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Championship Preview: Hull visit Barnsley, play-off battle heats up

Hull City can secure automatic promotion to the Premier League with a win at relegation-threatened Barnsley on Saturday.

Hull can also go up if they gain a point at Oakwell and third-placed Watford fail to beat Leicester City on Friday.
 
Barnsley have not won in their last five matches and sit 23rd in the table, but a surprise win could help secure their safety with Peterborough United – who are just outside the relegation zone – only ahead of them on goal difference.
 
Hull followed a loss to Wolves with a 0-0 home draw against already-relegated Bristol City last week and manager Steve Bruce will be concerned about the fact they have only scored three goals in their last five matches.
 
With the stakes high, a terrific atmosphere is expected for this Yorkshire derby which could have serious consequences at both ends of the table.
 
Watford will be buoyant ahead of their trip to the King Power Stadium on the back of a 4-0 trouncing of Blackburn Rovers in their last fixture.
 
Leicester, who are one point outside the playoffs in seventh, have been in dreadful form and have won just two of their last 16 matches.
 
Brighton and Hove Albion, who sit fourth and are confirmed to feature in the playoffs, travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United while the battle for fifth and sixth spot is sure to excite.
 
Crystal Palace are on the road at Blackburn, Bolton go to Wales to play already-crowned champions Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest visit Millwall.
 
At the other end of the table, Wolves’ bid for survival comes to a crucial juncture as they welcome Burnley to Molineux.
 
Wolves lie 22nd in the Championship and will be desperate to avoid successive relegations and although Burnley sit 16th, they could easily get dragged into the scrap at the bottom of the league if they lose.
 
Peterborough will tackle Sheffield Wednesday at London Road in another vital clash in the race for survival while Huddersfield Town visit Bristol City.
 
Other matches on Saturday see Ipswich Town face Birmingham City, Blackpool battle Derby County and Middlesbrough take on Charlton Athletic.
Thu 25 April, 2013
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