(Reuters) - Derby County took advantage of Wolverhampton Wanderers' goalless draw with Sunderland to close the gap at the top of the Championship after winning 3-0 at Barnsley.
Goals from Tom Lawrence, Matej Vydra and Andi Weimann moved Derby up two places to fourth, above Aston Villa and 10 points behind the leaders who could not break down Sunderland even though the visitors had Lee Cattermole dismissed in the 62nd minute.
Derby manager Gary Rowett was delighted at his side's performance. "We've had a little bit of criticism at times for not playing as fluidly as we want. There were some real moments of quality," he said.
This week marks a year since Rowett was sacked by Birmingham City, even though the Blues were seventh in the table. Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Fulham means Birmingham, for whom Jeremie Boga missed a penalty, remain deep in relegation trouble in 22nd place.
Above them, Hull City's plight was eased by a 3-2 win over Brentford in new manager Nigel Adkins' first game in charge at the KC stadium while Leeds United and Middlesbrough reignited their playoff challenges with comfortable victories over Queens Park Rangers and Ipswich Town, respectively.
Joe Worrall scored his first senior goal as Nottingham Forest bounced back from successive defeats to beat Bolton Wanderers 3-2 while, in Saturday's late game, Norwich City ended a run of seven games without a win to come from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1.
(Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Christian Radnedge)