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Championship Matchday 20 Preview

last updated Tuesday 05th December 2017, 11:06 AM

Championship Matchday 20 Preview
Championship Fixtures - MatchDay 20
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Friday 1st December 2017
19:45 Cardiff v Norwich -
19:45 Leeds v Aston Villa Sky
Saturday 2nd December 2017
15:00 Bolton v Barnsley -
15:00 Brentford v Fulham -
15:00 Derby v Burton -
15:00 Ipswich v N. Forest -
15:00 Millwall v Sheff Utd -
15:00 Preston v QPR -
15:00 Sheff Wed v Hull -
15:00 Sunderland v Reading -
17:30 Bristol C v Middlesbrough Sky
Monday 4th December 2017
19:45 Birmingham v Wolves Sky
League Table
The Championship weekend kicks off with two fixtures on Friday night, with Leeds United’s encounter with Aston Villa to be screened live on Sky.

Steve Bruce’s side have clambered up the table, sitting fourth after three straight wins, while the hosts sit just outside of the top six following an inconsistent run of recent results.

The night’s other game pits second-placed Cardiff City against Norwich City. The Bluebirds will close the gap at the top to one point with victory over the travelling Canaries.

Two of last season’s promoted sides meet at the Den, where third-placed Sheffield United will be keen to return to winning ways as they face Millwall, who are 19th in the division, but manager Chris Wilder does not believe that is a true reflection on their season so far.

The other promoted side, Bolton Wanderers, host a Barnsley side who have suffered three straight defeats without scoring.

Brentford face Fulham in another west London derby with The Cottagers aiming to get a third win on the trot. Fulham have already won two London derbies this season, away at QPR and at home to Millwall, while Brentford beat the Lions at Griffin Park last month and drew 2-2 at QPR on Monday after conceding twice in second-half injury time.

Nigel Clough meanwhile, goes up against his former club when Burton face Derby. Clough's opposite number in the dugout, Gary Rowett, played and managed at Burton.

Nottingham Forest, 10th in the division, head to ninth-placed Ipswich, The Tractor Boys have won three of their last five league matches against Forest at Portman Road (D1 L1) but that defeat came in last season's match.

QPR travelling to Preston. QPR are winless in 16 away league games (D5 L11), their worst run outside of the Premier League since September 1999 (also 16) - should they fail to win at Deepdale it would be their longest away winless run out of the top-flight since September 1998 (24 matches without a win).

Sunderland secured a first win since mid-August last weekend away at Burton and this weekend they host Reading, when they will bid to end their record-breaking run of 20 games without a home triumph. Chris Coleman has vowed to get the Sunderland supporters back on side as he prepares for his opening match in charge at the Stadium of Light.

Bristol City sit fifth after last week’s memorable comeback win at Hull City, and they welcome Middlesbrough to Ashton Gate, while Hull City are heading to South Yorkshire to face Sheffield Wednesday — it’ll be the club’s first meeting since the 2016 Championship Play-Off Final.

Sheffield Wednesday host a Hull side who are without a win from their last six matches. This is the first meeting between the teams since the 2016 Championship play-off final, which Hull won 1-0 with a goal from Mohamed Diame.

On Monday night Birmingham welcome table topping Wolves, who have won their last five, the game is live on Sky Sports Football.

Friday 1st December 2017

19:45 Cardiff v Norwich -

Cardiff are waiting on Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Aron Gunnarsson ahead of Friday's visit of Norwich.

The pair missed last weekend's 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest but Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock hopes they will be fit enough to return to the squad.

Striker Kenneth Zohore (heel) misses out again with Cardiff seeking a fourth consecutive victory that would take them to within a point of Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolves.

Norwich defender Timm Klose (hip) and midfielder Tom Trybull (back) should both travel to Wales, along with forward Cameron Jerome (foot). Midfielder Alex Pritchard made his return from pre-season ankle surgery with a substitute appearance in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Barnsley and is set to be in the squad again despite a minor neck problem,

Defender James Husband (groin) remains sidelined, along with midfielder Alex Tettey (calf) and forward Marley Watkins (groin). Forward Steven Naismith (ankle) also continues his recovery as do defender Jamal Lewis (knee), midfielder Louis Thompson (Achilles), winger Matt Jarvis (ankle) and goalkeeper Remi Matthews (ankle).

19:45 Leeds v Aston Villa Sky

Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen is in a position to make changes for his side's Championship clash with Aston Villa at Elland Road on Friday, live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm.

Defender Ronaldo Vieira is available again after suspension and will look to force his way back into the starting line-up. Striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga could be in line to return following illness, while Eunan O'Kane hopes to shrug off the groin problem which forced him off at Oakwell.

Defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is looking to make his way back into the matchday squad while Felix Wiedwald is set to continue in goal.

Aston Villa's Mile Jedinak could be out for three months if his shoulder problem needs surgery. The midfielder has seen a specialist and has been told to rest and if he does not need an operation Jedinak could be back in around six weeks.

John Terry remains out with a broken foot and Jonathan Kodjia could miss the rest of the season with an ankle problem he suffered on international duty. Scott Hogan is sidelined with a stomach problem following an operation in November.

This is only the third meeting between the sides at Elland Road outside the top-flight - both sides have one victory each, Villa winning 3-1 in 1987/88 and Leeds winning 2-0 last season.

Ezgjan Alioski could become the first Leeds United player since Ross McCormack in September 2011 to score in five consecutive league appearances for the club.

Steve Bruce has visited Elland Road six times previously as a manager, each time facing a different manager (Terry Venables, Peter Reid, John Carver, Neil Warnock, Steve Evans and Garry Monk); Bruce has won two and lost four of those games, losing the most recent two, both in December with Hull (2015) and Villa (2016).

Leeds have faced the other five sides currently in the top six of the Championship this season and lost four of those matches (W1) accounting for half of their total defeats this season.

Since failing to score in his first 21 away Championship matches for Aston Villa, Albert Adomah has scored five goals in his last six for the Villans - however, he has never scored in six Championship appearances at Elland Road.
Saturday 2nd December 2017

15:00 Bolton v Barnsley -

Bolton are without defender David Wheater through suspension for the visit of Barnsley in the Sky Bet Championship.

Wheater must serve a one-match ban after collecting his fifth booking of the season in last week's thrashing at Wolves. Reece Burke could replace him in the back four while Josh Cullen could be given a run in midfield.

Barnsley welcome back Adam Hammill for the trip across the Pennines. Hammill was serving a one-match ban as the Reds went down 3-0 at Reading in midweek and he will fancy his chances of getting his shirt straight back.

Steven Mallan has been struggling with a thigh injury and this weekend could come too soon, but Mamadou Thiam is pushing for a start after a recent back problem. Lloyd Isgrove (knee) and Adam Jackson are continued absentees.

The Tykes haven't kept an away league clean sheet at Bolton in their last nine attempts since a 2-0 win in October 1982, with Bobby Horn the goalkeeper for Barnsley that day.

Bolton have conceded more goals in their last two matches (7) than they did in their previous five in the Championship (6).

The Tykes have lost four of their last five away Championship matches against sides starting that day bottom of the division, although they did win most recently at Rotherham in January.

Darren Pratley has had a hand in four goals in his last three Championship appearances at the Macron Stadium (two goals, two assists).

Barnsley have lost their last three Championship matches without scoring - they haven't lost four in a row without scoring in league competition since March 2012.

15:00 Brentford v Fulham -

Brentford forward Neal Maupay is suspended for the west London derby against Fulham.

The Frenchman serves a one-match ban after he was booked during the 2-2 draw with their other local rivals QPR on Monday night.

Florian Jozefzoon could also miss out after he limped off injured at Loftus Road. Henrik Dalsgaard remains a doubt with a heel injury while Alan Judge (leg) and Rico Henry (knee) are still out.

Fulham should be able to welcome back Tim Ream and Kevin McDonald. Defender Ream and midfielder McDonald both missed last weekend's 1-0 win over Millwall through injury but hope to return.

However, winger Floyd Ayite is facing a few weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Chelsea loanee Lucas Piazon is still recovering from a broken leg.

None of the last 14 matches between the sides in all competitions at Griffin Park have ended as draws - both sides have seven wins apiece in those games.

The Cottagers have won one of their last six league matches against Brentford (D2 L3), with that victory coming at Griffin Park last season.

Brentford have lost one of their last 21 home league matches in December (W13 D7), a 4-2 defeat to Ipswich on Boxing Day in 2014.

Fulham's 5-4 win over Sheffield United in their last away Championship match was their highest scoring league match for 24 years, since losing 6-4 at Exeter City in November 1993.

Brentford (18) have lost more points from winning positions in the Championship this season than any other team.

Ryan Sessegnon's hat-trick against Sheffield United was the first by a player aged 17 in the Championship since February 2011, when Connor Wickham scored one against Doncaster for Ipswich.

15:00 Derby v Burton -

Derby will check on the fitness of Sam Winnall and Bradley Johnson ahead of the visit of neighbours Burton.

