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Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 26 preview

After yet another late, late show at Carrow Road it is getting tasty at the top of the Sky Bet Championship, as a New Year kicks off we run you through some of the highlights of Matchday 26.

1 January 2019

After yet another late, late show at Carrow Road it is getting tasty at the top of the Sky Bet Championship, as a New Year kicks off we run you through some of the highlights of Matchday 26.

Rams to leapfrog play-off rivals Middlesbrough?

As years go it hasn’t been a bad one for striker Jack Marriot in the EFL, his 2018 was topped off with a last-minute winner over Norwich City and he will be looking to fire the Rams to another three points on Tuesday.

Derby’s last win on New Year’s Day came against the Boro back in 2013, goals coming from Michael Jacobs, Jeff Henrick and Conor Sammon gave the Rams a 3-1 win.

Pride Park has become a happy hunting ground for Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis as he has been victorious on his last three visitors to Derbyshire.

His last defeat came in February 2006 when he was the manager of now-League One side Plymouth Argyle.


Big battle at the bottom 

Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town are currently seven points from safety in the Championship and are looking to close the gap on the teams above them with a victory over Millwall. 

The Tractor boys are unbeaten in their last four home league fixtures against Millwall, winning three and drawing one and have scored two or more goals in those games.

The Lions are winless in 14 away Championship matches, their last win coming back in April 2018, where they saw off Bolton Wanderers 2-0.


Leeds to pile more pressure on Nottingham Forest?

Nottingham Forest are winless in their last four Sky Bet Championship fixtures against Leeds United, their last win came in August 2016.

This will be Leeds’ first away league match on New Year’s Day for 22 years – since losing 3-0 at Newcastle United in the Premier League in 1997.

Forest striker Lewis Grabban clearly enjoys playing against the Yorkshire outfit as he has scored four in his last five league starts.

If Leeds are to record a victory over Forest at the City Ground on Tuesday, it will be the first time since 1969 that they would have won back-to-back games there.


Blades to put Wigan to the sword?

Sheffield United closed 2018 in style with a 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers, a brace from Billy Sharp and a chested effort from David McGoldrick was enough to hand them the three points at Bramall Lane.

Chris Wilder’s side beat the Latics 4-2 in the reverse meeting earlier on in the season, they last recorded a league double over Wigan in the 1988/89 season.

It is not good reading for Wigan though as they have lost their last two home games on New Year’s Day by an aggregate score of 7-0, losing 3-0 to Blackburn in 2007 and 4-0 to Manchester United in 2013.

This will be the ninth Football League meeting between managers Paul Cook and Chris Wilder, both have won four apiece.


Around the grounds

Aston Villa entertain Queens Park Rangers at Villa Park on New Year’s Day, forward Tammy Abraham has scored in each of his last four Championship appearances at Villa Park, scoring seven.

Norwich City head to Griffin Park to take on struggling Brentford, the Canaries have kept a clean sheet in each of their three Championship visits to Brentford and they will be looking to keep another after shipping four against Derby County in their final game of 2018.

Blackburn Rovers haven’t been beaten on New Year’s Day at Ewood Park since 1977, and they will look to keep that record intact when they entertain third-placed West Bromwich Albion.

Manager-less Sheffield Wednesday take on Birmingham City on Tuesday and have lost each of their last three league games against the Blues, their worst run against them since October 2008.

New Year’s Day sees a mid-table battled between Stoke City and Bristol City take place at the bet365 Stadium, the Potters are unbeaten in their last eight home games against Bristol City.

Hull City shocked the Championship with a 2-0 victory over Leeds United at Elland Road last time out, the Tigers face Bolton Wanderers on New Year’s Day with boss Nigel Adkins only losing one of his five league matches against Bolton.

 Reading have a job on their hands when Swansea City visit the Madejski Stadium, the Royals are without a win in 10 games in all competitions against the Swans, drawing four and losing six.

 Finally, Preston North End travel to south Yorkshire to take on Paul Warne’s Rotherham United looking to win back-to-back away league matches against the Millers for the first time since 2016. 


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