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Championship preview

With Cardiff not playing until Tuesday, Watford and Crystal Palace will be looking to close the gap on the leaders.

Last Updated: 19/03/13 at 08:52

Glenn Murray: Will hope to help Eagles down Leeds

Glenn Murray: Will hope to help Eagles down Leeds

Watford face Blackpool, Palace host Leeds

With Cardiff City not playing until Tuesday, Watford and Crystal Palace will be looking to close the gap on the leaders in the weekend's busy Championship programme.

Watford, the Championship's form team and new holders of an automatic promotion place, host Blackpool, who are still looking to register their first win under Paul Ince and sit five points outside the relegation zone.

One side whose new manager does now have a victory is Dean Saunders, whose Wolves side now travel to the City Ground to face an in-form Nottingham Forest side looking to win their fifth Championship game in a row and keep a fourth clean sheet on the bounce.

Fourth-placed Crystal Palace are unbeaten in 17 home games, and will be looking to extend this against a Leeds United side with just one win in 14 away games.

The side directly above Neil Warnock's side are Bolton, and Dougie Freedman has his team in great form. They will be hoping to win five consecutive league games for the first time in over six years when they host Brighton at the Reebok Stadium, with the visitors themselves unbeaten in six.

Birmingham City continue to stutter under Lee Clark and sit just five points outside the drop zone after playing a game more than other relegation-threatened sides. They host a Derby side who are without a win in seven games.

One side on the slide are Middlesbrough, who failed to build on their victory over Cardiff last weekend by losing to strugglers Huddersfield Town. Tony Mowbray's men are given the chance to make amends when they make the long trip to Bristol City, who remain bottom of the division and have conceded more goals than any other side.

Whilst Leicester City's automatic promotion bid has taken a hit of late they still remain in the play-off picture, and will hope to rebound from recent poor results with a home victory over Sheffield Wednesday, who have lost two games on the spin.

Another side struggling of late are Charlton Athletic, and the Addicks travel to Huddersfield Town. Both sides have identical records this season, separated by Huddersfield's poor goal difference, the worst in the Championship.

Two of the bottom six sides meet at London Road, where Ipswich Town will hope to retain a full complement of players during their match against Peterborough United. The Tractor Boys were reduced to nine men during a midweek defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Monday night's game sees Hull City, knocked out of the automatic positions in midweek after defeat to Crystal Palace, visit Burnley, who were denied victory on Tuesday by a late Tomasz Cywka goal for Barnsley.

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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

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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