Almost a full set of Championship fixtures this Saturday with 11 games. As always some top clashes at the summit and the foot of the table. We preview 5 games in detail.
Reading v QPR
Two of the relegated sides from the Premier League last season who at the start of the season were many people’s favourites to return straight to the top tier meet at the Madejski in this week’s televised early kick off. With the two teams situated 5th and 3rd in the Championship table respectively both will be looking to take the points as Reading attempt to keep pace with the top three, whilst QPR could return to the top of the table should they get a win and results go there way. Reading have turned the Madejski into a fortress thus far this season with an unbeaten home record although they did go down 5-2 at Sheffield Wednesday last week. QPR have only lost once on the road and that was at pacesetters Burnley. Reading have been reliant on marksman Adam Le Fondre this season to lead the line but with only six goals so far this term by his high standards he will probably be disappointed with his tally. He will look to add to that against a solid QPR defence and he is this games key man. Both sides will be around the top of the table come the end of the season and will be looking to get one up on their promotion rivals.
Score prediction: 1-1 draw
Leicester City v Notts Forest
After last weeks statement of intent to the rest of the league at Vicarage Road, Leicester host another of their promotion rivals at the King Power stadium in Billy Davies’ Notts Forest side. Nigel Pearson’s side have come into form just at the right time winning their last three, whilst their opponents this week have struggled in recent times picking up just one win from their last five games. Leicester have been imperious at home this campaign collecting nineteen points from a possible twenty-one. Meanwhile, Forest have really struggled on the road with just nine points from twenty-one available. Despite this, both sides are difficult to beat and are real contenders for automatic promotion this season and much like the early kick off both sides will want to get the three points. After putting to bed the play off semi final demons last week Anthony Knockaert will want to put a run of form together for the Foxes and he is this games key man.
Score prediction: Leicester win 3-0
Burnley v Bournemouth
On the face of it this game looks like another routine fixture for the league leaders as the team in the 2nd worst form in the league visit Turf Moor but this game means so much more. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe makes the return to his previous employers for the first time since taking what some saw as a backward step to return to his home club of Bournemouth. Howe himself admitted in last week’s post match interview with BBC Solent that he “wasn’t particularly looking forward to it” and his sides recent form probably didn’t help his reservations. Whilst his old club have been sweeping all in front of them with their last loss being way back in August and since have taken twenty-six points from their last ten games, the Cherries Championship honeymoon is well and truly over having won just once in their last seven. Two of Howe’s signings whilst at Turf Moor have been leading the line for Burnely both chipping in with goals time and time again. This adds another element to this fixture with both Danny Ings and Sam Vokes being ex-players and youth graduates from the Bournemouth academy. The latter has added goals to his role as target man and he has finally settled at a club after a vast number of loans since he signed for Wolves from Bournemouth in 2008. He is likely to cause the Cherries defence trouble all game and is the key man in this game.
Score prediction: Burnley win 4-1
Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday
After as slower start as can be imagined Dave Jones will be relieved to see his Sheffield Wednesday side get their first win of the season against Reading last week and in some style to. Derby, have continued to pick up points under Steve MacClaren barring last weeks first loss under the new boss at Loftus Road. Despite being towards the lower end of the table Wednesday have remained difficult to beat on the road with their only defeats coming against Birmingham and promotion hopefuls QPR. Derby have continued to score goals for fun this season and are joint highest scorers in the Championship. However, they have also been leaking goals, conceding twenty-three which will give Wednesday belief after their rout at Hillsborough last weekend. Wednesday captain Anthony Gardner is likely to have a busy day dealing with the free flowing Derby front line and will have to be on top form to keep the Rams quiet. Gardner is this game’s key man.
Score prediction: 2-2 draw
Barnsley v Doncaster Rovers
Another week and another huge game for Barnsley and David Flitcroft as the Tykes attempt to make up for lost time and get out of the bottom three. This week they host fellow strugglers Doncaster. Since promotion last season to the Championship Doncaster have shown glimpses of their ability to match up with the best in this very competitive league, but have slammed to a halt in the past month with just a single victory and four losses in their last five. Barnsley have had a mini revival of late, unbeaten in three and starting to slowly but surely climb the table after opening the season rooted to the bottom of the table. Doncaster have found it difficult to hit the back of the net thus far with the 3rd fewest goals scored in the league but could welcome back summer signing Theo Robinson who will be looking to make up for lost time. Last time out super sub Jim O’Brien took the fight to Ipswich on his own and will want to impress in front of a home crowd this week. The tricky winger is this game’s key man.
Score prediction: Barnsley win 2-1
Remaining fixtures with predictions
Blackpool 2 Ipswich 0
Bolton 2 Millwall 1
Brighton 1 Blackburn 1
Charlton 0 Leeds 2
Huddersfield 3 Birmingham 0
Middlesbrough 1 Watford 2
Yeovil 1 Wigan 1