Friday, February 22, 2019

Championship Preview – Matchday 16

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 1 Nov 2018

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Matchday day sixteen in the Championship kicks off at Villa Park on Friday evening with Aston Villa taking on Bolton Wanderers.

After winning his first game in charge of the Midlands club, Dean Smith has overseen back-to-back defeats though he will be confident of getting back on track against the Trotters, who have taken just one point from the last fifteen available to them.

Saturday’s action concludes at the Bet 365 Stadium, where Tony Pulis will be keen to get one over his old club as he looks to keep Middlesbrough at the very least in touch with the top two.

Stoke City have lost just one of their last six league games and could move into the top half if they win and other results fall in their favour.

Tight at the top

Top of the table Sheffield United go into the weekend two points clear at the summit and have the chance to if only temporarily extend the gap at the top with second place Leeds United not playing until Sunday.

The Blades travel to a Nottingham Forest side fresh from being eliminated from the EFL Cup while last time out in the league they were denied all three points thanks to Kemar Roofe’s controversial goal at Elland Road.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side will be looking to return to winning ways as they take on Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium while Norwich City, who along with Boro and Leeds are just two points off the top travel to Sheffield Wednesday.

West Bromwich Albion are in fifth place and are away at second-from-bottom Hull City while Derby County, who complete the top six host a Birmingham City side who are looking to extend their unbeaten league run to a twelfth game.

Promotion push

Like Forest and Birmingham, Swansea City and Queens Park Rangers go in to the weekend two points off the play-off places and will look to capitalise on any slip ups as they take go to Rotherham United and Blackburn Rovers respectively.

Bristol City are at Reading, who remain in the relegation zone following a fourth defeat from their last five outings.

Brentford host a Millwall side, who can leapfrog the Bees with victory this weekend while bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town take on Preston North End at Portman Road.

First day

Paul Lambert takes charge of the Tractor Boys for the first time and is looking to guide the club to what would be only their second win of the season.

Even three points is unlikely to be enough to see them rise up the table, but it would move them to within two points of their opponents.

It has been over sixty years since Ipswich have been outside of the top two divisions of English football but they are the 4/11 favourites to be relegated to League Two.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deke Hardman


Freelance football writer with a love of the game that goes back to the mid nineties when both his beloved Nottingham Forest and England had genuine hope of acheiving some level of success. A regular contributor to both SoccerNews.com and FreeBetting.com, Deke also dabbles in music journalism with his heart and head still stuck in the latter years of the twentieth century.

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