Top of the table clash and the rest of the weekend ahead

Barnsley v Watford

How have they been doing?

Barnsley are on a roll, with 3 straight wins. Watford aren’t; 1 win in 8. Two mid-table sides moving in different directions.

Check out . . . South American Flair

Hugo Colace, last year’s player of the season, has so far been overshadowed by the excellent Adam Hammill in the Tykes’ midfield. If Barnsley are to continue their resurgence, much will be needed from this classy operator.

The Game

It will go with form and Barnsley will take the points.

And lastly . . .

How good can it get for the Tykes?

/

Bristol City v Sheffield United

How are they doing?

Both are fighting back after poor starts. Bristol have lost just once in 7, the Blades have secured back-to-back wins. Basement battlers who are on the up.

Check out . . . a lower league striker trying to break the Championship

With Nicky Maynard still out and Jonathan Stead struggling to be fit, the pressure will be on Brett Pitman. There are signs that he is starting to make the step up.

The Game

Will be very close between two sides who have regained some confidence but Bristol will shade it.

And lastly . . .

Can either of these teams keep their recent improvements up and banish fears of a relegation dogfight?

/

Crystal Palace v Doncaster

How are they doing?

Both are in decent form. Palace have won 2 of their last 3 while Donny have lost just once in their last 6. Both were left gutted by late goals last weekend; Doncaster conceded a 94th minute equaliser while Palace lost 3-2 having been ahead with five minutes to play. Strugglers host play-off hunters.

Check out . . . a free-scoring striker

No-one has been finding the net as consistently as James Hayter who has managed to score in Donny’s last five games.

The Game

Donny have looked good of late and should have enough to win this one.

And lastly . . .

Will Palace fans find themselves looking back on last week’s defeat at Bramall Lane as a key result?

/

Middlesbrough v Hull

How are they doing?

Tony Mowbray’s revolution has been a stuttering one. Two wins have now been followed by 2 defeats. Consecutive wins for Hull suggest that the Tigers might just have turned a corner. Relegated sides who are struggling to adapt.

Check out . . . the Man U loanee

Frustrated with Hull’s toothless strikers, Nigel Pearson has gambled on 19 year old Cameron Stewart to lead the line. A big ask for a youngster with no experience.

The Game

Can’t see any team winning it – let’s call it a hard-fought draw.

And finally . . .

Will Mowbray seek to get the best out of what he has or will it be off to the transfer market in January?

/

Preston v Millwall

How have they been doing?

Preston have been terrible, Millwall not much better. PNE have 1 point from their last 5 matches, Millwall have 1 win in their last 5.

Check out . . . the impressive new boy

Jason Puncheon got everyone talking with a match-winning performance at the Riverside last weekend. Lions’ fans will be seeking more of the same.

The Game

This is likely to be dour stuff and Millwall will nick it.

And finally . . .

Not the first time it’s been asked but how long will Darren Ferguson remain at Deepdale?

/

QPR v Cardiff

How have they been doing?

The Rs are still unbeaten and have (sort of) started winning again, with 2 victories in their last 4. Their rivals have been a touch shakier, with 1 win and 2 defeats in their last 4. Clash of the title-contenders.

Check out . . . an old-school centre-forward

QPR have scored a fair few this season without ever really having a proper striker. Rob Hulse is certainly that and, with good service, he could have a bumper year.

The Game

Just two close to call, will play it safe with a draw.

And finally . . .

Is Craig Bellamy going to start delivering the goals to support the hype?

/

Reading v Leeds United

How have they been doing?

Reading are drifting, winless in 4. Leeds are going better, with 3 wins in 5. Two prime play-off candidates.

Check out . . . an Irish stalwart

Ian Harte has been turning back the clock with some impressive performances at the Madejski.

The Game

Leeds are in better form but Reading are due a big win.

And finally . . .

Will we see any of the chasing pack put pressure on the automatic places?

/

Scunthorpe v Coventry

How have they been doing?

Scunthorpe have suffered 3 straight defeats. Coventry broke a run of 3 straight defeats with a win over Burnley. Determined strugglers host inconsistent play-off hopefuls.

Check out . . . The Scunthorpe back-line

With 13 conceded in their last 5 games, the pressure is on.

The Game

Scunthorpe keep fighting back when written off; they will get a draw today.

And finally . . .

Is Aidy Boothroyd starting to shed his long-ball reputation?





United 7 Blackburn 1: Red Devils' Seventh Heaven
Tottenham vs Liverpool: Can Hodgson ‘Leapfrog’ Harry?