On-loan striker Winnall is trying to shake off an ankle injury while midfielder Johnson damaged a hamstring in the goalless draw at Fulham. Both players have missed the last three matches but Rams boss Gary Rowett hopes that at last one of them will be able to train this week and put themselves back in contention.

Rowett has hinted at changing his starting line up for the first time in four matches on Saturday following the home defeat to Ipswich, after which he felt his front four looked tired. George Thorne, Johnny Russell and Chris Martin all came on as substitutes in midweek and the trio will be pushing strongly for starting places against Burton.

Former Derby defender Jake Buxton is back in contention to face his old club but the Brewers have injury problems elsewhere. Buxton, a Ram between 2009 and 2016, has missed the last two matches with a muscle problem although Burton boss Nigel Clough will manage his return ahead of the forthcoming hectic festive schedule.

John Brayford, another ex-Derby player, Lloyd Dyer, Sean Scannell and Will Miller are all doubts with hamstring issues. Burton-born midfielder Ben Fox, 19, could be included in the squad at Pride Park Stadium following his recent return from a loan spell at Tamworth.

Derby's only previous league meetings against Burton came last season in the Championship - they drew one and lost one without scoring.

Nigel Clough managed 213 league matches for Derby between 2009 and 2013, winning 72 of those games at a ratio of 34%.

Derby haven't lost any of their last 15 league matches in December (W9 D6) since a 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough in 2014.

As well as Clough managing Derby, his opposite number Gary Rowett also managed Burton in the Football League, leading them to the League Two play-off final in 2014 where they lost to Fleetwood.

The Rams haven't lost back to back home Championship matches since September last year, a run of three consecutive defeats.

Burton are one of two Championship clubs this season yet to see a player score more than twice for them, along with Birmingham - Lloyd Dyer, Ben Turner and Marvin Sordell all have two goals.

15:00 Ipswich v N. Forest -

Ipswich will be without captain Luke Chambers through suspension for the visit of Nottingham Forest.

Midfielder Flynn Downes must also serve a one-match ban after he also collected a fifth caution during the midweek win at Derby. Defender Tommy Smith has been sidelined by a calf injury, while midfielder Tom Adeyemi has a hamstring problem.

Republic of Ireland forward David McGoldrick is recovering after he needed surgery on a deep gash to his groin. Midfielders Luke Hyam and Andre Dozzell are unavailable following respective knee operations.

Liam Bridcutt will come back into the Forest squad after serving a one-match ban but it remains to be seen if the midfielder will be restored to the starting line up. Reds boss Mark Warburton is expected to make some changes following the home defeat to Cardiff and Mustapha Carayol is pushing strongly for a recall after impressing during his last two substitute appearances.

A change up front is unlikely, however, with Daryl Murphy expected to lead the line once again against one of his former clubs. Chris Cohen, Jack Hobbs and Danny Fox remain unavailable for a Forest side that has lost four of its last five away games in the Sky Bet Championship.

Ipswich have won three of their last five league matches against Forest at Portman Road (D1 L1) but that defeat came in last season's match.

Forest won both Championship matches against Ipswich last season by an aggregate score of 5-0 (2-0 at the City Ground, 3-0 at Portman Road).

Martyn Waghorn has had a hand in seven goals in seven Championship appearances at Portman Road this season (five goals, two assists).

Nottingham Forest are the first team in the second tier of English football to have not drawn any of their first 19 league games in a season since Stoke City in 1955/56.

The Tractor Boys haven't kept clean sheets in back to back Championship games since October 2016.

Daryl Murphy could face his former club Ipswich for just the second time since he departed the club in 2016 - he scored at Portman Road last season for Newcastle United in a Championship match in April.

15:00 Millwall v Sheff Utd -

Jed Wallace is available again for Millwall's Sky Bet Championship game at home to Sheffield United on Saturday.

Wallace has served his three-match suspension and is expected to return, with Fred Onyedinma possibly the one to make way. Steve Morison and Tom Elliott started up front last weekend but Lee Gregory could be handed a chance to add more of a goal threat.

Shaun Williams is back in training after a knee injury but Saturday will come too soon for the midfielder. Byron Webster remains out, also with a knee problem.

Sheffield United defender George Baldock could return to contention for the trip to The Den. Wing-back Baldock has missed the last four games due to a hamstring strain, but is expected to be included in boss Chris Wilder's squad.

Samir Carruthers and David Brooks are both pushing for starting places after coming off the bench in last week's 1-1 draw with Birmingham. Midfielder Paul Coutts is out for the season after recently breaking a leg, while striker Ched Evans (ankle) and defender Kieron Freeman (knee) are long-term absentees.

