Championship briefing

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

Last Updated: 22/02/13 at 18:20 Post Comment

Craig Conway: Pushing for a start for Cardiff

Craig Conway: Pushing for a start for Cardiff

(Current league positions in brackets)

Saturday, February 23

Blackburn (11) v Leeds (9)

Rovers have reduced options in central midfield with Lee Williamson (ankle) and Dickson Etuhu (knee) joining David Dunn (calf) on the sidelines. Right-back Adam Henley came through his outing for the second string following a hamstring problem and may come into boss Michael Appleton's plans, although forward Leon Best (knee) is not yet ready for first-team action.

Leeds boss Nigel Warnock will check on a couple of players before deciding on his line-up. Michael Tonge made his first start since January in the win over Blackpool alongside David Norris and Paul Green in midfield, and the trio are expected to continue after impressing Warnock. Long-term absentees Leigh Bromby and Adam Drury remain sidelined, while Habib Habibou still awaits his full debut.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Blackburn D W W D L; Leeds W L D L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 22; El-Hadji Diouf, Habib Habibou and Ross McCormack (Leeds) 6

Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire)

Blackpool (15) v Leicester (5)

Pool boss Paul Ince has no new injury worries, although defenders Ian Evatt (knee) and Bob Harris (toe) are out. Midfielder Barry Ferguson was handed a first Championship start since October at Leeds and will hope to keep his place, while forwards Nathan Delfouneso and Matt Derbyshire could both push for starts.

Leicester midfielder Matty James is a doubt with a knock - his absence could pave the way for Andy King to return to the starting line-up. Foxes boss Nigel Pearson has an otherwise full strength squad, including on-loan Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

Last season: Blackpool 3 Leicester 3, Leicester 2 Blackpool 0

Last five league matches: Blackpool W L W L L; Leicester W W W L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Thomas Ince (Blackpool) 17; Chris Wood (Leicester) 20

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Bolton (16) v Hull (2)

Bolton left-back Marcos Alonso is set to return after a ban - Sam Ricketts is expected to make way. Boss Dougie Freedman could make changes up front again after conceding Craig Davies and David Ngog appeared jaded during the closing stages at Derby, with Marvin Sordell and Kevin Davies hoping for returns. Midfielder Keith Andrews (thigh/Achilles) remains a doubt, while defender Matt Mills (thigh) is out.

Striker George Boyd could make his Hull debut after joining on loan from Peterborough. Defender Paul McShane is expected to miss a further two weeks with a hamstring injury, while striker Sone Aluko - who has not featured since mid-January due to an Achilles problem - is likely to require surgery after feeling discomfort on his return to training. Defender Abdoulaye Faye continues to miss out with a calf problem.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Bolton D L W D D; Hull W L W W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Craig Davies (Bolton) 11; Sone Aluko (Hull) 8

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)

Brighton (7) v Burnley (12)

Albion's Liam Bridcutt is suspended but fellow midfielder Dean Hammond should be fit despite limping off against Cardiff with a knee injury. Ashley Barnes returns from a ban, fellow striker Craig Mackail-Smith is expected to shake off a knee niggle and skipper Gordon Greer should return to defence after a hamstring injury. Midfielder Andrew Crofts (hamstring) remains a doubt and forward Will Hoskins (knee) is out.

Danny Ings could return to the Burnley squad after a hamstring complaint but winger Ross Wallace (knee) and Michael Duff (calf) are expected to remain on the sidelines. Ben Mee (knee) is not yet match fit.

Last season: Burnley 1 Brighton 0, Brighton 0 Burnley 1

Last five league matches: Brighton D L W D W; Burnley W L D L D

Top scorers (all competitions): Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton) 11; Charlie Austin (Burnley) 24

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

Bristol City (24) v Barnsley (20)

City captain Cole Skuse (knee), striker Sam Baldock (calf) and defender Louis Carey (knee) have lost their race for fitness. Skuse had been making good progress as he looked to return from a knee injury but the midfielder has suffered a setback. Right-back Brendan Moloney (hamstring) could still play a part.

Barnsley expect Kelvin Etuhu to be available despite suffering a broken nose during the FA Cup defeat of

MK Dons. Fellow midfielder Scott Golbourne is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Last season: Bristol City 2 Barnsley 0, Barnsley 1 Bristol City 2

Last five league matches: Bristol City W L W L L; Barnsley D W W W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Davies (Bristol City) 10; Chris Dagnall (Barnsley) 9

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)

Charlton (13) v Nottm Forest (8)

Charlton should have midfielder Dorian Dervite (hamstring) available, although striker Danny Haynes - who grabbed a spectacular winner against Leicester after coming on for Dervite - has put himself in the frame for a place in the starting line-up. Midfielder Danny Hollands is still missing with a foot injury.

Elliot Ward is expected to be fit after a dead leg - Danny Collins will come in if he does not make it. Fellow centre-back Daniel Ayala, on loan from Norwich, remains out with hamstring trouble but Chelsea full-back Sam Hutchinson has returned to training and should be back to resume his loan spell within two weeks.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Charlton L L D L W; Nottm Forest L L L D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Yann Kermorgant (Charlton) 8; Billy Sharp (Nottm Forest) 12

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Huddersfield (21) v Ipswich (18)

Terriers defender Anthony Gerrard is expected to be back after a slight Achilles problem. Aside from long-term absentees Jermaine Beckford (hamstring), Keith Southern (Achilles) and Danny Ward (foot), new boss Mark Robins has no other new injury problems.

