Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: December 31 2013, 16:25 GMT

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

Fernando Forestieri: Faces fitness test before Watford face Yeovil
Fernando Forestieri: Faces fitness test before Watford face Yeovil

Birmingham (17) v Barnsley (24)

Birmingham will be without Tom Adeyemi and Aaron McLean for the visit of Barnsley. Midfielder Adeyemi was forced off in the first half of Sunday's 3-2 victory at Blackburn nursing a back injury while striker McLean missed the game altogether due to a hamstring problem. Forward Jesse Lingard serves the second game of his three-match suspension, with his loan stay from Manchester United set to expire on Wednesday, although boss Lee Clark remains keen to agree an extension.

Midfielder Tomasz Cywka hopes to return to the Barnsley starting line-up after stepping off the bench to score a fine goal in Sunday's home defeat to his former club Derby. Winger Paddy McCourt shook off a hamstring strain in time to start that match and lasted 57 minutes before being replaced by Marcus Pedersen, who is pushing for a recall. McCourt may be assessed, but midfielder David Perkins, plus defenders Bobby Hassell and Lewin Nyatanga are also hoping to return to starting line-up.

Last season: Barnsley 1 Birmingham 2, Birmingham 0 Barnsley 5

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jesse Lingard (Birmingham) 6; Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 7

Referee: Chris Foy

Our verdict: Birmingham 0 Barnsley 0

Bolton (18) v Middlesbrough (15)

Bolton boss Dougie Freedman remains without Stuart Holden (knee) but Mark Davies could be named in the starting line-up having been on the bench against Leicester following his recent long-term knee injury. Goalkeeper Andy Lonergan saved a penalty at the King Power Stadium and should continue with Adam Bogdan (knee) still out, while makeshift left-back Alex Baptiste could slot in again with Marc Tierney (foot) missing. On-loan Joe Mason could make his final appearance before returning to Cardiff on January 5.

Midfielder Dean Whitehead is missing for Middlesbrough through suspension after picking up a fifth booking of the season. Jonathan Woodgate, Frazer Richardson and Andy Halliday are all being assessed as they prepare to return to action but striker Kei Kamara (medial ligaments), goalkeeper Jason Steele (ankle) and Stuart Parnaby (knee/compassionate leave) remain on the sidelines.

Last season: Bolton 2 Middlesbrough 1, Middlesbrough 2 Bolton 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jermaine Beckford (Bolton) 7; Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) 9

Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire).

Our verdict: Bolton 1 Middlesbrough 0

Brighton (8) v Bournemouth (16)

Brighton will be without winger Will Buckley who is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury during Sunday's win at Blackpool. Stephen Ward will be assessed after he was forced off at Bloomfield Road following a knock to the head while skipper Gordon Greer (calf) and fellow defender Bruno (thigh) were missing against the Seasiders and remain doubtful.

Bournemouth are boosted by the return of midfielder Harry Arter after he served his one-match ban for a fifth yellow card of the season against Ipswich. Josh McQuoid made his first start of the campaign in a central midfield role in Arter's absence and he could make way, while Welsh midfielder Shaun MacDonald will be assessed ahead of kick-off having missed out against the Tractor Boys.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jose Ulloa & Ashley Barnes (Brighton) 6; Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 9

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).

Our verdict: Brighton 1 Bournemouth 3

Burnley (3) v Huddersfield (11)

Burnley full-back Ben Mee will be hoping to overcome his thigh strain for the visit of Huddersfield having missed the last two matches, but Daniel Lafferty is likely to fill in again should he miss a third successive game. Sean Dyche is still without long-term absentee Ross Wallace (knee).

Huddersfield's leading goalscorer James Vaughan remains a doubt for the game due to a knee injury. The 12-goal striker has sat out the last two matches so Danny Ward has started up front alongside Martin Paterson and, as both were on target against Yeovil, boss Mark Robins could stick with the same partnership if Vaughan is not fit. Otherwise, Robins has no new injury or suspension problems.

