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Match Previews

npower Championship weekend preview

14 December 2012


The highlight of this weekend's npower Championship programme sees top host bottom as Peterborough United face Cardiff City in the Welsh capital.

The Bluebirds are yet to drop a point at the Cardiff City Stadium, scoring 21 and conceding only five, which has helped them take the lead in the division.

Despite their red hot form on home soil, striker Heidar Helguson is guarding against complacency, telling Wales Online: "To say 'oh it is only Peterborough' is disrespectful, I think.

"Any complacency has to be avoided absolutely. Peterborough have earned the right to play in the Championship.

"And we see on many occasions, week-in and week-out, where teams that before the game were the underdogs have gone and beaten the opposition.

"We enjoy playing in front of our own fans a lot. It is a fortress for us and I can't see anyone really wanting to come and play us there.

"The fact we have won 10 on the spin does not really matter at all against Peterborough. It's a new game and we are going to have to be on top of things again to beat them."

While Cardiff are flying high in the npower Championship, Posh have been battling away at the foot of the table since the season began.

Their troubles have worsened in recent weeks as they have managed just a single point from their last eight matches, the latest of which was a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough.

Boss Darren Ferguson remains upbeat, though, and insists his side have a good chance.

"They [Cardiff] have got to get beat sometime," Ferguson explained to

"It might be one of those games that changes our season, no-one expects us to win, it's bottom against top; a team going very, very well, it might just be one of those days.

"I've seen it many times in this league in particular that anyone can beat anyone and we know on our day we can do that.

"I saw them play against Blackburn [Rovers] on Friday and it was the best performance I've seen from any team this season they were magnificent and we'll have to work with their energies and their work ethic."


After Saturday's 3pm kick-offs have been wrapped up, the attention turns to Oakwell where Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday meet in front of the Sky Sports cameras

It's a significant game for the Yorkshire rivals as they will both want to boost their npower Championship survival chances.

Wednesday make the 12-mile journey north on the back of a seven-game point-less streak; form that has seen them slide to 23rd in the division.

Winger Michail Antonio, who has been ever-present for the Owls this season, scoring five goals, believes the fans will play a key role in the relegation scrap.

He told "When we play, they're like the 12th man to the team. We need the fans to believe in us. While they believe that we can do it, we believe it too.

"Even during the run we're on they're right behind us. On Twitter the comment I always get is 'onwards and upwards', they're being so positive.

"Nobody likes to lose, but if we're going to have a run like this it's better to do it at the beginning of the season rather than at the end. We are all working hard to turn it around and I am confident we can."

Barnsley come into the game with a similarly poor record - four draws and no wins from their previous 10 outings - and they lie one place but three points better off than the Owls, in 22nd.

The two sides first met back in 1900 and Sheffield Wednesday have the upper hand with 26 wins compared to Barnsley's 20 in the 38 league meetings.

Tykes 'keeper Luke Steele is aware of the importance the fixture holds between the two clubs, telling "This is our biggest game of the last two years, there's no question about that.

"Both sides are on bad runs at the moment, and even though we are only around the halfway point of the season the match is definitely a vital six-pointer."

Midfielder Stephen Dawson, meanwhile, who scored Barnsley's first goal of their 2-2 draw at Leicester City on Saturday, believes every game has become important, not only ones against rivals.

"It's three points up for grabs, no matter what team you're playing", the 27-year-old told

"Every game is massive for us. Hopefully we can turn things around and start to push up this league."


The npower Championship programme includes another Yorkshire derby as Huddersfield Town travel to Hull City.

Simon Grayson's men come into the game having not won in five matches and they will find it hard to turn that form around at the KC Stadium against the fourth-placed Tigers, who have won their last two.

Last time out, Steve Bruce's men overcame fellow promotion contenders Watford 2-1 and Gianfranco Zola's side will be looking to keep their place in the Play-Offs when they travel to Burnley, who also lost last time out and currently sit 17th.

Sitting one place and four points above Watford, in fifth, is Leicester City and directly below the Hornets is Millwall, and they meet the Den on Saturday. The Lions will be looking to get back to winning ways having lost 3-0 to Ipswich Town last weekend - a result that ended their unbeaten run of 13 matches.

The Tractor Boys are currently 20th, with their victory against Millwall coming after two other wins. This weekend they face a trip to Leeds United who are also on a good run having won three of their last four.

The one defeat Neil Warnock's men have suffered in recent weeks came last time out at Derby County with a 3-1 score line. This week the Rams host 21st-place Bristol City, who come into the game off the back of the aforementioned 3-2 victory at Hillsborough.

Two teams sitting directly above Derby in the table, Brighton and Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest, meet at the Amex Stadium. Both sides have the chance to move into the Play-Off places if they win and other scores go their way.

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace sit second, in an automatic promotion place, and are at St. Andrews on Saturday against Birmingham City, while Middlesbrough are third, three points back, and host Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The final match in the npower Championship this weekend sees Charlton Athletic, who are undefeated in their last seven, travel to Dougie Freedman's Bolton Wanderers, who have drawn five of their last seven fixtures.

Click here for all the weekend's action

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