Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: March 21 2014, 13:20 GMT

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

Uwe Rosler's in-form Wigan face Watford
Uwe Rosler's in-form Wigan face Watford

Saturday, March 22

Derby v Nottingham Forest

Will Hughes looks like being fit for the visit of Forest. Hughes limped off during the Rams' goalless draw at Reading last weekend, with scans revealing a slight groin strain, but trained on Thursday. Fellow midfielder John Eustace will miss out through suspension, meaning George Thorne could finally make his debut.

Forest will be without influential playmaker Andy Reid, who faces three weeks on the sidelines after limping out of the Reds' goalless home draw with Doncaster last weekend on his return to the starting line-up following hernia surgery. Jamie Mackie could be recalled, while fellow forward Darius Henderson will also be battling for a place in the starting line-up.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Patrick Bamford (Derby) 22; Jamie Paterson & Andy Reid (Nottm Forest) 10

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)

Our verdict: Derby 2 Nottingham Forest 0

Barnsley v Bournemouth

Barnsley striker Chris O'Grady and defender Peter Ramage are hoping to return to the starting line-up. Leading goalscorer O'Grady started on the bench in last week's defeat at Watford, while Ramage missed out altogether due to a hamstring injury. Martin Cranie remains sidelined with a similar problem, fellow defender Bobby Hassell (calf) is still out and midfielder Jim O'Brien's season is over following surgery to repair knee cartilage damage.

Bournemouth hope to have winger Matt Ritchie available after he missed the 1-0 loss at Charlton on Tuesday night due to illness. The Cherries' medical staff will assess him in the build-up to kick-off. Yann Kermorgant returned to action in midweek, having overcome a heel problem, and the Frenchman could be recalled to the starting line-up.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 11; Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 15

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)

Our verdict: Barnsley 1 Bournemouth 0

Birmingham v Reading

Birmingham could be without Emyr Huws. The on-loan Manchester City midfielder injured his hip in last weekend's heavy defeat at Sheffield Wednesday and will be assessed ahead of kick-off. Veteran defender Paul Robinson also left the action early with a head injury, but he should be fit to start against the Royals. Callum Reilly and Brian Howard have overcome knee and ankle injuries respectively and are options for Blues boss Lee Clark, along with Federico Macheda and Albert Rusnak.

Hal Robson-Kanu is set to miss out for the visitors after suffering a hamstring injury during last weekend's goalless draw against Derby. He was replaced by Adam Le Fondre. Striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is likely to be on the bench again, despite not being fully fit due to an ankle problem. Defender Sean Morrison could be involved after a knee injury, but Wayne Bridge (knee), Mikele Leigertwood (ankle) and Jem Karacan (cruciate) remain sidelined, while veteran striker Jason Roberts has announced his retirement.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Lee Novak (Birmingham) 10; Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 13

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)

Our verdict: Birmingham 1 Reading 3

Blackburn v Leicester

Blackburn could have their captain Grant Hanley back. The Scotland international defender is struggling with a hamstring injury, but Rovers boss Gary Bowyer is keeping his fingers crossed over his availability. Jason Lowe (ankle) is expected to play, while striker Rudy Gestede may also feature, despite coming off in last weekend's 4-2 win over Huddersfield with a nasty head injury. Midfielder Tom Cairney and Ben Marshall (both ankle) are out. Winger Josh King (hamstring) and midfielder Dickson Etuhu (ankle) both played an hour in a behind-closed-doors game in midweek and could feature

Lloyd Dyer is expected to come back into the reckoning for Leicester after missing the last three matches with an Achilles problem. Only defender Sean St. Ledger (knee) and striker Tom Hopper (shin) are unavailable to Foxes boss Nigel Pearson.

Last season: Leicester 3 Blackburn 0, Blackburn 2 Leicester 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 20; David Nugent (Leicester) 19

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Blackburn 1 Leicester 2

Blackpool v Huddersfield

Striker Steve Davies will miss out for the hosts. The 26-year-old needs surgery on a groin problem and may miss the rest of the Seasiders' campaign. Defender Kevin Foley is back in training after dislocating his shoulder, although caretaker boss Barry Ferguson must consider whether he is ready for a competitive return. Tom Barkhuizen is yet to return from a broken collarbone.

Huddersfield's leading goalscorer James Vaughan is hoping to make his first start in nearly six weeks. Vaughan had been sidelined with a calf injury before coming off the bench last week against Blackburn. Anthony Gerrard remains doubtful due to the fractured toe that has kept him out of the last two games and fellow defender Joel Lynch (groin) is not ready to play. Midfielder Duane Holmes could be back in contention following his return to the club from his loan spell at Yeovil.

Last season: Huddersfield 1 Blackpool 1, Blackpool 1 Huddersfield 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): David Goodwillie (Blackpool) 7; Nahki Wells (Huddersfield) 18

Referee: Rob Lewis (Shropshire)

Our verdict: Blackpool 1 Huddersfield 3

Brighton v Ipswich

Matt Upson should return to the Brighton defence. The former England centre-half missed his first game of the season, last weekend's 2-0 win at Bolton, through illness but is fit again. Keith Andrews is available after he was ineligible to face parent club Bolton, but fellow midfielder Andrea Orlandi (thigh) is likely to miss out again. Strikers Will Hoskins (knee) and Craig Mackail-Smith (Achilles) are close to returning from long-term injuries.

Cole Skuse looks set to miss out for the first time this season for Town. The ever-present midfielder sustained a leg injury in last weekend's 3-1 defeat to Wigan and has been unable to train this week, joining David McGoldrick (knee) and Anthony Wordsworth (back) on the sidelines. Frank Nouble, though, has overcome the hamstring injury which has kept him out of the last two games.

