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Match Previews

npower Championship midweek preview

16 April 2013


Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town registered vital wins last time out and both will be looking to further bolster their survival hopes when they meet on Tuesday evening at Ewood Park.

The npower Championship relegation battle is the tightest it has been for years with just six points separating 23rd-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackpool in 12th, making every point valuable for the teams involved.

Rovers picked up three of them and ended their 10-game winless run last weekend - a Jordan Rhodes penalty and a Scott Dann header securing a 2-0 success against Derby County. That victory lifted them out of the danger zone by a point.

Midfielder David Jones hopes he and his team-mates can build on that morale-boosting win to secure another three points against fellow strugglers Huddersfield.

"It was exactly what we needed [the win over Derby], and we know that it is the minimum for us to get out of the situation that we are in," the on-loan Wigan Athletic man told

"Hopefully it will give us confidence going into Tuesday. It brings the group together, in the dressing room afterwards the whole squad was delighted.

"We want to replicate that feeling again starting this Tuesday in another massive game."

Meanwhile, the Terriers conceded inside the opening five minutes on Saturday but fought back to overcome Wolves 3-1, which helped to keep them above the relegation zone by two points.

Despite the vital win, Mark Robins knows the work is far from done and isn't underestimating the importance of Tuesday's game. The former Coventry City boss told "It is our next biggest game of the season.

"Just like Wolves was on Saturday and Peterborough the Saturday before that. We need to keep picking points up; the Wolves victory reinforces how important the point was against Peterborough. We need to continue in the same vein and keep producing good performances.

"I don't know how many wins or points we will need. Some teams have got four games to play, others five left, and you just don't know.

"We have got 51 points which in other seasons would have seen us well clear of safety. That isn't the case this season and it will certainly keep things interesting.

"We know what we have to do and we need to maintain the level of performance from Wolves."


Cardiff City could have Premier League football confirmed for next season if they avoid defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium against Charlton Athletic.

It may finally be celebration time for the Welsh side as they look to finally gain promotion after reaching, but failing, in the Championship Play-Offs for the last three consecutive seasons.

The long-time league leading Bluebirds are 12 points above Watford in the highest Play-Off place with just four games remaining, meaning one point or a Hornets defeat will be enough to send the Bluebirds into the Premier League.

Despite their rosy position, midfielder Aron Gunnarsson is not taking anything for granted and is just concentrating on their next game against a confident Charlton side.

"Everyone's got their feet on the ground, and are just thinking about the next game, which is against Charlton," the Icelandic international told

"I know it's exciting with it nearly being the end of the season, but we are only looking to the game tomorrow.

"They [Charlton] are a good team - when we played against them away it was quite embarrassing for us because I think we were 2-0 up [Charlton eventually ran out 5-4 winners]. We need to be on top form to get something out of that game. There's no chance that they'll make it easy for us."

Charlton will be buoyant heading into the game after beating Barnsley 6-0 at Oakwell last time out with six different scorers finding the net, a result that all but secured Championship survival in their first season back.

Interestingly, the result also kept their feint Play-Off aspirations alive - they are ninth, just six points adrift of Bolton Wanderers, who sixth.

Striker Ricardo Fuller has played down their hopes for a late Play-Off push but has not ruled it out completely.

The Jamaican "It's a big ask and a hard task. Something drastic might have to happen for us to make it, but our main aim is to win football games and we like to think about taking each game as it comes.

"Our next game is Cardiff so we're going to give it the best shot we can and hopefully for the remaining four games we'll see what happens.

"We are going to go as hard as we can and as offensively as we can with discipline for these last four games, and if we make the Play-Offs we make the Play-Offs."


Hull City are in pole position to grab the second and final automatic promotion spot, leading out-of-form Watford by six points, and they will be aiming to maintain that cushion when they meet Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

The Tigers have won six of their last 10 and have picked up maximum points on their last three away games to keep their march to the Premier League on track.

Wolves' fortunes this season have been the polar opposite to Hull's as they are fighting to avoid back-to-back relegations. Currently sitting 23rd, two points from safety, and with the league's second worst home record, Dean Saunders' men are in need of all three points or a drop to the third tier of English football for the first time since 1992 will become increasingly likely.

The only team that could spoil Hull City's party is Watford, and they travel to the Den to take on Millwall. The Hornets' quest for promotion has faltered of late having picked up just one win in their last six outings, leaving them third in the table, while Millwall are just three points above the danger zone.

Crystal Palace were in the chase for second place a month ago but five winless games have seen them drop into the fiercely contested Play-Off fight and they travel to Portman Road to meet Ipswich Town.

Brighton and Hove Albion are fifth, a point behind Palace, and are unbeaten in five matches, and they are hosted by Peterborough United who are now without a loss in their last nine - form that has seen them rise out of the bottom three by a point.

Two points further back of the Seagulls is Bolton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest. The Trotters have the upper hand, sitting in the final Play-Off spot on goal difference only, and they travel to eighth-placed Leicester City, while Forest visit Middlesbrough who are 10th.

At the foot of the table, Bristol City need to better either Peterborough or Blackburn's result to stand any chance of remaining a Championship side, otherwise they will be relegated on Tuesday night. Currently separated from safety - and those two sides - by 10 points a win for both would send the Robins down, even if they did beat Birmingham City at Ashton Gate. A draw would only keep their slim hopes of survival alive if both those teams lost, however they would have quite a considerable goal difference, as well as points, to make-up in their remaining matches.

Barnsley who sit 22nd, a point from safety, have the opportunity to bolster their survival aspirations when they entertain a Derby County side who have lost their last two.

Completing Tuesday night's fixtures, Brian McDermott's second game at the Leeds United helm is against Burnley at Elland Road, while Sheffield Wednesday make the trip to Bloomfield Road where they will meet Blackpool.

Click here for all the weekend's action

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