Sky Bet Championship briefings

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the Boxing Day action in the Sky Bet Championship.

Last Updated: 24/12/13 at 15:21 Post Comment

Sean Dyche's Burnley travel to Middlesbrough

Sean Dyche's Burnley travel to Middlesbrough

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the Boxing Day action in Sky Bet Championship.

Thursday, December 26

Barnsley (24) v Bolton (18)

Barnsley striker Marcus Tudgay's loan spell at the club has been cut short by a three-match ban and Jacob Mellis is also suspended for Boxing Day. Striker Chris O'Grady (calf) could be fit to replace Tudgay and winger Paddy McCourt is hoping to shake off a hamstring injury.

Loan duo Kevin McNaughton and Neil Danns are expected to play their final games for Bolton before heading back to Cardiff and Leicester respectively. Midfielder Mark Davies could make his first start since February but midfielder Stuart Holden, full-back Joe Riley, goalkeeper Adam Bogdan (all knee) and full-back Marc Tierney (foot) miss out.

Last season: Barnsley 2 Bolton 3, Bolton 1 Barnsley 1

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

Top scorers: Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 7; Jermaine Beckford (Bolton) 6

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Barnsley 1 Bolton 2

Blackburn (11) v Sheffield Wednesday (22)

Blackburn are hopeful winger Josh King can return from a dead leg but the game is too soon for goalkeeper Paul Robinson (back) and midfielder Corry Evans (ankle), while Dickson Etuhu misses out again due to a similar injury. Striker DJ Campbell could come into the matchday squad but is working on his fitness after being granted time off following his arrest in the spot-fixing investigation.

Wednesday have recalled striker Chris Maguire from his loan at Coventry as Connor Wickham and Atdhe Nuhiu are struggling with respective hamstring and shoulder injuries. Winger Michail Antonio (knee) and defenders Joe Mattock (thigh) and Lewis Buxton (hamstring) remain sidelined.

Last season: Sheff Wed 3 Blackburn 2, Blackburn 1 Sheff Wed 0

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

Top scorers: Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 13; Connor Wickham (Sheff Wed) 7

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)

Our verdict: Blackburn 1 Sheffield Wednesday 2

Blackpool (10) v Leeds (5)

Ricardo Fuller and Gary MacKenzie's hamstring injuries will be monitored by Blackpool. Along with forward Fuller, midfielder Angel Martinez is back from suspension but Isaiah Osbourne will miss five weeks with a hamstring strain.

Leeds will be without suspended midfielder Luke Murphy so Michael Brown and Michael Tonge will be in contention to start. Centre-half Marius Zaliukas faces a late fitness test on an ankle injury, with Scott Wootton on standby.

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

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

Top scorers: Tom Ince (Blackpool) 6; Ross McCormack (Leeds) 17

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)

Our verdict: Blackpool 1 Leeds 2

Bournemouth (15) v Yeovil (23)

Bournemouth look set to again be without centre-back Steve Cook due to a minor hamstring tear so Elliott Ward is set to start his second game in five days, having made a speedy return from a calf injury. Back-up goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan is waiting to discover whether he will need an operation after damaging his thumb in training.

Yeovil defender Byron Webster limped off 35 minutes into their 1-0 defeat to Blackburn with a hamstring injury and manager Gary Johnson revealed his chances of featuring are slim. Bristol City loanee Liam Fontaine is set to deputise, while right-back Luke Ayling serves a one-match ban.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Bournemouth D L W L W; Yeovil W W D D L

Top scorers: Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 9; Edward Upson (Yeovil) 5

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Bournemouth 1 Yeovil 2

Charlton (21) v Brighton (8)

Charlton remain without suspended skipper Johnnie Jackson and goalkeeper Ben Hamer, who has an ankle injury. Leon Cort is still out with a knee injury but Chris Solly should continue at right-back.

Brighton skipper Gordon Greer and midfielder Andrea Orlandi could return from respective calf and knee problems but winger Kazenga LuaLua misses out through suspension. Goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak (stomach) is fit to return but his deputy Peter Brezovan is set to keep his place after back-to-back clean sheets.

Last season: Brighton 0 Charlton 0, Charlton 2 Brighton 2

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

Top scorers: Simon Church (Charlton) 5; Ashley Barnes (Brighton) 6

Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

Our verdict: Charlton 1 Brighton 2

Doncaster (20) v Ipswich (9)

Chris Brown and Paul Quinn are fresh injury concerns for injury-ravaged Doncaster with hamstring problems, adding to midfielder James Coppinger and striker Billy Paynter's heel and Achilles niggles respectively. Defenders Jamie McCombe, Rob Jones (neck) and James Husband (shoulder) as well as midfielder Paul Keegan (hamstring) will remain on the sidelines.

