Championship Preview: Leaders Boro face tough Brentford trip
11th January 2016

Middlesbrough travel to Brentford on Tuesday night looking to maintain their four-point lead at the top of the table.

Aitor Karanka’s side are unbeaten in eight league matches, winning seven, and will have fond memories of playing the Bees after beating them in the play-semi finals last season.

Brentford boss Dean Smith, who saw his side knocked out the FA Cup by former club Walsall on Saturday, will be aiming for a seventh home win of the season to close the current five-point gap between themselves and the top-six.

Second-placed Derby County will be aiming to keep the pressure on Boro when they play Reading at Pride Park.

Paul Clement’s side lost their first match in nine outings at Boro last time out, but have lost just once at home all season.

Meanwhile, the Royals, who are eight points off the play-offs are have won just three times away all season and face their top goalscorer this term in Nick Blackman, who is expected to make his Championship debut for Derby following a £2.5m move last week.

Fresh from their FA Cup win over fourth-placed Brighton, third-placed Hull City are back in league action against Cardiff City on Wednesday.

Steve Bruce’s side are finding consistency hard to come by, having won five of their lat 10 matches, but, with nine wins and two draws from 12 home games, are very hard to beat at the KC.

16 May 2015 Premier League Football ; Tottenham Hotspur v Hull City;  HUll manager Steve Bruce. Photo: Mark Leech

Steve Bruce’s Hull have a brilliant home record

Cardiff, who are four points off the play-offs, have won just twice in 12 away matches and lost at home to League One Shrewsbury in the FA Cup on Sunday.

Brighton will be hoping to send a six-match winless run when they take on struggling Rotherham.

Despite having not lost away from the Amex, the Seagulls, who are four points adrift of Derby, have only won three of those and haven’t hit the net in their last five outings in all competitions.

The Millers are outside the bottom-three on goal difference but have won their last two matches at the New York Stadium.

Another clash between a promotion and relegation candidate sees Burnley travel to take on MK Dons.

The Clarets, who have won just three league matches on the road this term, are six points adrift of Derby and have triumphed in just two of their past 10 matches.

Karl Robinson’s Dons are two points above the bottom-three but five of their six wins have come at home.

Elsewhere at the bottom, Bolton Wanderers travel to Sheffield Wednesday a few days after rescuing a draw at National League side Eastleigh in the FA Cup.

Wanderers, who are four points from safety, are expected to still be without transfer targets Zach Clough and Mark Davies, with the latter in in talks over a move to an Owls side two points off the top-six after winning three of their last four.

4th February 2015 - FA Cup - 4th Round Replay - Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool - Zach Clough of Bolton - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Bolton have accepted a bid from Bristol City for Zach Clough

Huddersfield Town will be hoping to put even more daylight between themselves and the bottom-three when they strugglers Charlton.

The Terriers are seven points above the bottom-three after winning four of their last seven under David Wagnar.

And the German will be confident of making that five from eight against an Addicks side a point from safety, winless in eight league matches and with just one away win to their name all season.

Reports also suggest that Charlton interim boss Karel Fraeye could be replaced by former manager Jose Riga after the club’s FA Cup defeat at League One strugglers Colchester on Saturday.

Despite nearly knocking West Brom out of the FA Cup, Bristol City are in deep trouble in the Championship and occupy the other relegation spot.

The Robins, who are in the bottom-three on goal difference, will go in search of just their third home victory of the season when they face a Preston side on a two-game winning streak in the league.

At Portman Road, Ipswich face Leeds United in a mouth-watering tie between two in-from sides.

The Tractor Boys occupy the final play-off spot after losing just two of their last 13 matches, while Leeds are now looking up the table after stringing together a seven-match unbeaten run.

Just above Leeds are Wolverhampton Wanderers, but their hopes of a play-off surge were dealt a massive blow on Sunday when top scorer Benik Afobe was sold to Bournemouth for £10m.

6th April 2015 - Skybet Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leeds United - Benik Afobe of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates after scoring (3-1) - Photo: Paul Roberts / Offside.

Wolves will have to make do without Benik Afobe after selling the striker to Bournemouth

Kenny Jackett now starts life after the striker with a home clash against a Fulham looking to stretch the six-point gap between themselves and the bottom-three.

Wolves have won their last three league matches, while the Cottagers have tasted victory just a single time in their last 11 Championship games.

Elsewhere, Blackburn Rovers will be looking to end their three-game losing streak against a QPR side who have yet to win under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and Nottingham Forest, who are unbeaten in eight, welcome a Birmingham side, who are just two points off the top-six, to the City Ground.

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