Millwall have won 10 of their last 13 league matches against the Blades at the Den (L3), with those three defeats coming in the most recent Championship meetings between the teams (2004/05, 2005/06 and 2010/11).

Sheffield United have won four of their last seven second tier matches against Millwall (D2 L1).

Despite being 16 places below Sheffield United in the Championship table, Millwall have conceded one fewer goal (20) than the Blades (21) this season.

The Blades have won all seven of their matches in December across the last two seasons by an aggregate score of 14-2.

The Lions have faced three of the current top six in the Championship so far this season and failed to score in all three matches (D2 L1).

Leon Clarke has scored nine goals in his last four Championship games - as many as he'd scored in his previous 68 appearances in the competition. Clarke's nine goals in November were the most by a player in a single month in the top four tiers of English football since Luis Suarez scored 10 in December 2013 for Liverpool.

15:00 Preston v QPR -

Preston welcome Ben Pearson back from suspension for the visit of QPR.

Pearson has served a one-game ban and will replace Daniel Johnson in the squad after his fifth booking of the season earned him a ban. Josh Earl's expected return to action has been delayed by several weeks after a minor knee operation.

Tommy Spurr (knee), Greg Cunningham and Sean Maguire (both hamstring) are long-term absentees but Tom Clarke and Declan Rudd each played 90 minutes in the Lancashire Senior Cup tie against Bury.

QPR, without an away win all season, will be without Luke Freeman through suspension. The midfielder scored the dramatic equaliser in Monday's 2-2 draw with Brentford but also collected a fifth booking and serves a one-match ban.

Ryan Manning could step in but boss Ian Holloway is likely to be short in defence again. Joel Lynch, Nedum Onuoha, Grant Hall, James Perch, Steven Caulker and Darnell Furlong are set to miss out again.

Preston are unbeaten in their last 11 home league games against QPR (W5 D6).

The Hoops haven't won at Deepdale since February 1980, winning 3-0 with goals from Clive Allen, Glenn Roeder and Paul Goddard under manager Tommy Docherty.

Since scoring in 18 consecutive Championship matches at Deepdale, Preston have failed to score in three of their last five, including each of their last two.

Ian Holloway has failed to win any of his last eight league visits to Deepdale (D3 L5) since a 2-1 win in November 1997 as Bristol Rovers boss.

Tom Barkhuizen has had a hand in more Championship goals than any other Preston player this season (9, four goals and five assists).

QPR are winless in 16 away league games (D5 L11), their worst run outside of the Premier League since September 1999 (also 16) - should they fail to win at Deepdale it would be their longest away winless run out of the top-flight since September 1998 (24 matches without a win).

15:00 Sheff Wed v Hull -

Sheffield Wednesday will be without Tom Lees for the Yorkshire derby with Hull.

The central defender suffered a thigh injury in last weekend's 0-0 draw at Reading and will play no part as the Tigers visit Hillsborough, with the length of time he will be sidelined still unknown.

There are no other fresh injury concerns as his side aim to continue their six-game unbeaten run in the Sky Bet Championship. Fernando Forestieri, Sam Hutchinson (both knee) and George Boyd (shoulder) are out until the new year.

Hull are boosted by the return of Jon Toral and Michael Dawson. Toral has been struggling with a hamstring injury but returned to training this week and is in contention at Hillsborough.

Experienced defender Dawson has been laid low with illness, but he is also available. Abel Hernandez (Achilles), Will Keane (knee), Moses Odubajo (knee) and Ryan Mason (skull) remain long-term absentees as the Tigers aim to end a six-game winless run.

This is the first meeting between the teams since the 2016 Championship play-off final, which Hull won 1-0 with a goal from Mohamed Diame.

The Owls have only won one of their last six home league matches against Hull (D2 L3), a 1-0 win in September 2007 with the winner scored by Francis Jeffers.

Two of the Owls' last three league matches have ended goalless, as many as in their previous 65 - they haven't drawn back to back home games goalless since December 2003.

Hull have lost their last seven away matches in December in all competitions since a 3-1 win at Sunderland on Boxing Day in 2014.

Jordan Rhodes scored in all three of his Championship appearances at Hillsborough as an opposition player for Blackburn between 2013 and 2015 - for Sheffield Wednesday, he has found the net in three of his 20 league appearances (including play-offs) at Hillsborough (four goals).

Jackson Irvine scored in both league matches against Sheffield Wednesday for Burton Albion last season, scoring two goals.

15:00 Sunderland v Reading -

James Vaughan will miss Chris Coleman's first home game as boss through suspension as Sunderland attempt to leave the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone when they meet Reading.

