Driving up transfer fees, vital late glory and a panto villain: Five stories from the EFL

Jordan Hugill
"One goal has to be worth at least another million"

The FA Cup took centre stage for much of Saturday with some cracking ties and spectacular upsets, but the EFL was not to be outdone.

There was rich entertainment throughout the three divisions, including a Championship player who proved his worth - and added to it - the follow-up to free football, and a new dawn for a English Football League struggler.

BBC Sport looks at five stories you may have missed.

Show me the money...

Jordan Hugill redefined what it means to make a team pay for conceding a late goal.

Wanted by Ipswich Town, the striker popped up with a last-minute equaliser for Preston North End at Deepdale against his suitor, just two days after a second bid for the player was rejected.

And Preston boss Simon Grayson wasted no time casually driving up the price of the player when standing pitchside with his Ipswich counterpart Mick McCarthy.

Jordan Hugill
Jordan Hugill has his eyes on the prize - but the cost may have just gone through the roof for Mick McCarthy

"It's Sod's Law that the ball fell to Jordan at the end," said McCarthy. "When he scored I nudged Simon and he said 'that's four million quid we want now'. We'll just have to see what develops with that one."

Grayson said the goal, Hugill's third in two games after scoring a double to also rescue a point against Aston Villa a week earlier, proved the 24-year-old's capabilities.

"It's been a funny week for him, but he's shown just how great a finisher he can be," said Grayson. "He deserves credit because he definitely didn't let any of the speculation get to him.

"It wasn't an easy goal to score, but the way he took the ball down and slotted home showed exactly what he is capable of."

Nolan and Hardy bring hope at Meadow Lane

Kevin Nolan
Kevin Nolan enjoys that extra-special last-gasp winner feeling

Is it finally time for a new dawn at Notts County?

A run that goes way beyond dreadful has seen the ailing League Two club slip into the relegation zone against an equally worrying backdrop of backroom unrest and uncertainty.

Staying positive having taken just six points from 18 games stretching back to October has not been easy.

But new owner Alan Hardy has faith in his new manager Kevin Nolan, and the team bought into the positivity by earning a dramatic last-gasp win over Crawley thanks to Jonathan Forte's header.

Alan Hardy tweet
Nottingham businessman Alan Hardy has been quick to engage with fans on social media since taking over at Notts County

The club are out of the relegation zone, have settled their outstanding debts and have come out of their transfer embargo.

And Hardy also expects to make a few signings before the January transfer window closes on Tuesday.

It's still flaring up at Coventry

Flares, pitch invaders and an early red card made up a bizarre homecoming of sorts for Coventry City at Sixfields Stadium in Northampton.

Returning for the first time to the ground that the Sky Blues used as a temporary home for more than a season from August 2013 was the latest opportunity for some Coventry fans to protest against club owners Sisu.

The game against Northampton Town was delayed and both sets of players left the field after flares were thrown onto the pitch after eight minutes.

And, in between the pyrotechnic disruption and fans running onto the field before half-time, Coventry captain Jordan Willis was shown a red card for a reckless challenge on David Buchanan.

Referee Lee Probert instructs Northampton Town's and Coventry City's players to leave the pitch during the game as flares are thrown on to the pitch
Referee Lee Probert instructs the players to leave the pitch after flares are thrown on during the game

For a club bottom of League One after 28 games, it added to a miserable afternoon that saw Coventry beaten 3-0 and slip eight points from safety.

"It was a difficult afternoon, no doubt about that," said manager Russell Slade. "But we can only control what we can try control as managers and coaches and attempt to keep the team focused on what they are doing.

"We haven't done a good job today, despite going down to 10 men I'm still disappointed with the result and certainly the manner in which we conceded the goals."

After the free football show

Oldham Athletic fan
Fans of Oldham Athletic turned up in their droves on Tuesday - and did so again for Saturday's loss to Bradford

Everyone loves a freebie - as last week's generous gesture by Oldham Athletic proves.

The Latics offered free admission for their midweek game against Peterborough and duly more than doubled their attendance from their previous home match.

Their biggest home crowd of the season turned up as 7,224 fans watched the 2-0 win over Posh.

When the Latics then took on Bradford City on Saturday, 6,516 turned up at Boundary Park, although this time a considerable number were away fans.

An estimated figure of just short of 3,000 City fans flooded across the Pennines, to help Oldham attract a home gate in excess of 4,000 for only the third time this term.

Alas, the feelgood factor for the Latics could not spark a second consecutive home win, as the struggling League One side slipped to a 2-1 home defeat.

He (might be) behind you...

Nigel Clough
Clough played more than 300 games for Nottingham Forest and scored 131 goals

Although it's just about the end of pantomime season, the farce seemingly continues to flow freely at managerless Nottingham Forest whatever the season.

But, despite a day of off-pitch inactivity at the City Ground following their FA Cup exit, long-suffering Forest fans might finally have a cause for optimism.

Forest supporters joined Burton followers in casting an eye over developments at the Brewers' match away at QPR, where visiting boss Nigel Clough confirmed he is interested in talking to his former club about the vacant managerial role - but "doesn't know what will happen".

Reds owner Fawaz Al Hasawi - seemingly the pantomime villain - has been getting plenty of grief from furious Forest fans, but could the appointment of a legendary club figure placate them?

At least if the former Derby manager leaves the Brewers for a second time he will do so on a high, having guided his side to an impressive 2-1 win at Loftus Road.

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