There’s a split in the fixtures this weekend with just six games in the Sky Bet Championship. Sporting Life’s Tom Carnduff previews the upcoming action.
The highlight of the weekend undoubtedly comes at Carrow Road, where two automatic promotion hopefuls in Norwich and Sheffield United meet. The Canaries currently occupy second and are three points clear of both the Blades and West Brom. Daniel Farke’s side also boast the second-best home record in the division, although United’s strong away record will give them confidence. Chris Wider’s men also sit high up in the form charts with four wins in their previous five league games, which shows how this is a game that could go either way.
Remaining at the top of the table is Leeds, although Marcelo Bielsa’s men will be looking to bounce back from defeat against Stoke. They travel to take on a Rotherham side who are battling at the other end of the standings, just two points separate them and the drop zone. It won’t be a straightforward contest though. Leeds may have one of the best away records, but Rotherham have lost just three of their 14 games at the New York Stadium.
Another side who thought they may have been battling relegation but are now within touching distance of the play-offs is Hull. The Tigers are enjoying a ten-game unbeaten run which has seen them fly up the table. They are sitting in eighth, just six points off Derby in the final top-six spot. This week sees them against another side in decent form in Blackburn. Rovers have won their last three in the league, putting them level on points with Saturday’s opponents.
Aston Villa will be looking to end a five-game winless run in all competitions when they welcome Ipswich to Villa Park. The Tractor Boys remain bottom of the table, seven points adrift of safety. They will be hopeful that they can end a run of six consecutive away defeats.
Martin O’Neill will be wanting to get his first win as Nottingham Forest boss against Wigan. They were beaten 1-0 by Bristol City last time out, although City are a team in-form. Wigan have picked up points in just three of their 14 away games – a total of five points from a possible 42.
Preston have been active in this transfer window, and they’ll be hoping that can put them in a strong position as they travel to Stoke. North End beat QPR 4-1 in their last game, although the Potters did grab their first win under Nathan Jones as they beat Leeds.
There are a number of Championship teams involved in the FA Cup this weekend, giving them a break from league action.
Derby travel to take on Accrington while West Brom face a tricky test away at Brighton. Middlesbrough welcome Newport County, and despite their opposition playing in League Two, they will be well aware of their heroics by beating Leicester in the previous round.
QPR are away at League One’s leading team in Portsmouth, while Millwall welcome Marco Silva’s Everton to the Den. Swansea are at home to Gillingham, while it’s an all-Championship clash on Friday night as Bristol City welcome Bolton.
Sheffield Wednesday’s reward for beating Luton in the third round is a trip to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea. That one in front of the TV cameras on Sunday evening as is Brentford's trip to the only remaining non-league side, Barnet, on Monday night.