Making the point in derby

  • Last Updated: August 22 2014, 13:58 BST

We expect the return of the East Anglian derby to end in a draw in our Sky Bet Championship preview package.

Norwich are backed to draw with local rivals Ipswich
Norwich are backed to draw with local rivals Ipswich

The best bets from Nick Hext are here for the weekend's action in the Sky Bet Championship. Match-by-match score verdicts and team news are included too.

Back Ipswich to draw with Norwich

The Sky Sports cameras will be at Portman Road for the return of the East Anglian on Saturday at 1215 BST on Saturday. Both Ipswich and Norwich have made decent starts to the season and I don't see much to choose between these local rivals. The Portman Road faithful are sure to be right behind the Tractor Boys but the hosts will have to be wary of Lewis Grabban, who scored a double in Norwich's midweek victory over Blackburn. I expect plenty of action but not a winner. That means get with the draw.

Back Birmingham to beat Brentford

Birmingham look a really good value bet at 11/4 with Sky Bet to win at Brentford. Blues nearly made it two wins in a row in midweek, only an equaliser in the fourth minute of injury-time prevented them beating Ipswich at St Andrew's. Now they travel to Brentford and I reckon they can cause the Bees some problems. Mark Warburton's men won their first Championship match in midweek but that was against Blackpool and this will be a tougher test. Have a small stake on Birmingham to win.

Team news & score verdicts (league position in brackets)

Blackburn (15) v Bournemouth (5)

Blackburn midfielder Corry Evans is a doubt after limping off in Tuesday's defeat to Norwich, while Chris Brown (knee), Matt Kilgallon (back) and Tommy Spurr (groin) are all ruled out. Jordan Rhodes is expected to play despite being the subject of a bid from Hull.

There are no fresh injury concerns for the Cherries, with Simon Francis (hamstring) and Elliott Ward (knee) still doubtful after missing the previous game through injury.

Last season: Blackburn 0 Bournemouth 1, Bournemouth 1 Blackburn 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Tom Cairney & Rudy Gestede (Blackburn) 2; Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) 3

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Blackburn 1 Bournemouth 3

Brentford (13) v Birmingham (16)

New signings Andre Gray and Scott Hogan (ankle) remain sidelined for Brentford, with both players failing to shake off knocks, while Sam Saunders' knee injury keeps him out of this clash. However, full-back Nico Yennaris could return and will face a fitness test following a back injury. Midfielder Adam Forshaw is fit again and could return to the squad.

Birmingham have no fresh fitness concerns, with just Matt Green and Gavin Gunning (both knee) the two long-term absentees.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Stuart Dallas (Brentford) 3; Clayton Donaldson (Birmingham) 2

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Brentford 0 Birmingham 1

Brighton (17) v Bolton (22)

Joe Bennett could be in line for a Brighton debut following his loan move from Aston Villa during the week. There could also be home bows for Joao Teixeira and Danny Holla, while Andrew Crofts has completed a three-match suspension and will be available to boss Sami Hyypia.

Kevin McNaughton is ruled out for the Bluebirds after suffering a minor hamstring injury, but Dean Moxey is fit to return following three games out. Marc Tierney and Sanmi Odelusi remain sidelined.

Last season: Bolton 0 Brighton 2, Brighton 3 Bolton 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Joao Teixeira, Craig Mackail-Smith, Kazenga LuaLua & Lewis Dunk (Brighton) 1; Neil Dann & Craig Davies (Bolton) 2

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

Our verdict: Brighton 2 Bolton 1

Derby (14) v Fulham (23)

Paul Coutts has not fully recovered from a hip-flexor strain so will miss out for Derby, while Shaun Barker and George Thorne remain sidelined with long-term knee injuries. Omar Mascarell, the 21-year-old midfielder on loan from Real Madrid, could be in line for his first start for the club after impressing as a substitute so far this season.

Adam Taggart is the only injury concern for newly-relegated Fulham, but Moussa Dembele, Chris David, Hugo Rodallega and Emerson Hyndman will be among those pushing for recalls following the Cottagers' disappointing start to the season.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jeff Hendrick & Jamie Ward (Derby) 2; Tim Hoogland (Fulham) 1

Referee: Oliver Langford

Our verdict: Derby 3 Fulham 0

Huddersfield (20) v Charlton (4)

Huddersfield caretaker boss Mark Lillis is faced with a lengthy injury list. Lee Peltier (groin), Anthony Gerrard (calf), James Vaughan (calf), Oscar Gobern (toe), Martin Paterson (knee), Danny Ward (back) and Joe Lolley (hip) are receiving treatment and unlikely to feature.

Charlton's Romanian striker George Tucudean faces a late fitness test ahead of the trip after limping off at half-time in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Derby. Stephen Henderson is also doubtful after missing the win, while Chris Solly could return after he was rested in midweek.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Nahki Wells (Huddersfield) 3; Yoni Buyens, Igor Vetokele & Lawrie Wilson (Charlton) 2

Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)

Our verdict: Huddersfield 1 Charlton 1

Ipswich (12) v Norwich (6)

New signing Cameron Stewart remains sidelined for Ipswich after suffering a fractured jaw at the beginning of the month. However, Elliott Hewitt returned to the squad in midweek and could be in line for his first appearance of the season.

