Victoria Park, Hartlepool United

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Hartlepool v Middlesbro'

Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 19:30

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Saturday, 26 July 2014, 15:00

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Championship preview

Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough will be hoping to cement their lofty standings, with the promotion race in the second tier as tight as ever.

Last Updated: 16/11/12 at 15:26

Tony Mowbray: Middlesbrough face a top-of-the-table clash with Cardiff

Tony Mowbray: Middlesbrough face a top-of-the-table clash with Cardiff

Palace tackle Rams; Boro go to Bluebirds; Bruce faces former club

Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough will be hoping to cement their lofty standings, with the promotion race in the second tier as tight as ever.

Just 10 points separate those in the top half of the table, while sides perched just above the drop zone are only a couple of wins away from firing themselves back into the picture.

It is, however, Crystal Palace who lead the way at present and they will go in search of a fifth straight success when they play host to Derby.

Middlesbrough are unbeaten in eight, winning six of those fixtures, and any stumble by Palace would open to the door for them to return to the summit when they go to third-placed Cardiff, who boast a 100 per cent record on home soil.

Steve Bruce has Hull City well-placed to mount a push for a top-two finish and he will be hoping to get the better of former employers Birmingham on Saturday.

A four-match winless run has arrived at a bad time for Leicester, but they will get the opportunity to get things back on track when they welcome struggling Ipswich to the King Power Stadium.

Huddersfield occupy a play-off berth and will be reluctant to be toppled from that perch when they take on a hard-working Brighton outfit.

First success

Henning Berg is still looking for his first victory as Blackburn boss and will be hoping it proves to be fourth time lucky when Rovers make the trip to Peterborough.

Having gone three games without a win, Nottingham Forest know they need to make the most of a home date with Sheffield Wednesday - a side that has suffered back-to-back defeats.

Burnley will once again be looking towards Charlie Austin to do the business in front of goal when they welcome Charlton to Turf Moor.

Blackpool have endured a tough time over recent weeks but will want to start moving in the right direction again when they make the long journey to rock-bottom Bristol City, who have lost their last seven.

Wolves' season is in danger of unravelling, with Stale Solbakken's side without a win in six, and they face another tough test on the road against a dangerous Watford side this weekend.

The last of Saturday's fixtures sees Bolton, unbeaten under Dougie Freedman, take on Barnsley at the Reebok Stadium.

On Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1HD, Millwall will want to stretch a nine-match unbeaten run which has seen them climb steadily up the standings when they entertain an inconsistent Leeds outfit that has gone six without a win.

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hile not comparing the ability of Wilshire to Dr Socrates of Brazil, didn't he do about forty a day?

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