As the dreaded international break draws to a close, football fans up and down the country can get back to watching their beloved club sides in action again this weekend. As the sixth round of Championship games gets underway on Friday night, we have a look at the key fixtures in England’s second tier over the coming days.
Derby County vs. Hull City (Friday, 19:45)
The Rams lock horns with the Tigers to kick off an exciting weekend of Championship football. Hull have made a number of changes to their squad since their last match, with the likes of Jackson Irvine, Fikayo Tomori and Nouha Dicko among those who signed for Leonid Slutsky’s side in the final few days of the transfer window.
Meanwhile, Derby, who have had an inconsistent start to the season, will hope that deadline-day signings Maikel Kieftenbeld and Sam Winnall will help fire them to a second home victory of the campaign. Gary Rowett’s men will move, temporarily at least, into the play-offs with a victory on Friday night, whilst the same carrot is being dangled in front of Hull’s players.
The last time these two sides met at Pride Park, the Tigers won 3-0, in a truly awful performance from the hosts. Derby supporters will be hoping for an improvement on Friday.
Fulham vs. Cardiff City (Saturday, 15:00)
Fulham have started the season reasonably slowly, winning just one of their opening five games, but Slavisa Jokanovic’s men ended Ipswich Town’s 100% start to the season in their last outing. The Cottagers will be hoping to repeat the feat against Cardiff City on Saturday, with the Bluebirds yet to drop a single point this campaign.
Neil Warnock’s side have been excellent so far this season, winning at big-spending Wolverhampton Wanderers and dismantling promotion-favourites Aston Villa, as they sit top of the Championship table. Cardiff fans could see deadline day signings Craig Bryson and Liam Feeney in action for the first time, as they look to keep silencing the critics.
With Fulham’s struggles in front of goal this season, which have been magnified when you look at their free-scoring approach of last year, Cardiff will feel quietly confident of keeping their opponents at bay at Craven Cottage. Nevertheless, whatever the outcome, this will be a closely-fought encounter which could swing either way.
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 17:30)
Sheffield Wednesday have endured a frustrating start to their season, winning on just one occasion in their opening five matches. Scoring just four goals and conceding only four times in this period, goals have been scarce in matches involving the Owls this season. They haven’t lost since the opening day, however, so will be looking to extend their unbeaten run on Saturday evening. This will be far from straightforward though.
Nottingham Forest sit in sixth position, with Mark Warburton leading his men to a decent start to the season. Having lost their last game, a 2-0 defeat at home to Leeds United, Forest will aim to get back on track in this late kick-off.
Wednesday’s deadline day loanee, Derby County midfielder Jacob Butterfield, could make his debut for Carlos Carvalhal’s men in this match, as the Owls seek to climb up the league table.