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Matchday 25: Sky Bet Championship preview

28 December 2018

With the festive fixtures coming thick and fast, we don't have to wait long for another full round of fixtures as 2018 comes to a close. It is shaping up to be one of the most exciting Sky Bet Championship campaigns yet and there's some cracking looking games in Matchday 25

Mouth-watering clash in store at Carrow Road 

Norwich City are making a habit of salvaging points at the death and they face a stern test of their promotion push this weekend when Frank Lampard’s 6th placed Derby County team travel to Carrow Road.


The Rams will be heavily reliant on thsir star man, the in-form Harry Wilson, who has eight league goals this season and has been a cause of celebration for Derby fans, scoring a number of sensational goals. But they and Wilson suffered defeat last time out at Sheffield United and find themselves without a win in three. 


The Canaries by contrast have lost just the one match in their last 19 attempts and after the drama of Boxing Day when Onel Hernandez scored two injury time goals, Norwich will be keen not to leave it quite as late as they look to keep the pressure on Leeds at the top. 


Leaders Leeds look to extend winning run against in-form Tigers

Kemar Roofe’s two injury time winning goals twice in a week could well place him in Leeds United folklore if the Whites are to go up this season. Two wins in as many games made it seven on the spin as they went three points clear at the top. 


But Nigel Adkins will be confident of putting a spanner in the works having seen his Hull City team win their last three matches, propelling his side clear of the relegation zone. But the Tigers have only won three of their last 23 visits to Elland Road and have only lost once at home all season.


Can the Bees put a sting in tail of Blues’ play-off push? 

Brentford are looking to win three straight away matches at Birmingham City in all competitions for the first time since December 1990! If they’re to do so, they’ll have to inflict just a second defeat on the Blues at St. Andrews this season. 


Birmingham have lost just one of their last six matches, but will be well aware of the danger posed by Bees striker Neal Maupay, the Sky Bet Championship’s top goal scorer, who netted his 15th goal of the season last time out. 


Blades to sharpen promotion hopes against Blackburn?

With 18 points, no Championship team has lost more points from winning positions this season than Blackburn Rovers, who somehow managed to lose from the jaws of victory against Leeds United last time out. 


They travel to Bramall Lane tomorrow having lost once once against Sheffield United at this level since 2000 – when they lost 5-0. Rovers will have to keep the likes of Oli Norwood quiet as well – the United man having created more goal scoring chances than any other player in the league this season. 


Around the grounds


West Bromwich Albion are bang in form, having won six and drawn two of their last eight league games, while scoring two or more goals in seven of those matches along the way. The relentless Baggies are bang in contention of an automatic promoption place, on the coat-tails of the two leaders, and will be confident of another win against Sheffield Wednesday, though the Owls have won their last two on the bounce 1-0. 


Queens Park Rangers have won their last three Sky Bet Championship games – they last won four in a row back in January 2014, a season in which they were promoted via the Championship play-offs. Tomorrow they face Reading, who are winless in eight league games and in desperate need of the points. 


Aston Villa have lost just once in their last nine matches in the league but will have to be at their best to beat Preston North End, who before the weekend’s defeat against Hull City, had not lost in their previous six games. 


Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest travel to Milwall, whose win at the weekend lifted them out of the bottom three. But Forest are unbeaten in their last nine matches away from home. Middlesbrough have lost three of the last five but welcome bottom side Ipswich Town to the Riverside on Saturday. The Tractor Boys haven’t won there in eight years. 


Bristol City face Rotherham United hoping to extend their unbeaten run to seven games and Bolton Wanderers are hoping for back to back wins at home for the first time since January when they play Stoke City. 





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