Saturday, December 14, 2019

Championship Preview – Matchday 33

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With six second-tier sides in FA Cup action this week, there are just seven fixtures on matchday thirty-three in the Championship.

The pick of those games arguably comes at Villa Park where Aston Villa will look to reignite a push for the play-offs after a run that has seen them win just one of their last eight league games, against automatic promotion contenders West Bromwich Albion.

The Baggies, who controversially rescued a point at home to Nottingham Forest midweek, will be without Dwight Gayle after the forward was handed a two-game ban after (correctly) being adjudged to have successfully deceived a match official in order to win a penalty.

Victory for Darren Moore’s side could see them move to within three points of the top two, though that would depend on the results at Bramall Lane and the University of Bolton Stadium.


Sheffield United host Reading fresh from beating fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough on Wednesday and will end the day top of the table if they win and Norwich City don’t while the Royals, who moved out of the bottom three after beating Blackburn Rovers last time out will be looking to use the momentum to drag themselves further away from trouble.

After surprisingly being beaten 3-1 at Preston North End midweek, Norwich will be looking to return to winning ways at second-from-bottom Bolton Wanderers.

The Trotters secured a first win in eight, and second in twenty-two league games after triumphing at Birmingham City on Tuesday evening and another win against the odds here will further boost their hopes of survival.


Phil Parkinson’s side, who beat the drop on the final day of last term, can be backed at9/2 to avoid relegation this time around.

Few people will be betting on Ipswich Town to not be a League One side come the summer, though they did earn an impressive point at home to Derby County last time out.

The Tractor Boys welcome to Stoke City to Portman Road, and will fancy their chances of getting a result, with the Potters having failed to score in each of their last four games.


They did end a recent run of defeats with a goalless draw at Wigan Athletic on Wednesday though will hope to return to winning ways, or at least scoring ways after slipping ever closer to the dotted line.

The day’s early kick-off is a Yorkshire derby with Rotherham United, who slipped into the bottom three after only managing to draw with Hull City midweek, facing Sheffield Wednesday.

Preston will hope to make it six unbeaten as they host a Nottingham Forest side who will look to bounce back after being robbed of all three points at the Hawthorns midweek.

Victory for Martin O’Neill’s men would see them move to within two points of the top six, at least until Middlesbrough take on Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in Sunday’s sole fixture.


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 and, 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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