The striker was booked for the fifth time this season for his excessive celebration after scoring in last Saturday's 2-0 victory at Burton and he will sit out on an afternoon which will see the Black Cats seek a first league win at the Stadium of Light since December 17 last year.

Defender Marc Wilson is back in training after a calf injury and could be involved, as could young frontman Josh Maja following his recovery from a knee problem. However, midfielder Darron Gibson is a doubt with a knock, while Lamine Kone, Didier Ndong and Duncan Watmore (all knee), Billy Jones (foot) and Jonny Williams (shoulder) are still out.

Reading goalkeeper Vito Mannone is expected to face his former club before returning to Italy for family matters after his mother recently suffered a stroke. Forward Yann Kermorgant started again in the midweek 3-0 home win over Barnsley, but will be carefully managed after his return to fitness following surgery on a hip and groin problem in pre-season.

Midfielder John Swift continues to assessed on a hamstring injury, while striker Sam Smith is stepping up his rehabilitation from a knee injury, but is not expected to feature again until January. Winger Callum Harriott (hamstring), George Evans (thigh) and Garath McCleary (groin) all continue their recovery along with Stephen Quinn and forward Joseph Mendes (both knee). Defender Jordan Obita, though, is out for the season after surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament.

Sunderland have won four of their last five home games against Reading (L1), though this is their first meeting at the Stadium of Light since December 2012 in the Premier League.

Reading's last visit to the Stadium of Light outside of the Premier League came in April 2005, coming from a goal down to win 2-1 with a brace from Dave Kitson.

Callum McManaman has scored in three of his last four league starts against Reading, scoring three goals.

Reading have scored the same amount of goals in their last two away league games as they did in their first seven on the road this season (6).

Chris Coleman has faced Reading five times previously, losing four of those games and drawing the other - his last home meeting came in October 2009, losing 3-1 as Coventry boss to a Reading side managed by Brendan Rodgers.

The Royals have kept clean sheets in back to back league games - they haven't kept three in a row since November 2016.

17:30 Bristol C v Middlesbrough Sky

Bristol City are without Callum O'Dowda for their home game with Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship.

The Republic of Ireland winger is set for a spell on the sidelines after ankle surgery. O'Dowda joins Famara Diedhiou (knee), Eros Pisano (hamstring), Jens Hegeler (knee) and Gary O'Neil (knee) on the casualty list. The good news for City is that Joe Bryan has been passed fit after missing last weekend's win at Hull with a hip problem.

Boro boss Garry Monk will be without central defender Daniel Ayala through suspension. Ayala was dismissed for a second bookable offence during last weekend's 3-0 home defeat by Derby and will sit out as a result with Dael Fry the most likely candidate to replace him.

However, Monk will welcome back Jonny Howson from his one-match ban with the midfielder having served his punishment for reaching five bookings for the season against the Rams, and he could once again be partnered by Grant Leadbitter, who was an unused substitute. They could be joined in the matchday squad by striker Rudy Gestede for the first time since August following his return to action for the under-23s after his recovery from a long-standing thigh injury.

Middlesbrough haven't scored a single goal in any of their last three league games against the Robins - Ishmael Miller was the last Boro player to find the net, doing so in a 3-1 defeat in November 2012.

The Robins have lost two of their last three league matches at Ashton Gate, as many as they'd lost in their previous 16.

Britt Assombalonga scored a brace in his only previous league visit to Ashton Gate, with his two goals helping Peterborough to a 3-0 win in September 2013.

Assombalonga has found the net in each of his last four away league appearances (four goals) - the last player to score in five consecutive away Championship appearances was Rudy Gestede in December 2014 for Blackburn Rovers.

Bristol City have lost five fewer games after 19 matches this season (3) than they had last season (8).

Monday 4th December 2017

19:45 Birmingham v Wolves Sky

Details to follow .........................

Matchday 19 table
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Championship Fixtures - MatchDay 21
KO Home   Away TV
Friday 8th December 2017
19:45 Sheff Utd v Bristol C Sky
Saturday 9th December 2017
15:00 Aston Villa v Millwall -
15:00 Barnsley v Derby -
15:00 Burton v Preston -
15:00 Fulham v Birmingham -
15:00 Hull v Ipswich -
15:00 Middlesbro' v Ipswich -
15:00 N. Forest v Bolton -
15:00 QPR v Leeds -
15:00 Wolves v Sunderland -
17:30 Norwich v Sheff Wed Sky
Monday 11th December 2017
20:00 Reading v Cardiff Sky
League Table

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