Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: December 7 2013, 15:06 GMT

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

Adam Clayton: Huddersfield man has served a suspension
Adam Clayton: Huddersfield man has served a suspension

Saturday, December 7

Derby (4) v Blackpool (6)

Derby will probably have an unchanged squad for their first game at the newly-named iPro Stadium - the Rams are not thought to have incurred any new problems as they recorded a fourth straight Championship victory at home to Middlesbrough to climb up to fourth in the table.

Blackpool's continued disciplinary problems will deplete their ranks - striker Ricardo Fuller and defenders Gary MacKenzie and Kirk Broadfoot were sent off in the loss to Yeovil. The lack of defensive options means boss Paul Ince is hoping Craig Cathcart passes a fitness test on a knee problem, with loanee Bradley Orr still some five weeks away from a return after a thigh problem.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Martin (Derby) 10; Tom Ince (Blackpool) 6

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear).

Our verdict: Derby 3 Blackpool 0

Birmingham (17) v Middlesbrough (16)

Tom Adeyemi (hamstring) is a slight doubt for Birmingham but Kyle Bartley returns following a hamstring injury of his own and boss Lee Clark must decide whether to include him in his starting XI. The likes of Chris Burke, Wade Elliott, Andy Shinnie, Shane Ferguson and Dariusz Dudka are also pushing for recalls.

Boro midfielder Grant Leadbitter is available after suspension but striker Curtis Main joins goalkeeper Jason Steele in serving a ban. Frontman Lukas Jutkiewicz is expected to be available after a training knock but defenders Jonathan Woodgate (back) and Stuart Parnaby (knee) are being assessed and full-back George Friend (knee) could be sidelined for two weeks.

Last season: Middlesbrough 0 Birmingham 1, Birmingham 3 Middlesbrough 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jesse Lingard (Birmingham) 6; Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) 7

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).

Our verdict: Birmingham 1 Middlesbrough 2

Bolton (18) v Doncaster (15)

Bolton boss Dougie Freedman has confirmed loanee Cardiff forward Joe Mason will start. Another who has an outside shot of starting is Chris Eagles, now over his groin strain, while Alex Baptiste is set to slot in at left-back again. Mark Davies and Josh Vela are set to occupy the sidelines again alongside fellow knee-injury victims Joe Riley, Mark Davies and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and full-back Marc Tierney (foot).

Ritchie Wellens is an injury concern for Doncaster with a stiff back and captain Rob Jones (neck), fellow defenders Reece Wabara (toe), James Husband (shoulder) and Yun Suk-Young (ankle), midfielder Paul Keegan (hamstring) and forwards Harry Forrester (torn quad) and Chris Brown (ankle) are set to remain sidelined.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jermaine Beckford (Bolton) 6; Theo Robinson (Doncaster) 4

Referee: Richard Clark (Northumberland).

Our verdict: Bolton 2 Doncaster 1

Brighton (11) v Leicester (1)

Argentinian striker Leonardo Ulloa is poised for a return to the Brighton squad after two months out with a foot injury. Winger Kazenga LuaLua is also close to returning after a hamstring problem so forwards Craig Mackail-Smith (Achilles) and Will Hoskins (knee) are the only definite absentees.

Ritchie De Laet could return to the Leicester squad after almost two months out with a shin problem. Boss Nigel Pearson could choose to freshen up his starting XI after the loss at Sheffield Wednesday but defender Sean St Ledger (groin) and young striker Tom Hopper (shin) remain out.

Last season: Brighton 1 Leicester 1, Leicester 1 Brighton 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Andrew Crofts (Brighton) 5; David Nugent (Leicester) 10

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).

Our verdict: Brighton 3 Leicester 2

Burnley (3) v Barnsley (24)

Clarets striker Danny Ings has returned to training but will undergo a late fitness test on an ankle problem, while Dean Marney will receive a similarly late assessment on his thigh strain. Centre-back Michael Duff is back from a ban but winger Ross Wallace's knee problem keeps him out until the new year.

Barnsley's Chris O'Grady (calf) is hoping to win his fitness race in time and fellow striker Marcus Pedersen (thigh) could also return. Caretaker boss Micky Mellon could be tempted to rest on-loan forward Marcus Tudgay, who has played two games in quick succession following his arrival from Nottingham Forest.

Last season: Burnley 1 Barnsley 1, Barnsley 1 Burnley 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Danny Ings (Burnley) 15; Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 7

Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire).

Our verdict: Burnley 1 Barnsley 0

Ipswich (9) v Huddersfield (10)

Paul Anderson, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jay Tabb and Daryl Murphy will all be pushing for recalls as Ipswich aim to record a third successive victory, while striker Paul Taylor (shoulder) will again be assessed.

Town midfielder Adam Clayton returns to contention following suspension. Striker Martin Paterson (hamstring) is a doubt, while Danny Ward is struggling with a dead leg. Central defender Peter Clarke remains sidelined with knee ligament damage.

Last season: Huddersfield 0 Ipswich 0, Ipswich 2 Huddersfield 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 7; James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 12

Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire).

