Saturday’s Championship Preview

 

Middlesbrough v Ipswich Town

Daniel Ayala: Could return for Middlesbrough
Daniel Ayala: Could return for Middlesbrough

This fixture is the crucial Sky Bet Championship clash at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

Middlesbrough full-back Ryan Fredericks suffered a hamstring injury in the 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest last weekend and will be assessed.

Defender Daniel Ayala (thigh) is fit, while fellow defender Damia Abella is also closing in on a return from a long-term knee injury.

Ipswich will have David McGoldrick (thigh), Kevin Bru and Stephen Hunt (both knee) available after injury.

Teddy Bishop (ankle) is fit, but Noel Hunt (knee) remains side-lined.

Ipswich won the earlier meeting this season 2-0 at Portman Road in December.

Ipswich have won three of the last four meetings, losing the other. Middlesbrough’s only win since 2012 was 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium in March last season.

Middlesbrough are unbeaten in the last three meetings at the Riverside Stadium, winning the last two. Ipswich’s last win there was 3-1 in August 2010.

Birmingham City v Huddersfield Town

David Edgar: Ineligible to play for Huddersfield
David Edgar: Ineligible to play for Huddersfield

Birmingham have no new injury problems ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship clash with Huddersfield at St Andrew’s.

They are without Koby Arthur (thigh) and Michael Morrison (knee), while Stephen Gleeson is suspended,

Callum Reilly’s departure on loan means Reece Brown could be included.

Huddersfield are without on-loan defender David Edgar, who is not eligible to face his parent club.

Striker Nahki Wells has returned to non-contact training but is unlikely to be risked while winger Harry Bunn is doubtful with a hamstring problem.

Birmingham won the earlier meeting this season 1-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium in December.

Huddersfield have won only one of the last four meetings. Their only win since 2012 was 2-1 at St Andrew’s in February last season.

Huddersfield have won the last two meetings at St Andrew’s. Birmingham’s last home win was 2-1 in the old Division One in November 2000.

 

Bolton v Millwall

Barry Bannan: Was left out by Bolton against Blackburn
Barry Bannan: Was left out by Bolton against Blackburn
 Bolton’s on-loan midfielder Barry Bannan is poised to feature after remaining on the bench in midweek.

Andy Lonergan (concussion), Craig Davies (hamstring) and Emile Heskey (calf) are all available for selection.

Shaun Cummings (calf), Stefan Maierhofer (quad) and Paris Cowan-Hall (leg) will be assessed before Millwall’s squad is finalised for the trip to the Macron Stadium.

Defender Carlos Edwards (cruciate) is a long-term absentee for the Lions.

Neil Harris takes caretaker charge of Millwall after Ian Holloway was sacked on Tuesday.

Bolton won the earlier meeting this season 1-0 at The Den in December

Bolton are unbeaten in the last four meetings, winning two. Millwall’s last win was 2-1 at The Den in October 2012.

Bolton have won eight of the last nine meetings at home, drawing the other. Millwall’s last win there was 2-1 in the League Cup in January 1974.

 

AFC Bournemouth v Blackpool

Harry Arter: Serves one-game ban for Bournemouth
Harry Arter: Serves one-game ban for Bournemouth

Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter was charged by the Football Association for an incident after the loss to Brentford and must serve a one-match ban.

Eunan O’Kane and Dan Gosling have returned to training while Yann Kermorgant is back from a dead leg.

Blackpool winger Michael Jacobs could be included in the squad after joining on loan from Wolves.

Captain Jamie O’Hara (ankle) may feature while Tony McMahon and Andrea Orlandi (thigh) will be assessed.

Bournemouth won the earlier meeting this season 6-1 at Bloomfield Road in December.

Bournemouth have won the last two meetings. Blackpool’s last win was 2-1 at the Goldsands Stadium in September last season.

Blackpool have won five of the last six meetings at the Goldsands Stadium, drawing the other. Bournemouth’s last win at home was 2-0 in the old Division Two in February 2000.

 

Brentford v Cardiff City

Mark Warburton: Brentford boss could name unchanged side
Mark Warburton: Brentford boss could name unchanged side

Brentford manager Mark Warburton has no new injury or suspension worries.

Midfielder Alan Judge (knee) is back in contention otherwise boss Warburton could name an unchanged side.

Cardiff skipper Aaron Gunnarsson is a doubt and Joe Ralls who is pushing for a recall to the side could come into deputise.

Goalkeeper David Marshall could return after a groin problem, while Alex Revell is pushing for a start after a disappointing start to life at Cardiff.

Brentford won the earlier meeting this season 3-2 at the Cardiff City Stadium in December – their first win in three meetings.

Cardiff won the last meeting at Griffin Park 2-0 in the old Division Two in March 2003 – their only win in the last five meetings there.

 

Brighton & Hove Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Dale Stephens: Set to return for Brighton
Dale Stephens: Set to return for Brighton

Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Dale Stephens and striker Craig Mackail-Smith could feature after injuries.

Sam Baldock, Andrew Crofts (both knee), Kemy Agustien (thigh) and Solly March (calf) remain sidelined.

Wolves forward Bakary Sako was sent off for violent conduct in the 2-2 draw against Watford, but video evidence cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Goalkeeper Carl Ikeme and midfielder Tommy Rowe (both metatarsals) remain out of contention.

 

The earlier meeting this season ended as a 1-1 draw at Molineux in December.

Brighton are unbeaten in the last three meetings, though they have won only one. Wolves’ last win was 1-0 at Molineux in April 2006.

Wolves have won only one of the last 11 meetings at Brighton. Their sole victory there since 1979 was 1-0 in September 2004

Charlton Athletic v Blackburn Rovers

Stephen Henderson: Could be fit for Charlton
Stephen Henderson: Could be fit for Charlton

Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson will face a late fitness test after suffering an ankle problem.

