With the season’s first international break all wrapped up, the Sky Bet Championship returns with a bumper weekend worthy of the wait. Take a look at our preview…
Friday night lights
The weekend of Sky Bet Championship action kicks off in sensational style when Birmingham City host West Bromwich Albion in a Midlands derby under the lights.
Garry Monk’s side are the only team currently outside of the relegation zone yet to win this season, having drawn four and lost two of their first six. Birmingham’s defensive record of six goals conceded is only bettered by Swansea City outside of the top six.
However, the Blues rearguard will certainly be tested with the visit of the division’s top goalscorers. On the flip side, Darren Moore’s team have also let in more goals out of anyone in the top 10.
The Baggies and Birmingham have met more than 100 times in league football, most recently three years ago when West Brom progressed to the FA Cup fifth round – Albion’s third win on the bounce against their Midlands rivals.
Still pondering your plans for Friday night? This spectacular showdown is live on Sky Sports.
Saturday’s busy afternoon agenda features an exciting encounter between Bristol City and Sheffield United, who currently sit third and sixth respectively.
The Blades have returned from Ashton Gate victorious in their last three visits; the latest match-up resulting in a five-goal thriller that saw the hosts almost pull back a 3-0 half-time deficit on the final day of last season.
Following that game, these two sides finished the campaign in 10th and 11th in the table with just two points separating them, but four months later, they join each other in an early play-off picture.
Since the end of last season, the Robins and the Blades have made headway together, but who will take the upperhand at Ashton Gate?
Around the grounds
In addition to Friday’s derby, fellow Midlands side Aston Villa travel to Blackburn Rovers for a televised Saturday evening fixture on Sky Sports. Both sides have won three, drawn two and lost once, but the Villains have the worst defensive record in the top half of the table.
Elsewhere, the last two unbeaten sides in the Sky Bet Championship, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, are taking trips to Millwall and Norwich City respectively.
Winless sides Ipswich Town and Reading travel to Hull City and Preston North End, two sides who have wished for better starts themselves.
Friday 7 September 2018
Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion (7:45pm – Live on Sky Sports)
Saturday 8 September 2018 (3pm kick-off unless stated)
Bolton Wanderers v Queens Park Rangers
Brentford v Wigan Athletic
Bristol City v Sheffield United
Hull City v Ipswich Town
Millwall v Leeds United
Norwich City v Middlesbrough
Preston North End v Reading
Rotherham United v Derby County
Sheffield Wednesday v Stoke City
Swansea City v Nottingham Forest
Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa (5:30pm – live on Sky Sports)