Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: February 7 2014, 16:15 GMT

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

Steve McClaren's Derby host QPR on Monday night
Steve McClaren's Derby host QPR on Monday night

Saturday, February 5

Yeovil v Leeds

Yeovil are set to hand a first start to Manchester United loanee Tom Lawrence. Joe Ralls, on loan from Cardiff, looks to have overcome the knock that forced him to be withdrawn last Sunday at Nottingham Forest and he could be joined in the squad by striker Sam Hoskins (groin) and left-back Liam Davis (broken toe).

Leeds striker Matt Smith will return to the squad following suspension and Noel Hunt is poised for his first league appearance since early October after recovering from a hamstring tear. Manager Brian McDermott has no new injury or suspension problems, with striker Dominic Poleon, plus defenders Lee Peltier and Scott Wootton among those pushing for recalls to the starting line-up.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): James Hayter (Yeovil) 5; Ross McCormack (Leeds) 22

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Yeovil 2 Leeds 1

Barnsley v Ipswich

Barnsley will be without suspended pair Jacob Mellis and Emmanuel Frimpong after both were sent off in last week's derby defeat at Sheffield Wednesday. Another January signing, Liam Lawrence, is hoping to make his first start in midfield after two substitute appearances and Bobby Hassell (calf) could return to contention, while Stephen Dawson, Tomasz Cywka and Jim O'Brien are among those pushing for recalls.

Cole Skuse (concussion) and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (hamstring) have returned to full training but Luke Hyam (knee) remains a doubt. Stephen Hunt, who is battling to overcome a groin problem, and Frank Nouble will hope to keep their starting berths.

Last season: Ipswich 1 Barnsley 1, Barnsley 1 Ipswich 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 10; David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 15

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Barnsley 1 Ipswich 2

Blackpool v Nottingham Forest

Ricardo Fuller is likely to require a late fitness test as he nears a comeback from his hamstring problem. Utility man Neal Bishop (also hamstring) could feature too. Midfielder Elliot Grandin rejoined the club on Thursday and could play, but interim manager Barry Ferguson, who will not play himself while he has the managerial reins, insists it may take him another week to 10 days before he is fully up to speed.

David Vaughan and Henri Lansbury look set to miss the remainder of the season for Forest with knee and back problems respectively. Chris Cohen (knee), Dexter Blackstock (knee) and Kelvin Wilson (back) are already long-term absentees. Full-back Eric Lichaj is nursing a knock and midfielder Djamel Abdoun has a gash on his leg that could make him a doubt. However, Jack Hobbs, Danny Fox, Kevin Gomis and Rafik Djebbour are available having been ineligible for the FA Cup win over Preston in midweek. Andy Reid and Jamie Paterson were both rested from the starting line-up at Deepdale and are likely to be restored to the side.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ricardo Fuller (Blackpool) 4; Andy Reid (Nottm Forest) 9

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Blackpool 0 Nottingham Forest 2

Bolton v Bournemouth

David Wheater could make his first Bolton appearance since September with a knee problem. Midfielder Stuart Holden expressed hope he could be back in reserve games this month, but Bolton boss Dougie Freedman is more cautious over the United States international's long-term knee problem. Striker Jermaine Beckford (hamstring) was rated 50-50 prior to last weekend's clash at Ipswich, which he missed, but an extra seven days may work in Wanderers' top scorer's favour.

Bournemouth will be without Charlie Daniels. The 27-year-old will head to Italy to see a specialist as he attempts to speed up his recovery from an injury he suffered in the 2-1 victory over Huddersfield which looks set to sideline him for three weeks. In his absence, Ian Harte looks set to feature while new signing Yann Kermorgant, who was a substitute in the 1-0 home defeat to Leicester last time out, is pushing for a start.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jermaine Beckford (Bolton) 8; Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 12

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Bolton 1 Bournemouth 1

Brighton v Doncaster

Brighton could be without Keith Andrews and Jake Forster-Caskey due to hamstring problems but fellow midfielder Rohan Ince is in line to return after a foot injury. Winger Will Buckley is close to fitness following his hamstring injury but might not be risked just yet. Craig Mackail-Smith is also on the comeback trail after 11 months out following a ruptured Achilles and could be back in action later this month, but fellow striker Will Hoskins remains sidelined with a long-term knee injury.

