The Championship returns this weekend, with the action kicking off at the home of the league leaders – with Leeds United taking on Derby County on Friday evening.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men were knocked out of the FA Cup last weekend, having lost back-to-back league games but they still sit two points clear at the top of the table.
The Rams have lost just one of their last seven league games, and can move to within three points of the top two with victory, with the rest of the division in action on Saturday.
Second placed Norwich City have taken just two points from the last nine available to them and will do well to get anything from their trip to a West Bromwich Albion side who are hot on their heels while Sheffield United, who go in to this run of fixtures in third, welcome QPR to Bramall Lane.
Fifth placed Middlesbrough travel to eighth placed Birmingham City with the sides only separated by four points while another side just outside of the play-off places – Nottingham Forest – begin life after Aitor Karanka with a trip to Reading.
The Spaniard, who led Boro to the Premier League in just over two-and-a-half years ago, left Forest on Friday after weeks of speculation over his position with former Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic the favourite to replace him.
They say lightning never strikes twice, but a little over six years ago Sean O’Driscoll took charge of his final league game in charge of the East Midlands outfit – a 4-2 win over Leeds at the City Ground.
The years since then have not been much fun at all, speaking as a follower of the club – until this season. Yes, results have not been perfect – there have been a lot of draws – but Forest stand a real chance of making the top six – something that was unthinkable twelve months ago.
Well, they did. Stability is surely the key to success and that is something that too many clubs do not have in this era. You reap what you sew, and I can’t imagine too many people will be backing them to finish higher than where they currently sit (7th) at 15/8.
In the mix
Aston Villa and Bristol City will both look to keep in touch with the chasing pack as they take on Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers respectively while twelfth place Swansea City travel to Preston North End.
Hull City will be keen to continue their resurgence as they welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the KCOM Stadium while Nathan Jones begins life as Stoke City manager with a trip to Brentford.
Two of the bottom four meet at Portman Road as Ipswich Town face Rotherham United while the weekend’s action concludes at The Den where Millwall take on Blackburn Rovers.
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