Championship briefing

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

Last Updated: 03/05/13 at 14:52 Post Comment

Gianfranco Zola: Looking to steer Watford to automatic promotion

Gianfranco Zola: Looking to steer Watford to automatic promotion

(Current league positions in brackets)

Saturday, May 4

Birmingham (10) v Blackburn (17)

Mitch Hancox will miss out for Birmingham after the teenage left-back broke two bones in his left hand during last Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Ipswich. Boss Lee Clark is not expected to have any other new injury or suspension concerns.

Blackburn defender Gael Givet is available again after missing Rovers' last two outings with a hamstring injury. David Dunn required stitches in an ankle wound and will be assessed in the run-up to the game.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Marlon King (Birmingham) 14; Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 29

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex)

Bolton (6) v Blackpool (15)

David Wheater is poised to make his first start for nearly a year for Bolton, with Craig Dawson's return to parent club West Brom creating a vacancy alongside Zat Knight at the heart of defence. Tim Ream and Matt Mills are also in contention.

Blackpool could be without skipper Alex Baptiste (hamstring) while Isaiah Osbourne will hope to feature having missed out on the matchday squad on his return from suspension last weekend. Youngster James Caton could make his professional debut and feature at some stage in midfield.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Tom Eaves (Bolton) 13; Tom Ince (Blackpool) 18

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)

Brighton (4) v Wolves (23)

Liam Bridcutt returns to the Brighton squad after being rested for last weekend's win at Leeds, but the Seagulls have problems at full-back with Bruno (calf) injured and Inigo Calderon suspended. Centre-half Adam El-Abd or midfielder Dani Lopez could be asked to fill in at right-back while the fitness of left-back Wayne Bridge will be assessed after he too was rested for the Leeds game.

Bakary Sako (hamstring) is touch and go for Wolves but they are boosted by the return of midfielder Jamie O'Hara after he completed his three-match suspension.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jose Ulloa (Brighton) 13; Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves) 15

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Burnley (14) v Ipswich (11)

Michael Duff must serve a one-match suspension for Burnley after being booked twice during last weekend's 2-1 win at Wolves, while fellow defender David Edgar has been granted compassionate leave to return to his native Canada for the birth of his first child. If Kevin Long (groin) and Ben Mee (knee) fail to overcome their respective injury problems Clarets boss Sean Dyche will be without a recognised centre-back to partner skipper Jason Shackell.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy has no new injury or suspension problems. Town's 3-1 victory at home to Birmingham last weekend made sure of Championship survival and McCarthy plans to rotate his ranks for the final day of the season, with both sides having nothing but pride to play for.

Last season: Ipswich 1 Burnley 0, Burnley 4 Ipswich 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Charlie Austin (Burnley) 28; David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 22

Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

Charlton (9) v Bristol City (24)

Charlton will check on midfielders Johnnie Jackson and Andy Hughes as both aim to return following hamstring injuries. Defender Leon Cort (knee) remains doubtful but boss Chris Powell has no new injury concerns.

Bristol City right-back Brendan Moloney (hamstring) is touch and go. He will be assessed before kick-off along with striker Steven Davies and Jon Stead, while goalkeepers Dean Gerken and Tom Heaton are both "struggling a little bit" according to Robins boss Sean O'Driscoll. Youngsters Wes Burns, Bobby Reid and Joe Bryan have been brought back from loan spells at Forest Green, Oldham and Plymouth respectively so that they can be included in the squad.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Johnnie Jackson (Charlton) 11; Steven Davies (Bristol City) 13

Referee: Carl Berry (Surrey)

Crystal Palace (5) v Peterborough (21)

Crystal Palace will check on midfielder Owen Garvan's fitness after he started his first game in four months at Millwall on Tuesday night following a knee injury. Jonny Williams, who has also recently shaken off a knee injury, could come in for Garvan if he is not passed fit.

Right-back Mark Little (hamstring) and midfielder Danny Swanson (knee) are expected to return from injury to give Peterborough a fully-fit squad. Swanson's return would not necessarily be at the expense of teenager Shaquille McDonald, who was a surprise inclusion on the bench last weekend.

