Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: January 11 2013, 16:32 GMT

Team news and statistics ahead of this weekend's action in the npower Championship.

Peter Whittingham: Returns for Cardiff

Saturday, January 12

(League positions in brackets)

Barnsley (24) v Leeds (8)

Tykes midfielder Jacob Mellis has an outside chance of returning to the squad after seven games out with a severe dead leg. Defender Scott Wiseman is not expected to be included despite his proposed move to Blackpool being placed on hold due to the uncertainty over Seasiders manager Michael Appleton's future, while striker Craig Davies has joined Bolton.

New signing Michael Tonge is set to start for Leeds. Fellow midfielder Paul Green missed the FA Cup draw with Birmingham due to the virus which has swept through the club in recent weeks and manager Neil Warnock will be without an unnamed first-team player tomorrow through illness. Another midfielder, Rodolph Austin, is also set to return to contention after feeling unwell while Paddy Kenny, Lee Peltier, Sam Byram and El-Hadji Diouf are all expected to return to the starting line-up.

Last season: Barnsley 4 Leeds 1, Leeds 1 Barnsley 2

Last five league matches: Barnsley L W L L L; Leeds W W L L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Craig Davies (Barnsley) 9; Luciano Becchio (Leeds) 18

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Bolton (16) v Millwall (7)

Dougie Freedman is mulling over whether to hand new signing Craig Davies his Bolton debut against Millwall - despite Benik Afobe's hamstring injury, the Bolton boss is relatively well stocked in attack. Stuart Holden and Josh Vela returned from long-term knee injuries to feature for the reserves in midweek but are unlikely to be risked, David Wheater (knee) is also closing in on a return but remains sidelined with fellow defender Matt Mills (thigh) and midfielder Mark Davies (shoulder).

Martyn Woolford could make his Millwall debut but fellow wideman Chris Taylor remains on the sidelines with a knee problem along with striker Andy Keogh, who has a broken toe, and skipper Paul Robinson (pelvic problem). Full-back Scott Malone could return after a back injury while former Bolton defender Danny Shittu - who is no longer going to the African Nations Cup with Nigeria - and midfielder Liam Trotter are available after being rested against Preston.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Eagles (Bolton) 7; Darius Henderson (Millwall) 7

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Brighton (9) v Derby (10)

Albion are again without defenders Bruno (Achilles) and Inigo Calderon (knee), who are edging closer to fitness but will not be ready in time. Midfielder David Lopez continues to deputise at right-back and Tomasz Kuszczak returns in goal in place of Casper Ankergren, but otherwise boss Gus Poyet could stick with the side which beat Newcastle in the FA Cup.

Derby are deciding whether to include Jamie Ward, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury for the past three months but played for almost an hour in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday afternoon. Craig Bryson continues to struggle with a knee injury, while forwards Theo Robinson and Nathan Tyson are pushing for recalls.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton) 11; Theo Robinson (Derby) 9

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)

Bristol City (23) v Leicester (5)

City striker Sam Baldock has declared himself fully fit after a knee injury but right-back Richard Foster remains a doubt with a slight hamstring tear. Midfielder Liam Kelly could feature if he gains international clearance but midfielder Marvin Elliott (groin) and winger Albert Adomah, who is at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana, miss out. Joe Bryan has recovered from hip trouble and could feature.

Striker Jamie Vardy could return to the Leicester squad after a heel injury and defenders Sean St Ledger (hamstring) and Zak Whitbread (calf) and midfielder Richie Wellens are all taking steps towards a return to full fitness. Leading scorer David Nugent and winger Anthony Knockaert are pressing for recalls.

Last season: Bristol City 3 Leicester 2, Leicester 1 Bristol City 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Sam Baldock (Bristol City) 9; Chris Wood (Leicester) 15

Referee: Oliver Langford

Burnley (12) v Crystal Palace (3)

Burnley expect to be without top scorer Charlie Austin (hamstring), who remains very doubtful along with fellow forward Martin Paterson, who has a similar complaint. Chris McCann, another hamstring victim, is pushing for a return but defender Ben Mee (knee) remains on the sidelines. McCann's fellow midfielder Brian Stock is suspended.

Palace will check on Wilfried Zaha (ankle) and Glenn Murray (illness). Manchester City forward Alex Nimely travels after joining on loan until the end of the season, while Julian Speroni returns in goal after he was rested for the FA Cup tie against Stoke. Danny Gabbidon is a doubt with a hamstring problem, fellow defender Paddy McCarthy remains sidelined by a long-term groin injury and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is on African Nations Cup duty in South Africa.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Charlie Austin (Burnley) 23; Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace) 22

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Cardiff (1) v Ipswich (19)

Cardiff are set to be boosted by the return of three key players from injury - playmaker Peter Whittingham, left-back Andrew Taylor and attacker Tommy Smith are all available.

Manager Malky Mackay is looking to add one or two players to his squad but will be without former West Ham striker Nicky Maynard for the rest of the season.

Ipswich are again without goalkeeper Stephen Henderson (ankle), so Scott Loach is set to continue in goal. Midfielder Andy Drury has recovered from a virus while Bradley Orr is expected to return at right-back after being cup-tied at the weekend. Frank Nouble, who signed from Wolves for an undisclosed fee this week, David McGoldrick and Aaron Mclean hope for starts.

