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Championship preview

There is all to play for at both ends of the table as the Championship enters its penultimate weekend.

Last Updated: 26/04/13 at 13:26

Gianfranco Zola: Takes his Watford side to Leicester on Friday

Gianfranco Zola: Takes his Watford side to Leicester on Friday

Tigers will gain promotion if Watford fail to win on Friday

There is all to play for at both ends of the table as the Championship enters its penultimate weekend.

Friday night sees the mouth-watering clash between seventh-placed Leicester and third-placed Watford, being shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD at 7.45pm.

Nigel Pearson's side can climb into the play-offs with a draw at least, while Gianfranco Zola's Hornets must win to maintain their automatic promotion hopes, sitting four points behind second-placed Hull City.

But, even if the Hornets win, Steve Bruce's Tigers can gain promotion back to the top flight with a win on Saturday at second-from-bottom Barnsley, who need at least a point themselves to climb out of the drop zone.

Gus Poyet's Brighton need to beat mid-table Leeds - who are already safe - at Elland Road to guarantee themselves a place in the play-offs.

Fifth-placed Crystal Palace are badly out of form, picking up just three points from their last seven games, and face the tough trip to in-form Blackburn, who have won three out of their last four matches to sit five points above the drop zone and just a win away from survival.

Bolton occupy the last play-off spot and Dougie Freedman's Trotters take on champions Cardiff who have already sealed their promotion to the Premier League.

Capitalise

Any slip-ups and eighth-placed Nottingham Forest will be looking to capitalise with a win at Millwall, who have lost their last two games to drop worryingly to 19th in the table, four points above the drop zone but with a game in hand.

Ninth-placed Charlton still have a mathematical chance of making the play-offs but must win at Middlesbrough.

Down at the bottom, Wolves sit in the drop zone on goal difference and will be aiming to beat Burnley, who are not safe themselves and need a victory to guarantee their place in next season's Championship.

Like Wolves and Barnsley, fourth-from-bottom Peterborough are also on 51 points and Darren Ferguson's side host Sheffield Wednesday in the Saturday evening kick-off, being shown live on Sky Sports 2 HD at 5.20pm.

But it will be tough for Posh against Dave Jones' Owls who will be aiming for a win to guarantee safety.

Fifth-from-bottom Huddersfield are three points ahead of the drop zone - but with a far worse goal difference than their pursuers - and will be looking to take maximum points at relegated Bristol City, who have only pride to play for.

Ipswich need a point against Birmingham to ensure safety, while Paul Ince's Blackpool will be targeting a win to confirm their survival when hosting mid-table Derby.

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Readers' Comments

I

think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

ted, manchester
The Insecure Gossip

H

e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

notalentjones
Benteke ignoring speculation

I

n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

FairyNuff
Shaw told to shape up

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