Doncaster will be without the suspended Richie Wellens after he received his 10th yellow card of the season during the goalless home draw with Middlesbrough last weekend. Either Marc De Val Fernandez or Dean Furman will replace the Rovers captain. Fellow midfielder Paul Keegan (thigh) is an injury concern. Scans have showed no tear and the Irishman will be assessed on Friday.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Jose Ulloa & Andrew Crofts (Brighton) 6; Chris Brown (Doncaster) 6

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Our verdict: Brighton 3 Doncaster 2

Burnley v Millwall

Burnley will have no injury or suspension concerns in their squad as both full-back Daniel Lafferty (thigh) and winger Keith Treacy (neck) have been declared fully fit.

Simeon Jackson, Ed Upson and Richard Chaplow could be added to the Millwall squad. Former Norwich striker Jackson joined the Lions last week after being released by German club Eintracht Braunschweig and will be involved providing international clearance comes through in time, while Upson arrived on deadline day from Yeovil. Fellow midfielder Chaplow, who began his career at Turf Moor, is fit after three weeks out with a calf problem. Dan Shittu is a doubt with a groin strain and Shane Lowry is still suspended.

Last season: Millwall 0 Burnley 2, Burnley 2 Millwall 2

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

Top scorers: Danny Ings (Burnley) 22; Shaun Williams (Millwall) 10

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

Our verdict: Burnley 1 Millwall 0

Charlton v Birmingham

Lawrie Wilson returns to the Charlton squad after the right-back missed last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Wigan through suspension. Left-back Rhoys Wiggins (hamstring) is a doubt and fellow defenders Chris Solly and Leon Cort remain sidelined by knee injuries. January signing Yohann Thuram-Ulien continues in goal as Ben Hamer is still out with an ankle problem.

Captain Paul Robinson returns to the fold for Birmingham. The centre-back has missed the club's last two matches due to an automatic suspension having collected 10 bookings this season. His comeback is timely after loan signing Tom Thorpe suffered ankle ligament damage on his Blues debut against Derby. Fellow new boy Aaron Martin replaced Thorpe and will be hoping to start himself, as will striker Federico Macheda and winger Chris Burke having both stepped off the bench and grabbed late goals to snatch a point against the Rams. Left-back Mitch Hancox (ankle) is also fit for selection.

Last season: Charlton 1 Birmingham 1, Birmingham 1 Charlton 1

Last five league matches: Charlton D D L L L; Birmingham D L L L D

Top scorers (all competitions): Simon Church (Charlton) 6; Lee Novak (Birmingham) 7

Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire).

Our verdict: Charlton 2 Birmingham 1

Huddersfield v Wigan

Huddersfield's 12-goal leading scorer James Vaughan could return to contention after missing the last two games due to a knee problem. Fellow forward Martin Paterson has recovered from the illness that forced him to sit out training earlier this week. Winger Adam Hammill could also return to the squad after missing the last two games due to a swollen knee and midfielder Jonathan Hogg (hip) is expected to give boss Mark Robins a further boost following a three-game lay-off. Defenders Paul Dixon (hip) and Anthony Gerrard (head) both hope to overcome knocks sustained in last week's 5-1 defeat at Leeds.