Last season: Ipswich 0 Brighton 3, Brighton 1 Ipswich 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jose Ulloa (Brighton) 12; David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 16

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

Our verdict: Brighton 1 Ipswich 0

Charlton v Burnley

Charlton will check on Astrit Ajdarevic, Reza Ghoochanneijhad and Callum Harriott ahead of the clash. Midfielder Ajdarevic and striker Ghoochanneijhad were left out of the midweek win over Bournemouth to rest minor knocks, while winger Harriott came off during the first half with a slight ankle problem. Tottenham loanee Jonathan Obika replaced Harriott for his first appearance since rejoining the Addicks and could start up front. Leon Cort is closing in on a return after a long-term knee injury, but is unlikely to be risked just yet, while fellow defender Chris Solly remains sidelined with his knee problem.

Burnley will be without Danny Ings and possibly Kieran Trippier. Ings, the Clarets' top scorer, faces a few weeks out after sustaining an ankle ligament injury in the recent 3-3 draw with Birmingham. Full-back Trippier is struggling with a hamstring strain. His right-back berth could be filled by Chris Baird, who agreed a short-term deal with Sean Dyche's side on Thursday.

Last season: Charlton 0 Burnley 1, Burnley 0 Charlton 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Piotr Parzyszek (Charlton) 15; Danny Ings (Burnley) 25

Referee: Oliver Langford

Our verdict: Charlton 0 Burnley 0

Doncaster v Sheffield Wednesday

Doncaster are confident Mark Duffy will be fit for the derby after struggling with illness this week. Aston Villa striker Jordan Bowery has returned to his parent club following the end of his loan spell. Defender Bongani Khumalo (knee) is out for the remainder of the season and Gabriel Tamas is also currently sidelined. The latter underwent surgery on his fractured cheekbone on Thursday.

Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland could return to contention for the derby clash following a calf injury, but Damian Martinez, on loan from Arsenal, will be hoping to retain his place after keeping a clean sheet in the midweek win against QPR. Midfielder Sam Hutchinson, on loan from Chelsea, sat out on Tuesday night due to a knee problem, but is also expected to be available.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Brown (Doncaster) 7; Chris Maguire (Sheff Wed) 9

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Our verdict: Doncaster 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Leeds v Millwall

Leeds midfielder Rudy Austin is an injury doubt for the visit of Millwall. Winger Jimmy Kebe remains sidelined as he now has a hamstring problem following the illness that kept him out against Reading and Burnley.

Millwall's Shaun Williams will miss the trip to north through suspension, so Jimmy Abdou is set for a recall after recovering from illness. Defender Danny Shittu was this week ruled out for the rest of the season with an Achilles injury and joins Lee Martin (knee), Richard Chaplow (Achilles) and Jermaine Easter (thigh) and Nicky Bailey (back) on the sidelines.

Last season: Leeds 1 Millwall 0, Millwall 1 Leeds 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ross McCormack (Leeds) 25; Shaun Williams (Millwall) 10

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Our verdict: Leeds 1 Millwall 1

Middlesbrough v QPR

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka will be without Grant Leadbitter and Muzzy Carayol. Midfielder Leadbitter is suspended, while striker Carayol has an anterior cruciate ligament injury which will require surgery and rule him out for the rest of the season. Central defender Jonathan Woodgate is back in training after missing the last three games with a calf injury.

QPR could have goalkeeper Rob Green back after he missed the 3-0 midweek defeat at Sheffield Wednesday with a rib injury. Midfielder Jermaine Jenas should overcome a hamstring niggle, while right-back Danny Simpson has returned to training following a back problem and could also be available. Defender Richard Dunne is suspended, while Kevin Doyle, Ale Faurlin (both knee), Andrew Johnson, Matty Phillips (both ankle) and Charlie Austin (shoulder) remain sidelined.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) 10; Charlie Austin (QPR) 15

Referee: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)

Our verdict: Middlesbrough 0 QPR 2

Wigan v Watford

Jack Collison could make his Wigan debut after joining on loan from West Ham. Defender James Perch is a doubt after coming off in the 3-3 draw with Yeovil. He would join midfield trio Ben Watson (broken leg), Chris McCann (knee) and Roger Espinoza (hernia) on the sidelines, along with central defender Leon Barnett (hamstring). Shaun Maloney (hip) and club captain Gary Caldwell (Achilles) are also unlikely to return yet.

Watford will again be without Mathias Ranegie as the Swedish striker serves the second game of a three-match ban. Fellow forward Fernando Forestieri could also miss out with the toe injury which forced him to watch last weekend's 3-0 victory over Barnsley from the sidelines. Lewis McGugan made his comeback from a thigh problem in that game and he could retain his place.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Nick Powell (Wigan) 11; Troy Deeney (Watford) 17

Referee: Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Wigan 2 Watford 0

Yeovil v Bolton

Yeovil are sweating on the fitness of midfielder Ruben Palazuelos, who has a hamstring injury. With John Lundstram and Duane Holmes having also returned to their parent clubs in recent weeks, boss Gary Johnson is short of numbers in midfield. He could also be without Joel Grant after the winger limped off in midweek and Kevin Dawson is ready to step in again for the former Wycombe man.

Dougie Freedman has revealed the virus which gripped Bolton's camp last weekend has eased. Midfielder Mark Davies, back-up goalkeeper Andy Lonergan and striker Jermaine Beckford were among those struck down by illness, yet Freedman revealed he had a full group in training on Thursday. Defender Matt Mills could come back into the Scot's thinking following his knee injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ishmael Miller (Yeovil) 9; Jermaine Beckford (Bolton) 8

Match odds: H 9-5 A 7-5 D 21-10

Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire)

Our verdict: Yeovil 1 Bolton 3


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