West Brom are one of several teams eyeing an automatic promotion slot to the Premier League ahead of next season. At least five teams are in the hunt for those automatic promotion slots in the English Championship. The first two teams in the Championship at the end of this season are guaranteed a place in the Premier League next season while the teams from third to sixth will need the play-off to decide the third and final team for promotion as far as Premier League football is concerned.

Apart from West Brom, the likes of Fulham, league leaders Bournemouth, Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers (QPR).

West Brom have suffered a lean spell in the Championship at a wrong time when the race for the automatic promotion spots is heating up. The Baggies are winless in their last three games ahead of the crucial league meeting with QPR away from home this weekend. The two teams are in the race toget Premier League football and they meet in a game scheduled to take place at Loftus Road on Saturday.

The Baggies could be boosted by the addition of USA international Daryl Dike to their squad after he signed from MLS club Orlando City at the start of the month. He has yet to feature for his new team due to fitness issues having played his last game on November 24. He’s expected to at least make the bench for the game against the West London team later this week.

Dike has Championship experience having played for Barnsley in the second half of last season. He scored nine goals in 19 games for Barnsley while on loan from Orlando City.

Ahead of the game, West Brom and QPR are separated on the table by one point and one place. West Brom have 42 points from 25 games, while QPR have 41 points from 24 games.

Barcelona say Atletico Madrid cannot supply tickets for away fans for Wanda Metropolitano clash

Barcelona say Atletico Madrid cannot supply tickets to away fans ahead of their game at the Wanda Metropolitano due to “logistical problems” in the stadium.

The two sides are due to meet in the Spanish capital on October 14, live on Sky Sports, but Barcelona have released a statement on their website warning supporters that applications for away fans have been cancelled as the hosts can no longer supply tickets previously offered.

Should that remain the case, it will be the second La Liga game in a row in which Ernesto Valverde’s side have played without their supporters in the stadium.

Barcelona had attempted to get last week’s fixture with Las Palmas postponed after violent scenes broke out during Catalonia’s unofficial independence referendum but that request was rejected by the league, leading to a 3-0 home victory being played out in front of an empty Nou Camp.

Katie Nolan Is Headed to ESPN

As first reported by SI.com Wednesday morning, Katie Nolan has been hired by ESPN.

The network said in a statement that she will begin with the company on Oct. 16 and “will appear across multiple platforms in a variety of projects.”

“Katie is smart, dynamic and brings to ESPN a fresh perspective and a great sense of humor. She is a rare talent and will represent our brand incredibly well as we continue to expand across the digital space,” said Connor Schell, executive vice president, content, ESPN.

Nolan said: “I could not be more excited to have a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming. When I was a little girl, I always dreamed that one day announcements regarding my specific assignments would be forthcoming.”

The popular personality recently asked for an early release from her FOX Sports contract, which was set to expire at the end of the year.

Nolan got her start at FS1 in 2013 on the short lived, Crowd Goes Wild. She then hosted the weekly Garbage Time beginning in March 2015 and won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Social TV Experience in 2016.

The show was cancelled in early 2017, with FS1 promising the network was developing a new show for Nolan, but nothing ever materialized and she has been on the sidelines ever since.

It’s been a bad 24 hours for Fox Sports

Fox Sports’ cable network FS1 has been dealt a rough hand over the past 24 hours.

Colin Cowherd is continuing to receive harsh criticism after calling Philadelphia the “dumbest sports city in America.” Katie Nolan, a rising star at the network, is heading to ESPN. And Fox Sports was forced to pull back from an odd advertising campaign in New York City that trashed the hometown Knicks.

Criticism for Cowherd

Fox Sports Radio host and FS1 personality Colin Cowherd is continuing to receive harsh criticism after his factually challenged attack on Philadelphia, calling it “the dumbest sports city in America” for firing former Eagles coach Andy Reid. who has led the Kansas City Chiefs to a 4-0 start this season.

“Maybe Philadelphia fans are so dopey they don’t like the work ‘read,” Cowherd said. “They don’t like to read.”

The responses to Cowherd’s comments… weren’t kind.

Signs that the criticism was getting to Cowherd were apparent Tuesday evening, when he was reduced to responding to message on social media with a middle-finger emoji followed by the word “Philly.”

Considering FS1’s attempt to grow its ratings to compete with ESPN2, it’s hard to see how criticizing the sports fans in one of the country’s top media markets makes much sense. Here’s a look at FS1’s current ratings:

Katie Nolan headed to ESPN

One of the worst-kept secrets in sports media was made official Wednesday: Katie Nolan is headed to ESPN.

Nolan was a rising star at Fox Sports, but she largely went silent after the network canceled her Emmy Award-winning late-night show Garbage Time. Jamie Horowitz, the network’s former president of national networks, called Nolan a “superstar” and was reportedly scheduled to meet with her the week he was fired after an investigation into claims of sexual harassment.

Instead, Nolan negotiated an early release from her contract with Fox and will take her talents to rival ESPN, where she is slated to appear beginning Oct. 16.

“When I was a little girl, I always dreamed that one day announcements regarding my specific assignments would be forthcoming,” Nolan said in a statement from ESPN.

Conner Schell, the executive vice president of content at ESPN, called Nolan a “rare talent” and said she brings a “fresh perspective and a great sense of humor” to the network.

Knicks-trashing ad campaign cancelled

Meanwhile, Fox Sports was forced to pulled back from an odd FS1 advertising campaign on New York City subways that trashed the hometown Knicks, who haven’t made the playoffs the past four seasons, as “Hopeless.” It’s worth noting that FS1 doesn’t have any rights to air NBA games, and the Knicks air locally in New York on MSG, making the ads even more bizarre.

According to SNY’s Adam Zagoria, Knicks owner James Dolan was “furious” about the ads (one was labeled “Nothing Will Change Until Dolan Sells The Team”) and called Fox executive Rupert Murdoch to complain.

While most ads appeared to criticize the team, some of them had more optimistic messaging. One featured an image of Kristaps Porzingis with the caption, “Porzingis Is The Truth.”

“Today, FS1 featured statements on a New York City subway car intended to reflect the distinct emotions and opinions of passionate sports fans,” Fox Sports said in a statement. “We regret the tone and are removing the content in its entirety.”

It’s also not the first time this year Fox Sports has been asked to remove its advertising. In August, Nebraska’s athletic department requested the network stop running a 30-second ad featuring Nebraska players in a scene clearly inspired by the 1984 horror film “Children of the Corn,” based on the novel by Stephen King.

“It’s not really the direction we want the brand to go in,” David Witty, the senior associate athletic director for marketing and communications at Nebraska, told the Omaha World Herald.