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Championship preview

Nottingham Forest's trip to Cardiff catches the eye on a busy afternoon of Championship action, which also sees derby clashes take place.

Last Updated: 13/04/13 at 14:35

Billy Davies: His in-form Forest side travel to leaders Cardiff

Billy Davies: His in-form Forest side travel to leaders Cardiff

Bluebirds host Forest; Boro welcome Seagulls; Derby delights

In-form Nottingham Forest's trip to league leaders Cardiff catches the eye on a busy afternoon of Championship action, which also sees Lancashire and Yorkshire rivals go into battle.

Elsewhere, in a division which remains finely balanced, Blackburn, Bristol City, Peterborough and Wolves all have vital home games in their respective quests for Championship survival, while Hull City look to cement their automatic promotion spot when they travel to Ipswich.

Cardiff have a six-point lead at the top of the table heading into the weekend, nine points above third-placed Watford, but will face a stern test in the form of a resurgent Nottingham Forest - who are unbeaten in their last 10 league games ahead of their clash with the Bluebirds.

Middlesbrough have had an horrendous 2013, winning only twice since the turn of the year, a run which has derailed their promotion push, meaning victory over fellow play-off hopefuls Brighton - who have won only once in their last six themselves - will keep alive any faint hopes they have of making the top six.

Managerless Leeds host the first derby clash of the weekend in Saturday's early kick-off, when the Whites welcome Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday to Elland Road - with caretaker manager Neil Redfearn hoping for three points to ease fears of being dragged into a releation battle, while David Jones' Wednesday will be looking to continue a run which has seen them win four of the last six.

Blackpool are only four points clear of the bottom three, despite losing only once in their last eight ahead of the visit of fellow Lancastrians Burnley, who boast one of the most effective strike-forces on the road in the league.

Blackburn have had a tumultuous season on and off the field, and now after a run of 10 games without a win find themselves in the bottom three. Saturday sees them lock horns with Derby at Ewood Park, who represent as tough a task as any after three wins in their last four.

Last Chance

Bristol City sit seven points adrift at the bottom of the Championship, eight from safety, and may have to win all of their final games to avoid being condemned to League One football next season. Promotion chasing Bolton, who are in good form, will do their utmost to make the Robins' situation worse.

After only four wins in their first 21 games Peterborough looked dead and buried, with relegation a certainty, however with only two defeats in their last 14 games, survival is a real possibility for Darren Ferguson's men. High flyers Watford will represent a tough challenge, however.

Another basement clash sees injury-hitWolves battle it out with relegation rivals Huddersfield, who only sit below the Black Country outfit on goal difference before Saturday's crucial encounter.

Inconsistency has been the problem for second-placed Hull City of late, and boss Steve Bruce will be hoping to put back-to-back wins together for the first time since mid-February when they travel to Ipswich.

New boss David Flitcroft has masterminded an incredible turnaround since taking over at Barnsley, and with Saturday's visitors Charlton fairly comfortable, seven points clear of the relegation dogfight in 12th, the Oakwell faithful will be expecting their good form to continue.

Leicester's promotion push has stuttered recently, and a run of eight games without a league win has seen the Foxes slip out of the play-off places. Friday night's visitors Birmingham have improved after a poor start to life under boss Lee Clark, and with three wins in their last four on the road, it won't be easy for Nigel Pearson's men. You can catch the match live on Sky Sports 2 HD.

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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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