sport

Pearson hails Vardy after win

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson hailed Jamie Vardy after the striker netted his 10th goal of the season to help the Foxes go eight points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship.

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson hailed Jamie Vardy after the striker netted his 10th goal of the season to help the Foxes go eight points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship.

The 27-year-old scored the opener and won the free-kick that led to Ritchie De Laet notching the second as Pearson's men beat Middlesbrough 2-0 to extend their lead over QPR, who now have a game in hand ahead of a full slate of fixtures in midweek.

City have now won seven consecutive games and Pearson is hopeful that they can maintain their momentum until the end of the season.

"Vardy did what he has been doing all season - occupying a back four, working hard and converting chances," he said.

"It is a big plus for the side. His contribution has always been valued by his peers and this season his conversion rate has been better. His contribution was very good.

"We have now got 60 points from 27 games which is good going. The challenge now is to see it through and the players are determined to do so."

While the Foxes are flying, Ipswich had failed to win a game in 2014 before their 2-0 triumph over Reading on Saturday afternoon.

Daryl Murphy and Paul Anderson scored second half goals as the Tractor Boys moved up to seventh just two points behind their opponents and boss Mick McCarthy was pleased with his team's performance.

"We weren't particularly great in the first half but we were a lot better in the second half and we deserved the win against a good Reading side," he said.

"It was an excellent defensive performance in the second half and keeping a clean sheet was great for them.

"The players were hurt by their performance at Millwall (a 1-0 defeat last week) so it was nice to come back with a win."

Barry Ferguson was denied a first win in caretaker charge of Blackpool but he felt he had done a good job despite watching Billy Sharp nick a late point for Doncaster.

Andy Halliday looked to have given the home side a win with his debut strike on 78 minutes but Sharp popped up with a late header to salvage a 1-1 draw for the visitors.

"I loved every minute of it; you could see that on the sidelines," said Ferguson.

"I'm just gutted for the boys because they gave me absolutely everything out there.

"I was nervous when I woke up. It was a mixture of emotions, I was nervous, excited.

"But I knew after the training session on Thursday when I took the boys - they gave me hard work and commitment and I knew they'd do that for me today.

"It was probably the shortest team talk they've ever had. I just gave them a couple of minutes on Doncaster but I wanted to focus on us. Today was about us.

"We played some good stuff today and got the one goal but we could've had more.

"I've decided as soon as or if I take over then I'll hang up my boots, it wasn't difficult not to pick myself today."

In Saturday's other game, Patrick Bamford cancelled out Rudy Gestede's header as Derby drew 1-1 with Blackburn.