Match Previews

All 24 teams in action and some mouth watering ties in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday 17th January 2015

On the back of their 1-0 victory over Fulham, Russell Slade’s Cardiff City will be looking to knock the Canaries off their perch in their march towards the playoff places. It’ll be a tough task for the Bluebirds as Norwich City pulled off arguably the best result of last weekend as they beat league leaders Bournemouth at the Goldsands Stadium. City fans face an tough 552 mile, 10 hour round trip to cheer on the boys in blue and if they are to see Cardiff take all three points it will be the first time since a 2-1 win back in 2007. Former striker Cameron Jerome has scored 12 this season, seven coming at home and one in the Welsh capital back in September. Keeping the former England U21 international quiet could be key to the Bluebirds coming home with points from Norfolk.

AFC Bournemouth supporters also face over 500 miles of travelling this weekend as they face Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. The Cherries will be looking to bounce back after losing their 14 game unbeaten run last weekend while the Millers have recorded just one win in 13 league outings. Eddie Howe’s side will be confident of a win after thumping the same opposition in the same stadium 5-1 just two weeks ago in the F.A. Cup. A defeat for either side could be costly but for very different reasons. Derby and Ipswich could knock Bournemouth off top spot while Rotherham could slip into the bottom three if results go against them.

The formbooks will go out the window this weekend as Derby County face East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest at the iPro Stadium. Forest manager Stuart Pearce has admitted he is under pressure after recent results but a positive results against the Rams will somewhat alleviate that. The Tricky Trees travelled the same 16 miles last season and were on the receiving end of 5-0 hammering. This season the spoils were shared after a 1-1 draw in Nottingham. At the time Forest topped the table with 14 points from six games while Derby were languishing down in tenth. Now Pearce’s men sit 17 points and 11 places behind Steve McLaren’s team in the current standings.

Wigan Athletic are just three points off the foot of the table and five points from safety as they prepare to face Lancashire neighbours Blackburn Rovers. The Latics enter the tie with six defeats in their last seven games but also face an out of form Rovers, they have just the one win in their last seven. Both may be out of form but there are still 15 points and 13 places separating the two teams. Bowyer’s Blackburn are six points outside the playoffs and the Latics are in the relegation zone as things stand. Despite just 25 miles separating them there have only been 21 meetings, with Blackburn winning 13 times. They also ran out 3-1 winners in the early season clash in Sept 2014.

Charlton Athletic will be under new management when they play Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon. Israeli Guy Luzon has been named head coach after the dismissal of Bob Peeters. The Addicks will be searching for their first win in nine, but have struggled on the road with just two wins away this season. The Hornets’ may be placed high in the table but Watford has wobbled in recent games. There have been no draws in their last 10 with the fixtures split into 4 wins and 6 losses. They also lost 1-0 earlier in the season to Charlton. Both Watford and Charlton have not won a game if they are trailing at half time so an early lead could be important in this one.

Along with five other teams Leeds United could end the weekend in the bottom three. They can guarantee avoiding the relegation zone with a point at home to 12th placed Birmingham City. The Blues have won 4 of the last 5 while United are winless in six but nothing could separate the two in the reverse fixture back in September with it finishing 1-1. There is also nothing between the two in the history books with 36 wins apiece and 25 draws. If the game is to end in a tie it will be the first time that both games in a season have ended all square since they drew 1-1 twice in the Old Division One back in the 1957/8 season.

Full Weekend Fixture List
Saturday 17 January
Kick-off 3:00pm, unless stated

Derby v Nottingham Forest (12:15pm)
Brighton v Brentford
Fulham v Reading
Leeds v Birmingham
Middlesbrough v Huddersfield
Millwall v Ipswich
Norwich v Cardiff
Rotherham v Bournemouth
Sheffield Wednesday v Bolton
Watford v Charlton
Wigan v Blackburn
Wolves v Blackpool