Last season: Crystal Palace 1 Peterborough 0, Peterborough 2 Crystal Palace 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace) 30; Dwight Gayle (Peterborough) 20

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Derby (13) v Millwall (19)

Paul Coutts (thigh) is expected to be fit for Derby after missing last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Blackpool. Adam Legzdins will continue in goal despite Frank Fielding's return from suspension, although the latter is expected to come back into the squad. Gareth Roberts will probably start against the Lions in what will be his final appearance for Derby. The 35-year-old left-back is out of contract in the summer and will not be offered a new deal.

Millwall will be without James Henry (hamstring) after he limped off during the first half of Tuesday night's goalless draw with Crystal Palace. He joins fellow winger Chris Taylor (groin) on the sidelines. On-loan Rams striker Nathan Tyson cannot play against his parent club and boss Kenny Jackett has lost patience with Rob Hulse and Dany N'Guessan following some poor displays.

Last season: Millwall 0 Derby 0, Derby 3 Millwall 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jamie Ward (Derby) 12; Andy Keogh & James Henry (Millwall) 6, Liam Trotter (Millwall) 6

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)

Huddersfield (18) v Barnsley (22)

Huddersfield will hand fitness tests to Neil Danns (toe), plus Danny Ward and Jermaine Beckford (both groin). Midfielder Anton Robinson (anterior cruciate ligament) will not be fit until the start of next season, but there are no other selection worries for Terriers boss Mark Robins.

Barnsley welcome back Stephen Dawson from suspension after he completed his three-match ban. Fellow midfielders Jacob Mellis and Rory Delap (calf) could also be available. Rob Edwards has recovered from a hamstring injury but fellow defenders Jim McNulty (ankle) and Bobby Hassell (hamstring) remain sidelined.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 13; Chris Dagnall and Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 10

Referee: Andre Marriner

Hull (2) v Cardiff (1)Hull could be without their captain Robert Koren (calf) when they attempt to secure a victory which would send them into the Barclays Premier League. The Tigers' options are depleted further as Egyptian striker Gedo, a mid-season revelation, will play no part due to an ongoing foot problem which Bruce suggested could need an operation. Forward Matty Fryatt, who has not played 90 minutes since August due to an Achilles injury, is expected to start in tandem with George Boyd.

Cardiff striker Nicky Maynard looks set to return to the matchday squad after eight months on the sidelines with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Fraizer Campbell (shin) is close to a return but captain Mark Hudson will miss out once more.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): George Boyd (Hull) 11; Heidar Helguson (Cardiff) 9

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

Nottm Forest (7) v Leicester (8)

Nottingham Forest will check on Chris Cohen (thigh) but full-backs Gonzalo Jara Reyes (knee) and Sam Hutchinson will definitely miss out through injury. Striker Darius Henderson comes back into the reckoning after serving a three-match suspension.

Leicester will be at full strength and manager Nigel Pearson is expected to freshen up his starting XI. Leading scorer David Nugent is a strong contender to return to the team while fellow striker Harry Kane, winger Ben Marshall, midfielder Danny Drinkwater and defenders Zak Whitbread and Liam Moore are also options.

Last season: Leicester 0 Nottm Forest 0, Nottm Forest 2 Leicester 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Billy Sharp (Nottm Forest) 12; Chris Wood (Leicester) 23

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Sheff Wed (20) v Middlesbrough (12)

Sheffield Wednesday are sweating on the fitness of Reda Johnson (foot) and Jermaine Johnson (hamstring). On-loan full-back Jeremy Helan is expected to overcome a dead leg to retain his place in the side.

Defender Jonathan Woodgate is available after suspension for Middlesbrough. Manager Tony Mowbray has already indicated that loan signings Sammy Ameobi, Josh McEachran and Ishmael Miller, as well as Kieron Dyer, whose short-term contract will not be renewed, will play no part in the game. Midfielder Merouane Zemmama (ankle) and striker Lukas Jutkiewicz (knee) will both be assessed ahead of kick-off.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Michail Antonio (Sheff Wed) 9; Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough) 13

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)

Watford (3) v Leeds (16)

Watford boss Gianfranco Zola has no new injury or suspension concerns. Midfielder John Eustace (back) and defender Fitz Hall (hamstring) have returned to training and may gain a place on the bench.

Leeds are without suspended duo Rodolph Austin and El Hadji Diouf, while defender Sam Byram has been ruled out through injury.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Matej Vydra (Watford) 20; Ross McCormack & El-Hadji Diouf (Leeds) 7

Match odds: H 4-11 A 7-1 D 4-1

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire)

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