The Championship was at it’s best in midweek with out of form relegation contenders ousting Premier League hopefuls up and down the country. Before you have had time to catch breath there is a chance for more of the same this weekend and we preview five of the games in detail.
Derby v Blackpool
It only took two games of Paul Ince back on the touchline for the madness to return for the Tangerines. With their midweek game at Yeovil coming to a disappointing end as they trailed 1-0 there was a combination of events that could only be seen on a football pitch. Over the course of six minutes from the 89th minute till the 5th minute of additional time three Blackpool players saw read. The dismissals to Kirk Broadfoot, Ricardo Fuller and Gary MacKenzie is far from what Ince would have wished for as his side travel to Pride Park to face Derby who have won their last four. Their recent form has seen them climb to 4th and now in the hunt for a top to spot. The key man in this match is Craig Bryson who has netted seven times from midfield and provided as many for his team mates.
Score prediction: 2-0 Derby win
Yeovil v Charlton
After putting Watford to the sword last weekend and picking up a valiant three points at home to top six Blackpool on Tuesday, Yeovil have started to come to the boil at the right time with the busy festive schedule almost upon us and some huge matches against sides that are also fighting to avoid the drop. Charlton have lost each of there last two by a single goal and the problem for Chris Powell’s team has been the lack of goals. The Addicks are joint lowest scorers in the Championship with an average of a goal every 114 minutes and without an impenetrable defence it is always going to be a struggle. The Charlton top scorer Simon Church, who has only three league goals, will be under immense pressure to try and score his first goal in four games. He is this games key man.
Score prediction: 2-1 Yeovil win
QPR v Blackburn
QPR are nothing other than unstoppable at Loftus Road and there were early warning signs of this from the opening weekend of the season. Another comfortable win in midweek against Bournemouth in which they never had to leave 3rd gear. Blackburn on the other hand have misfired throughout the opening four months of the season with a heavy reliance on goals from Jordan Rhodes who once again will be the subject of much speculation come January. The difference between these sides is evident from looking at their squads. The starting eleven for both sides is a host of talent and class, however QPR have quality replacements in every position on the pitch and as the games come thick and fast this will be vital. Jordan Rhodes will be pinpointed by Harry Redknapp as the obvious threat and who else would it be with Rhodes already notching up eleven Championship goals. He is this games key man.
Score prediction: 2-1 QPR win
Burnley v Barnsley
Questions were always going to be raised over whether or not Burnley could maintain their incredible start to the season and if they want to maintain their challenge the next month will be of the up most importance. Without a win in their last 5 and it seems the goals have dried up with an leading marksman Danny Ings struggling to get over an injury. Barnsley made a perfect response to the sacking of David Flitcroft with a shock away win at in-form Barnsley. Whether this was a one off improvement is yet to be seen, but confidence should be flowing as the Tykes travel across the Yorkshire-Lancashire border to Turf Moor. If Danny Ings does not recover in time the responsibility will fall to target man Sam Vokes to grab the goals and he is this games key man.
Score prediction: 1-1 draw
Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest
Another team that parted company with their manger and another team that saw an instant response and what a response it was. The Hillsborough crowd were in full voice as Wednesday came out on top against the league leaders Leicester who had been sweeping aside all in front of them. November was a month to forget for Forest with just one win throughout the month as Billy Davies’ side have slipped out of the immediate promotion hunt and down to 8th in the table. Wednesday had been struggling to find the net, however after Connor Wickham scored a brace on Tuesday he will be looking to inflict the same fate on Forest. Wickham is the key game in this match.
Score prediction: 2-2 draw
Other fixtures with predictions
Birmingham 1 Middlesbrough 1
Bolton 0 Doncaster 0
Brighton 1 Leicester 2
Ipswich 0 Huddersfield 1
Leeds 3 Watford 1
Millwall 2 Wigan 2
Reading 4 Bournemouth 0