Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: April 26 2014, 14:58 BST

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

Shaun Maloney: Could be recalled by Wigan
Shaun Maloney: Could be recalled by Wigan

Saturday, April 26

Burnley v Ipswich

Full-back Kieran Trippier is expected to be fit for Burnley. The right-back came off in the 2-0 win over Wigan with a knock on Easter Monday but trained on Thursday and should be okay. Striker Sam Vokes (knee) is definitely out after recently undergoing surgery while young defender Luke O'Neill (thigh) is also absent.

Ipswich striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake has made just two starts this year and, despite being touted for a return in Monday's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, continues to struggle with a hamstring problem. Paul Anderson did recover from a similar problem to start against the Cherries and a goalscoring performance should have done enough to secure the wide man's starting berth once again. Striker David McGoldrick (knee) is a long-term absentee.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Danny Ings (Burnley) 25; David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 16

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

Our verdict: Burnley 2 Ipswich 1

Birmingham v Leeds

Manchester City starlet Emyr Huws is expected to play for Birmingham despite injuring his head against Blackburn on Monday while Tom Adeyemi (groin) could return to the fold having missed the Easter period. Jonathan Spector (ankle) should be available and Lee Novak (knee) has declared himself fit despite being expected to miss the remainder of the season but Peter Lovenkrands (ankle), Will Packwood (hamstring) and Brian Howard (quad) are all doubts. Paul Robinson will serve the second game of his three-match ban having picked up 15 yellow cards this season.

Leeds defenders Stephen Warnock (ankle), Sam Byram (hamstring) and Marius Zaliukas will play no part in the game at Birmingham. Winger Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) also remains sidelined, but midfield pair Michael Tonge and Michael Brown are both expected to shake off niggles.

Last season: Birmingham 1 Leeds 0, Leeds 0 Birmingham 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Lee Novak (Birmingham) 10; Ross McCormack (Leeds) 29

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Birmingham 1 Leeds 1

Bournemouth v Nottingham Forest

Bournemouth are hopeful that captain Tommy Elphick will be available after a back injury meant he missed the 2-2 draw at Ipswich on Monday. If he does not return then Elliott Ward could keep his place against his former club. The Cherries will also check on Harry Arter's thigh injury while Charlie Daniels looks set to be given the nod once more having ended Ian Harte's run of 16 successive appearances at Portman Road.

Nottingham Forest will check on goalkeepers Karl Darlow and Dorus de Vries. Both Darlow and De Vries are nursing minor injuries following the two matches over the Easter weekend. If neither are fit, 20-year-old Bulgarian Dimitar Evtimov, who replaced De Vries late on in the victory over Leeds on Monday, will make his full debut for the Reds. Midfielder Henri Lansbury may still play a part in the final two games of the season despite a recurrence of his back injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 20; Jamie Paterson (Nottm Forest) 12

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Our verdict: Bournemouth 3 Nottingham Forest 0

Charlton v Blackburn

Rhoys Wiggins is Charlton's only injury absentee. The defender suffered a fractured metatarsal against Barnsley last week which brought a premature end to his season so youngster Morgan Fox continues at left-back. Right-back Chris Solly was recalled for Monday's dramatic 3-2 win at Sheffield Wednesday but he could be rested again having only just returned from a long-term knee injury, with Lawrie Wilson standing by. Marvin Sordell should keep his place in attack after his first career hat-trick helped Charlton come from 2-0 down to secure three vital points at Hillsborough.

On-loan defender Michael Keane (knee) and midfield duo Lee Williamson (neck) and Tom Cairney (groin) were all back in training for Blackburn on Thursday. However, David Dunn (calf) and fellow midfielder Dickson Etuhu (hamstring) are still not ready to return while full-back Adam Henley (ankle) will not be back until next season. Winger Ben Marshall (ankle) and full-back Tommy Spurr (groin) are both doubtful for the fixture while midfielder Jason Lowe (ankle) had to play through the pain barrier in the 4-2 win over Birmingham on Monday.

Last season: Blackburn 1 Charlton 2, Charlton 1 Blackburn 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Simon Church and Marvin Sordell (Charlton) 7; Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 24

Referee: Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Charlton 1 Blackburn 2

Derby v Watford

Derby have no new problems to report. Forwards Simon Dawkins and Jamie Ward both returned to action over the Easter weekend - Dawkins following a six-game absence with a groin injury and Ward after missing four matches due to a hamstring problem. That means just club captain Shaun Barker (knee), fellow defender James O'Connor (thigh) and midfielder Paul Coutts (knee) remain unavailable for selection as they continue their long-term rehabilitation from injury.

Watford boss Giuseppe Sannino should have no fresh concerns following Monday's 2-1 defeat at QPR but could opt to freshen up his side who are in the middle of a run of four games inside 11 days. Ikechi Anya (Achilles) and Fernando Forestieri (toe) both missed out against Harry Redknapp's side and remain doubtful for the final run-in. Lloyd Doyley and Cristian Battocchio are yet to feature from the start since returning from their respective ankle and knee injuries and will be hoping to feature more prominently against the in-form Rams.

Last season: Watford 2 Derby 1, Derby 5 Watford 1

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

Top scorers: Chris Martin (Derby) 22; Troy Deeney (Watford) 22

Referee: Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Derby 2 Watford 1

Doncaster v Reading

Lucas Neill, James Husband and Richie Wellens will all undergo fitness tests. The trio have been out injured recently - defenders Neill and Husband with hamstring problems and midfielder Wellens due to a foot complaint - but Rovers boss Paul Dickov is optimistic they will be back in contention on Saturday. Abdoulaye Meite will be available after the club won their appeal against the central defender's red card during the goalless stalemate at Millwall on Monday.

