Check out our football live wire for all the latest breaking news and international build-up as the Euro 2020 qualifiers get underway.
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😢 BLUES BACKED FOR RELEGATION
Sky Bet Championship side Birmingham City have been deducted nine points following a breach of the EFL's Profitability and Sustainability rules.
It comes after the Blues exceeded the permitted limits on losses - £39 million over a three-year period - alongside signing left-back Kristian Pedersen despite transfer sanctions in the summer transfer window.
After reluctantly accepting the player's registration, the EFL said prior to the beginning of the season: "The EFL is exceptionally disappointed that the Club entered into an employment contract with the Player at a time they knew they would be subject to a business plan for 2018/19 if they were in breach."
The nine-point deduction, combined with recent form that has seen them lose their last four games, has moved the Blues into 16/1 with Sky Bet for relegation this season.
Birmingham take on promotion-chasing sides in West Brom, Leeds, Sheffield United and Derby in their next six fixtures, with the other two coming up against relegation rivals Rotherham and Ipswich.
Sky Bet Championship relegation (odds via Sky Bet)
- Bolton - 1/66
- Rotherham - 10/11
- Reading - 15/8
- Millwall - 7/1
- Wigan - 8/1
- Birmingham - 16/1
- QPR - 250/1
😢 WALTERS FORCED TO RETIRE
Burnley and Republic of Ireland striker Jonathan Walters has announced that he has been forced to retire from football due to a long-standing Achilles injury.
The 35-year-old was on-loan at Ipswich when he suffered a partially-ruptured Achilles tendon after coming on as a substitute in a goalless draw against Bolton in the Sky Bet Championship last September.
It was thought the problem would keep him sidelined for six months but the veteran has revealed the issue has forced him into prematurely ending his career.
⏰ BREAKING: BLUES HIT WITH POINTS DEDUCTION
Sky Bet Championship side Birmingham have been deducted nine points following a breach of the EFL's profitability and sustainability rules.
Click here for the full story.
☘ LENNON: NO TIME TO RELAX
Neil Lennon will not allow Celtic to relax at the top despite stretching their Ladbrokes Premiership lead to 10 points. The Northern Irishman told the Celtic View: "Psychologically, going into the international break with this sort of lead is huge.
"A team is the sum of all parts. I needed my goalkeeper on Sunday to make a brilliant save just before half-time.
"The forward lads are also trying to do what they can up there, but when teams are sitting with 10 behind the ball, that makes things very difficult for us.
"The gap is significant, but we take nothing for granted. The gap between first and second is now bigger than second and third, which again is significant for us. I'm looking forward to taking stock, getting more accustomed to the players, and them getting more accustomed to me in the next couple of weeks.
"We can now assess things, and get some bodies back. We're stretched a bit at the minute, and it'll be nice to get some more bodies back in.
"We're lacking a bit of creativity at times, and I think those players coming back in will be good for that."
⚠ DE BARR: DON'T UNDERESTIMATE US
Striker Tjay De Barr has warned the Republic of Ireland not to expect Gibraltar to be easy prey as they attempt to launch their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a win.
Asked if home advantage would give them a better chance, he said: "One hundred per cent. Looking back four years ago and looking now, we have bettered ourselves massively and I believe we have got a chance. You've got to believe that in any game, you can win, we got to believe that.
"Playing at home gives us an advantage. Four years ago, things were different, different managers, different players.
"We've got a fresh team, a blend of youth and experienced players, which is a good mix to have. The team is great. There are a lot of jokes and it helps in the game when you have got a good mix within the players.
"You can really tell that the experienced players are looking out for the younger players coming through. At the end of the day, only good can come from that."
⚖ BEARDSLEY CHARGED
Former Newcastle youth coach Peter Beardsley has been charged with using abusive and/or insulting words towards under-23s players at the club, the Football Association has announced.
💬 ADAM: DON'T SACK MCLEISH
Charlie Adam insists Scotland's humiliating defeat to Kazakhstan should not be treated as a "sacking offence".
Calls for manager Alex McLeish's head have come thick and fast since the final whistle blew on one of the nation's worst ever results in Nursultan.
But Adam, who played under the Scotland boss during his stint at Rangers, believes his old Ibrox mentor deserves more time after guiding the Scots to the safety net of a Nations League play-off.
Instead, the Stoke midfielder says the finger of blame for Thursday's shock 3-0 loss should be pointed at the players, who collapsed without a fight against a side ranked 117th in the world at the Astana Arena.
"They capitulated too easily," Adam told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It's an inexperienced group and I didn't see anyone pulling each other together.
"You lose two goals quickly and need to regroup. You need to have leaders."
🆕 WILD APPOINTED AS SCHOLES REPLACEMENT
Oldham have appointed former caretaker manager Pete Wild as head coach for the rest of the season as they move on from Paul Scholes.
Scholes quit the League Two club last week just 31 days into an 18-month contract, stating it "became clear that I would not be able to operate as I intended and was led to believe prior to taking on the role".
The former Manchester United midfielder had replaced Wild after the ex-academy coach had overseen four wins - including an FA Cup victory over Premier League Fulham - having replaced previous manager Frankie Bunn on a temporary basis.
Wild has now been brought back to see the club through to the end of the campaign.
"I'm looking forward to working with the players again and hopefully finishing on a positive note," he said.
"I know this team has quality and hopefully the fans will see the best of these players from now until the end of the season."
😡 GRANT DEMANDS BETTER FROM SCOTLAND
Scotland assistant coach Peter Grant claims the players have to make a statement against San Marino after they failed in the basic aspects of football in Kazakhstan.
Alex McLeish's squad have a quick turnaround following their disastrous start to their European Championship qualifying group, when they went down 3-0 in the Astana Arena.
Grant told the Scottish Football Association Twitter account: "They have to make a statement, it's not about looking to. They have to do it.
"It doesn't matter who you play, you have to earn it. There is no givens in any football match. You have to earn everything you get in a football match. People say it's the easiest thing in the world to defend - we proved it's not, because you have to defend as a group and that comes right from the front. We didn't do that well enough.
"Against the ball we weren't good enough and with the ball we weren't good enough, and it you have that combination you are not going to win games of football. So we have to put it right against San Marino, we have to win the game, and it has to be a much better performance."
📝 BEST OF THE REST
The qualifiers for Euro 2020 continue on Friday night with a number of games across the groups. Tom Carnduff has three anytime scorer bets.
Click here, or on the image above, to read more.
📝 ENGLAND v CZECH REPUBLIC TIPS
George Pitts expects England to get their campaign off to a promising start, but fancies the Czech Republic to at least get on the score sheet at Wembley.
Click here, or on the image above, to read more.
🏆 WHO WINS THE SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP?
With the international break giving us a moment to breathe, Tom Carnduff predicts how the Sky Bet Championship title race will pan out.
Click on the image above to view the full article.
📰 PAPER TALK
Friday's Paper Talk is now available to read! Plenty of transfer stories including:
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given the green light for Manchester United to strike a £65m deal for Harry Maguire
- Manchester City are set to win the race to sign Benfica wonderkid Joao Felix in a deal worth £105m.
- Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is ready to revive his interest in Fulham teenager Ryan Sessegnon this summer.
Click on the image above for more...