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy, by contrast, must decide whether to keep faith with an unchanged line-up for a fourth successive match. The likes of Paul Anderson, Carlos Edwards, Jordan Graham, Stephen Hunt and Jay Tabb are among those pushing for recalls, while recent signing Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will again look to make the bench.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Theo Robinson (Doncaster) 4; David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 9

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

Our verdict: Doncaster 1 Ipswich 2

Huddersfield (13) v Derby (4)

Huddersfield defender Joel Lynch is available after suspension but Murray Wallace could keep his place. Midfielder Jonathan Hogg (hip) and defender Peter Clarke (knee) remain sidelined as Huddersfield bid for their first league win in four matches.

Michael Keane will make his first start for Derby after Richard Keogh suffered a knee injury at the weekend. Fellow central defender Zak Whitbread, on loan from Leicester, is nearing a return from the calf injury that has kept him out of action since October.

Last season: Derby 3 Huddersfield 0, Huddersfield 1 Derby 0

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

Top scorers: James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 12; Chris Martin (Derby) 13

Referee: Carl BoyesonOur verdict: Huddersfield 1 Derby 2

Leicester (3) v Reading (6)

Striker Martyn Waghorn is back in Leicester's squad after returning from his loan spell at Millwall. There are no new injury or suspension problems following the 1-0 victory over QPR but strikers Chris Wood (hamstring) and Tom Hopper (shin) and defender Sean St. Ledger (groin) continue on the sidelines.

Reading's Chris Baird hopes to overcome a sprained ankle but the Royals still have a host of players in the treatment room. Defenders Wayne Bridge and Sean Morrison (both knee), midfielders Jem Karacan (cruciate) and Mikele Leigertwood (ankle) and striker Jason Roberts (hip) are all absent.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Leicester W L L D W; Reading W W L W L

Top scorers: David Nugent (Leicester) 11; Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 7

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)

Our verdict: Leicester 1 Reading 2

Middlesbrough (17) v Burnley (1)

Middlesbrough striker Muzzy Carayol limped out of Saturday's 2-0 win at Millwall with a groin strain and will be assessed along with defender Jonathan Woodgate (thigh) and midfielder Grant Leadbitter (illness). Defender Rhys Williams (groin) and full-backs Frazer Richardson (ankle) and Andy Halliday (hernia) are being monitored. Striker Kei Kamara (medial ligament) and keeper Jason Steele (ankle) are expected to be out until the new year while full-back Stuart Parnaby, who is nursing a knee injury, is away from the club on compassionate leave.

Table-topping Burnley have no fresh injury or suspension concerns. They will again just be without midfielder Ross Wallace, who is not expected to return until January because of a knee injury.

Last season: Burnley 0 Middlesbrough 0, Middlesbrough 3 Burnley 2

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

Top scorers: Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) 8; Danny Ings (Burnley) 17

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Middlesbrough 1 Burnley 2

Nottingham Forest (7) v QPR (2)

Nottingham Forest will be without the suspended Darius Henderson. Centre-half Danny Collins is nearing a return from the ankle injury that has kept him out for the past two months

QPR will be without the suspended Joey Barton, with Karl Henry a possible replacement while Yossi Benayoun is pushing for a full debut. Boss Harry Redknapp is still without long-term casualties Alejandro Faurlin (cruciate) and Bobby Zamora (knee).

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Andy Reid (Nottm Forest) 6; Charlie Austin (QPR) 11

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

Our verdict: Nottingham Forest 1 QPR 2

Watford (14) v Millwall (19)

Daniel Pudil is expected to be fit for Watford despite a hamstring complaint but Hector Bellerin remains a doubt with a hip injury. Marco Faraoni (ankle), Almen Abdi (foot), Essaid Belkalem and Tommie Hoban (both ankle) remain sidelined as Giuseppe Sannino takes charge of his first home game.

Millwall will check on skipper Paul Robinson, who needed stitches in an ankle wound following Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Middlesbrough. On-loan full-back Justin Hoyte is available after he was ineligible to face his parent club while midfielders Richard Chaplow (groin) and Nicky Bailey (knee) hope to be in contention along with winger Lee Martin (hamstring).

Last season: Millwall 1 Watford 0, Watford 0 Millwall 0

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

Top scorers: Troy Deeney (Watford) 10; Steve Morison & Martyn Woolford (Millwall) 4

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex)

Our verdict: Watford 1 Millwall 2

Wigan (12) v Birmingham (16)

Wigan will be without Ben Watson through suspension. Striker Nouha Dicko has been recalled from his loan spell with Rotherham and will be in the squad. Goalkeeper Scott Carson (thigh) and defender Emmerson Boyce (knee) are considered doubtful while club captain Gary Caldwell (hip) is expected to miss out along with defender Juan Carlos Garcia (ankle) and winger Shaun Maloney (shoulder).

Birmingham have no new injury or suspension concerns but Mitch Hancox, David Murphy, Matt Green, Neal Eardley (all knee), Jonathan Spector (thigh) and Akwasi Asante (hamstring) continue to miss out.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Nick Powell (Wigan) 8; Jesse Lingard (Birmingham) 6

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Wigan 1 Birmingham 2

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