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Matchday 30: Sky Bet Championship preview

1 February 2019

Matchday 30 in the Sky Bet Championship has thrown up some tasty fixtures at both ends of the table.

Top two face off at Elland Road

Norwich City are hot on the tail of league leaders Leeds United as the season continues to take shape, and the two sides go head-to-head in the late game in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Saturday evening.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men have a three-point lead at the top of the table after seeing off Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United 2-1 last weekend, while the Canaries could only draw 2-2 with fellow promotion candidates Sheffield United.

The Whites will be looking to complete a league double over their opponents for the first time since the 1980/81 season, but Norwich have only lost one of their last 17 league matches and are unbeaten in their last 12 on the road.

Boro to see off West Brom?

As well as pace-setters Leeds taking on second-placed Norwich City at the weekend, we have another Play-Off battle at the Hawthorns as West Bromwich Albion entertain Middlesbrough.

Boro boss Tony Pulis and his side are looking to record back-to-back victories over their opponents this season; the last time Middlesbrough did that was back in April 2005.

The Baggies, however, will be looking to continue their rise towards the automatic promotion places - they haven’t been on the wrong end of a league result since losing 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Day.

Relegation battle intensifies for the Millers

Rotherham have only carded five wins all season and have found themselves on the losing side four times out of their last five Championship games.

The Millers head down the M1 to Millwall at the weekend, looking to pull away from the dreaded drop zone, but this season’s away record is hard reading for the South Yorkshire side, who have not picked up a win on the road in 15 attempts.

The Lions will be buoyed after knocking out Premier League Everton in the Emirates FA Cup last Saturday. The last time they recorded a home victory over Rotherham, however, current manager Neil Harris was on the scoresheet in a 4-0 victory.

Blades to chop down Bolton?

Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United have had a fantastic season so far in the Championship.

Currently sitting in third place in the league standings, they will be looking to take all three points from their game against Bolton Wanderers at the weekend for the first time since the 1947/48 season.

The Trotters are somewhat of a bogey side for Wilder, who has lost three games against Bolton in all competitions - he has not lost to any other side on more occasions.

Around the grounds

Preston North End and Derby County kick off Matchday 30 in the Championship on Friday night under the lights. The Rams are unbeaten in their last 11 league matches, winning eight and drawing three.

Lee Johnson and Bristol City have somewhat slipped under the radar in recent weeks, rising to seventh in the league standings. The Robins will be looking to continue their Play-Off push against Swansea City on Saturday.

Martin O’Neill got his first win since taking over at Nottingham Forest with a 3-1 victory over Wigan Athletic last time out; his side travel to Birmingham City, searching for back-to-back Championship victories for the first time since September.

Bottom club Ipswich Town host Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, with Steve Bruce to begin his managerial reign as Owls boss on Friday.

Reading are a point adrift of safety as it stands, and take on Aston Villa, looking to record back-to-back home victories over the Villans for the first time in their history.

Elsewhere, Blackburn travel to Brentford, Hull City entertain Stoke City and Wigan host Queens Park Rangers. 

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