Defender Richard Stearman is fit for Ipswich despite badly dislocating a finger against Watford. Boss Mick McCarthy has no other new injury or suspension concerns, aside from long-term absentees Anthony Wordsworth (back) and Paul Taylor (foot).

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Huddersfield L W L D L; Ipswich L W L W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Atkinson, Lee Novak & James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 6; David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 19

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Middlesbrough (6) v Millwall (14)

Boro are without Lukas Jutkiewicz (ankle) but fellow striker Scott McDonald hopes to return after a back problem. Defender Stuart Parnaby (hamstring) is out and midfielder Kieron Dyer's hamstring will be assessed. Defenders Jonathan Woodgate (calf) and Seb Hines (knee), midfielder Andy Halliday and striker Ishmael Miller (both ankle) will need checks but Justin Hoyte (hip) and Julio Arca (toe) are still out.

Millwall hope skipper Danny Shittu will have recovered from injury and illness. A defensive reshuffle is on the cards whether Shittu is fit or not as left-back Shane Lowry is banned. Defender Adam Smith's place could also be in doubt after he was replaced at half-time against Peterborough. Winger Chris Taylor is close to returning after knee trouble but Paul Robinson (groin) and Nathan Tyson (ankle) remain sidelined.

Last season: Millwall 1 Middlesbrough 3, Middlesbrough 1 Millwall 1

Last five league matches: Middlesbrough L L W L D; Millwall L L L L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough) 11; James Henry, Andy Keogh & Liam Trotter (Millwall) 6

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)Peterborough (23) v Birmingham (17)

Craig Alcock (knee) and Davide Petrucci (hamstring) come back into the reckoning for Posh after recent injuries. Left-back Kgosi Ntlhe returned from injury in the development squad and will play for the reserves next week, with a view to being back in first-team contention for the March 2 trip to Blackburn.

Callum Reilly and Paul Robinson are struggling with ankle injuries, while Blues striker Marlon King is a doubt with a knee problem. Midfielders Keith Fahey and Darren Ambrose are back in training but the game is likely to come too soon for both following lengthy periods out of first-team contention. Youth team attacker Koby Arthur will travel with the squad and could be named on the bench.

Last season: Peterborough 1 Birmingham 1, Birmingham 1 Peterborough 1

Last five league matches: Peterborough L D D W W; Birmingham W W D L D

Top scorers (all competitions): Dwight Gayle (Peterborough) 14; Marlon King (Birmingham) 14

Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

Sheff Wed (19) v Crystal Palace (4)

Wednesday boss Dave Jones is hoping to have a fully-fit squad available. Defender Reda Johnson could return to the squad after overcoming an ankle problem which has seen him miss the last three games.

Palace midfielder Jonny Williams should be fit after a sore muscle, while boss Ian Holloway expects Wilfried Zaha to recover from "a couple of knocks". Defenders Paddy McCarthy (groin), Joel Ward (groin) and Danny Gabbidon (hamstring) and midfielders Owen Garvan (knee), Andre Moritz (ankle) and Alex Nimely (hamstring) are out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Sheff Wed D W W D D; Crystal Palace L W D W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Michail Antonio (Sheff Wed) 8; Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace) 28

Referee: Tony Bates (Staffordshire)

Watford (3) v Derby (10)

Watford will assess wing-back Daniel Pudil, who missed Tuesday's win at Ipswich due to illness, with fit-again Joel Ekstrand starting in defence having recovered from his knee injury. Defenders Fitz Hall (hamstring), Tommie Hoban (ankle) and Neuton (back) continue to miss out.

Defender Jake Buxton could return for Derby - which would be timely with Mark O'Brien, James O'Connor, Shaun Barker, Kieron Freeman and Gareth Roberts all out. However, midfielder Will Hughes remains a doubt because of a groin strain.

Last season: Derby 1 Watford 2, Watford 0 Derby 1

Last five league matches: Watford L W D W W; Derby W D L D D

Top scorers (all competitions): Matej Vydra (Watford) 19; Jamie Ward (Derby) 10

Referee: Mark Haywood

Sunday, February 24

Wolves (22) v Cardiff (1)

Stephen Ward is expected to regain his starting spot after a virus. Kevin Doyle was also dropped to the bench in the loss at Barnsley as Wolves manager Dean Saunders favoured Sylvan Ebanks-Blake in attack, a selection decision the Welshman must return to ahead of Cardiff's visit after the number nine failed to find the net. Defender Roger Johnson is another competing for a recall against his former employers.

Cardiff boss Malky Mackay could shuffle his pack as he looks to bounce back from just their second defeat in 18 games, against Brighton. Winger Craig Conway is pushing for a start and could replace Craig Noone or Tommy Smith in the starting line-up.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Wolves L L D D L; Cardiff W W D W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Jake Cassidy and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves) 11; Heidar Helguson (Cardiff) 8

Match odds: H 21-10 A 6-5 D 23-10

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)


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