Play-off hopefuls Reading will be without Danny Guthrie and Hal Robson-Kanu. Midfielder Guthrie was pressed back into action against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night following an injury lay-off only to suffer a recurrence of his calf problem, and winger Robson-Kanu was another casualty of the 2-0 victory when he suffered a nasty facial injury. Striker Pavel Pogrebnyak was only fit enough to start on the bench against Boro, but he came on for Robson-Kanu in the first half and lasted an hour so should be available again. Wayne Bridge could return at left-back but midfielder Jem Karacan remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Brown (Doncaster) 9; Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 14

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Our verdict: Doncaster 0 Reading 2

Huddersfield v Leicester

Huddersfield winger Danny Ward is expected to be fit having been forced out of Monday's win at Yeovil after taking a bang on the head. He returned to full training on Thursday. Defender Joel Lynch is back in contention after a two-game ban, but the season is over for striker James Vaughan (knee) and midfielder Keith Southern (groin) is still struggling.

Jeff Schlupp (knee) and Jamie Vardy (groin) remain doubts for Leicester after both missed Tuesday's match against Bolton.

Last season: Leicester 6 Huddersfield 1, Huddersfield 0 Leicester 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 12; David Nugent (Leicester) 21

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)

Our verdict: Huddersfield 1 Leicester 3

Middlesbrough v Barnsley

Middlesbrough have winger Adam Reach available following his loan spell with Bradford. Jacob Butterfield could return to face his former club after dropping to the bench for Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Reading, while Jonathan Woodgate, Grant Leadbitter and Lee Tomlin also provide options for manager Aitor Karanka.

Kelvin Etuhu and Jack Hunt are both hoping to give Barnsley's survival fight a boost by returning to contention. Both missed Monday's defeat at Derby, Etuhu due to an ankle injury and Hunt with a hamstring problem, and boss Danny Wilson will give them as long as possible before making a decision. On-loan Hull striker Nick Proschwitz is pushing for a recall after scoring his fourth goal for the club at Derby.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) 12; Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 13

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

Our verdict: Middlesbrough 1 Barnsley 1

QPR v Millwall

Benoit Assou-Ekotto is back in the QPR squad having completed a one-match ban following his red card at Leicester. He should return at left-back, meaning Clint Hill moves back to centre-half and possibly allowing manager Harry Redknapp to rest Richard Dunne. Top scorer Charlie Austin appeared to be feeling his hamstring after scoring the winner against Watford on Monday but Rangers have played down any injury fears, although he could also be rested with the play-offs in mind. Fellow striker Andrew Johnson is fit after an ankle injury but midfielder Jermaine Jenas (hamstring) could miss out again.

Millwall will check on Owen Garvan after he was absent for the goalless draw against relegation rivals Doncaster on Easter Monday. Richard Chaplow is pushing to return to the squad after an Achilles problem but fellow midfielder Ed Upson misses out again with a knee injury. Defender Danny Shittu is the only other absentee with the Achilles injury which ended his campaign six weeks ago.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Charlie Austin (QPR) 16; Steve Morison and Martyn Woolford (Millwall) 8

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

Our verdict: QPR 1 Millwall 0

Sheffield Wednesday v Bolton

Sheffield Wednesday defender Liam Palmer will miss out due to a groin injury which forced him out of Monday's home defeat to Charlton at half-time. Joe Mattock, who replaced him in that game, is expected to start in his team-mate's absence. Fellow defender Lewis Buxton (knee) is still sidelined and on-loan Chelsea midfielder Sam Hutchinson serves the second game of his two-match ban. Centre-half Glenn Loovens (hamstring) has missed the last two games and remains doubtful.

Defender Alex Baptiste could be absent for Bolton with a hip injury. Given there is little but pride left to play for, on-loan defender Alan Hutton (knee), along with midfield duo Mark Davies (groin) and Medo Kamara (illness) might just miss out again as manager Dougie Freedman opts to give his youngsters more experience. Attacking midfielder Andre Moritz (hamstring) recently joined Darren Pratley (shoulder), Stuart Holden (knee), Marc Tierney (broken leg) and Joe Riley (knee) on the sidelines.

Last season: Bolton 0 Sheff Wed 1, Sheff Wed 1 Bolton 2

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

Top scorers: Chris Maguire (Sheff Wed) 10; Jermaine Beckford (Bolton) 9

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Our verdict: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Bolton 2

Wigan v Blackpool

Wingers Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman are possible contenders to be recalled by Wigan boss Uwe Rosler, as is striker Martyn Waghorn while on-loan forward Nick Powell has not started any of the previous four fixtures. Midfield duo Ben Watson (broken leg) and Chris McCann (knee) are out while defender Ivan Ramis (hamstring) has not played since the FA Cup semi-final on April 12.

Ricardo Fuller could be an option for Blackpool caretaker player-manager Barry Ferguson, although the Scot himself is almost certainly out with an ankle problem. The Seasiders have not won a game without top scorer Fuller since he signed in August but he has done some light training following a knee injury and Ferguson will see how he fares. The struggling Tangerines have plenty of problems elsewhere and Ferguson expects to have a similar squad so the likes of Gary MacKenzie, Jack Robinson, Angel Martinez, Steve Davies and Robert Earnshaw will all remain out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Nick Powell (Wigan) 12; Ricardo Fuller (Blackpool) 6

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex)

Our verdict: Wigan 3 Blackpool 1


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