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Match Previews

Sky Bet Championship midweek preview

4 November 2014

We look ahead to the midweek action in the Sky Bet Championship.

Tuesday 4th November 2014

Birmingham City v Watford

The Blues (22nd – 12 points): Held rivals Wolves to a 0-0 stalemate at Molineux on Saturday to restore some pride following their 8-0 thrashing by Bournemouth seven days earlier. Gary Rowett is set to take charge of his first match in charge at St Andrew’s, where Birmingham have won just once in 25 outings.

The Hornets (1st – 29points): Moved to the top of the Sky Bet Championship after coming from behind to beat Millwall 3-1 at the weekend. Matej Vydra is Watford’s in-form man, having scored three goals in his last four outings for the new league leaders.

Five in a row? Watford have overcome Birmingham in each of their last four meetings, keeping a clean sheet on every occasion.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Wigan Athletic

The Seagulls (21st – 13 points): Could do little to halt Bournemouth’s recent surge up the league table, losing 3-2 away to the Cherries at the weekend. It is now 11 Championship games without a win for Sami Hyypia’s men, who have also lost defender Aaron Hughes for a number of weeks after he picked up an ankle injury.

The Latics (18th – 16 points): Contested a highly entertaining 3-3 draw with Fulham at the DW stadium last time out. Wigan are no strangers to a draw this season, and Saturday was their fifth stalemate in six matches. Leon Barnett is out through suspension, after he saw red against the Cottagers.

More of the same: This fixture has never seen a goalless affair, and has only ended in a draw on one occasion, when the pair met for the first ever time back in 1987.

Bolton Wanderers v Cardiff City – 8pm

The Trotters (23rd – 11 points): Fell to a 2-1 defeat at Norwich last Friday, meaning they have alternated between victories and defeats in their last four games. Eight of their 11 points this season have been collected on home soil. Kevin McNaughton and Joe Mason are unable to play against their parent club.

The Bluebirds (11th – 22 points): Have won three of their last four under Russell Slade, including a 3-1 win against Leeds on Saturday, but they are yet to taste victory on the road this season, registering just four points from their seven away outings. Slade will be without the services of Kenwyne Jones as he has flown back to Trinidad after a family tragedy.

Near-perfect: Bolton have won 11 of the last 12 meetings at home against Cardiff, losing the most recent one in the FA Cup in January.

Derby County v Huddersfield Town

The Rams (5th – 26 points): Following a nine-game unbeaten run in the Sky Bet Championship, it’s now back-to-back defeats for Derby, after they lost 2-1 to Brentford on Saturday. One positive from the weekend however, was that Chris Martin continued his rich vein of form, netting his 12th goal of the season against the Bees.

The Terriers (14th – 20 points): Huddersfield’s early-season struggles are nothing more than a distant memory, after they beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 to continue an astonishing revival under Chris Powell. Grant Holt scored in that match and he has been vital since completing his loan move to the Terriers – they had five points from eight games prior to his arrival, but now have 20 from 15.

Three of a kind: Derby have put three goals past Huddersfield in each of their last four home games in which they have faced the Terriers, and have not lost on their own patch to them since November 1957.

Ipswich Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers

The Tractor Boys (8th – 24 points): Recorded their first win in six by beating Blackpool 2-0 at the weekend. They've lost only once at home so far, to Norwich in late August, but this encounter doesn't favour the home side. Jonny Parr, Jonny Williams, Dean Gerken, Cole Skuse and Teddy Bishop are all sidelined.

Wolves (4th – 27 points): Drew 0-0 at home to Birmingham City on Saturday, denying them a share of the Championship lead. They could sit at the summit of the table by Tuesday night however, should they record their eighth win of the season. They are unbeaten on the road in six and signed goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak following a successful trial period.

Home, not so sweet home: In each of the last four meetings, the home side has failed to get on the scoresheet, with the opposition posting an away victory in three of those fixtures.

Leeds United v Charlton Athletic

The Whites (19th – 16 points): Are now without a win in seven Championship games following their 3-1 loss to Cardiff City last weekend. Defeat in the Welsh capital was Neil Redfearn’s first defeat as both caretaker and permanent boss, and he will be glad to return to Elland Road where Leeds have recorded three of their four wins this season. Captain Jason Pearce is suspended after picking up five yellows.

The Addicks (9th – 23 points): Drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday to keep their unbeaten home record intact. On the road, they've only won once; drawing four and losing two. Midfielder Francis Coquelin could be handed a debut after joining on loan from Arsenal. Top scorer Igor Vetokele could return to the starting XI after stepping off the bench to score the equaliser against the Owls at the weekend.

