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Sky Bet Championship Preview: Matchday 39

24 June 2020

Last week’s resumption of the Sky Bet Championship did not disappoint as the action returned with a bang, and we’re back again this weekend with another blockbuster matchday.

The end of the regular season edges ever closer, with still so much to play for in the league table. 
This weekend’s action will kick-off under the lights on Friday night, as Brentford host new league-leaders West Bromwich Albion at Griffin park in front of the Sky Sports cameras. 
Brentford overcame West London rivals and fellow promotion hopefuls Fulham in impressive fashion last weekend, recording a 2-0 victory over the Whites at Craven Cottage. 
West Bromwich Albion on the other hand would have been disappointed to only manage a draw against Birmingham City on home soil, especially with the result at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Baggies however, have won four of their last seven away league matches in London - as many as in their last 41 visits to the capital. A win would extend their lead at the top of the table, until Saturday afternoon at least. 
The Bees are only only point off third place and have taken 26 points from their last 11 home Championship matches - winning eight, drawing twice and losing once in that run. A win could see them increase the pressure on the automatic promotion places.  
It’s very much the battle of the top four this weekend, with second-placed Leeds United welcoming third-placed Fulham to Elland Road. Scott Parker’s side are unbeaten in their last seven Championship away games, though five of these have ended level, including each of the last three. 
Both sides will be looking to bounce back after suffering defeat last weekend, and with seven points separating the two teams currently, Fulham will be hoping to close the gap with three points on Saturday as the fight for automatic promotion continues.  
At the other end of the table, Charlton Athletic recorded a vital win over relegation rivals Hull City last weekend to lift them out of the relegation zone, and this week the Addicks take on QPR in one of Saturday’s early kick-offs. 
This will be the first league meeting at the Valley between the two sides since the opening day of the 2015/16 season, a game which the hosts won 2-0. QPR have taken five points from their last three away league matches, one more than they have managed in the previous nine before that. Lee Bowyer’s side will fancy their chances as the R’s look to recover from a shock defeat to Barnsley last week. 
With an unbelievable three points separating sixth and 12th place in the table, the race for the final Play-Off spot couldn’t be much closer. Two teams in that race - Preston North End and Cardiff City - face each other at Deepdale this weekend in front of the Sky Sports cameras.  
Preston currently occupy sixth spot, with Cardiff City in seventh, both teams currently on 57 points, with just one goal between them. 
Neil Harris’ side will be full of confidence following their impressive win over Leeds United last weekend, Preston however were denied all three points by Luton Town thanks to a late Callum McManaman equaliser. 
North End have conceded only one goal in their last six home league games against Cardiff, keeping a clean sheet in their last three and Cardiff are looking to secure three consecutive Championship wins for the first time since December. 
Both sides will be looking to make a statement in this one.  
Following Saturday’s action, there are two games to come on Sunday, with Bristol City hoping to keep their Play-Off dream alive taking on Sheffield Wednesday, and Nottingham Forest entertaining Huddersfield Town - another important fixture for both sides, who are at opposite ends of the table. 
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