Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: January 10 2014, 19:20 GMT

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the weekend's action in the Sky Bet Championship.

Ashley Barnes: Straight into the Burnley squad
Ashley Barnes: Straight into the Burnley squad

Saturday, January 11

Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds

Sheffield Wednesday forward Caolan Lavery could be included in the matchday squad after he was recalled from his loan spell at Plymouth in midweek. On-loan striker Connor Wickham is likely to return after being refused permission by parent club Sunderland to play in last week's FA Cup draw at Macclesfield but winger Michail Antonio, midfielder Giles Coke (hamstring) plus defenders Lewis Buxton (groin), Kamil Zayatte, Martin Taylor (both ankle) and Anthony Gardner (Achilles) are all ruled out.

Leeds' new signings Cameron Stewart and Jimmy Kebe could both make their debuts at Hillsborough. Stewart arrived at Elland Road, initially on loan, from Hull on Thursday while fellow winger Kebe completed his loan move until the end of the season from Crystal Palace on Friday. Teenage midfielder Alex Mowatt, who recently required an injection in his back, missed last week's FA Cup defeat at Rochdale and could be back in the squad. Another teenager, winger Gboly Ariyibi, midfielders Michael Brown and Michael Tonge and defender Tom Lees are all in contention.

Last season: Leeds 2 Sheff Wed 1, Sheff Wed 1 Leeds 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Connor Wickham (Sheff Wed) 9; Ross McCormack (Leeds) 18

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Our verdict: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Leeds 1

Blackburn v Doncaster

Blackburn's longest-serving player David Dunn is expected to return to the squad after missing the last four games with a hamstring problem. Full-back Todd Kane (thigh) is still considered at least a week away from his comeback while Corry Evans (ankle) only had his first full training session this week and would be a surprise inclusion. Goalkeeper Paul Robinson is expected to keep his place after coming through his first start in over a year unscathed against Manchester City in the FA Cup but midfielder Dickson Etuhu (ankle) remains absent.

Abdoulaye Meite is in contention to make his Doncaster debut after the 33-year-old centre-back signed a deal until the end of the season following a successful trial period. He is likely to start on the bench if Bongani Khumalo can recover from the knee injury that kept him out of the festive fixtures. James Husband is putting pressure on on-loan left-back Enda Stevens after making an impressive return from a shoulder injury for the reserves in midweek, and midfielder Richie Wellens is available again after agreeing an 18-month contract extension. The fit-again James Coppinger (heel) will battle it out with Mark Duffy and David Cotterill for the wide roles.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 16; David Syers & Theo Robinson (Doncaster) 5

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Blackburn 2 Doncaster 0

Blackpool v Middlesbrough

Blackpool boss Paul Ince has so far been left frustrated in his bid to bring in new loanees after five players - Dan Gosling, Bradley Orr, Tyler Blackett, Nathan Delfouneso and Marvin Zeegelaar - returned to their respective parent clubs. Defender Kirk Broadfoot will complete his four-match ban while midfielders Isaiah Osbourne (hamstring) and Bobby Grant (foot) also remain sidelined. Striker Michael Chopra, fined this week for a Twitter outburst, is unlikely to feature.

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is expected to have Jonathan Woodgate available after the 33-year-old missed the last three matches with a thigh strain. Goalkeeper Shay Given is back in contention after he was ineligible to play in the FA Cup, while defender Kenneth Omeruo, who joined on loan from Chelsea earlier in the week, could make his debut. Kei Kamara (knee) is unlikely to return at this stage, while Jason Steele (ankle) is definitely out.

Last season: Middlesbrough 4 Blackpool 2, Blackpool 4 Middlesbrough 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Tom Ince (Blackpool) 7; Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) 9

Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

Our verdict: Blackpool 1 Middlesbrough 2

Bolton v Nottingham Forest

Bolton manager Dougie Freedman could stick with strike duo David Ngog and Jermaine Beckford after they played together for the first time in over two months in last weekend's 2-1 FA Cup victory over Blackpool. Defenders David Wheater (knee), Marc Tierney (foot) and Tyrone Mears remain sidelined so the manager is expected to name an unchanged back four. Freedman has plenty of midfield options should he wish to make any changes, with Darren Pratley, Josh Vela and Lee Chung-yong all in contention to play some part.

