With the international break now over, the Championship resumes this weekend – and table toppers Brighton travel to underperforming Leeds United hoping to extend their lead at the top.
The Seagulls, who are still the only unbeaten team in the whole of the Football League, drew 1-1 with Cardiff City last time out, which was the South Coast side’s third straight stalemate. Leeds badly needed the international break as they had lost their last two games without netting a single goal – the most recent of which was a 2-0 defeat at home to Birmingham City; manager Uwe Rosler will be hoping for a much sharper performance in front of goal this time out.
If Leeds beat Brighton, Middlesbrough could go top with a win at the Riverside against Fulham.
The Reds slipped to just their second defeat of the season last time out against Reading – and the 2-0 defeat means that after the leaders dropped points, Boro could have topped the division over the international break. Their opponents this weekend have endured a mixed opening 12 games of the season, and let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2 at Charlton a fortnight ago meaning they sit six points off the top-six.
Third placed Reading, who as earlier mentioned beat Boro last time out, this time welcome Charlton to the Madesjki.
The Royals have won five of their last six in the league, whilst the Addicks ended a run of four straight defeats in all competitions by snatching that point at home to Fulham last time out.
In Friday’s Championship encounter, Steve Cotterill’s Bristol City take on Dougie Freedman’s Nottingham Forest at Ashton Gate in what promises to be an intriguing encounter under the lights.
City drew 1-1 with fellow Championship newcomers MK Dons in their last game, meaning the long wait for their second victory of the season goes on, whereas Forest lost 1-0 at home to Hull leaving them in 14th place. With just two points to their name at Ashton Gate this term, the Robins will know that they are in real need of a hitting form now if they are to rid themselves of that unwanted record.
Two sides vying for top-six berths are Derby and Wolves – and the two face off this weekend at Pride Park knowing that only seven points separate first and 12th place in another fiercely competitive Championship this season.
The Rams are unbeaten in five, winning four, including the 2-0 victory over Brentford last time out. Wolves have netted six times in their last two games – two three-goal victories – highlighting the attacking ability Kenny Jackett has at his disposal this term.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Lancashire rivals Burnley and Bolton face each other both with very different agendas in mind.
The Clarets are flying high in sixth place, just four points from the summit, whereas Wanderers are only a point from propping up the division. Burnley beat Rotherham 2-1 in a tough away trip last time out, however luck was not on the Trotters’ side as they came off worst in a seven-goal thriller at Loftus Road against QPR, despite leading 2-0 early on.
Weekend’s Championship Matches:
Bristol City vs Nottm Forest (Fri)
Sheff Wed vs Hull
Birmingham vs QPR
Brentford vs Rotherham
Burnley vs Bolton
Ipswich vs Huddersfield
Leeds vs Brighton
Middlesbrough vs Fulham
MK Dons vs Blackburn
Preston vs Cardiff
Reading vs Charlton
Derby vs Wolves (Sun)