BOXING DAY CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
The traditional Boxing Day fixtures are next on the Championship agenda.
Cardiff City this Saturday, looking to bounce back after losing to Peterborough last weekend. Leicester Citytravel to King Power Stadium to take on fifth placed
The Foxes have also slipped up in recent matches, needing an injury time Jamie Vardy goal to equalise against Barnsley, before losing to high-flying Play-Off rivals Millwall. Nigel Pearson’s men will be eager to ensure that the gap at the top of the table does not increase, as they currently sit seven points adrift of league leaders City.
FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: in one of the evening kick-offs. A fourth successive win for the Tigers could potentially draw them level with top place. Derby County, who pay visit to Nigel Clough’s Hull CityFirst up, two Friday night matches kick off the twenty-third round of Championship fixtures. Leicester and Cardiff may both be keeping an eye out on the progress of
, currently in 11th and 18th position respectively, will be disappointed with the current standings. Stale Solbakken’s side travel to Bloomfield Road still smarting from their defeat to Middlesbrough last time out. A contentious late penalty had consigned them to a third defeat in five games before Scott McDonald rubbed salt in the wounds with a second goal. The last time these two met, Wolves recorded their biggest ever Premier League win, trouncing the Tangerines 4-0.Wolves and BlackpoolBoth
FOCUS ON THE LEAGUE?Leeds United on Saturday – much to the annoyance of owner Ken Bates. Their opponents, Boro, will be hoping to put pressure on the top two with a positive result at Elland Road. Middlesbroughmissed out on progressing to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night, losing 5-1 in their glamour tie with Chelsea. But prior to the match, manager Neil Warnock warned that he may rest some key players, preferring to ensure their fitness for their “more important” Championship encounter with
NEW BOYS COLLIDE:Charlton Athletic have had differing fortunes since returning to the second tier this term. Chris Powell’s Addicks had been unbeaten in seven matches before last weekend’s defeat to Bolton – a run which stretched back to their 5-4 victory over Cardiff at the beginning of November. Meanwhile, Wednesday put an end to a seven match run of their own in their last outing, as a 1-0 win in an early ‘six-pointer’ against Barnsley saw them avoid an eighth consecutive defeat.Sheffield Wednesdayand
EAGLES v TERRIERS:Huddersfield look a tough one. One man they’ll have to watch out for in the 5:20 kick off is Glenn Murray – the former Brighton man has netted 4 in his past 2 matches and has 20 league goals to his name already! Eagles, the other Championship newbies, started the campaign superbly, looking as if they might threaten at the top end of the table. However, some poor form in recent weeks, including their current streak of 6 matches without a win makes their trip to the high-flying
TYKES VISIT THE DEN:Barnsley have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games, helping to maintain their current playoff position. Millwallhave found goals hard to come by this season. In fact, until their recent 2-2 draw with Leicester, only once had they scored more than one goal in a game – that match being a 5-0 away win in Birmingham! They’ll need to make sure that they pack their shooting boots for the trip down to South Bermondsey as
SIX-POINTER:Ipswich Town in a match which could hold some significance at the other end of the table. Mick McCarthy has stated himself that his initials don’t, in fact, stand for Merlin the Magician, but his arrival has brought about a change in fortune for the Tractor Boys. They are still just 5 points above the Robins, however, who will be desperate to pull away from the relegation zone as only goal difference keeps them above the bottom three. Bristol Cityplay host to
BLUES AND CLARETS OUT OF FORM: have just one win from their last seven games – a statistic which goes some way to explaining their surprisingly low positions in the current Championship table. The two sides have been over-reliant on the goals of their star strikers this season, so this game may well be decided by which one comes out on top – Marlon King or Charlie Austin. Burnley and Birmingham CityBoth
ROUND-UP: in a battle of two playoff contenders. A positive result for either side could see them rise to within touching distance of sixth-placed Millwall.Nottingham Forest host WatfordIn the rest of the Championship fixtures –
. The Posh remain rooted to the bottom despite their shock win at Cardiff City Stadium last weekend.Peterborough United who have drawn five of their last eight matches, travel to Bolton Wanderers,Saturday also sees Dougie Freedman’s
And finally,Brighton & Hove Albionshould be confident of a positive result when they travel toBlackburnas Rovers have lost 4 of their last 5 games. Meanwhile the Seagulls have been nothing if not consistent in recent weeks, with just one defeat in their last 10 games. Gus Poyet’s men will know that a win could potentially launch them into the Play-Off positions.