Features

Championship Preview: Brighton and Burnley to battle for top two spot
19th February 2016

There are only eight fixtures in the Championship this weekend, but with the top four sides drawing last time out, the league table is still wide open.

Brighton have the opportunity to go level on points with Championship leaders Hull City when they travel to South Wales to take on Cardiff City.

The south coast side racked up their 12th draw of the season on Tuesday night; a goalless encounter against the table toppling Tigers, but know that with Hull and second placed Middlesbrough not playing this weekend due to the FA Cup fifth round fixtures, they could pile the pressure on the top two with a valuable win.

Cardiff have drawn their last two league games 0-0, including their most recent result against Charlton Athletic. They will know that if they are to keep their play-off push going, they will need to up their consistency as they now sit five points off sixth placed Derby County.

30 January 2016 FA Cup fourth round : Arsenal v Burnley :Joey Barton of Burnley.Photo: Mark Leech

Burnley midfielder Joey Barton – The Clarets are currently just two points adrift of the Championship’s top two.

Burnley, who lie only one point adrift of the Seagulls in fourth spot, will also look to take advantage of Hull and Boro’s inactivity by extending their eight-match unbeaten league to nine games with a result against lowly Rotherham United.

Derby County will be praying they can muster their first league victory of 2016 at the eighth time of asking when they visit Griffin Park to take on 13th placed Brentford on Saturday afternoon.

The Rams have fallen seven points adrift of the automatic promotion places since their disastrous turn of the calendar year, where head coach Paul Clement was given the chop last week, although the hosting Bees have lost their last two league outings on the trot to Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.

The Owls however could record their sixth league win in eight games if they manage to brush past mid-tabling Preston North End at Deepdale.

However Simon Grayson’s men will be no pushovers after the newly promoted side have drawn up an impressive run of results themselves in recent weeks, winning five of their last eight league games to soar 16 points clear of the drop zone.

At the other end of the table; Milton Keynes Dons host Bristol City, with both sides knowing a precious collection of three points could do them the world of good and potentially take them eight points clear of the drop zone.

Dons beat play-off hopefuls Derby last week with a goal in the last ten minutes to seal a crucial victory, so back-to-back wins this weekend against a team level on points with them would see Karl Robinson’s outfit go unbeaten in their last four league outings.

A 2-1 win over Ipswich at Ashton Gate last week gave City a vital second straight win – their best run of form this season – so they will be hoping that new manager Lee Johnson can continue making progress in his second game in charge of the Robins.

13th February 2015 - Skybet Championship - Bristol City v Ipswich Town - New Bristol City manager Lee Johnson - Photo: Paul Roberts / Offside.

Lee Johnson was appointed manager of Bristol City back on February 6 after signing a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Bolton Wanderers’ resurgence was halted last weekend away at Brighton. The Lancashire team slipped to a 3-2 defeat, and in doing so, slipped back to the bottom of the table. They welcome QPR to the Macron Stadium this weekend, knowing that only a win against the side 14th in the table will realistically close the seven-point gap between themselves and 21st placed Bristol City.

QPR lost 3-1 against struggling rivals Fulham last time out, so Bolton will know that they are beatable. However the Hoops will take heart from the fact that they have recorded more than ten clean sheets this campaign already.

Huddersfield Town could move within two points of Saturday’s opponents if they succeed in defeating 12th placed Wolverhampton Wanderers at the John Smith’s Stadium.

David Wagner’s hosts impressively recorded a wonderful 2-0 victory at Nottingham Forest last time out, meanwhile Kenny Jackett’s men narrowly lost out 2-1 to Preston North End last Saturday.

Elsewhere in the Championship; Fulham and Charlton play out a London derby at Craven Cottage, and with both sides fighting for survival, there may not be too many goals on show at Craven Cottage.

Jose Riga’s Addicks have a goal difference of minus 30 this season and drew 0-0 with Cardiff last time out meaning they only have two wins in their last ten league games.

Fulham on the other hand lie six points clear of the relegation zone. But after their 3-0 defeat to Blackburn on Tuesday night, they now know that a loss to one of their relegation rivals could drag them back into a relegation battle.

Saturday’s Championship fixtures (15:00):
Cardiff vs Brighton
Bolton vs QPR
Brentford Vs Derby
Burnley vs Rotherham
Fulham vs Charlton
Huddersfield Vs Wolves
MK Dons Vs Bristol City
Preston vs Sheff Wed

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *