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Match Previews

Sky Bet Championship weekend preview

30 January 2015

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


Bournemouth v Watford

Bournemouth have dropped below their usual high standards of late, suffering three losses in four in all competitions, and they welcome fellow promotion chasers Watford to the Goldsands Stadium on Friday, in a game live on Sky Sports.

Prior to an FA Cup exit at the hands of Aston Villa last week, the Cherries had lost to Leeds United and Norwich City either side of a win over Rotherham United, and they could be knocked off the top of the Sky Bet Championship this weekend.

Watford go to the South Coast looking to make it three consecutive league wins, and they’re hot off the back of an impressive result that saw them come from two-down to beat Blackpool 7-2 last time out.

Odion Ighalo scored four times in that game, making him Watford’s joint top-scorer alongside Troy Deeney with 11 goals, one behind Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson.

The last two league meetings between these two have ended 1-1 but a victory for Watford this time around would see them go within a point of Eddie Howe’s men in the table.

Seventh heaven: Watford are undefeated in all of their last seven meetings with Bournemouth, winning five and drawing twice in that time.


Blackburn Rovers v Fulham

Blackburn Rovers head into the weekend without a win in five Sky Bet Championship matches ahead of their meeting with Fulham, who sit just two points behind them.

Having claimed a Premier League scalp in the FA Cup against Swansea City last Saturday, Rovers failed to build on that promise on Tuesday night when they were defeated 2-0 at Derby County.

Their last league victory came in a 2-0 win over Charlton just before Christmas, and their lack of wins has prevented them from producing a Play-Off challenge so far in 2015.

Fulham have won two of their three games since the turn of the year, and will be searching for their victory third in a row at Ewood Park having beaten Reading and Nottingham Forest in their last two league encounters.

The Cottagers also posted a positive result of their own on Cup duty last week, holding top-flight Sunderland to a 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light.

It's been a while: Blackburn won the reverse meeting 1-0 at Fulham meaning the Cottagers haven't beat Rovers in a clash outside of the top flight since September 1984.


Blackpool v Brighton & Hove Albion

Blackpool failed to turn a 2-0 half-time lead into a victory against Watford last week and were instead rolled over 7-2 by the Hornets, ahead of their meeting with Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

The visiting Albion are one of three teams in the Sky Bet Championship on 29 points - the lowest tally outside of the drop zone - but Blackpool still trail that figure by 12, so a defeat this weekend would leave the remainder of the season looking grim.

Brighton have had an up-turn in form over the last month, winning three of their four league games. They pushed Arsenal all the way in the FA Cup last Sunday, and toppled the high-flying Ipswich Town 3-2 prior to that.

Overall, Chris Hughton has won three of his five games in charge of the Seagulls and, should he make it four out of six this weekend, it'll be another step in the right direction for a club that have made the Play-Offs in both of the last two seasons.

Seaside to seaside: Brighton have enjoyed a decent record at Bloomfield Road in recent times, losing just two of the seven meetings on Blackpool's soil.


Two of the Sky Bet Championship’s top five will kick-off Saturday's action this week when Brentford host Middlesbrough at Griffin Park in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

The home side have won three on the spin after grinding out a 2-1 success at Norwich City last weekend, while Middlesbrough will still be high from their shock defeat of Premier League Champions Manchester City in the FA Cup.

Ipswich Town, who, like Middlesbrough, Brentford and Derby County, are also in with a chance of stealing top spot in division on Saturday, face lowly Wigan Athletic at Portman Road. The Tractor Boys will be fresh from a 10-day spell without a game, and should they claim all three points they’ll reduce the Latics to an eighth defeat in 10 outings.

Derby face a trip to South Wales to meet an out-of-sorts Cardiff City, who have lost four of their last six in all competitions. While the Rams drew level with Bournemouth at the summit in midweek with a 2-0 win over Blackburn, the Bluebirds have been sliding in the opposite direction, and could find themselves as low as 18th in the standings come 5pm.

Birmingham City can close the gap on Norwich City to just four points when they welcome the Canaries to St Andrew’s, which would be a remarkable feat considering the two clubs were at opposite ends of the table just a few months ago.

Little to separate: Birmingham and Norwich have drawn in all of their last three meetings, and there hasn’t been more than one goal between them in a match in over 13 years.

There’s also a bottom-half clash between Huddersfield Town and Leeds United that gets under way at 12.30pm. The former have picked up three wins from four, while the latter stunned leaders Bournemouth in their last fixture.

Bolton Wanderers, who also did well against top-flight opposition in the FA Cup last week, drawing 0-0 draw at Liverpool, have been patchy in the league of late, winning just once in their last four, prior to their clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.

Charlton Athletic and Rotherham United are separated by just three points and go head-to-head as new Addicks head coach Guy Luzon makes his dugout debut at The Valley, while Reading take on Sheffield Wednesday.

Goals galore: Reading have put 11 goals past Sheffield Wednesday in their last three meetings at the Madejski Stadium. They beat the Owls 6-0 at home in 2008 and 5-0 in 2010, before their 2-0 reverse last term.

Finally, Stuart Pearce’s Nottingham Forest, who’ve notched one win in their last nine, play Millwall at the City Ground, with the Lions boasting a similarly bad run of one victory in 10 Championship outings.


Friday 30th January 2015

Bournemouth v Watford

Saturday 31st January 2015

Brentford v Middlesbrough
Huddersfield Town v Leeds United
Birmingham City v Norwich City
Blackburn Rovers v Fulham
Blackpool v Brighton & Hove Albion
Bolton Wanderers v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Cardiff City v Derby County
Charlton Athletic v Rotherham Untied
Ipswich Town v Wigan Athletic
Nottingham Forest v Millwall
Reading v Sheffield Wednesday

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