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Match Previews

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 39 preview

1 April 2016

The Sky Bet Championship is back! The battle at the top of the division will intensify this weekend with the top three all in action on Sky Sports.

Middlesbrough play under the Loftus Road lights in their Friday night trip to QPR, before Brighton meet Burnley in one of two Saturday lunchtime clashes.

Here's a look at the full weekend fixture list in the Sky Bet Championship:

Friday 1st April 2016

Queens Park Rangers v Middlesbrough (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 2nd April 2016

Blackburn Rovers v Preston North End (12:30pm)
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley (12:30pm - live on Sky Sports)
Bolton Wanderers v Reading
Cardiff City v Derby County
Charlton Athletic v Birmingham City
Fulham v Milton Keynes Dons
Huddersfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday
Hull City v Bristol City
Nottingham Forest v Brentford
Rotherham United v Leeds United
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Ipswich Town

Middlesbrough are currently third in the Championship but can move up to second, until Saturday afternoon at least, if they avoid defeat against QPR, who are managed by former Boro favourite Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Things could get really interesting on Saturday, when second-placed Brighton host league leaders Burnley. The Clarets will open up a seven-point gap over their opponents with victory in what promises to be an intriguing encounter in front of the Sky cameras.

Also on Saturday lunchtime, local bragging rights are at stake when Blackburn host Preston, with the Lilywhites seeking a first win over their Lancashire rivals since 1997. That's not the only derby this weekend, with two all-Yorkshire clashes also taking place.

One of those is Huddersfield against Sheffield Wednesday. A late show from the Owls back in November denied David Wagner a debut victory, but the Terriers defeated Leeds 4-1 before the international break and will be eyeing up more derby glory here.

The other – Rotherham versus Leeds – could be a cracker, with current bosses Neil Warnock and Steve Evans both having managed in the opposite dugout previously. Warnock has guided the Millers to five unbeaten matches, which has seen them climb out of the bottom three.

And that brings us on to another crucial clash – Fulham against MK Dons. The Cottagers are 21st with 38 points; the Dons one point and one place worse off. Slavisa Jokanovic's men are without a win in seven, but will remain above the safety line if they can avoid defeat at Craven Cottage.

Bolton and Charlton occupy the bottom two relegation spots but both have home advantage this weekend, taking on Reading and Birmingham respectively.

Cardiff welcome Derby to Wales in a battle among two Play-Off chasers. The Bluebirds are currently one place outside the top six, while County are fifth – two points behind Hull, who face Bristol City at the KC Stadium.

Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest play host to Brentford, while Wolves take on Ipswich at Molineux.

Match Official Appointments

The match officials for this weekend's Football League matches were announced earlier this week.

Click here to see the officials on duty in the Sky Bet Championship

Don't miss it!

You can follow all the weekend action with our divisional Twitter feed - @SkyBetChamp.

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