Championship briefing

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

Last Updated: 08/03/13 at 21:14 Post Comment

Dean Marney: Faces a late fitness test

Dean Marney: Faces a late fitness test

(Current league positions in brackets)

Saturday, March 9

Birmingham (18) v Derby (12)

Birmingham captain Steven Caldwell and fellow defender Mitch Hancox will be assessed due to illness and a hamstring injury respectively. Defender Pablo remains sidelined through injury while leading scorer Marlon King is out for the remainder of the season with an ongoing knee problem.

Derby hope midfielder Craig Bryson can recover from a groin injury. He will be monitored but striker Jamie Ward is out once again due to his hamstring complaint, with right-back John Brayford suffering from a similar problem. Fellow defenders James O'Connor (knee), Kieron Freeman (ankle) and Mark O'Brien (knee) are not ready to return.

Last season: Birmingham 2 Derby 2, Derby 2 Birmingham 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Marlon King (Birmingham) 14; Jamie Ward (Derby) 11

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Bolton (9) v Brighton (6)

Bolton will be without goalkeeper Adam Bogdan for two or three weeks with a groin strain. Chris Eagles, who fired a stoppage-time winner against Blackburn on Tuesday, could start while midfielder Medo Kamara made his full debut and will hope to continue. Keith Andrews (Achilles) and Tyrone Mears (blood infection) remain on the sidelines, while Mark Davies (knee) is a long-term absentee.

Brighton will be without striker Craig Mackail-Smith for the rest of the season due to an Achilles injury, while fellow forward Will Hoskins is also sidelined by a knee injury. Left-back Wayne Bridge remains a doubt with a hamstring problem but midfielders Andrew Crofts and Vicente will return to the squad.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Bolton D W W W W; Brighton D W W W D

Top scorers (all competitions): Craig Davies (Bolton) 11; Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton) 11

Referee: Nigel Miller (Durham)

Bristol City (24) v Middlesbrough (8)

The experienced Louis Carey returns from a knee injury to boost City, but fellow defender Richard Foster (Achilles) and Ryan Taylor (shoulder) will miss out once more in the club's last home game until April. Captain Cole Skuse is likely to retain his place in the City midfield.

Kieron Dyer could return to the Middlesbrough side after being rested in midweek, while hopes are high former Newcastle team-mate Jonathan Woodgate can make a comeback from a calf injury. Andre Bikey (hamstring) joins fellow defenders Stuart Parnaby (also hamstring) and Justin (Hoyte (hip) in the treatment room.

Last season: Middlesbrough 1 Bristol City 1, Bristol City 0 Middlesbrough 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Davies (Bristol City) 11; Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough) 12

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

Crystal Palace (4) v Leeds (10)

Palace will check on Jazz Richards' toe injury, while Brazilian attacker Andre Moritz is fit after an ankle problem and should be involved. Defenders Paddy McCarthy and Joel Ward (both groin) and midfielders Owen Garvan (knee) and Alex Nimely (hamstring) are still on the sidelines.

Leeds manager Neil Warnock is hoping to name an unchanged side at Crystal Palace for the fifth successive game. Warnock has no new injury or suspension problems following the midweek draw at Leicester as Leeds bid to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.

Last season: Crystal Palace 1 Leeds 1, Leeds 3 Crystal Palace 2

Last five league matches: Crystal Palace W W L W W; Leeds L W D W D

Top scorers (all competitions): Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace) 28; El-Hadji Diouf, Habib Habibou & Ross McCormack (Leeds) 6

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)

Huddersfield (16) v Charlton (14)

Town winger Danny Ward is pushing for his first start of the year after returning to the bench against Middlesbrough after a 16-game injury lay-off. The Terriers will still be without striker James Vaughan (suspension) and midfielder Keith Southern (Achilles), while defender Calum Woods and forward Jermaine Beckford are doubtful with hamstring problems.

