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Championship preview

Four fiercely-contested derbies dominate the Championship fixture list this weekend as rivals meet at the beginning of December.

Last Updated: 30/11/12 at 14:52

Simon Grayson: The Huddersfield boss is reunited with Leeds

Simon Grayson: The Huddersfield boss is reunited with Leeds

Derbies in W.Yorks, London, Midlands and North West take centre stage

Four fiercely-contested derbies dominate the Championship fixture list this weekend as rivals meet at the beginning of December.

Elsewhere, there are important games at both ends of the table while the matches begin on Friday night when Middlesbrough visit Birmingham City.

But it is impossible to ignore the appealing set of derbies which leap out of the weekend schedule.

Saturday's clash between West Yorkshire neighbours Huddersfield Town and Leeds United at the John Smith's Stadium kicks things off in the lunchtime match, when the latter's former boss, Simon Grayson, will be reunited with his ex-club.

Later in the day, Millwall and Charlton Athletic renew their feisty London rivalry at The Den, where Kenny Jackett's home team will want to continue a 12-game unbeaten run which has catapulted them into the play-off places.

Wrong half

In Saturday's evening kick-off, the East Midlands derby between Leicester City and Derby County takes place at the King Power Stadium and Nigel Pearson's Foxes will be aiming to maintain their chase of the automatic promotion places.

Earlier in the day, Crystal Palace will want to have reinforced their position in the top two by ending a two-game winless run but Ian Holloway faces a difficult prospect when Brighton & Hove Albion arrive on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run.

Palace, though, could have been overtaken by Middlesbrough if Tony Mowbray's team defeat struggling Birmingham at St Andrew's in the Friday night match, which can be seen live on Sky Sports HD1.

Former Palace boss Dougie Freedman's Bolton are still scrapping in the wrong half of the table as far as they are concerned but they will want to build on their recent win over Blackburn Rovers with another success against relegation-threatened Ipswich Town.

If Ipswich drop points at the Reebok Stadium, Bristol City could climb out of the bottom three by increasing Stale Solbakken's problems at Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are sinking like a stone after a nine-game winless run.

Escape

Peterborough have no such chance of escaping the drop zone this weekend but they could help their cause for later in the season by picking up points at London Road against a Blackpool side who have drawn their last four games.

If results do not go their way, Barnsley could be sucked into the relegation places after the final whistle of their home date against Watford while Nottingham Forest will want to bounce back from their surprise defeat by Ipswich against top-six occupants Hull City.

Burnley and Blackburn Rovers meet at Turf Moor in the East Lancashire derby on Sunday lunchtime when visiting boss Henning Berg will want to respond to two back-to-back defeats which have seen his side slip down the table.

In the later Sunday kick-off, Cardiff City, who began the weekend at the top of the table, will expect to take maximum points against lowly Sheffield Wednesday in Wales.

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icky van Wolfswinkel's remarkable record of one goal from one game at least deserves an honourable mention. And I'm willing to bet that at least one of Costa, Ulloa or Enner Valencia will earn a place on the list by the end of the season. Probably not Costa

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will also give up birthday Christmas and bacon for this to happen

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Ronaldo return ‘in place’

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lease let this happen. I'll have it as a birthday AND Christmas present if that will help.

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Ronaldo return ‘in place’

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