It's been a while: Leeds have only won one of the last seven meetings and haven't overcome Charlton at Elland Road since a 3-1 Premier League victory in October 2000.

Middlesbrough v Norwich City

Boro (3rd – 27 points): Moved up to third with a convincing 3-0 win at Rotherham last time out. Their away form is the best in the division but their home record reads three wins, two draws and two defeats. Albert Adomah missed the win against the Millers through illness, but could return.

The Canaries (6th – 26 points): Ended a five-game winless streak by beating Bolton at home last Friday.  Cameron Jerome bagged a brace in that game and is likely to lead the line again. Norwich possess the third-best away form in the division, with 13 points from seven trips, but they have only triumphed in one of the 10 most recent meetings against Boro.

Millwall v Blackburn Rovers

The Lions (16th – 17 points): Saw their four-match undefeated run ended by Watford at the weekend and they'll be pleased to return to The Den, where they have collected three of their four victories. They've only won once in 10, though. Danny Shittu missed the game against the Hornets but is likely to be recalled.

Rovers (7th – 25 points): Are unbeaten in five, winning their most three including last time out against Reading. Ben Marshall was the star of the show against the Royals and he was named in the Sky Bet Football League Team of the Week yesterday. Tommy Spurr, Chris Brown, Josh King and Jason Lowe remain sidelined through injury.

Five-star: Blackburn are unbeaten in five visits to The Den. Millwall's last victory at home to Rovers was in Division Two in 1991.

Reading v Rotherham United – 8pm

The Royals (15th – 18 points): That defeat at Blackburn was Reading's fourth in five outings. Four of their five victories have come at the Madejski Stadium, and they are unbeaten in 13 games at home to Rotherham, stretching back to May 1977. Defender Michael Hector returns from suspension for the game against the Millers.

The Millers (17th – 17 points): Lost for the first time in six last time out, against Middlesbrough. They've struggled on the road with their only away win so far this term coming at Millwall on 23rd August. Striker Alex Revell is out through injury.

Sheffield Wednesday v Bournemouth

The Owls (13th – 20 points): Have drawn their last three to stretch their run without a victory to seven outings. Over that period they've found the net just four times, but they could welcome back striker Stevie May for the visit of Bournemouth.

The Cherries (2nd – 27 points): Are flying high in second after five wins on the spin, most recently a 3-2 success against Brighton. Eddie Howe's men have found the net a league-high 31 times, including 18 on the road. Centre-back Tommy Elphick is a doubt after picking up an injury against the Seagulls.

Contrasting fortunes: Bournemouth have scored 22 over their last 10 games, while Sheffield Wednesday have found the net only seven times in their most recent 10 matches.

Wednesday 5th November 2014

Fulham v Blackpool

The Cottagers (20th – 15 points): Stretched their unbeaten run to four games, after earning a point in Saturday’s six-goal thriller at Wigan. Record signing Ross McCormack was dismissed after picking up two bookings, and is suspended for this match as a result.

The Tangerines (24th – 6 points): There was no honeymoon period for new boss Lee Clark, as his side went down 2-0 at home to Ipswich at the weekend. Clark has dipped into the transfer market for the first time, bringing in Norwich winger Jacob Murphy on a three-month loan deal, as the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom club chase a first win on the road this season.

Room 101: This meeting will be the 101st league clash between the pair, with Blackpool having the slight edge over the previous 100 games. The Tangerines lead 36-34 in the head-to-head, but haven’t scored at Craven Cottage in the league in their previous six visits, dating back to 1988.

Nottingham Forest v Brentford

Forest (10th – 22 points): It’s now eight games without a win in the Sky Bet Championship, following a 3-0 defeat at Huddersfield at the weekend. They were behind after just 44 seconds in that match, so will be pleased to see Kelvin Wilson return at the heart of their defence. Matty Fryatt could also feature after missing Saturday’s game with a groin problem.

The Bees (12th – 22 points): Come in to this game following a fantastic 2-1 win over Derby, which knocked the Rams off of the top spot. Stuart Dallas returned from injury to fire the last-gasp winner, which leaves them just four points off the Play-Off pack, and both he and Sam Saunders are hoping to force their way into the starting line-up.

Stingless Bees: The pair haven’t met for seven years, since Forest did the double over Brentford in League 1, as well as earning an FA Cup win over the Bees in the same season. Brentford have only overcome Forest once since 1949 - a 2-1 win at the City Ground in 2005.

All games are 7.45pm kick-offs unless stated.

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