Championship briefing

Team news and statistics for the weekend's action in the npower Championship.

Last Updated: 15/02/13 at 15:54 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Sky Bet Championship. Click here to bet.

Ben Turner: Could return for Cardiff

Ben Turner: Could return for Cardiff

(Current league positions in brackets)

Saturday, February 16

Birmingham (16) v Watford (4)

Birmingham are set to be without strikers Marlon King and Nikola Zigic. King is doubtful due to a knock and Zigic has been dropped from manager Lee Clark's matchday squad following his unsatisfactory training this week. Deadline-day loan signing Wes Thomas is in contention along with Nathan Redmond, Peter Lovenkrands and Hayden Mullins. Darren Ambrose, David Murphy, Stephen Carr and Will Packwood remain sidelined due to injury.

Nyron Nosworthy is available for Watford but fellow defenders Joel Ekstrand and Tommie Hoban remain doubts. Nosworthy was not considered for last Friday's 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace having only returned from international duty with Jamaica hours earlier. Ekstrand (knee) and Hoban (ankle) both missed the Palace game. Midfielders Ikechi Anya (hamstring) and Connor Smith (knee) as well as defender Neuton (back) remain sidelined.

Last season: Birmingham 3 Watford 0, Watford 2 Birmingham 2.

Last five league matches: Birmingham D D W W D; Watford W W L W D.

Top scorers (all competitions): Marlon King (Birmingham) 14; Matej Vydra (Watford) 19.

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Cardiff (1) v Bristol City (23)

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay hopes to have defenders Ben Turner and Kevin McNaughton available. Turner (ankle) missed the 0-0 draw at Huddersfield and McNaughton had to be taken off at half-time with a bad cut to his face so youth product Ben Nugent played the final 45 minutes.

Bristol City midfielder Neil Kilkenny could return after training following an ankle injury. Head coach Sean O'Driscoll will also be able to select winger Albert Adomah for the first time after the Ghanian returned from international duty at the African Nations Cup. Striker Sam Baldock will undergo a late check on his calf injury but veteran defender Louis Carey will not be risked. Club captain Cole Skuse could return but faces a fitness test.

Last season: Bristol City 1 Cardiff 2, Cardiff 3 Bristol City 1.

Last five league matches: Cardiff W D W W D; Bristol City L W W L W.

Top scorers (all competitions): Heidar Helguson (Cardiff) 8; Steven Davies (Bristol City) 10.

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).

Crystal Palace (5) v Middlesbrough (6)

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway will be boosted by the return of midfielder Mile Jedinak from a broken nose and cheekbone. Defender Joel Ward (groin) could feature but this game looks to have come too soon for Brazilian midfielder Andre Moritz (ankle). Alex Nimely remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Paddy McCarthy (groin) and Owen Garvan (knee) will also miss out.

Middlesbrough will be without striker Curtis Main who is suspended and there are doubts about defender Jonathan Woodgate and forward Scott McDonald. Woodgate has a calf problem and McDonald has been out with a back injury. Full-back Justin Hoyte is continuing his recovery from a hip problem and midfielder Julio Arca is working his way back from toe surgery.

Last season: Middlesbrough 0 Crystal Palace 0, Crystal Palace 0 Middlesbrough 1.

Last five league matches: Crystal Palace L D L W D; Middlesbrough L L L L W.

Top scorers (all competitions): Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace) 25; Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough) 11.

Referee: Oliver Langford.

Derby (10) v Wolves (21)

Gareth Roberts will miss Derby's home game against Wolves as the experienced left-back begins a three-match ban. Fellow defenders Mark O'Brien, James O'Connor and captain Shaun Barker are also absent due to knee injuries. Centre-half Jake Buxton will be assessed following a medial knee ligament injury. Right-back John Brayford could continue in central defence, leaving Kieron Freeman, Valentin Gjokaj and Michael Hoganson all pushing for places in the back four. Teenage striker Mason Bennett is available.

Kaspars Gorkss will be hoping to make his Wolves debut after signing on a three-month loan deal from Reading this week. Roger Johnson serves the final game of his three-match suspension for his red card against Blackpool. Danny Batth could partner Christophe Berra at centre back as Dean Saunders chases a first win in his sixth game in charge. Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and defender George Elokobi remain long-term absentees.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Last five league matches: Derby L D W D L; Wolves D D L L D.

Top scorers (all competitions): Theo Robinson & Jamie Ward (Derby) 9; Jake Cassidy & Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves) 11.

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).

Hull (2) v Charlton (15)

Hull defender Alex Bruce is expected to return following a dead leg. New signing Gedo will look to start after scoring on his debut as a substitute in midweek. Defender Abdoulaye Faye (calf) and striker Sone Aluko (Achilles) remain sidelined as Hull chase a 10th home league win of the season in a bid to stay in the second automatic promotion spot.

Charlton striker Danny Haynes is a major doubt with a hamstring injury. Left-back

Rhoys Wiggins could return following a metatarsal injury but midfielder Danny Hollands remains unavailable with a foot injury. Midfielder Dale Stephens and forward Yann Kermorgant will hope to keep their places in the starting line-up after impressing upon their return last time out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Last five league matches: Hull L D W L W; Charlton W W L L D.

Top scorers (all competitions): Sone Aluko (Hull) 8; Johnnie Jackson & Yann Kermorgant (Charlton) 7.

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).

Ipswich (20) v Blackpool (14)

Ipswich will assess Lee Martin and Scott Loach ahead of the visit of Blackpool. Midfielder Martin has missed two games due to a hamstring injury and goalkeeper Loach injured his thumb in training. Loan stopper Stephen Henderson could continue. Andy Drury, Michael Chopra, Anthony Wordsworth and Frank Nouble are pushing to start.

Blackpool are boosted by the return of goalkeeper Matt Gilks from suspension. Caretaker boss Steve Thompson will have to decide whether to recall Gilks or stick with Mark Halstead. On-loan Aston Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso is pushing for a start but defenders Ian Evatt (knee) and Bob Harris (toe) continue to be ruled out.

Last season: Ipswich 2 Blackpool 2, Blackpool 2 Ipswich 0.

Last five league matches: Ipswich D D L W L; Blackpool L L W L W.

Top scorers (all competitions): David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 19; Tom Ince (Blackpool) 17.

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).

Nottm Forest (13) v Bolton (17)

Billy Davies has a full squad to choose from for his first game back as Nottingham Forest manager. Rob Kelly oversaw the 2-0 defeat at Bristol City last Saturday, which saw Algerian midfielder Adlene Guedioura go straight back into the starting line-up following his return from the African Nations Cup. Kuwaiti goalkeeper Khaled Al-Rashidi, defender Elliott Ward, midfielders Simon Gillett, Henri Lansbury and Lewis McGugan and strikers Darius Henderson and Simon Cox were on the bench at Ashton Gate.A trio of players are set to strengthen Bolton manager Dougie Freedman's options. Midfielders Stuart Holden and Medo Kamara and defender David Wheater all came through a development squad game on Monday evening. Matt Mills also played in that match as he battles back from a knee injury. Mark Davies (shoulder) could return to the squad, but Republic of Ireland international Keith Andrews continues to be sidelined by Achilles and thigh injuries. Winger Chris Eagles could miss out but Craig Davies and David Ngog are pressing for starts.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Last five league matches: Nottm Forest W D L L L; Bolton L D D L W.

Top scorers (all competitions): Billy Sharp (Nottm Forest) 12; Craig Davies (Bolton) 10.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).


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