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Match Previews

Sky Bet Championship weekend preview

3 October 2014

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

Friday 4th October 2014 – 7:45pm kick-off – live on Sky Sports

Blackpool v Cardiff City

The Tangerines (24th – 3 points): Drew 1-1 with high-flying Middlesbrough in midweek, but remain winless in their opening 10 matches. Striker Ishmael Miller netted his first goal of the season at the Riverside on Tuesday, ensuring they shared the spoils for the third time this season.

The Bluebirds (14th – 13 points): Picked up a point away at Brighton on Tuesday to cap a mixed September that included three defeats. Caretaker managers Scott Young and Danny Gabbidon will once again take the first-team reins on Saturday, as talks between the Bluebirds and Russell Slade continue.

Mixed memories: These two sides famously met in the 2010 Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley, with Blackpool coming from behind to win 3-2 and earn promotion to the Premier League.

Saturday 27th September 2014

Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday – 12:45 kick-off – live on Sky Sports

The Whites (12th – 14 points): Drew 0-0 at home to Reading on Wednesday evening to continue Darko Milanic’s quest for a first win as head coach. They've lost just once at Elland Road this season - 1-0 to Brighton back in August.

The Owls (9th – 16 points): Bounced back from a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff last weekend by drawing 1-1 against in-form Ipswich Town in midweek. 70 per cent of their goals have come away from home this season.

Read: Leeds United head coach Darko Milanic believes it is "extremely important" that he secures his first win in charge in this weekend's Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday.

Blackburn Rovers v Huddersfield Town

Rovers (11th – 14 points): Lost 2-0 away to Rotherham last time out. Have conceded at least one goal in each of their of their five home games this season, and are likely to be missing their star striker striker Rudy Gestede after he picked up a hamstring injury at the New York Stadium.

The Terriers (18th – 11 points): Stunned Wolves to pick up a 3-1 win at Molineux on Wednesday and record successive victories for the first time this season. Those two wins were Chris Powell's first in charge, since he took over at the start of September.

One sided: Huddersfield have failed to win any of their last eight matches against Blackburn, with Rovers victorious on six of those occasions.

Bolton Wanderers v Bournemouth

The Trotters (23rd – 5 points): Were thrashed 4-0 by Fulham at Craven Cottage in the week, making it four straight defeats in all competitions. All five of their points this season have come at home, where they recorded their only victory against Rotherham last month.

The Cherries (15th – 12 points): Lost 2-0 to Derby in their last outing following two wins in two outings in all competitions. Artur Boruc, Tokelo Rantie and Ryan Fraser are all set to return to the squad after missing the defeat at iPro Stadium. Rantie scored four for the reserves in midweek.

Unfamiliar face: Up until last season, Bolton and Bournemouth had not met for over 20 years, with Wanderers taking four points from the two meetings last term.
Brentford v Reading

The Bees (13th – 14 points): Lost to Watford in midweek to make it three defeats in their last four matches. However, they've lost just one of their five games at Griffin Park, winning two and drawing two.
The Royals (10th – 15 points): Their stalemate with Leeds United in the week means Reading have now picked up just two points from their last nine available. Were on a run of four successive victories in all competitions prior to that, but have just one away victory to their name this season.

Promotion battle: The last time these two sides met, promotion to Division One was the prize. A Jamie Cureton strike stole a draw for Reading and ensured they took the runners-up spot, and promotion, ahead of Brentford.

Charlton Athletic v Birmingham City

The Addicks (6th – 18 points): Johnnie Jackson’s winner deep into the second-half allowed Charlton to earn a win over league leaders Norwich City on Tuesday night. They remain unbeaten and are one of teams who could find themselves top of the table with a victory this weekend.

The Blues (20th – 10 points): Picked up their first away win of the campaign by beating Millwall 3-1 at The Den last time out. Keeping clean sheets has not come easily for Birmingham, having done so just once in 28 games in all competitions.

Derby County v Millwall

The Rams (4th – 19 points): Stretched their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at iPro Stadium during the week. Have won three of their last four league matches - a feat that sees them just one point off the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.

The Lions (16th – 11 points): Millwall’s 3-1 defeat to Birmingham brought to an end a dismal month for the club having picked up only one point out of a possible 15 in September. They've registered just the one win on the road this season, beating Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage back in August.

Away success: These two enjoyed away victories against each other last season, with Derby coasting to a 5-1 win at The Den and Millwall triumphing 1-0 at the iPro.

Middlesbrough v Fulham

Boro (8th – 17 points): Drew 1-1 with bottom-of-the-table Blackpool last time out – their third draw on the spin in all competitions. Sharing the spoils of late has cost them the chance to sit at the summit of the table, but they are only three points off leaders Norwich.

The Cottagers (22nd – 7 points): Wednesday’s 4-0 demolition of Bolton was Fulham’s second consecutive victory in the league, meaning their season is finally under way after a faltering start. They've conceded 16 goals on their travels this season - an average of more than three every game.

Former glories: This is the first time these two sides have met in The Football League for 27 years, with the pair enjoying lengthy Premier League stints in recent times.

Norwich City v Rotherham United

The Canaries (1st – 20 points): Lost at home for the first time in the league this season during the week, with Charlton Athletic leaving with three points. They remain top of the table thanks to their superior goal difference, though.

The Millers (17th – 11 points): Rotherham put right their defeat to Ipswich last weekend with a 2-0 triumph over Blackburn on Tuesday night. That result ended a six-game winless run in all competitions.

Goals galore: The last two meetings between Norwich and Rotherham have produced 14 goals, with one ending in a 4-4 draw and the other a 4-2 victory for the Canaries.

Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion

The Hornets (3rd – 20 points): A 2-1 victory over Brentford at Vicarage Road in the midweek fixtures means Watford now sit alongside Norwich and Nottingham Forest at the summit on 20 points. They possess the best home record in the division, having won four and drawn one.
The Seagulls (19th – 10 points): Their point at home to Cardiff in the week stretched their run of six league games without a win. They've triumphed just once on the road all season, overcoming Leeds United 2-0 at Elland Road back in August.

Head-to-head: In the 98 league clashes between these two sides, Brighton hold the superior record with 38 wins to Watford’s 31, with the other 29 meetings ending level.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic

Wolves (7th – 18 points): Lost for the first time in eight matches in midweek, falling 3-1 to Huddersfield at Molineux. Their home form has been strong despite that blip, winning four times and scoring in every match. Midfielder Lee Evans will miss the game after picking up a hamstring injury against the Terriers.
The Latics (21st – 9 points): Held off high-flying Nottingham Forest to take a point at the DW Stadium on Tuesday. Their recent form has seen them slide down the league table. They were winless in September, and took just two points from a possible 15.
Expect goals: The last three fixtures between these two has seen an average of four goals scored per-game.

Sunday 5th October – 3pm kick-off

Nottingham Forest v Ipswich Town

Forest (2nd – 20 points): Missed out on reclaiming top spot in the table following a midweek draw with Wigan. Remain unbeaten in the league, but have suffered a dip in form, drawing four of their last five in the Sky Bet Championship, including their most recent three.

The Tractor Boys (5th – 18 points): Their point away to Sheffield Wednesday in the week ensured they enjoyed an unbeaten September, with four wins coming prior to that draw. Midfielder Jonny Williams grabbed the midweek equaliser to mark a successful loan return to the club.

Stalemate: Both clashes between these two last season ended level.

All kick-off times are 3pm unless stated

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