Date: 4th December 2015 at 2:01pm
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Middlesbrough travel to Ipswich on Friday night knowing they can top of the Championship, for at least a night, if they take away all three points.

Aitor Karanka’s side, who have won five of their last six Championship matches, are two points behind leaders Brighton and are looking to bounce back from their 2-0 Capital One Cup quarter-final defeat to Everton on Tuesday.

However, they face a tough test at Portman Road with Ipswich currently on a six-match unbeaten run and level on points with sixth-placed Birmingham.

Even if the Teesiders record a fifth victory on the road, Brighton will be confident of regaining their place at the summit as they host struggling Charlton at the Amex.

12 September 2015 - Championship - Brighton & Hove Albion v Hull City Brighton players swarm Tomer Hemed to celebrate his goal Photo: Charlotte Wilson

Brighton have yet to lose in their 18 matches

The Seagulls have remarkably yet to taste defeat this term and have won seven of their nine home matches, whilst the Addicks have won once away (their last trip, 1-0 at Birmingham) and sit just a point above the drop zone after last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at home to Ipswich.

Third-placed Derby could also finish the weekend top of the pile if they beat Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough and other results go their way.

But the Rams face a side who themselves have promotion ambitions and have tasted defeat just once in their last 12 league matches.

Paul Clement’s side though have the best away record in the league and have won 10 of their previous 13 league matches.

Hull City are the last club who could sit in first come Sunday evening, but they will need to win at Leeds and hope the three teams above slip up.

The Tigers, who have lost just twice on the road in nine outings, will be confident too as they take on a team that has lost their last two matches after a promising start to life under Steve Evans.

Steve Bruce’s side will need to pick themselves up from the 4-1 thrashing they received from Manchester City in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, while Leeds know a seventh defeat in 11 matches will see them slip closer to the drop zone which they currently sit just four points above.

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

Steve Bruce’s Tigers could return to the top this weekend

Burnley, who could go into the top two with a win, face Preston in a Lancashire derby at Turf Moor.

The Clarets have won six of their nine home matches but have stuttered a bit recently, drawing their last three games.

However, North End make the short journey having won just one of their last six matches and with just three points between them and the drop zone.

At the bottom of the table, basement side Bolton are looking to win just their second league match of the season when they host Cardiff City.

The Trotters’ financial situation has this week been described as “increasingly perilous” by advisor Trevor Birch will do well to close the four-point gap between themselves and 21st placed Charlton against the Bluebirds who have lost just four times in their 18 outings.

With 17 draws and just 31 goals between them this term, this match could provide yet another low-scoring point for each side.

One place above Wanderers, Rotherham are on a mini-revival having won their last two league matches.

This sees Neil Redfearn’s side sit a point inside the drop zone, with Wolves next up at the New York Stadium.

The visitors, who are having a disappointing season to date, can take heart from the fact they’ve picked up more points away (11) than at home (10), but they are seven points off the play-offs.

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 have not performed how many expected them to this season

Huddersfield Town, the team which occupy the third relegation spot, will be looking to give David Wagner his first win as boss when they travel to Birmingham.

The German has lost his first two matches since taking over from Chris Powell and will have to guide his side to just a second away victory of the season if he’s to pick up his first three points.

Opponents Birmingham were going well before suffering two defeats on the spin. Despite those losses, Gary Rowett’s side who have won just three of their nine home matches, still occupy the final play-off spot.

Elsewhere, Dean Smith takes charge of his first Brentford match at home to MK Dons after leaving Walsall for the Bees on Monday, Paul Lambert’s Blackburn travel to Bristol City and Nottingham Forest will hope to build on their 30-1 win over Reading last week when they play managerless Fulham at the City Ground.

17 July 2015 - Pre-Season Friendly - Stevenage v Nottingham Forest - Dougie Freedman, Manager of Nottingham Forest - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Dougie Freedman’s Forest are looking to build on last week’s victory

All Championship Matches:
Ipswich vs Middlesbrough (Fri)
Bolton vs Cardiff
Birmingham vs HuddersfieldBrentford vs MK Dons
Brighton vs Charlton
Bristol City vs Blackburn
Burnley vs Preston
Leeds vs Hull
Nottingham Forest vs Fulham
Rotherham vs Wolves
Sheffield Wednesday vs Derby (Sun)

 
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