Last season: Burnley 0 Huddersfield 1, Huddersfield 2 Burnley 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Danny Ings (Burnley) 17; James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 12

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

Our verdict: Burnley 2 Huddersfield 2

Derby (2) v Wigan (14)

Derby will again check on Jeff Hendrick before the visit of Wigan. The midfielder was absent for a second match against Barnsley on Sunday as he continued his recovery from a bout of concussion. Johnny Russell was handed only his second start since coming back from a broken leg at Oakwell, replacing fellow forward Jamie Ward, and completed the full 90 minutes. Head coach Steve McClaren must decide whether two games in the space of four days will be too much for the Scot, with a recall for Ward likely.

Wigan boss Uwe Rosler is hoping on-loan forward Nick Powell shows no reaction after playing the full 90 minutes against Burnley - three days after missing the Boxing Day clash against Birmingham with a hamstring injury. Rosler, whose side definitely remain without Shaun Maloney (shoulder), Gary Caldwell (hip) and Juan Carlos Garcia (ankle), will have winger Jean Beausejour back from a one-game suspension but Ben Watson is nursing a foot injury and goalkeeper Scott Carson (thigh) is among those who have been absent of late.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Martin (Derby) 15; Nick Powell (Wigan) 8

Referee: David Webb (County Durham).

Our verdict: Derby 2 Wigan 1

Ipswich (6) v Charlton (19)

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy looks set to change his starting line-up for the first time in six games with midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe having played the final match of his current loan agreement from Manchester United in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Bournemouth. McCarthy has shown a strong desire to extend Tunnicliffe's stay and talks have taken place with United counterpart David Moyes, although a deal has not yet been confirmed ahead of the clash against the Addicks. Otherwise, Town are not expected to have any injury or suspension concerns.

Charlton could welcome back Chris Solly and Rhoys Wiggins. Right-back Solly was rested for Sunday's 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday having only recently returned to the team following a long-term knee injury. Left-back Wiggins was also absent against the Owls as he was attending the birth of his first child. Centre-back Leon Cort is therefore the only definite absentee with a knee injury.

Last season: Charlton 1 Ipswich 2, Ipswich 1 Charlton 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 11; Simon Church & Yann Kermorgant (Charlton) 5

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

Our verdict: Ipswich 3 Charlton 0

Leeds (7) v Blackburn (12)

Leeds could hand late fitness tests to leading goalscorer Ross McCormack and goalkeeper Paddy Kenny. McCormack scored his 18th goal of the season in Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest, but was substituted as a precaution late on due to tight hamstrings while Kenny played the full 90 minutes despite sustaining an ankle injury in the opening exchanges. Teenage midfielder Alex Mowatt, rested for the last two matches, is expected to return to the squad.

Gary Bowyer is keeping his fingers crossed over the availability of Blackburn pair Josh King and David Dunn. Former Manchester United winger King missed the 3-2 loss to Birmingham because of a back strain while long-serving midfielder Dunn (hamstring) has a slight strain but both could feature. Rovers will, though, be without Jason Lowe (suspension), Todd Kane (thigh), Corry Evans (ankle), Paul Robinson (back) and Dickson Etuhu (ankle).

Last season: Blackburn 0 Leeds 0, Leeds 3 Blackburn 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ross McCormack (Leeds) 18; Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 15

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Our verdict: Leeds 2 Blackburn 1

Millwall (20) v Leicester (1)

Defender Dan Shittu is back in the Millwall squad after being suspended for Sunday's goalless draw against Doncaster. However, caretaker bosses Neil Harris and Scott Fitzgerald may opt to stick with the back four which recorded the Lions' first clean sheet in seven matches at the Keepmoat Stadium. Skipper Paul Robinson (ankle) and midfielder Liam Trotter (knee) missed out against Rovers and will be checked over ahead of the clash.

Leaders Leicester are without the suspended Jamie Vardy after he received his fifth yellow card of the season during Sunday's thrilling 5-3 home victory over Bolton. It remains to be seen whether fellow striker Chris Wood will recover from the hamstring injury that has kept him out recently so either Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Martyn Waghorn or Jeff Schlupp could be recalled to partner leading scorer David Nugent.

Last season: Leicester 0 Millwall 1, Millwall 1 Leicester 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Steve Morison & Martyn Woolford (Millwall) 4; David Nugent (Leicester) 12

Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).

