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Match Previews

Sky Bet Championship weekend preview

31 October 2014

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

Friday 31st October 2014

Norwich City v Bolton Wanderers - 7.45pm kick-off - live on Sky Sports

The Canaries (6th - 23 points): Were unlucky not to take all three points in a 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in their last fixture, after a string of great saves from opposition goalkeeper Keiren Westwood. The stalemate was their fifth game without a win, and they’ve scored just twice in that period.

The Trotters (22nd - 11 points): New manager Neil Lennon recorded his second victory in three games last time out, as Bolton beat Brentford 3-1 at the Macron Stadium. Despite their gloomy early season form, the club could move out of the bottom three this weekend. Defender David Wheater and midfielder Liam Trotter could return.

Double trouble: The last time these two sides met was in the Premier League three seasons ago, with Norwich recording 2-0 and 2-1 wins over Bolton in that campaign.

Saturday 1st November 2014

Blackburn Rovers v Reading

Rovers (8th - 22 points): Recorded consecutive wins for the first time this season after coming from behind to beat Nottingham Forest last week. That was the first home defeat of the season for their opponents, and a result that saw Blackburn jump three places to eighth, just one point outside the Play-Off places.

The Royals (14th - 18 points): Triumphed for the first time in six games last Saturday, beating lowly Blackpool 3-0 at the Madejski Stadium. The win followed three straight defeats in the league, and their away form is among the Championship’s worst, having lost four times on the road.

More goals please: The last three meetings between Blackburn and Reading has produced just one goal, with Rovers taking the 1-0 win in their last clash, after two previous goalless stalemates.

Blackpool v Ipswich Town

The Tangerines (24th - 6 points): Lost 3-0 away at Reading in their last fixture, a result that left them seven points off safety. Their 10th defeat of the season spelt the end for manager Jose Riga, who was replaced with former Birmingham City boss Lee Clark on Thursday.

The Tractor Boys (10th - 21 points): Surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Huddersfield six days ago, making it five games without a win - a huge slump in form compared to their strong September. However, a victory and results going Ipswich’s way this weekend would see them back in the Play-Off places come Saturday evening.

Bournemouth v Brighton & Hove Albion - 5.15pm kick-off - live on Sky Sports

The Cherries (4th - 24 points): Recorded a fourth-straight victory with an 8-0 thrashing of Birmingham last weekend, taking them to fourth in the table. They possess the best goal difference in the league following that result, and will be boosted by their midweek defeat of West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup.

The Seagulls (21st - 13 points): A 1-1 draw with Rotherham last time around means it’s now 10 league games without victory for Brighton. They also bowed out of the Capital One Cup in midweek, falling 2-0 away to Tottenham Hotspur.

Spoils shared: These sides have drawn three of their last four games in which they have come up against each other, with all of those stalemates ending 1-1.
Brentford v Derby County

The Bees (13th - 19 points): A 3-1 loss at Bolton last time out means Brentford have picked up just two points from their last nine available. Their home form has proved stronger for them so far this season, though, having won three, drawn three and lost only once.

The Rams (1st - 26 points): Were defeated 2-1 at home to Wigan Athletic last week to end their 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions. They also saw their record of not conceding in over 10 hours of football end, but were soon back to winning ways as they thumped Fulham 5-2 in the Capital One Cup in midweek, which earned them a Quarter-Final tie with Chelsea.

Goals, goals, goals: The last four meetings between these sides have produced 14 goals, an average of more than three a game. Derby won the last encounter 5-0.

Cardiff City v Leeds United

The Bluebirds (11th - 19 points): Lost 1-0 at Millwall last Saturday to bring Russell Slade’s honeymoon period with the club to an abrupt end. The result means they are one of only two sides without an away win in the Sky Bet Championship this term, but they boast the second-strongest home record having picked up 15 points from their seven games in the Welsh capital.

The Whites (18th - 16 points): Failed to convert their lead into a victory against Wolves in their last fixture, losing 2-1 after going in front. Three draws and three defeats in their last six signalled the end for boss Darko Milanic, who departed Elland Road without a victory to his name. Academy manager Neil Redfearn will once again take the reins, after going undefeated in his first spell as caretaker earlier this season.

