Coca-Cola Championship promotion rivals Preston and West Brom cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw at Deepdale on Saturday.

The two sides are among the favourites to gain promotion to the Barclays Premier League, but there were few glimpses of genuine quality in a drab encounter.

Albion remain in second place as a result of the draw, three points behind leaders Newcastle, whose game against Bristol City ended goalless, while Preston slip to fifth.

Middlesbrough eased some of the pressure on manager Gareth Southgate with a 2-0 victory over Reading at the Madejski Stadium. Sean St Ledger grabbed the opener for the Teessiders, heading home Adam Johnson's cross in the 12th minute to register his first goal for the club before Leroy Lita added a brilliant second 10 minutes after the break.

Martyn Waghorn's second-half strike earned Leicester a point in a 1-1 draw against Coventry at the Ricoh Arena while two goals from Peter Whittingham plus strikes from Adam Matthews and Jay Bothroyd gave Cardiff a 4-0 win over Watford.

At the other end of the table, Roy Keane's poor luck continued after Jonathan Macken's stoppage-time winner for Barnsley gave them a 2-1 win over Ipswich.

Fellow strugglers Peterborough slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest but Plymouth finally recorded their first win at Home Park with a 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe,

Crystal Palace cruised to a 4-1 victory in their game against Blackpool while goals from Lee Croft, James McEveley and Rob Hulse saw Derby beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0.

Elsewhere, James Hayter scored on the stroke of half-time to give Doncaster a scarcely-deserved lead against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. But on-loan striker Richard Cresswell equalised with a brave diving header on his first start to secure a 1-1 draw.

QPR shot themselves in the foot at the Liberty Stadium as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Swansea, ending the game with nine men as Martin Rowlands and Ben Watson were sent off.

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