Queens Park Rangers will look to continue their surge up the Championship table as they welcome Aston Villa to Loftus Road in Friday evening’s Championship fixture.
Steve McClaren’s side started the season awfully, losing all of their opening four fixtures but have recovered impressively having been defeated just twice since.
They have taken ten points from the last twelve available to them – a run that culminated in Tuesday evening’s fine win over Sheffield Wednesday and another triumph here will see them move to within a point of the top six ahead of the weekend’s other fixtures.
After starting life as Villa manager with a win last weekend, Dean Smith suffered defeat midweek with Norwich City coming from behind to emerge victorious at Carrow Road.
Leeds United are back in pole position after beating lowly Ipswich Town last time out and will hope to tighten their grip at the top as they take on Nottingham Forest, though they will themselves have their eyes on the prize knowing that a win at Elland Road will take them to within just a point of their opponents.
Middlesbrough need just a point to, if only temporarily reclaim top spot as they take on Derby County in Saturday’s early kick-off though victory for the Rams would see them move to the head of the table.
Sheffield United, who are off the top only by virtue of goal difference welcome Wigan Athletic to Bramall Lane while West Bromwich Albion could also end the weekend as the league leaders despite suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.
The Baggies welcome Blackburn Rovers to the Hawthorns, with Tony Mowbary’s side keen to get back on track ahead of a favourable run of fixtures.
Almost as soon as they were listed amongst the favourites to win promotion, Brentford have somewhat fallen apart and few would bet on them ending their seven-game winless run as they travel Norwich City, who have come from behind to win each of their last two games – form which has seen them move into the top six.
The Bees can now be backed at a price of 4/1 to be promoted, while their league winning odds have drifted to a massive 20/1.
While the Canaries form in impressive, it pales in comparison to that of Birmingham City, who will hope to continue their good spell of form as they host Sheffield Wednesday.
The Blues have not lost in ten in the league, while nobody else in the division has strung together an unbeaten run of more than four fixtures.
Swansea City, who are above Garry Monk’s side on goal difference host relegation threatened Reading while Preston North End and Rotherham, who are both just a point above the drop zone face each other at Deepdale.
Millwall sit in between Preston and Rotherham on goal difference and will hope to pile more misery on to bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town, though Hull City could well end Saturday propping up the rest of the division if they lose at Bolton Wanderers.
Elsewhere, Bristol City take on Stoke City with both sides having taken eight points from their last five games, though it is the Robins who could move into the play-off places with a win – not the pre-season favourites for the title.
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