The Sky Bet Championship returns this weekend after the international break, Sporting Life’s Tom Carnduff previews the action.
A sharp run of results for Sheffield United has seen them become the new leaders of the Sky Bet Championship at the 12-game mark. The Blades’ 1-0 win over Hull extended their winning run to four games, with Chris Wilder’s men scoring nine goals in that time. They face a tricky task away at Derby in front of the Sky Sports cameras in Saturday’s late kick-off, where the Rams will look for their first win in four.
One point off top is West Brom, who continue to go from strength-to-strength under Darren Moore’s leadership. The Baggies are unbeaten in seven league games. They hammered Reading last time out and will look to capitalise on Wigan’s drop in form at the moment when the two sides meet at the DW Stadium.
It’s a top-six clash at Hillsborough to start off the weekend’s football on Friday night as Sheffield Wednesday meet Middlesbrough. Both have seen almost identical form in recent weeks, although Wednesday’s strong record in front of their own fans may put them in a good place here. The Owls are unbeaten in their six games at home so far, whereas Boro have only conceded four on their travels.
Leeds will be looking to return to the top, even if it is on a temporary basis, when they take on Blackburn in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off. Marcelo Bielsa’s men have continued to pick up points despite missing key players in recent weeks, and they will be confident of victory at a Blackburn side who have only won once at home this season.
Dean Smith will aim to kick off life at Aston Villa in positive fashion when they welcome Swansea to the West Midlands. It won’t be an easy task, with Swansea losing just once on the road. Villa will be hopeful that ‘new manager bounce’ can put them in a good place here.
Smith’s former club Brentford promoted Thomas Frank to the head coach role, and The Bees take on an out-of-form Bristol City side in his first game. Brentford have been one of the division’s most entertaining sides to watch, with their attacking football earning plaudits from fans across the league. It’ll be interesting to see how they line-up under Frank, but the fact that both teams have goals in them makes Sky Bet’s enhanced offer of a Brentford win with both teams scoring an interesting bet.
At the other end of the table, Preston will be looking for consecutive victories as they travel to take on bottom of the league Hull. The Tigers have won just two games this season, although they know that victory here could move them outside of the relegation zone.
Another side looking to move out of the bottom three is Ipswich, who have seen draws dominate their campaign. They’ve drawn 50% of their games so far, and they come up against a QPR side who have seven points from their last 15.
Nottingham Forest will look to move closer to the top two when they welcome Norwich. Aitor Karanka’s men are unbeaten at home this season and sit third in the form charts. Norwich though are in decent form themselves and have ten points from their last five games.
Another game between two sides in good form is Stoke v Birmingham, with both winning last time out. Like Ipswich, Birmingham have been picking up points, but eight draws in 12 games sees them sitting in 17th.
Elsewhere, Rotherham will aim to continue their strong form at home when they welcome Bolton, while Reading take on Millwall with both just above the relegation zone.
This week’s Sporting Life Accumulator is a huge 75/1 four-fold enhanced by the EFL title sponsors Sky Bet. Head here to back Nottingham Forest, Sunderland, Lincoln and Notts County all to win on Saturday at this exclusively enhanced price.