In a week of turnover for Norwich, recent arrivals Carlos Cuellar and Cameron Jerome go straight into the squad, while Leroy Fer has left for pastures new. Martin Olsson remains unavailable through suspension while Jonny Howson (knee) and Gary Hooper (calf) are also out. There will be an assessment on Javier Garrido, who may return after a hamstring injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Christophe Berra (Ipswich) 2; Lewis Grabban (Norwich) 3

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

Our verdict: Ipswich 1 Norwich 1

Middlesbrough (8) v Sheffield Wednesday (10)

Middlesbrough captain Jonathan Woodgate has been ruled out of the clash due to a slight hamstring injury and fellow defender Ben Gibson (hamstring) is also out. Christian Burgess and Richie Smallwood both left the club this week, and long-term absentees Rhys Williams (Achilles) and Muzzy Carayol (cruciate ligament) remain unavailable.

Wednesday defender Sam Hutchinson is doubtful following a back injury, but Kieran Lee and Lewis Buxton have both been ruled out for definite by manager Stuart Gray.

Last season: Sheff Wed 1 Middlesbrough 0, Middlesbrough 1 Sheff Wed 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Enrique Garcia (Middlesbrough) 3; Stevie May (Sheff Wed) 2

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Middlesbrough 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0

Millwall (3) v Rotherham (18)

Millwall will be without Nicky Bailey after the midfielder was ruled out for around a month with a recurring calf injury. Fellow midfielders Ed Upson and Richard Chaplow are battling back from hamstring injuries but Ricardo Fuller could return after resting for the midweek draw with Sheffield Wednesday and Magaye Gueye is pushing for his first start.

Rotherham midfielder Paul Green is out for two to three weeks with an ankle injury suffered on Tuesday, while Frazer Richardson (foot) and Rob Milsom (ankle) remain sidelined. Ryan Hall could return after recovering from an ankle injury and Anthony Wordsworth, signed from Ipswich on Friday, should make the squad.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Mark Beevers, Matthew Briggs, Magaye Gueye, Martyn Woolford & Shaun Williams (Millwall) 1; Matt Derbyshire & Ryan Hall (Rotherham) 1

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Millwall 1 Rotherham 0

Nottingham Forest (1) v Reading (11)

All the Reds' long-term injury victims are edging closer to first-team contention. Central defenders Jamaal Lascelles (knee) and Kelvin Wilson (calf) and midfielders Henri Lansbury (knee) and David Vaughan (hamstring) have stepped up their training, while recent signing Robert Tesche was also involved this week. Dexter Blackstock remains the only absentee as he continues his recover from a serious knee injury.

New signing Oliver Norwood is available for Reading but Jamie Mackie is ruled out due to the terms of the loan agreement with parent club Forest. Hal Robson-Kanu, Stephen Kelly, Danny Williams, Jem Karacan (all knee), Garath McCleary (back) and Danny Guthrie (calf) are out but Anton Ferdinand could make a first appearance after working on his fitness.

Last season: Reading 1 Nottm Forest 1, Nottm Forest 2 Reading 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Britt Assombalonga (Nottm Forest) 3; Nick Blackman, Simon Cox, Shaun Cummings, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Craig Tanner & Jake Taylor (Reading) 1

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire)

Our verdict: Nottingham Forest 3 Reading 1

Watford (7) v Leeds (19)

Matej Vyrda is a doubt for Watford after suffering a dead leg against Rotherham on Tuesday. He could be replaced by Mathias Ranegie, who returns following an injury which has so far ruled him out. Craig Cathcart is still sidelined with a knee injury and Joel Ekstrand is serving the second game of a three-match ban.

Leeds are waiting on international clearance for new signing Mirco Antenucci before handing him a debut, but fellow striker Souleymane Doukara is out for around four weeks after suffering ankle ligament damage. Giuseppe Bellusci, who made his loan permanent this week, could make his debut in defence.

Last season: Watford 3 Leeds 0, Leeds 3 Watford 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Lloyd Dyer (Watford) 2; Souleymane Doukara (Leeds) 2

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

Our verdict: Watford 1 Leeds 1

Wigan (21) v Blackpool (24)

Shaun Maloney missed Wigan's midweek loss to Cardiff through illness and could be missing once again as they host the struggling Seasiders. Chris McCann (knee) is still on the road to recovery, while Ben Watson (broken leg) remains on the long-term injury list.

Blackpool players Jacob Mellis and Andrea Orlandi were struggling with fitness issues and missed the midweek game with Brentford and are doubtful for the trip. Jose Cubero has still not received international clearance to play, while Gary MacKenzie, Tom Barkhuizen and Bobby Grant are yet to feature this season because of knee injuries.

Last season: Wigan 0 Blackpool 2, Blackpool 1 Wigan 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Callum McManaman (Wigan) 2; Tomasz Cywka & Nathan Delfouneso (Blackpool) 1

Referee: Carl Boyeson (E Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Wigan 3 Blackpool 0

Wolves (9) v Cardiff (2)

Wolves captain Sam Ricketts is likely to start on the bench again as he waits for his first league appearance of the season, with vice-skipper Danny Batth taking the armband in an unchanged squad.

Summer signings Kiko Macheda and Kagisho Dikgacoi are available and could make their Cardiff debuts - but boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be hesitant to make too many changes. Anthony Pilkington could start after impressing as a substitute on his debut in midweek.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Wolves D W W L W; Cardiff L L D W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Nouha Dicko, Dave Edwards, Sam Ricketts & Bakary Sako (Wolves) 1; Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff) 3

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

Our verdict: Wolves 1 Cardiff 3