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Championship preview

Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway renews acquaintances with Blackpool and there's a West Midlands derby at Molineux.

Last Updated: 08/12/12 at 14:41

Ian Holloway: Faces Blackpool for the first time since leaving for Crystal Palac

Ian Holloway: Faces Blackpool for the first time since leaving for Crystal Palac

Wolves host Blues; Eagles tackle Seasiders; Derby face Leeds

Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway renews acquaintances with Blackpool and there's a West Midlands derby at Molineux.

Elsewhere, Derby and Leeds rekindle old rivalries, Millwall, Watford and Charlton will be hoping to stretch their respective unbeaten runs and out-of-sorts Sheffield Wednesday take in a crucial clash with a fellow struggler.

After seeing Cardiff extend their lead at the top in fine style with a 4-1 win at Blackburn on Friday evening, Holloway's second-placed Crystal Palace side face a tough home test against his former employers Blackpool on Saturday afternoon.

The lunchtime kick-off in the Championship comes at Pride Park, with Derby playing host to a Leeds side that has won three games on the bounce and is closing back in on the play-off places.

Leicester occupy a standing inside the top six at present and could close on the automatic promotion spots if they can pile more misery on a Barnsley side that has gone nine games without a win to tumble into relegation trouble.

Also inside the play-off spots at present are Watford and Hull City, with the Hornets having won five of their last seven to rocket up the standings ahead of the clash at Vicarage Road.

Troubles

Three defeats in four have put a dent in Middlesbrough's promotion push, but they remain in fourth place and their troubles are nothing compared to those currently being endured by weekend opponents Peterborough - with Posh rooted to the foot of the table.

Millwall have now gone 13 games since they last suffered a defeat, but a trip to Portman Road on Saturday has been made trickier by the fact that Ipswich have shown signs of life over recent weeks.

Charlton are also a side in form at present, having gone six games since their last setback, but they face Brighton this weekend with the Seagulls setting their sights on a return to the top six.

Back-to-back defeats have cast Nottingham Forest four points adrift of the promotion-chasing pack and they will want to put themselves back in the mix when Burnley visit the City Ground.

Huddersfield have slipped into the bottom half of the table of late, but home advantage could play into their hands against a Bolton team still searching for a spark to ignite their season.

Six successive defeats have sent Sheffield Wednesday crashing down the division and they will need no reminding of how important it is for them to snap out of that slump against Bristol City - the side that sits directly above them.

The final game on Saturday sees Midlands pride put on the line when Wolves play host to Birmingham, with both sides determined to start pulling clear of trouble and put on a show in front of the Sky Sports 2HD cameras.

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C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

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