Saturday, December 14, 2019

Championship Preview: Matchday 40

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 6 Apr 2019

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Matchday forty in the Championship kicks off at the Carrow Road, where Norwich City will look to strengthen their grip on top spot against struggling Queens Park Rangers.

The Canaries are looking for an eighth straight victory, while in complete contrast the Hoops, who dismissed Steve McClaren earlier in the week have won just one of their last fifteen league games.

With Sheffield United hot on their heels, Leeds United will be hoping to keep themselves in the top two, and in doing so pile more misery onto Birmingham City.

The Blues are on a run of five straight defeats, coupled with a ten-point deduction that sees them sit just five points clear of the bottom three.

Time running out

With Ipswich Town almost at the point of no return, and Bolton Wanderers relegation looking almost as inevitable Garry Monk may have to hope that there is at least one more team worse than them over the next month but if you do fancy them to go down, you can back it at 14/1.

The Blades will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at home to Bristol City with a positive result at Preston North End while fourth place West Bromwich Albion face a tricky trip to Millwall, who are fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table.

The Lions are a point clear of the bottom three, and three behind Wigan Athletic and Reading, who both have tough away fixtures to content with on Saturday afternoon.

The Latics are at fifth place Bristol City, while the Royals head to Hull City who will still fancy themselves to make a late dart for a top-six finish.

Lack of consistency

Nottingham Forest will be looking to secure back-to-back league wins for only the second time this season against the side they beat to do so back in September – Rotherham United.

Martin O’Neill’s men are just three points off the play-off places while the Millers, who were thumped 6-1 at Derby County last time out are in twenty-second place, one point from safety.

That rout for the Rams took them to within a point of the top six, and they go to a Brentford side who even at their most optimistic would perhaps have to admit that promotion is way beyond them this term.

Hat in the ring

Aston Villa currently occupy sixth place but could well relinquish that position if they fail to take all three points from their trip to Sheffield Wednesday while Middlesbrough will be desperate to get back on track as they face Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

Finally, in perhaps the most midtable fixture of the season, Blackburn Rovers welcome Stoke City to Ewood Park, with both confident that they can already start planning for another season in the second tier.


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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