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Sky Bet Championship preview: 8-10 February

8 February 2019

There's a host of fantastic fixtures lined up in the Sky Bet Championship this weekend, with important games at both ends of the table.

Blades to put the pressure on?

With league leaders Norwich City and second-placed Leeds United not in action until Saturday, Sheffield United have a chance to go top of the table on Friday evening, but will have to overcome a tricky trip to Aston Villa. The Blades are currently three points behind the top two, but have only one won of their last seven away league games against Villa.

Bielsa's men to bounce back?

In Saturday's early kick-off, Leeds travel to Middlesbrough, who will be full of confidence after beating fellow promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion 3-2 last time out. Leeds lost to Norwich last weekend, but a postive was Patrick Bamford's goal-scoring contribution - he's scored with both of his shots on target in the league this season, and could face his former club.

Play-Off contenders go head-to-head

Blackburn Rovers and Bristol City will face off at Ewood Park on Saturday, looking to boost their respective Play-Off charges. Both Tony Mowbray and Lee Johnson have been nominated for January's Manager of the Month award following a fantastic few weeks, but who will come out on top in this one? Victory for Rovers would be their fourth consecutive home Championship win for the first time since 2016.

Top vs bottom in derby day clash

On Sunday, Norwich face local rivals Ipswich Town at Carrow Road in an eagerly anticipated derby clash. The sides have experienced contrasting seasons, and Ipswich could be as many as 10 points adrift of safety by the time this one kicks off. Their record in this fixture doesn't make for good reading, either - they haven't won a league game at Norwich since 2006.

Around the grounds

Elsewhere this weekend, there's an all-North West clash between struggling Bolton Wanderers and 18th-placed Preston North End, Derby County welcome Hull City to Pride Park and in-form Brentford travel to Nottingham Forest. Meanwhile, victory for Rotherham United at home to Wigan Athletic could move them to within three points of their opponents, and Sheffield Wednesday will be looking for three more points under Steve Bruce when they face Reading. Finally, Queens Park Rangers take on Birmingham City, Millwall travel to Swansea City and Stoke City host West Brom.

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