Nigel Adkins’s side are now well and truly on course for a Premier League berth next season.

West Ham remain in second after a hard-fought win at Coventry, their fourth in five games since losing to the Saints. Middlesbrough stay third despite being held to their sixth home draw of the season.

At the bottom end, Bristol City recorded a vital win – their third in four games – at Millwall on Sunday. City remain third from bottom and two points from safety, but there are signs of real improvement since the appointment of Derek McInnes last month. The yardstick, mind you, will be next Saturday, when they host Southampton. Doncaster will also face the league leaders in a fortnight, but the outlook is bleaker at the Keepmoat. Dean Saunders’ side tamely lost the Yorkshire derby at Barnsley and are now locked with Coventry on 12 points at the foot of the table, six points adrift.

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