Nottingham Forest will check on Eric Lichaj after the American full-back suffered a knock during the 5-0 thrashing of West Ham in the FA Cup. Jamie Paterson will be aiming to keep his place in the starting line-up after his hat-trick against the Hammers while Greg Halford may again lead the line for Billy Davies' team as Darius Henderson is set to miss out through injury. David Vaughan's thigh problem looks likely to keep the on-loan Sunderland midfielder out while defenders Danny Collins (ankle) and Kelvin Wilson (back) are not yet ready to return.

Last season: Nottm Forest 1 Bolton 1, Bolton 2 Nottm Forest 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jermaine Beckford (Bolton) 8; Andy Reid (Nottm Forest) 8

Referee: Michael Naylor (S Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Bolton 1 Nottingham Forest 3

Brighton v Birmingham

Jon Obika will be added to the Brighton squad after the striker was brought in on a three-month loan from Tottenham with Ashley Barnes having joined Burnley and Leroy Lita back at Swansea after his loan expired. Goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, defender Matt Upson and midfielder Liam Bridcutt rested minor knocks as the Seagulls beat Reading in the FA Cup last week and should be available, although the latter may not play after he had a transfer request turned down. Full-back Bruno (calf) needs a fitness check while winger Will Buckley (hamstring) and strikers Craig Mackail-Smith (Achilles) and Will Hoskins (knee) remain sidelined.

Left-back Mitch Hancox is fit for Birmingham having been sidelined since early December by a knee injury but Blues boss Lee Clark will, be without fellow defenders Kyle Bartley (hamstring) and Dan Burn, who has been recalled by parent club Fulham. On-loan strikers Jesse Lingard and Aaron Mclean have returned to Manchester United and Hull respectively, while long-term absentees David Murphy, Matt Green, Neal Eardley (all knee), Jonathan Spector (thigh) and Akwasi Asante (hamstring) all remain sidelined.

Last season: Birmingham 2 Brighton 2, Brighton 0 Birmingham 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ashley Barnes, Andrew Crofts & Jose Ulloa (Brighton) 6; Kyle Bartley, Lee Novak & Nikola Zigic (Birmingham) 5

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)

Our verdict: Brighton 1 Birmingham 0

Charlton v Barnsley

Swedish midfielder Astrit Ajdarevic could be in the Charlton squad after he agreed a six-month loan deal from Standard Liege, becoming the Addicks' first new signing since Belgian businessman Roland Duchatelet completed his takeover of the club. Striker Marvin Sordell (hamstring) is out while full-back Lawrie Wilson was also feeling his hamstring when he was substituted against Ipswich last time out, so he will be assessed.

Barnsley's new teenage loan signing Ryan McLaughlin is expected to make his debut after joining on a month's loan from Liverpool and could start at right-back, while another recent recruit, Brek Shea from Stoke, is likely to return to the starting line-up after he was refused permission to play in last week's FA Cup defeat. Manager Danny Wilson has no new injury or suspension worries but defender Bobby Hassell (calf) remains a major doubt.

Last season: Barnsley 0 Charlton 6, Charlton 0 Barnsley 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Yann Kermorgant & Simon Church (Charlton) 5; Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 7

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)

Our verdict: Charlton 0 Barnsley 0

Huddersfield v Millwall

Huddersfield pair James Vaughan (knee) and Joel Lynch (hip) remain major doubts but boss Mark Robins has no new selection issues following last week's FA Cup win at Grimsby, where winger Danny Ward resumed in a central role alongside Martin Paterson. Spanish striker Cristian Lopez made another appearance off the bench last week and is hoping to feature again, but skipper Peter Clarke (knee) remains sidelined.

