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Championship preview

With Cardiff not playing until Tuesday, Watford and Crystal Palace will be looking to close the gap on the leaders.

Last Updated: 19/03/13 at 08:52

Glenn Murray: Will hope to help Eagles down Leeds

Glenn Murray: Will hope to help Eagles down Leeds

Watford face Blackpool, Palace host Leeds

With Cardiff City not playing until Tuesday, Watford and Crystal Palace will be looking to close the gap on the leaders in the weekend's busy Championship programme.

Watford, the Championship's form team and new holders of an automatic promotion place, host Blackpool, who are still looking to register their first win under Paul Ince and sit five points outside the relegation zone.

One side whose new manager does now have a victory is Dean Saunders, whose Wolves side now travel to the City Ground to face an in-form Nottingham Forest side looking to win their fifth Championship game in a row and keep a fourth clean sheet on the bounce.

Fourth-placed Crystal Palace are unbeaten in 17 home games, and will be looking to extend this against a Leeds United side with just one win in 14 away games.

The side directly above Neil Warnock's side are Bolton, and Dougie Freedman has his team in great form. They will be hoping to win five consecutive league games for the first time in over six years when they host Brighton at the Reebok Stadium, with the visitors themselves unbeaten in six.

Birmingham City continue to stutter under Lee Clark and sit just five points outside the drop zone after playing a game more than other relegation-threatened sides. They host a Derby side who are without a win in seven games.

One side on the slide are Middlesbrough, who failed to build on their victory over Cardiff last weekend by losing to strugglers Huddersfield Town. Tony Mowbray's men are given the chance to make amends when they make the long trip to Bristol City, who remain bottom of the division and have conceded more goals than any other side.

Whilst Leicester City's automatic promotion bid has taken a hit of late they still remain in the play-off picture, and will hope to rebound from recent poor results with a home victory over Sheffield Wednesday, who have lost two games on the spin.

Another side struggling of late are Charlton Athletic, and the Addicks travel to Huddersfield Town. Both sides have identical records this season, separated by Huddersfield's poor goal difference, the worst in the Championship.

Two of the bottom six sides meet at London Road, where Ipswich Town will hope to retain a full complement of players during their match against Peterborough United. The Tractor Boys were reduced to nine men during a midweek defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Monday night's game sees Hull City, knocked out of the automatic positions in midweek after defeat to Crystal Palace, visit Burnley, who were denied victory on Tuesday by a late Tomasz Cywka goal for Barnsley.

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Readers' Comments

S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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Paul Merson challenged Andros Townsend to "win some medals" before calling him out after the Tottenham winger poked fun at the former Arsenal midfielder for questioning his England credentials.

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