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Match Previews

npower Championship midweek preview

27 November 2012


Two sides at either end of the npower Championship form table meet on Tuesday as Wolverhampton Wanderers host Millwall.

The travelling Lions come into the game unbeaten in 11 matches and have won their last three, which has lifted them into the Play-Offs.

It is a huge contrast to where Kenny Jackett's men were before they embarked on their undefeated streak, as they sat in the relegation zone after seven matches.

They are now serious promotion contenders and winger James Henry, who is suspended for the trip to the Molineux, believes confidence is high.

Following their 2-0 victory last time out against Blackburn Rovers, Henry commented on Lions Player: "We go into every game thinking we can win it, it's just a case of taking each game as it comes and getting our tactics right and putting our style onto the opposition's.

"At the moment we're doing that, we just need to keep going now."

Wolves sat fifth after seven npower Championship matches of this term but the roles have reversed with Stale Solbakken's men now lying 17th, with no win in eight and only three points taken from a possible 24.

Their last match ended in a 2-1 defeat at home to Nottingham Forest and manager Solbakken insists the pressure is on him.

He "Football is about results and it's fair that questions are raised, and you have to live with that when you go on a long run without winning.

"If there is pressure, then it is on me. From what I've seen at the training ground, we're 100 per cent in it together.

"Some players felt the heat and maybe didn't do themselves or the team justice.

"But when you're under pressure - and we are under pressure now - then the reaction can be different from player to player.

"If you look at yourself in the mirror, you need to look at everything - sticking to the game plan, effort and maybe as players, coach and manager to believe in what we're doing, and to make the right decisions."

The Norwegian manager could be without Bakary Sako and Tonga Doumbia, who are both struggling with injury, while captain Karl Henry will definitely miss out as he sits out the final game of his three-match suspension.


As Millwall look to extend their undefeated streak, two other sides in good form come together at the KC Stadium as Hull City host Crystal Palace.

The Eagles travel to East Yorkshire having lost just one of their last 15 games, but that loss came on Saturday against Leeds United.

Prior to the match against Neil Warnock's men, Palace had picked up 36 points from 51 available which had lifted them to the summit of the npower Championship before they were overtaken by Cardiff City, who picked up three points at the weekend.

Palace's leading scorer Glenn Murray will miss the game through yellow card accumulation but his likely replacement, Jermaine Easter, is looking forward to the task ahead, telling Palace Player: "Every game is difficult in this division, there is no easy game, it's going to be another tough game.

"We're going to have to get together, focus, and hopefully we get back on the winning trail."

If Easter is to be on the winning side they must overcome a Hull City side who sit fifth, five points behind them in the npower Championship standings.

The Tigers haven't fared too well against the London outfit in the past - they've not managed maximum points in the fixture since 2008 - but Steve Bruce's men have won nine of their last 15 games.

They will go into the match with Palace looking for a reaction after losing 1-0 to Burnley at home in their last outing.

The 51-year-old told the Hull Daily Mail: "We simply didn't perform against Burnley and when you don't do that you're going to struggle.

"We had as many as four players where it wasn't their day and it contributed to a poor performance, especially in the first half.

"You can look at all sorts of things but sometimes you just have to accept we have played badly.

"That's football, especially in the Championship, but the key is making sure you learn from it and move on.

"This is the chance for them to redeem themselves and put the record straight."

In the team news, Hull could be without defender Paul McShane due to a calf strain but Liam Rosenior and Alex Bruce may be in the squad after recovering from knocks.

Palace defender Darcy Blake will undergo a late fitness test, while it's likely that either Jermaine Easter or Aaron Wilbraham will replace the suspended Murray up top.


After Crystal Palace's weekend defeat, Cardiff City moved up to top spot as they were victorious away at Barnsley.

The Bluebirds are on the road again, this time to Derby County, who were also winners last time out. The Rams overcame Midlands rivals Birmingham City 3-2 live on Sky Sports, a result that left them 12th in the npower Championship, just three points off the Play-Offs.

Burnley sit one place below Derby in the table but are level on points with the Rams, meaning they could move into the top six if they win and other results go their way. The Clarets travel to Barnsley.

It's highly unlikely that Sean Dyche's men will end the evening in the Play-Offs, though, as five other teams, as well as the aforementioned Derby, lie between them and sixth-placed Millwall.

Of them sides vying for a Play-Off spot, Watford, Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest are away from home, against Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town respectively.

Brighton and Hove Albion sit eighth and they host Bristol City, who moved out of the relegation zone at the weekend after ending their 11-match winless streak with a victory against high-flying Middlesbrough.

Blackburn Rovers lie immediately below the Seagulls, and they entertain Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday evening.

Elsewhere, Peterborough United prop up the division and they travel to the capital to play Charlton Athletic. The Addicks have won three of their last four - form that has moved them away from danger at the foot of the table and up to 15th.

Leeds United were the big winners in the npower Championship at the weekend with their 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace, and that result gave Neil Warnock's team their first three-point haul for eight matches. They have another home game this time around and it's against another side challenging at the top of the division - Leicester City. The Foxes sit third and come into the match with Leeds off the back of successive victories.

Birmingham City, meanwhile, have endured back-to-back defeats, and they travel to Bloomfield Road to play Blackpool in the remaining npower Championship fixture.

Click here for all the midweek action

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