New Millwall boss Ian Holloway will make two changes from the side which started the FA Cup defeat at Southend last Saturday, one of which is enforced as striker Jermaine Easter is suspended for his red card at Roots Hall. Scott McDonald could replace Easter against his old club while the other change may see a return at the back for captain Paul Robinson, who is back in training after a thigh problem. Midfielder Liam Trotter (knee) is also close to returning but full-back Scott Malone (ribs) and winger Liam Feeney (hamstring) look set to miss out again.

Last season: Huddersfield 3 Millwall 0, Millwall 4 Huddersfield 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 12; Martyn Woolford (Millwall) 5

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Huddersfield 2 Millwall 3

Ipswich v QPR

Ipswich will assess Daryl Murphy (thigh) and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (hamstring) and is set to restore his strongest possible XI after making a total of seven changes for the FA Cup tie against Preston.

Goalkeeper Robert Green and centre-half Richard Dunne were rested as QPR bowed out of the FA Cup 4-0 at Everton last weekend, while midfielder Niko Kranjcar came on as a half-time substitute, but all three are set to play from the start at Portman Road. Winger Junior Hoilett (hamstring) remains a doubt and midfielder Alejandro Faurlin is out long term with a cruciate injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 12; Charlie Austin (QPR) 12

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Ipswich 1 QPR 1

Warford v Reading

Fernando Forestieri (knee) and Daniel Pudil (hamstring) return to the Watford squad but it is not all good news for manager Giuseppe Sannino with Marco Cassetti having joined the club's lengthy list of absentees which includes Ikechi Anya (groin), Almen Abdi (foot), Davide Faraoni, Essaid Belkalem and Tommie Hoban (all ankle). Alexander Merkel has been granted international clearance and is available to make his Hornets debut but fellow new signing Mathias Ranegie is lacking match fitness.

Jobi McAnuff could make a return for Reading after the winger missed the last two matches with a foot problem. Boss Nigel Adkins can also add defender Michael Hector to his squad after he returned from a successful loan spell with Aberdeen. Nick Blackman suffered a knock against Brighton last weekend and is set to join Wayne Bridge, Sean Morrison (both knee), Chris Baird (ankle), Hal Robson-Kanu (calf), Mikele Leigertwood (ankle), Jason Roberts (hip) and Jem Karacan (cruciate) on the sidelines.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Troy Deeney (Watford) 11; Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 7

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

Our verdict: Watford 1 Reading 2

Wigan v Bournemouth

Nick Powell is doubtful after the on-loan Manchester United forward missed the FA Cup draw with MK Dons due to a tight hamstring, although he trained on Thursday and Friday. Both Scott Carson (thigh) and Lee Nicholls are out injured so Mike Pollitt will back up Ali Al Habsi in goal again. The likes of Ben Watson (foot), Gary Caldwell (hip) and Shaun Maloney (shoulder) are still missing.

Experienced Bournemouth defender Steve Cook is in contention to feature at the DW Stadium after missing the festive fixtures with a small hamstring tear. Winger Mohamed Coulibaly (Achilles and calf) could finally be close to a return to action but this match looks to have come too soon. Goalkeeper Lee Camp looks set to make his first start since the former loanee agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Cherries last week.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Nick Powell (Wigan) 8; Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 10

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Wigan 3 Bournemouth 0

Yeovil v Burnley

Yeovil will assess centre-back Byron Webster's hamstring injury after he lasted less than an hour of their comfortable FA Cup win over Leyton Orient last weekend. Defender Matteo Lanzoni is now available to make his Yeovil bow after joining from Oldham while Ed Upson came through his return to action as a substitute unscathed. The former Ipswich trainee had a successful injection to treat an ankle injury.

New signing Ashley Barnes will be in the squad for Burnley although he is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench with the 31-goal partnership of Sam Vokes and Danny Ings hard to break up. Centre-back Michael Duff is expected to come back into the reckoning after he was rested in the FA Cup defeat at Southampton last weekend. Full-back Ben Mee (thigh) and winger Michael Kightly (knee) remain doubts after missing out against Saints, while midfielder Ross Wallace (knee) is not ready to return just yet despite playing 75 minutes for the development squad on Thursday.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ed Upson (Yeovil) 5; Danny Ings (Burnley) 20

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Yeovil 1 Burnley 3


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