This weekend is set to be another pulsating set of fixtures in the Championship calendar. There are two huge derbies taking place in Blackburn and Cardiff, plus a top four clash involving Hull and Birmingham. However some clubs need a win more than others, and we focus on four of those.
Fulham against Reading
It has been a frustrating season for Fulham so far. We all saw how good they can be against Queens Park Rangers and for most of the Charlton Athletic game. However they also show the other side, which probably happens too often for the liking of the Craven Cottage faithful. Owner Shahid Khan has said that he expects a play-off place come the end of the season. Most Championship clubs will feel as though they can target those spots, and Fulham should be one of those. Khan said they must improve and that they are willing to Kit Symons to succeed. Losing to Reading this Saturday isn’t an option for Symons at this moment, as there will be plenty chasing his job.
Charlton Athletic against Brentford
There was a loud chorus of chants at The Valley on Tuesday night calling for manager Guy Luzon to be sacked. Clearly the vast majority of the Charlton crowd aren’t happy with what they are seeing on the pitch. Many described the performance against Preston as one of their worst in recent memory. The only way is up surely in that case, however it is hard to be optimistic with The Addicks at this moment in time. Brentford are on a good run of form, whereas Charlton are not. Everything points to a Brentford win, but the unpredictability of the Championship will give Charlton hope. They need a win and fast, otherwise Luzon will simply be out of a job.
Ipswich Town against Nottingham Forest
Dougie Freedman certainly needs a result as well, but given the injuries and suspensions that he has, we can all see why his team are struggling. They performed well against Burnley in midweek however, so perhaps a turnaround isn’t too far away. However Ipswich are on a poor run of form, which is unlike a Mick McCarthy team. Against Hull, they had their chances but still went down 3-0. There has been talk, albeit not too much, that McCarthy is under pressure. He retains the support of the owner and the players, but the fans want results. Forest are down to bare bones and Ipswich will fancy their chances in this game. It won’t be easy but all the pressure is on The Tractor Boys.
Middlesbrough against Wolverhampton Wanderers
Again, there could easily be a case for Kenny Jackett needing a result this weekend. They are on a two game losing run. However Middlesbrough are now three games without a win, and more surprisingly, three games without a goal. Considering they have the likes of Downing, Nugent, Kike, Fabbrini, Adomah et al within their squad, that just isn’t good enough. Karanka knows this and there has been calls for them to drop one of their holding midfielders, and throw another attacker on the pitch. Wolves is never an easy place to go and Boro will need to grind out a result to get back to winning ways. However they just need a goal first and foremost! They have set high standards and whilst Steve Gibson isn’t going to sack Karanka anytime soon, winless runs for teams with big budgets in the Championship cannot go on for too long.