Football: First Division: Megson Chasing Ultimate Prize ; NATIONWIDE LEAGUE West Bromwich Lead from the Back in Chase for Promotion as Another Gradi Prodigy Rediscovers Form

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HAVING WATCHED Manchester City, down to 10 men after seven minutes, play with such invigorating self-belief in recording their seventh straight win against a decent Millwall side on Wednesday, it is difficult to argue that Kevin Keegan does not deserve his manager of the month award.

But neither could there have been much dissent if Gary Megson had been named in recognition of an outstanding January for West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies did drop a couple of First Division points in a goalless draw at Grimsby - but set against that are two terrific performances in the FA Cup to eliminate Sunderland and Leicester City.

Megson's 100th game in charge at The Hawthorns brought a 1-0 derby victory over Birmingham on Tuesday, lifting Albion to third place behind City and just a point adrift of their Black Country neighbours Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"It gives us a decent shout going into the last third of the season," Megson said after Tuesday's success. "We have the same number of points as we did at this stage of last season. The goals for column is down but our defensive record is much, much better."

Derek McInnes, Albion's captain, echoed the manager's confidence. "The second automatic place is up for grabs and I think we've got a great chance of taking it," he said. "Before January, we were hanging on to the coat- tails of others in the promotion race. Now we're genuinely looking down on teams."

Albion aim to maintain their progress at Burnley tomorrow, although the timing of the fixture - it has a 6. …