Flying Bluebirds: Cardiff have not lost in 15 games against Leeds, stretching all the way back to 1984. They have won 10 of the meetings since then, with the other five ending level.

Charlton Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday

The Addicks (9th - 22 points): Crashed to their second defeat in five games at the hands of Fulham last week, bringing their assault on the Play-Off places to a temporary halt. They remain as one of just two sides in the division who are yet to lose at home this season, winning four and drawing three at The Valley.

The Owls (12th - 19 points): Drew 0-0 with Norwich last time out to extend their winless run to six games, with only three goals scored over that spell. They signed Leicester City striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher on loan just hours before their game against the Canaries last week and he could feature this time around.

Three strikes and out: These pair met three times in all competitions last season, with Sheffield Wednesday failing to win any of those games. Charlton won twice at Hillsborough, and held the Owls to a draw at The Valley.

Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest

The Terriers (17th - 17 points): Came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Ipswich last weekend, a result that extended their undefeated run to six games, that includes three victories. Defender Murray Wallace, who has featured nine times this season, penned a contract extension on Thursday, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2016/17 season.

Forest (7th - 22 points): Are now without a win in eight matches in all competitions, after throwing away a lead to lose 3-1 to Blackburn last week - their first home defeat this campaign. They brought in Tom Ince on loan from Hull City this week in a bid to freshen up their attacking options.

Rotherham United v Middlesbrough

The Millers (16th - 17 points): Drew 1-1 with Brighton in their last fixture to take their undefeated run to five matches. Their home record this season reads three wins, two draws, two losses, scoring nine and conceding nine.

Boro (5th - 24 points): Have hit a stumbling block by their own high standard of late, taking just one point from their last two games after drawing with Watford last week. They remain just two points off the top however, and could hit the summit should results go their way this weekend.

Millers mullered: Rotherham have failed to beat Middlesbrough since New Year’s Day 1966, having lost four and drawn four of their eight meetings since.

Watford v Millwall

The Hornets (2nd - 26 points): Failed to take advantage of Derby’s loss to Wigan, which would have seen them return to the top of the table, by drawing 1-1 with Middlesbrough. That result did keep their unbeaten run of eight games intact however, and they return to Vicarage Road this weekend having not lost in front of their home support this term.

The Lions (15th - 17 points): Ended a spell of eight games without a victory by beating Cardiff City 1-0 at The Den last Saturday. Despite their lack of wins, they are now unbeaten in four matches, having drawn three on the bounce prior to that three-point haul.

Wigan Athletic v Fulham

The Latics (19th - 15 points): Finally broke free of their poor run that consisted of no wins in eight and four consecutive draws, by beating league leaders Derby County on their own patch last Saturday. James McClean bagged a brace in that outing to score his first goals of the season. Wigan possess a solid home record this term, losing just once in seven games.

The Cottagers (20th - 13 points): Beat Charlton 3-0 at Craven Cottage in their last Championship match, meaning they have picked up seven points from their last nine available. They moved out of the relegation places for the first time this season with that win. Kit Symons has been given the managerial role on a permanent basis following their recent upturn in results.

Never a dull moment: Wigan and Fulham have met a total of 42 times in their long history, and only once has there been a goalless draw in this fixture.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Birmingham City - 12.15pm kick-off - live on Sky Sports

Wolves (3rd - 26 points): Back-to-back victories, that included the 2-1 defeat of Leeds United last weekend, has seen Wolves go joint-top of the Sky Bet Championship. Kenny Jackett’s men possess the best home record in the division, having lost just once in their seven games at Molineux this season. 

The Blues (23rd - 11 points): Suffered a humiliating 8-0 home defeat to Bournemouth last weekend to take their miserable run at St Andrew’s to one win in 25 games. They now sit in the relegation places and possess the worst goal difference in the league. Appointed Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett as their new boss on Tuesday.

Contrasting fortunes: The goal difference for these two sides reads very differently, with Wolves having scored 21 goals to Birmingham’s 12, and conceded just 15 to the Blues' 28 this term.

All games are 3pm kick-offs unless stated.

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