Our verdict: Millwall 0 Leicester 1

QPR (4) v Doncaster (21)

QPR will check on Clint Hill and Charlie Austin ahead of the match with Doncaster. Defender Hill missed Sunday's goalless draw at Watford through illness and striker Austin remains a major doubt with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Alejandro Faurlin remains a long-term absentee with a cruciate injury.

Doncaster boss Paul Dickov has no new problems but is still set to be without a host of players. Strikers Chris Brown (ankle) and Billy Paynter (Achilles) and midfielder James Coppinger (heel) have recently been added to an already lengthy injury list and the trio look unlikely to recover in time for the trip to London. Meanwhile, defenders Jamie McCombe (back), Rob Jones (neck), James Husband (shoulder) and midfielder Paul Keegan (hamstring) have been out for some time and will remain on the sidelines.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Charlie Austin (QPR) 11; Theo Robinson (Doncaster) 4

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire).

Our verdict: QPR 1 Doncaster 0

Reading (9) v Nottingham Forest (5)

Reading will be without Kaspars Gorkss through suspension after the Latvian defender was sent off in the 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough. It means boss Nigel Adkins will have to further patch up a defence already missing Chris Baird (ankle), Wayne Bridge and Sean Morrison (both knee). Jem Karacan (cruciate), Mikele Leigertwood (ankle) and Jason Roberts (hip) are also out injured but Royston Drenthe could return after missing out at Boro due to personal reasons.

Forest will check on the fitness of David Vaughan after he missed the 2-1 home win over Leeds with a slight thigh strain but Reds boss Billy Davies feels there is a chance the on-loan Sunderland midfielder could come back into the reckoning.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 7; Andy Reid (Nottm Forest) 7

Referee: Michael Oliver

Our verdict: Reading 2 Nottingham Forest 3

Sheffield Wednesday (22) v Blackpool (10)

Sheffield Wednesday have received a boost after agreeing extended deals for Connor Wickham and Glenn Loovens. Sunderland have allowed Wickham to extend his loan deal at Hillsborough until January 29 after the striker initially joined at the start of November, while Loovens, who joined Wednesday on a month-by-month basis in early December, has signed a contract extension through to the end of the season. Caretaker-boss Stuart Gray otherwise has no new injury or suspension problems.

Blackpool will be without suspended duo Chris Basham and Kirk Broadfoot for the match. Midfielder Basham accrued his fifth yellow card of the season last time out meaning he joins defender Broadfoot, in the midst of a four-game suspension, on the sidelines. Full-back Jack Robinson played 90 minutes in Sunday's defeat to Brighton but has sustained a hamstring injury, the same problem which is keeping forward Ricardo Fuller and midfielder Isaiah Osbourne out.

Last season: Blackpool 0 Sheff Wed 0, Sheff Wed 0 Blackpool 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Connor Wickham (Sheff Wed) 6; Tom Ince (Blackpool) 7

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).

Our verdict: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Blackpool 0

Yeovil (23) v Watford (13)

Yeovil will assess midfielder Ed Upson (ankle) and goalkeeper Marek Stech (thigh) ahead of the match after both players were forced to come off in the 5-1 away defeat at Huddersfield. If they fail to make it then Joe Ralls and Chris Dunn look likely to step in along with Everton loanee Shane Duffy, who will be available to return to the Glovers defence having agreed a loan extension until the end of the season. There is also a chance that Byron Webster could partner Duffy in the heart of the defence after he stepped up his recovery from a grade one hamstring tear.

Watford duo Fernando Forestieri and Ikechi Anya face fitness tests after missing Sunday's goalless draw at home to QPR with respective knee and groin injuries. Wing-back Daniel Pudil will also be checked over once again having missed the club's last two matches with a hamstring problem, but Almen Abdi (foot), Davide Faraoni, Essaid Belkalem and Tommie Hoban (all ankle) continue to remain on the sidelines.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ed Upson (Yeovil) 5; Troy Deeney (Watford) 11

Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire).

Our verdict: Yeovil 2 Watford 1

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