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Match Previews

Sky Bet Championship weekend preview

27 December 2013

Barnsley v Derby County

Derby County - the Sky Bet Championship's in-form team and best travelers - take to the road on Sunday to face bottom-club Barnsley.

The Tykes lost 1-0 against Bolton Wanderers on Boxing Day, and have now gone 10 matches with only a single victory, registering eight points in that time.

Steve McClaren has now picked up 29 points out of 36 as Rams boss, after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield, which ended a winning streak of seven matches. They remain fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Leicester City.

Blackburn Rovers v Birmingham City

The previous three meetings between Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City have ended in 1-1 draws, and they clash on Sunday at Ewood Park.

The three fixtures before that ended 2-1 to the hosts, and the last time the away side triumphed in this encounter was 16 games ago, when Rovers ran out 4-0 winners at St. Andrew's.

Gary Bowyer's Lancashire side have two wins and two draws in their previous four Sky Bet Championship matches, whilst the Blues grabbed a 0-0 draw at Wigan Athletic to go eight games unbeaten, with three wins and five stalemates.

Blackpool v Brighton and Hove Albion

Tenth-placed Blackpool host Brighton and Hove Albion, in ninth, in the Sky Bet Championship, separated by goal difference only.

The Tangerines picked up a 1-1 draw at home to Leeds last time out, but the Seagulls suffered a 3-2 defeat at Charlton, meaning both teams are locked on 32 points, three outside the Play-Offs.

The North West side will be looking for revenge, after the South Coast outfit won 6-1 at the Amex Stadium in their last meeting, in April 2013.

Bournemouth v Ipswich Town

Bournemouth and Ipswich Town go into their clash on Sunday afternoon at the Goldsands Stadium both having won in their previous Sky Bet Championship match.

The Cherries beat Yeovil Town 3-0, following on from their win at Sheffield Wednesday, to register their first back-to-back league wins in the second tier of English football since 1990.

The Tractor Boys were also 3-0 winners, at Doncaster, and have now picked up 14 points out of 18. Mick McCarthy's side sit seventh, on 34 points, outside the Play-Offs by a point.

Charlton Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday

Charlton Athletic host Sheffield Wednesday at the Valley, and were the only two teams in the bottom six to have picked up points on Boxing Day.

The Addicks beat Brighton 3-2 to move into 19th position, four points clear of the drop zone. The Owls remain in the final relegation place but are now just two points behind Doncaster after a 0-0 draw against Blackburn.

This will be the 50th meeting between these two sides, with Wednesday having won 20 games compared to Charlton's 17.

Doncaster Rovers v Millwall

The two teams directly above Wednesday are Doncaster, in 21st, and 20th-placed Millwall, and they meet at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The visiting South Londoners begin life after Steve Lomas, who was sacked after six months in charge on Boxing Day following a 4-0 drubbing at Watford. That was a third straight loss for the leaky Lions, who have conceded 46 goals in 22 games - the most in the division.

Paul Dickov's Rovers have let in the next highest number of goals, with 40 strikes against. They have lost four games in a row, conceding three in each of those games, and lost 3-0 last time out against Millwall, in March 2012.

Huddersfield Town v Yeovil Town

The two towns of Huddersfield and Yeovil meet for the 17th time, on Sunday at the John Smith's Stadium.

All of those encounters have been played in the past 10 seasons, and this weekend's hosts are unbeaten in the previous six clashes, with one draw and five wins.

This campaign, the Terriers sit 14th, having scored just two goals in their past four matches - registering back-to-back defeats before successive stalemates. The Glovers' form is the reverse of that, with two losses coming after consecutive draws.

Leicester City v Bolton Wanderers

Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester City take on 17th-placed Bolton Wanderers at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes continued their waltz at the top with Burnley and Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day. With their competitors losing, Nigel Pearson's men won 1-0 at home to Reading, and now lead the division by two points.

Bolton beat Barnsley 1-0 on Thursday to make it one loss, one draw and one win in their past three.

Middlesbrough v Reading

Middlesbrough's win against Burnley last time out helped Leicester move top, and they now face the Foxes' opponents from Boxing Day, Reading.

That 1-0 victory against the Clarets followed-up a 2-0 triumph over Millwall, meaning Aitor Karanka has led Boro to successive Championship wins for the first time in 2013/14. They are now 16th and eight points clear of the drop.

Reading have suffered consecutive defeats, with the loss at the King Power Stadium and a 2-1 home defeat against Wigan before that. The Royals have slipped out of the Play-Offs, into 8th, one point adrift of sixth-placed Leeds.

The Spanish revolution: Middlesbrough have recorded successive Championship victories for the first time this season, under Aitor Karanka

Nottingham Forest v Leeds United

Leeds held onto their Play-Off spot with a 1-1 draw at Blackpool, and now travel to Nottingham Forest, who sit one place and one point above in fifth.

Forest beat QPR 2-0 on Boxing Day to register their fifth game without defeat and a fourth successive clean sheet. They last conceded on 3rd December, 395 minutes ago.

Leeds' draw at Bloomfield Road came after a goalless stalemate against Barnsley, and are also five games without losing. This will be their 87th encounter, with the Reds having won 28 and the Whites 29.

Watford v Queens Park Rangers

Watford have started to reverse the awful form which saw them slip into the bottom half of the table, and they now host third-placed Queens Park Rangers.

The Hornets won 4-0 against Millwall on Boxing Day, a first victory in 11, jumping two places into 12th. That was Giuseppe Saninno's first win in charge, and he has now claimed four points from two games.

Rangers have lost successive league games for the first time this season, both against East Midlands sides. The 2-0 loss at Forest backed-up a 1-0 defeat at home to Leicester, and Harry Redknapp's men are now three points adrift of the summit.

Wigan Athletic v Burnley

Uwe Rosler takes his unbeaten record as Wigan Athletic manager into their match at home to second-placed Burnley.

A 0-0 home draw with Birmingham prevented three straight wins for Rosler's men, and instead had to settle for a seventh point out of nine, whilst dropping into the bottom half in 13th position.

Burnley have just two triumphs in nine, after they were defeated 1-0 at Middlesbrough to slip two points behind Leicester. The Clarets have won only two of their previous 21 clashes.

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