On-loan Wigan striker Martyn Waghorn could make his debut after joining on loan from Leicester on transfer deadline day. Fellow new recruit Markus Holgersson, a Swedish centre-back, has a virus and will miss out. Gary Caldwell (Achilles) and Shaun Maloney (shoulder) remain absent but midfielder Josh McEachran, on loan from Chelsea, could make his full Latics debut after coming off the bench to set up the winner in a 2-1 win over Charlton last weekend.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 12; Nick Powell (Wigan) 10

Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Huddersfield 2 Wigan 1

Leicester v Watford

Ignasi Miquel could come in for Leicester. He has been struggling with a thigh strain but the centre-back featured for the development squad this week along with Riyad Mahrez, Jeff Schlupp and Chris Wood, who has been nursing a tight hamstring in recent weeks. Liam Moore (broken rib), Sean St. Ledger (groin) and Tom Hopper (shin) remain out.

Watford will again be without Lewis McGugan (thigh) and Almen Abdi (foot) while long-term absentee Essaid Belkalem, who last featured at the start of November, remains sidelined with an ankle complaint.

Last season: Leicester 1 Watford 2, Watford 2 Leicester 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): David Nugent (Leicester) 17; Troy Deeney (Watford) 12

Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Leicester 0 Watford 0

Middlesbrough v Blackburn

Jonathan Woodgate will return to the Middlesbrough squad having been out of action since suffering a thigh injury in the 1-0 win over Burnley on Boxing Day. New signing Daniel Ayala could be out of action for some time though with an ankle problem suffered in last weekend's 0-0 draw at Doncaster. Striker Lee Tomlin, who joined the club on loan from Peterborough on deadline day, serves the second match of a three-game ban.

Josh King is ruled out for Blackburn with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Corry Evans has been training all week and could make a long-awaited comeback from an ankle injury, which is the same problem that continues to keep Dickson Etuhu out. Defender Tommy Spurr will play despite having stitches to a head injury and midfielder Lee Williamson, who recently suffered from concussion, will also be available. Full-back Adam Henley's Achilles problem means he will be assessed in the run-up to the match.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) 9; Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 16

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Our verdict: Middlesbrough 2 Blackburn 0

Reading v Sheffield Wednesday

Hope Akpan (shin) and Danny Guthrie (calf) have been passed fit for Reading, with manager Nigel Adkins set to name an unchanged team for the sixth match in succession. Wayne Bridge and Sean Morrison (both knee) are due back this month but will not be risked just yet while Mikele Leigertwood (ankle), Jason Roberts (hip) and Jem Karacan (cruciate) are still missing.

Sheffield Wednesday will be without defender Oguchi Onyewu, who has suffered a calf muscle tear, while Reda Johnson (hip) and Glenn Loovens (hamstring) face fitness tests. Midfielder Giles Coke sits out the second game of a three-match ban and winger Jermaine Johnson serves the first of his three-game suspension following his straight red card last week. Another winger Michail Antonio (knee ligaments) is fit, but defender Martin Taylor (knee), Lewis Buxton, and Kamil Zayatte (ankle) are still missing, with Zayatte needing season-ending surgery.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 13; Chris Maguire (Sheff Wed) 5

Referee: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)

Our verdict: Reading 3 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Monday, February 10

Derby v QPR

Derby head coach Steve McClaren has no new problems and plenty of options. Jamie Ward, Johnny Russell, Simon Dawkins and Patrick Bamford are all available for selection, presenting McClaren with a selection dilemma. Loan signing George Thorne will be pushing for his first start for the club after completing his loan move from West Brom on the penultimate day of the January transfer window.

QPR winger Matty Phillips could miss the rest of the season after suffering an ankle injury early on during last weekend's 3-3 draw with Burnley. Phillips joins right-back Danny Simpson (back), top scorer Charlie Austin (shoulder) and midfielders Yossi Benayoun (groin) and Alejandro Faurlin (cruciate) on the sidelines. Junior Hoilett is set to start in Phillips' place while Aaron Hughes is pushing for a debut in defence and Jermaine Jenas has resumed training following his recent lay-off.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Derby L W D W D; QPR W W W W D Top scorers: Patrick Bamford (Derby) 21; Charlie Austin (QPR) 15

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).

Our verdict: Derby 1 QPR 1

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