Our verdict: Ipswich 2 Huddersfield 2

Leeds (7) v Watford (12)

Leeds will still be without striker Dexter Blackstock (knee) and defender Scott Wootton (ankle). Right-back Sam Byram and left-back Stephen Warnock are pushing for recalls.

Winger Ikechi Anya (calf), midfielder Josh McEachran, goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (both illness) and defender Gabriele Angella (thigh) return for Watford. Midfielder Almen Abdi is also back in training as he looks to make his comeback from a long-term foot injury - but the game is expected to come too soon. Lloyd Doyley (hamstring), Essaid Belkalem (ankle) and Tommie Hoban (ankle) remain sidelined.

Last season: Watford 1 Leeds 2, Leeds 1 Watford 6

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ross McCormack (Leeds) 15; Troy Deeney (Watford) 7

Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).

Our verdict: Leeds 1 Watford 1

Millwall (20) v Wigan (14)

Guy Moussi returns to the Millwall squad after missing Tuesday's draw against parent club Nottingham Forest. Fellow midfielder Nicky Bailey is out with a knee ligament problem but Liam Trotter came through 90 minutes in midweek following a groin injury and should keep his place along with striker Steve Morison.

Wigan caretaker boss Graham Barrow has a strong squad to choose from with only winger Shaun Maloney (hip) and defender Juan Carlos Garcia (ankle) not training, although long-term absentees skipper Gary Caldwell (hip) and goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi (knee) are working their way back slowly.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Martyn Woolford (Millwall) 4; Nick Powell (Wigan) 6

Referee: Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear).

Our verdict: Millwall 0 Wigan 0

QPR (2) v Blackburn (13)

QPR could be unchanged. Defender Nedum Onouha is set to miss out again with a recurrence of his hamstring problem and midfielder Alejandro Faurlin is a long-term absentee as he recovers from a cruciate injury.

Blackburn's midfielder David Dunn is back in the squad after a knock. Scotland international Grant Hanley has overcome an arm injury, Adam Henley could make his first senior appearance as on-loan full-back Todd Kane is banned, while goalkeeper Paul Robinson (back) and midfield pair Corry Evans and Dickson Etuhu (both ankle) are out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Charlie Austin (QPR) 10; Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 11

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).

Our verdict: QPR 3 Blackburn 1

Reading (5) v Bournemouth (19)

The hosts are monitoring midfielder Danny Williams, who was taken off as a precaution against Charlton to protect a calf problem. Full-back Chris Gunter is available following a ban and winger Royston Drenthe could make his first appearance in almost three months after a foot injury. Wayne Bridge, Sean Morrison (both knee), Mikele Leigertwood (ankle), Jason Roberts (hip) and Jem Karacan (cruciate) are injured.

Bournemouth striker Lewis Grabban has recovered from illness and is pushing for a start, along with fellow forward Tukelo Rantie. Ryan Allsop (glandular fever) and Mohamed Coulibaly (Achilles/calf) are close to returning to training but this match comes too soon for the pair.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 6; Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 7

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

Our verdict: Reading 4 Bournemouth 2

Sheffield Wednesday (23) v Nottingham Forest (8)

Wednesday midfielder Giles Coke has had a scan on his hamstring and is likely to miss the match - Jose Semedo and Stephen McPhail are on stand-by. Defender Lewis Buxton is also in a race to prove his fitness after a similar problem.

Jamaal Lascelles comes back into the reckoning for Forest while Darius Henderson could also be available after a leg problem. Greg Halford was recalled to the starting line-up against Millwall in midweek as Lascelles served a one-match suspension, so boss Billy Davies will have to decide who partners Jack Hobbs in central defence. On-loan Sunderland midfielder David Vaughan (hamstring) is also nearing a return.

Last season: Sheff Wed 0 Nottm Forest 1, Nottm Forest 1 Sheff Wed 0

Last five league matches: Sheff Wed W L L L W; Nottm Forest L W D L D

Top scorers (all competitions): Connor Wickham (Sheff Wed) 6; Andy Reid (Nottm Forest) 6

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

Our verdict: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Nottingham Forest 2

Yeovil (22) v Charlton (21)

Captain Jamie McAllister's shoulder injury looks set to rule him out but Glovers boss Gary Johnson has no injury or suspension worries and could name an unchanged XI. If Johnson does decide to freshen things up then Sam Hoskins could edge out Adam Morgan alongside Ishmael Miller while Joe Ralls and Kevin Dawson are pushing to be included in the midfield.

Charlton goalkeeper Ben Hamer has yet to recover from an ankle injury so Ben Alnwick continues between the sticks. Captain Johnnie Jackson will hope for a return to the starting line-up after dropping to the bench for the loss at Reading but defenders Chris Solly and Leon Cort remain sidelined by knee injuries.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Yeovil L L L W W; Charlton L L W L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Edward Upson (Yeovil) 5; Simon Church (Charlton) 5

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Our verdict: Yeovil 2 Charlton 1


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