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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
PA Rotherham United's Chiedozie Ogbene (file photo).
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Timely boost for Ireland as Scott Hogan and Chiedozie Ogbene find the net
The Birmingham striker struck a hat-trick while the Rotherham man got opener in a game which saw Georgie Kelly score his first of season.

STEPHEN KENNY WAS given a welcome boost by some of his Championship strikers as the Ireland manager prepares to name his squad on Thursday for the upcoming Nations League double header.

Scott Hogan bagged a hat-trick for Birmingham City in an entertaining 3-2 win away to near neighbours West Bromwich Albion, while Chiedozie Ogbene and Georgie Kelly both found the net for Rotherham United in their 3-0 victory over Blackpool.

With the Ireland players set to link up on Sunday ahead of the game with Scotland in Glasgow on 24 September, followed by the visit of Armenia three days later, the scoring form of the frontmen is a timely positive.

While Hogan’s treble – the goals coming in the 14th, 54th and 71st minutes – will catch the eye, it was a bad night for West Brom pair Dara O’Shea and Jayson Molumby.

birmingham-city-v-bristol-city-sky-bet-championship-st-andrews PA Birmingham City's Scott Hogan. PA

The Baggies are labouring in 20th place on nine points, with only goal difference keeping them out of the relegation zone.

Hogan’s first was a calm side-footed effort from the centre of the box, and while West Brom did level through Jed Wallace, the Ireland striker was on hand to finish off a swift break for his second.

The crucial third was the trickiest of the lot, finding the net from a difficult angle on the left with a classy finish.

It was a far more routine Rotherham win, Ogbene looping a header in for the opener 11 minutes before half-time.

They doubled their lead when Wes Harding struck and Kelly also got in on the act when he reacted first to Ogbene’s saved shot for his first goal of the campaign, something which will hopefully be a springboard for the remainder.

norwich-city-v-wigan-athletic-sky-bet-championship-carrow-road PA Andrew Omobamidele. PA

Andrew Omobamidele will also be looking to re-establish himself in Ireland’s team after injury saw him lost his place in the pecking order, and Norwich made it six wins on the spin as they saw off Bristol City 3-2 at Carrow Road.

A brace from Teemu Pukki and a sixth of the season from strike partner Josh Sargent set up a hard-fought win for the hosts, who closed the gap on leaders Sheffield United to a single point.

Tommy Conway and Antoine Semenyo scored for the visitors, who battled well after falling 2-0 behind early on.

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There was disappointment from Jeff Hendrick’s Reading, who struggled at home to a Sunderland side that put three past them without reply.

reading-v-brighton-and-hove-albion-pre-season-friendly-select-car-leasing-stadium PA Jeff Hendrick. PA

Elsewhere, Coventry came from behind twice to end a run of four straight league defeats with a 2-2 draw against Luton – only their second point of the season – while QPR returned to winning ways with a 2-0 London derby success away at Millwall in the Championship.

Chris Willock’s stunning turn and finish from outside the box, not long after half-time, broke the deadlock at the Den and put Rangers on course for all three points.

Norwegian skipper Stefan Johansen then made the game safe after firing home following a well-worked quickly-taken corner.

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