Matchday thirty-nine in the Championship kicks off at the Hawthorns on Friday with West Bromwich Albion taking on local rivals Birmingham City.
Back-to-back victories have reignited the Baggies’ automatic promotion hopes, and another triumph here could see them move, if only temporarily move to within four points of the top two.
Birmingham City were one of a clutch of sides in with a real chance of making the play-offs, though a nine-point deduction for financial irregularities has seen them slip to eighteenth place, just five points above the drop zone.
Second place Sheffield United welcome a Bristol City side who have taken just two points from the last fifteen available to Bramall Lane, while Leeds United will be looking to pounce on any slip-ups by the Blades as they host Millwall.
Aston Villa moved into the top six last time out after beating Middlesbrough – their fourth straight win – and will be keen to make it five from five as they take on Blackburn Rovers while Preston North End, who are below Dean Smith’s side on goal difference travel to Reading.
One win in seven has seen Derby County slip to eighth place, so they will look to turn things round as they welcome Rotherham United to Pride Park, though the Millers are very much fighting their own battle.
They head in to the weekend just a point from safety after winning two games from their last four – as many as they had managed in their previous eighteen games.
They have been among the favourites to seal an immediate return to League One all season, with their current relegation odds currently standing at 8/11.
Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to continue their rise up the table when they travel to Stoke City, who themselves are unbeaten in seven though six of those games have ended all square, and their last three have been goalless.
Nottingham Forest, who are down in eleventh but are just three points off the play-offs will be desperate for a positive result against Swansea City while Hull City, who are a further three points behind Martin O’Neill’s side travel to bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town.
Time is running out for the Tractor Boys, with them needing at the very least five wins from their last eight fixtures, while Bolton Wanderers situation is almost as perilous.
The Trotters are likely to see their game with Queens Park Rangers as one they must win, while Wigan Athletic will want to ease the pressure as they welcome Brentford to the DW Stadium.
Saturday’s action concludes at the Riverside Stadium where Boro host league leaders Norwich City.
The Canaries will be top regardless of what happens prior to their match kicking off, though a seventh straight win will tighten their grip on first place with just seven left to play.
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