Charlton will check on Leon Cort's knee injury - he is likely to replace Matt Taylor at centre-half if he is passed fit. Dale Stephens remains a doubt, fellow midfielder Andy Hughes could feature after recovering from an ankle injury, while striker Yann Kermorgant completes a three-match ban.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Theo Robinson (Huddersfield) 9; Johnnie Jackson & Yann Kermorgant (Charlton) 8

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

Leicester (5) v Sheff Wed (20)

Leicester full-back Paul Konchesky is a slight concern after complaining of tightness in his hamstring in the midweek draw against Leeds. Midfielder Matty James will also require a late check having missed the last four games with a knee problem.

Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Giles Coke is struggling to shake off a foot injury, with Jose Semedo the most likely option to return to the starting line-up. Defender Reda Johnson (ankle) remains sidelined.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Leicester L D W L D; Sheff Wed D D W L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Wood (Leicester) 21; Michail Antonio (Sheff Wed) 9

Referee: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire)

Nottm Forest (7) v Wolves (21)

Greg Halford will come back into contention for Forest after a two-match suspension. The defender's inclusion is expected to be the only change to manager Billy Davies' squad, with Billy Sharp (chest infection) and Darius Henderson (knee) remaining on the sidelines.

Dean Saunders is unlikely to change a winning formula having recorded his first victory as Wolves boss at the 10th attempt against Millwall in midweek. Wide man Razak Boukari is continuing his recovery from a lengthy absence with a troublesome calf injury but the clash will come too soon.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Billy Sharp (Nottm Forest) 12; Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves) 12

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)

Peterborough (23) v Ipswich (19)

Peterborough are assessing Davide Petrucci (hamstring) but teenage left-back Kgosi Ntlhe could feature after a couple of run-outs for the reserves following a broken ankle. Gaby Zakuani has been nursing a shoulder problem but boss Darren Ferguson will ask the centre-half to play through the pain barrier, possibly with the aid of an injection.

Lee Martin and Richard Stearman are suspended for Ipswich after both seeing red in the midweek defeat at Nottingham Forest. Captain Carlos Edwards will have a groin injury assessed, while on-loan striker David McGoldrick is back in contention after being unable to face his parent club on Tuesday.

Last season: Ipswich 3 Peterborough 2, Peterborough 7 Ipswich 1Last five league matches: Peterborough W L L W D; Ipswich W L D W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Dwight Gayle (Peterborough) 17; David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 20

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

Watford (2) v Blackpool (17)

Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia misses out for the third game in a row due to his hamstring injury so Jonathan Bond will again start between the posts, while Fernando Forestieri is pushing for a starting berth up front. Defenders Neuton (dislocated shoulder), Fitz Hall (hamstring) and Tommie Hoban (ankle) and midfielder John Eustace (back) remain sidelined.

Blackpool are without forward Gary Taylor-Fletcher due to a hamstring injury, with on-loan Leicester striker Marko Futacs poised to make his full Seasiders debut. Elsewhere, Bob Harris (toe) is likely to be missing for one to two more weeks.

Last season: Watford 0 Blackpool 2, Blackpool 0 Watford 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Matej Vydra (Watford) 20; Tom Ince (Blackpool) 17

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Monday, March 11

Burnley (11) v Hull (3)

Burnley midfielder Dean Marney is a doubt for the visit of his former club due to tightness in his calf. Like Marney, Michael Duff and Ben Mee are back in training with the squad but Ross Wallace (knee) has been restricted to working with the physio. Chris McCann returned from a hamstring injury in the midweek draw with Barnsley with no ill-effects.

Hull midfielder Corry Evans has been ruled out due to a thigh strain, but manager Steve Bruce has no other new injury or suspension problems and could name an unchanged starting line-up. Strikers Sone Aluko and Matty Fryatt have both undergone successful operations to repair Achilles tendon injuries.

Last season: Burnley 1 Hull 0, Hull 2 Burnley 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Charlie Austin (Burnley) 26; George Boyd (Hull) 9

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)

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

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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.

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