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Championship preview

The Championship campaign draws to a dramatic conclusion on Saturday with numerous promotion, play-off and relegation issues still to be decided.

Last Updated: 03/05/13 at 14:23

Gianfranco Zola and Steve Bruce have their sights set on Premier League

Gianfranco Zola and Steve Bruce have their sights set on Premier League

Promotion, relegation and play-off issues to be decided on final day

The Championship campaign draws to a dramatic conclusion on Saturday with numerous promotion, play-off and relegation issues still to be decided.

Of the 12 fixtures taking place on Saturday lunchtime, nine of them have a bearing on matters at either end of the table on what promises to be a nerve-shredding afternoon for supporters.

Hull City can secure promotion to the Premier League with victory over champions Cardiff at the KC Stadium, but Steve Bruce's men are staggering towards the finishing line having taken just one point from their last three fixtures.

The Tigers' troubles have allowed Watford to remain in the hunt for second place as they play host to Leeds United, with the Hornets needing to better Hull's result if they are to claim a place back among England's elite.

At the other end of the table, Wolves look destined to join Bristol City in League One next season, with the Molineux outfit heading to play-off bound Brighton knowing that even a win may not be enough to prevent back-to-back relegations.

Barnsley are the other side who currently occupy an unwanted place among the Championship's bottom three, with their trip to Huddersfield - who are still in danger of the drop themselves despite having amassed 57 points - one of the pivotal fixtures of the day.

Safety

Peterborough are out of the drop zone by virtue of their superior goal difference and have their fate in their own hands as they make the trip to Crystal Palace, with the Eagles in danger of losing their place in the top six following a run of nine games without a victory.

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Sheffield Wednesday suffered a narrow defeat to Posh at London Road last time out and welcome Middlesbrough to Hillsborough just one point above the line marked for safety, with Owls fans sure to be keeping in touch with events at Huddersfield and Palace.

FA Cup semi-finalists Millwall have a two-point cushion over the bottom three and know a draw against Derby at Pride Park this weekend should be good enough, given their superior goal difference over the Tykes.

Bolton currently occupy sixth place as they prepare to welcome Blackpool to the Reebok Stadium, but with Nottingham Forest and Leicester - who go head-to-head at the City Ground - within striking distance, they cannot afford to slip up.

The three fixtures where the pressure is off see Birmingham play host to Blackburn, Burnley welcome Ipswich to Turf Moor and Charlton tackle rock-bottom Bristol City at The Valley.

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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.

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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

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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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