Saturday, December 14, 2019

Championship Preview – Matchday 34

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 21 Feb 2019

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There a whole host of mouth-watering fixtures in matchday thirty-five in the Championship, with arguably the pick of those at Carrow Road where league leaders Norwich City take on the only side to have won all of their league games in 2019 so far – Bristol City.

Victory for the Canaries, who for my money have been playing the best football in the division certainly over the past few weeks if not longer, will guarantee they keep hold of top spot while anything less will leave the door open for Sheffield United, Leeds United and even West Bromwich Albion, who begin the weekend just three points off the top.

The Robins also need to win to be sure of remaining in the play-off places, with Derby County hot on their heels – though they are not in action until Monday.


The Blades and the Baggies face off at the Hawthorns, while Leeds welcome lowly Bolton Wanderers to Elland Road.
The Trotters remain among the favourites for relegation to the third tier, though victory against the odds in Yorkshire could see them move out of the bottom three.

Middlesbrough are in fifth, still and will be confident of getting a positive result against a Queens Park Rangers side who have lost all of their last three games in dramatic circumstances.


The run has seen Steve McClaren’s side slip to eighteenth place, and while they are ten points clear of the drop zone you may be tempted to back them for relegation at the very generous price of 200/1.

Blackburn Rovers, who have lost each of their last four games and sit ten points shy of the play-offs travel to a Birmingham City side looking to bounce back from their surprise defeat at home to Bolton while Aston Villa, who are just one place and two points below their city rivals, host Stoke City.


Preston North End’s unbeaten run of seven games has taken them into the top half, and they will look to continue their rise as they travel to FA Cup quarter finalists Millwall while Swansea City, who also made it into the last eight of the cup last weekend, travel to Sheffield Wednesday.

There are two huge games at the foot of the table as rock-bottom Ipswich Town travel to Wigan Athletic while Reading and Rotherham United lock horns at the Madejski Stadium, separated by just a dotted line and goal difference.

Elsewhere, Hull City travel to Brentford while there is a huge fixture at the City Ground on Monday evening, with Nottingham Forest taking on rivals Derby County.

The Rams, who have played a game less than the Reds, sit a place above them in seventh but could end Monday back in the top six – but only if Bristol City are beaten by the leaders.


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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