Defender Tal Ben Haim could return but winger Franck Moussa (knee), midfielder Johnnie Jackson (leg) and Rhoys Wiggins (calf) are still out.

Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer has confirmed Jordan Rhodes will start despite being linked with a loan move to Middlesbrough.

Marcus Olsson (hamstring) and Corry Evans (leg) will both be assessed.

Blackburn won the last meeting 2-1 at The Valley in the FA Cup in January.

Rovers also won the earlier league meeting this season 2-0 at Ewood Park in December.

Blackburn have won the last three meetings in all competitions. Charlton’s last win was 1-0 at Ewood Park in the Championship in October 2013.

Blackburn are unbeaten in the last three meetings at The Valley in all competitions, winning the last two. Charlton’s last win at home was 1-0 in the Premier League in December 2006.

Leeds United v Nottingham Forest

Liam Cooper: Could replace Gaetano Berardi for Leeds
Liam Cooper: Could replace Gaetano Berardi for Leeds

Leeds skipper Liam Cooper missed last week’s win at Wigan because of a hip problem, but is expected to be back in contention.

Manager Neil Redfearn will assess Sam Byram after he too missed out against the Latics because of a bruised foot.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury (rib) and defender Danny Fox (ankle) are both expected to be fit.

On loan winger Modou Barrow, signed on loan from Swansea on Thursday, could feature if he receives clearance.

The earlier meeting this season ended as a 1-1 draw at the City Ground in December.

Nottingham Forest have won three of the last four meetings, drawing the other. Leeds’ last win was 2-1 at Elland Road in September 2012.

Nottingham Forest have won two of the last three meetings at Elland Road, including a 7-3 win there in March 2012.

Norwich City v Derby County

Alexander Tettey: Back from suspension for Norwich
Alexander Tettey: Back from suspension for Norwich

Norwich will welcome back Alexander Tettey for Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship clash with Derby at Carrow Road.

Tettey has missed the last two matches – a 1-0 home defeat to Wigan and the 4-1 win at Millwall – after accumulating 10 bookings for the season.

Defender Sebastien Bassong was absent for the victory at The Den with a knee injury, with Carlos Cuellar again likely to deputise should the Cameroon international be unavailable once more.

Gary O’Neil made his comeback from a foot injury as a late substitute against the Lions and should again be in the squad as will Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, who impressed for the Under-21’s in midweek.

George Thorne will return to the Derby squad but the Rams’ leading scorer Chris Martin looks like he will miss out against his former club.

Thorne has missed the last three matches, which have brought two defeats and a draw for Steve McClaren’s men, with a thigh problem but the midfielder has trained this week. However, Martin has yet to train.

The 19-goal striker, who began his career with Norwich, has sat out seven games due to a hamstring injury and, although he is desperate to be involved, Derby head coach McClaren has stressed no risks will be taken on the fitness of those coming back from injury.

Striker Darren Bent (hamstring) and midfielder John Eustace (knee) will not be available until the beginning of next month after the international break.

Rotherham United v Wigan Athletic

Danny Ward: Could return for Rotherham
Danny Ward: Could return for Rotherham

The Millers could have skipper Craig Morgan back after three weeks out with a knee injury and Danny Ward and Paul Green also could return from knocks.

Morgan’s stand-in as captain, Lee Frecklington, serves a one-match ban for his sending-off at Huddersfield.

Wigan give a late fitness test to striker Leon Clarke (hamstring), who missed last weekend’s defeat to Leeds.

Boss Malky Mackay has no other availability concerns. Harry Maguire’s loan deal from Hull has been extended.

 

Rotherham won the earlier meeting this season 2-1 at the DW Stadium in December.

Both sides have won three of the last six meetings, with the away side winning five of them.

Wigan have won three of the last four meetings at Rotherham in all competitions, drawing the other. Rotherham’s last win at home was 4-2 in the League Cup in August 1993.

Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham

Sheffield WednesdayFulham
Stuart Gray: No new injury worries for Wednesday boss
Stuart Gray: No new injury worries for Wednesday boss
Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray has no new injury worries, but is still without several key performers.

Glenn Loovens (ankle), fellow defender Kamil Zayatte (hamstring), midfielder Jose Semedo (foot) and striker Sergiu Bus (groin) all remain sidelined.

Fulham could give a debut to Michael Turner after bringing the defender in on loan from Norwich.

Fernando Amorebieta serves a one-match ban while fellow full-back Jazz Richards (ankle) could feature.

Fulham won the earlier meeting this season 4-0 at Craven Cottage in December.

Sheffield Wednesday have won only one of the last five meetings in all competitions. Their only win since 1985 was 1-0 at Hillsborough in the League Cup in August 2012.

Fulham have won only one of the last seven meetings at Hillsborough in all competitions. Their only win there since 1973 was 2-1 in the FA Cup in January 2009.

Watford v Reading

Almen Abdi: Faces fitness test for Watford
Almen Abdi: Faces fitness test for Watford

Watford midfielder Almen Abdi and striker Odion Ighalo (both hamstring) will be assessed ahead of Saturda’s match against Reading.

Defender Tommie Hoban serves a one-match ban, but midfielder Sean Murray (knee) remains out.

Defender Zat Knight joined Reading as a free agent on Thursday on a deal until the end of the season and could play.

Fellow centre-half Alex Pearce (nose) will be assessed while midfielder Jem Karacan (knee) is back in contention.

Watford won the earlier meeting this season 1-0 at the Madejski Stadium in December – their first win in four meetings.

Reading are unbeaten in the last three meetings at Vicarage Road, winning the last two. Watford’s last win at home was 3-0 in April 2010.

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