Last season: Ipswich 3 Cardiff 0, Cardiff 2 Ipswich 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Heidar Helguson (Cardiff) 8; David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 18

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)

Charlton (15) v Blackpool (14)

Charlton are without centre-halves Dorian Dervite (suspension) and Leon Cort (hamstring) - Matt Taylor is set to start at the back alongside Michael Morrison. Full-back Rhoys Wiggins will not be rushed back, striker Danny Haynes is still missing with a hamstring problem and midfielder Andy Hughes remains sidelined by an Achilles injury. Goalkeeper Ben Hamer, defender Chris Solly and striker Ricardo Fuller return after being rested for the FA Cup defeat to Huddersfield.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher (back) faces a late fitness test - and the visitors would be lightly stocked in attack if the former Hull man misses out, following Wes Thomas' return to Bournemouth at the conclusion of his loan spell at Bloomfield Road and Matt Phillips' (toe) continued injury absence. Centre-back Ian Evatt remains sidelined due to bone bruising to his knee.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Danny Haynes, Johnnie Jackson & Yann Kermorgant (Charlton) 5; Thomas Ince (Blackpool) 13

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

Huddersfield (17) v Birmingham (20)

Town's on-loan Leicester midfielder Neil Danns is in the squad but winger Adam Hammill, on loan from Wolves, also returns to contention after being ineligible for the FA Cup win at Charlton. Defenders Joel Lynch (hamstring) and Calum Woods (groin), winger Danny Ward (knee) and strikers Jimmy Spencer (hamstring) and Alan Lee (back) are doubts. Anton Robinson is pushing for only his second start of the season, while fellow midfielder Oscar Gobern (ankle) continues his recovery.

Blues' injury problems are easing. Nikola Zigic and Rob Hall are available again and they could be joined in the squad by Paul Caddis (hamstring), Peter Lovenkrands (calf), Marlon King (knee) and Jonathan Spector (ankle), who have all returned to training. Will Packwood (broken leg), Stephen Carr and David Murphy (both knee), Papa Bouba Diop (hamstring), Hayden Mullins (calf), Darren Ambrose (knee) and Keith Fahey (compassionate leave) and Akwasi Asante (hamstring) remain sidelined.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Atkinson (Huddersfield) 6; Marlon King (Birmingham) 13

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire)

Hull (2) v Sheff Wed (22)

Hull boss Steve Bruce opted to shuffle his pack for the FA Cup clash with Leyton Orient, allowing the likes of Sone Aluko (calf) and Robert Koren (heel) to rest knocks picked up over the busy festive period. Bruce had a full house for training yesterday as winger Ahmed Elmohamady also returned to contention after a calf problem.

Wednesday midfielder Jeremy Helan returns to contention following suspension but Wednesday will be without fellow midfielder David Prutton, who starts a two-game ban for reaching 10 yellow cards. Manager Dave Jones has no other new injury or suspension worries.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Sone Aluko (Hull) 8; Chris O'Grady (Sheff Wed) 6

Referee: Mark Haywood

Middlesbrough (4) v Watford (6)

Boro defenders Andre Bikey, Seb Hines and George Friend (all hamstring) and midfielders Faris Haroun (hamstring) and Emmanuel Ledesma (knee) have returned to training and will be assessed before the game. Andy Halliday remains a doubt after a broken nose and midfielder Josh McEachran may not be ready to start after an ankle problem, Marvin Emnes (hamstring) is still not ready to return and Julio Arca (toe), Muzzy Carayol (knee) and Curtis Main (knee) are all closing in on fitness.

Watford welcome back Manuel Almunia and Almen Abdi after respective hamstring and pelvic problems but the game is likely to come too soon for hamstring injury victims Jonathan Hogg and Fitz Hall, while young defenders Tommy Hoban (Achilles) and Neuton (training knock) are both doubts.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough) 10; Matej Vydra (Watford) 12

Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire)

Nottm Forest (11) v Peterborough (21)

Elliott Ward is likely to start for Forest after rejoining on loan from Norwich for the rest of the season, with captain Danny Collins banned. Goalkeeper Karl Darlow will make his full debut after long-serving number one Lee Camp was told he is free to find another club. On-loan defender Daniel Ayala (hamstring) is out, Andy Reid (groin) is a doubt, fellow midfielder Adlene Guedioura is on African Nations Cup duty with Algeria and on-loan defender Gonzalo Jara Reyes is in the squad

Striker Dwight Gayle, cup-tied for the FA Cup defeat to Norwich, is back in the frame for Posh. Boss Darren Ferguson sees his squad swelled by the addition of Manchester United duo Scott Wootton and Davide Petrucci. Gabriel Zakuani's involvement in the African Nations Cup is likely to give Wootton his chance while midfielder Petrucci has been drafted in on a one-month loan deal. Forward Lee Tomlin is banned and Peter Grant and Kgosi Ntlhe remain long-term absentees.

Last season: Peterborough 0 Nottm Forest 1, Nottm Forest 0 Peterborough 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Billy Sharp (Nottm Forest) 11; Dwight Gayle (Peterborough) 14

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)

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