Friday, February 22, 2019

Championship Preview – Matchday 31

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 7 Feb 2019

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Matchday thirty-one in the Championship kicks off at Villa Park on Friday evening where Aston Villa take on Sheffield United.

The hosts, who are unbeaten in their last three matches will move to within a point of the play-off places with victory while the Blades will leapfrog both Norwich City and Leeds United into first place if they secure what would be a sixth win from eight league games.

Title favourites Leeds can, at least temporarily reclaim top spot if they avoid defeat at Middlesbrough, who are themselves looking to edge closer to the automatic promotion places.

West Bromwich Albion, who were beaten by Boro last weekend sit above the North East side on goal difference and will remain in fourth place if they better the result of Tony Pulis’s side.

The Baggies travel to Stoke City in Saturday’s late kick-off, where the Potters will be keen to keep alive their ever-fading play-off aspirations on the back of a run that has seen them take just four points from the last twenty-one available to them.

Surge

Bristol City moved into the top six a week ago with victory over Swansea City – their fifth straight win in all competitions.

They travel to Blackburn Rovers, who are one of four sides four points shy of the play-off places while another of those, Hull City are at Derby County, who slipped out of the top six after their goalless draw at Preston North End.

The Rams have finished in the top six in three of the last five seasons, and can be backed at 4/5 to do so this term.

Birmingham City travel to Queens Park Rangers having ended their six-game winless run with victory over Nottingham Forest last time out, while Forest themselves welcome Brentford to the City Ground knowing that anything other than three points could see them slip into the bottom half of the table.

Return

Swansea were unbeaten this calendar year until that loss at Ashton Gate, and will look to return to winning ways as the host Millwall, who go into the weekend five points above the bottom three.

The Lions sit in twentieth place, in between Wigan Athletic and Rotherham United who go face to face at the New York Stadium with the intention of pulling further away from trouble.

Twenty-second place Reading have a tough trip to Sheffield Wednesday, while second-from-bottom Bolton Wanderers entertain Preston North End.

Old Farm

Arguably the game of the weekend takes place at Carrow Road where first place Norwich City face rivals Ipswich Town, who could be as many as eleven points from safety come kick-off.

The Tractor Boys have lost ten of their last thirteen in the league, winning just three of their thirty games so far while their opponents have lost just five, and climbed to the summit following their impressive win at Elland Road in last Saturday’s late kick-off.

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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