The Championship Weekend Ahead (13th-14th Nov)

Burnley v Watford

How have they been doing?
Struggling. Burnley have 1 win in their last 7, Watford have 2 from their last 8.

Check out . . . A defensive stalwart

Adrian Mariappa. Watford have leaked 10 goals in their last 3 away games so the whole defence will be under pressure. They will need a big performance from Mariappa to try to stem the flow.

The Game

All over the pitch, Burnely seem to have more quality and experience. They should see this one through, though Watford will stop it being comfortable.

And finally. . .

Will that early season run remain a heady memory for Watford or can they get things going again?

BURNLEY WIN

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Crystal Palace v Coventry

How have they been doing?

Palace, at the foot of the division,  beat Watford on Tuesday night to end a run of three straight defeats. Cov’s form has been the definition of mixed; three wins and three defeats in their last six.

Check out . . . an Irish prodigy

Owen Garvan was the matchwinner in midweek with two goals.  Palace will look to him for another big performance.

The Game

I can see Palace raising themselves for this one and edging a tight game against a Coventry side who have gone a bit flat.

And finally  . . .

Can Palace’s key players start delivering consistently?

PALACE WIN

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Ipswich v Barnsley

How have they been doing?

Up and down for the Tractor boys. They followed a run of three straight defeats with a pair of wins but were beaten by Derby in midweek. Barnsley ended a winless run of four games with an important win at Deepdale.

Check out . . . a midfield dynamo

Adam Hammill is having a cracking season that will surely have the Premier League clubs knocking. Always a good bet to come up with a special goal.

The Game

They may have won away during the week but Barnsley generally struggle on their travels and Ipswich willl do enough here.

And finally . . .

Have Ipswich got the quality to be play-off contenders?

IPSWICH WIN

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Leeds v Bristol

How have they been doing?

Leeds are unbeaten in their last three, picking up seven points. Bristol are unbeaten in five, with three wins over that period.

Check out . . . a goalkeeping legend

David James may not have known quite what he signed up for when he agreed to make his move to the Championship. Nevertheless, he has performed well amongst the problems at Ashton Gate. Interesting to see how he deals with what is likely to be a busy afternoon.

The Game

Two in-form sides will share the points in a match that might just be a cracker.

And finally . . .

How far can this Bristol City revival go?

DRAW

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Leicester v Derby

How have they been doing?

Leicester have been beaten just once in the six games since Sven’s arrival and have won three. Derby are on fire, with five wins in their last six.

Check out . . . an all-action midfielder

Kris Commons has been winning rave reviews. A creator and a scorer, Leicester will need to stop him to slow County.

The Game

This improving Leicester side will hold out for a draw.

And finally . . .

What exactly has fallen into place at Derby to turn them from mediocrity to brilliance?

DRAW

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Millwall v Sheffield United

How have they been doing?

Badly. Both have managed just one win in their last five.

Check out . . . a former non-league hero who has made the step-up

Two years ago, Steve Morison was banging them in for Stevenage in the Conference and now he is Milwall’s top scorer. Back from suspension, he will be the dangerman.

The Game

Both are lacking in form but home advantage and a greater attacking threat will see Millwall win this.

And finally . . .

What is Gary Speed going to do about the Blades’ desperate lack of goals?

MILLWALL WIN

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Notts Forest v QPR

How have they been doing?

Forest have been inconsistent, with 3 wins from their past 8. QPR may be unbeaten but they have only won once in their last 6.

To watch . . . the man with the magic boots

Lewis McGugan doesn’t just keep scoring – he keeps scoring crackers. Paddy Kenny will be weary in the Rs goal.

The Game

I saw the Rs humiliated at the City Ground last year and I can’t help being pessimistic and thinking this might be where the unbeaten run goes.

And finally . . .

Can Forest be the title-chasers of last season?

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Portsmouth v Doncaster

How have they been doing?

Pompey have been beaten just once in their last 9 and won 6 of them. Donny’s form has been pure mid-table, with 3 wins from their last 6.

To watch . . . a former joke turn his reputation around

For many, John Utaka and his massive salary packet came to symbolise everything that was wrong at Fratton Park. Much to the surprise of many he is still there and, despite not scoring enough, he has put in some encouraging shows of late.

The Game

Pompey will miss the suspended Liam Lawrence and Doncaster will be solid enough to get something.

And finally . . .

Pompey’s run has been magnificent but will the lack of depth start to tell?

DRAW

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Scunthorpe v Cardiff

How have they been doing?

The Iron’s form has been decent, with 3 wins from their last 5. Cardiff had a run of 5 wins brought to a shuddering halt in the South Wales derby on Sunday.

To watch . . . the home crowd

Scunthorpe manager Ian Baraclough has blamed the small crowd’s on his team’s home form.

The Game

With Bothroyd and Bellamy, Cardiff will have too much going forward.

And finally . . .

In England’s provisional squad for the game v France, can Cardiff hang onto big Jay?

CARDIFF WIN

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Reading v Norwich

How have they been doing?

Neither have been setting the division alight – both have just 2 wins from their last 7.

Check out . . . a pacy midfielder

Reading turned down QPR’s best attempts to pick up Jobi McAnuff over the summer. So far, he has had a mixed season and Reading will be looking for more from him.

The Game

Easy to see these two cancelling each other out.

And finally . . .

Will either of these sides be able to go out and make additions to the squad come January?

DRAW



Can Ipswich found the consistency to establish themselves as play-off contenders?

Prediction

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