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Matchday 21: Sky Bet Championship preview

7 December 2018

With only a point separating both the top two and 3rd and 7th, it's impossible to take your eyes off the action in the Sky Bet Championship. Matchday 21 promises more of the same.

Can in-form Villa continue winning streak at rivals West Brom?

 

High flying Aston Villa travel to local rivals West Bromwich Albion on Friday night, in a match under the lights, to kick-off the action in the Sky Bet Championship. 

 

West Bromwich Albion were denied all three points late on against Brentford on Monday night at the Hawthorns, but will be keen to take any pent up frustration out on a Villa side who have been in imperious form under manager Dean Smith. 

 

Tammy Abraham has been at the forefront of their goalscoring form with seven goals in four games, while Villa have scored a total of 12 goals in their last three encounters. With West Brom still the top scorers in the division this season, it should be a terrific encounter to get the weekend under way on Friday. 

 

Can Derby keep the pressure on the top six?

 

Derby County travel to the DW Stadium on Saturday looking to continue their recent good run against Wigan Athletic – winning on four of the last five times they’ve played the Latics on their own patch. 

 

Lampard’s side sit just outside the play-off places and will be hoping to get back in to the top six with a win here. They had their on-loan star, Harry Wilson, to thank for another two goals in midweek and the winger has scored more goals from outside the box this season than any other player in the EFL. 

 

Grabban and Forest on fire

 

Lewis Grabban has been in fine goal scoring form for Nottingham Forest and his two goals against Ipswich Town helped the Reds in to 5th place in midweek. Grabban has bagged 11 goals in his last 9 league games as Forest look to continue their promotion push at home against Preston North End.

 

The visitors have only lost one of their last seven league games against Forest and Alex Neil’s side will hope to return to winning ways after a defeat at Birmingham saw them lose for the first time in 10 Sky Bet Championship games. 

 

Eleven years and counting

 

Blackburn Rovers have not won at the Riverside in their last five league visits there – dating back to the first day of the 2007/2008 season. If they are to do so tomorrow, they will be heavily reliant on midfielder Bradley Dack who, since the start of last season, has accumulated 27 goals and 11 assists. 

 

Middlesbrough will hope Tony Pulis can continue his managerial record of having never lost at home to Blackburn Rovers. Boro remain in third place but could find themselves back in the automatic promotion places with a win against Rovers. 

 

Top two to continue impressive home form?

The top two face what could both be seen as winnable games with Norwich facing a struggling Bolton Wanderers side at Carrow Road and Leeds United looking to continue their impressive form at home against Queens Park Rangers. 

 

The Canaries have only lost one of their last 15 games on their own patch and won again last time out, coming from behind to beat Rotherham United. Teemu Pukki was again on the scoresheet, as he grabbed his sixth goal in just five league games. 

 

Leeds United striker Kemar Roofe will be hoping to continue where he left off last seasonagainst QPR, when he scored four goals, including a hat-trick at Loftus Road and another goal at Elland Road. The R’s will be hoping to improve upon their recent form at Elland Road, with all but one of their last eight visits to Leeds ending in defeat. 

 

Around the grounds

 

Unbeaten at home all season, Birmingham City will fancy their chances of continuing that run at ‘fortress’ St Andrews where Bristol City are the visitors. The Robins have a miserable record there too and are without a win since 1993! 

 

In a battle at the bottom, Hull City will be hoping to record back to back league wins that could lift them further afield of the relegation zone, when they travel to the Den to face Millwall. The Lions are without a win in five matches, but picked up a useful point away at Bristol City last time out. 

 

Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday entertain Rotherham United at Hillsborough, hoping to record only their second win in nine games.

 

At the Potteries, Stoke City will be hoping to heap more misery on former manager Paul Lambert, as he takes his Ipswich side to the Bet 365 Stadium. The Tractor Boys haven’t won in the Potteries for 21 years! 


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