Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: December 28 2012, 12:27 GMT

Team news and statistics for the weekend's action in the npower Championship.

Andrea Orlandi: Could return for Brighton

(Current league positions in brackets)

Saturday, December 29

Barnsley (23) v Blackburn (17).

Stephen Foster is back from suspension to boost Barnsley's defensive options but Martin Cranie may miss out again as he struggles with an ankle knock. David Perkins (hamstring), Emile Sinclair (dead leg) and Akos Buzsaky (hamstring) are all unlikely to feature while Reuben Noble-Lazarus (ankle) and Jacob Mellis (dead leg) are out until the new year.

Managerless Blackburn head to Barnsley without an official caretaker appointed to select the side. Full-back Markus Olsson is available following illness but Mauro Formica (foot), Fabio Nunes and veteran striker Nuno Gomes (both hamstring) are sidelined.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Craig Davies (Barnsley) 9; Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 13

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex)

Bolton (16) v Birmingham (19)

Bolton skipper Kevin Davies is back from a one-game ban and could feature, with Marvin Sordell also pushing for a recall. Defender Sam Ricketts was replaced by Marcos Alonso against the Owls is expected to be fit again. Matt Mills (thigh) and midfielder Mark Davies (shoulder) remain on the sidelines alongside knee-injury victims Stuart Holden, David Wheater and Josh Vela.

Birmingham's American duo Jonathan Spector (ankle) and Will Packwood (illness) will both be assessed ahead of possible returns but the club's treatment room remains busy. Marlon King, Peter Lovenkrands, Akwasi Asante, Papa Bouba Diop, Darren Ambrose, Paul Caddis, David Murphy and Stephen Carr are all out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Eagles (Bolton) 7; Marlon King (Birmingham) 13

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Brighton (10) v Watford (6)

Brighton boss Gus Poyet will consider recalls for fit-again trio Gary Dicker (knee), Andrea Orlandi (rib) and Bruno (Achilles). The trio have all returned to training but are unlikely to be restored to the starting XI en masse.

Poyet's former Chelsea team-mate Gianfranco Zola is without suspended defender Marco Cassetti, meaning Ikechi Anya should come in. Fernando Forestieri (hamstring) and defender Lloyd Doyley (calf) continue to be monitored, while fit-again pair John Eustace and Nyron Nosworthy lack match practice.

Last season: Brighton 2 Watford 2, Watford 1 Brighton 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton) 10; Matej Vydra (Watford) 10

Referee: Oliver Langford

Bristol City (24) v Peterborough (22)

Bristol City boss Derek McInnes has no new injury problems after the Boxing Day match with Watford fell foul of the weather. Sam Baldock and Paul Anderson are vying for one place up front, Louis Carey is back from hamstring trouble but there are doubts over Ryan Taylor (thigh) and Danny Wilson (hamstring).

Peterborough, having won their last three matches to climb off the bottom of the table, are expected to be unchanged for the fifth match in a row. Danny Swanson, Kane Ferdinand and Grant McCann came off the bench late on against Wolves on Boxing Day and are likely to be among the substitutes once more along with the likes of Craig Alcock, Shaun Brisley and Daniel Kearns.

Last season: Peterborough 3 Bristol City 0, Bristol City 1 Peterborough 2

Last five league matches: Bristol City L L W L D; Peterborough L L W W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Davies (Bristol City) 8; Dwight Gayle (Peterborough) 13

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Burnley (13) v Leicester (5)

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has concerns over the fitness of prolific leading scorer Charlie Austin, who came off with a muscle problem in the Boxing Day win over Derby. Sam Vokes, who replaced him from the bench, is on standby to deputise again. Junior Stanislas is in contention but Ben Mee (knee) is out until January.

Leicester hope to have Jamie Vardy back despite heel trouble but defenders Sean St. Ledger and Michael Keane remain out with hamstring injuries.

Last season: Leicester 0 Burnley 0, Burnley 1 Leicester 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Charlie Austin (Burnley) 23; David Nugent (Leicester) 11

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)

Cardiff (1) v Millwall (7)

League leaders Cardiff have Matthew Connolly back from suspension but he faces a battle for his place after his replacement at right-back, Kevin Naughton, impressed against Crystal Palace. Aron Gunnarsson is also under consideration for a start after scoring the winner in that match. Tommy Smith and Kadeem Harris are not yet match fit.

Millwall's Adam Smith is available after winning his appeal against a red card in the loss to Barnsley. Striker Andy Keogh has been struggling with a broken toe and missed the Tykes clash but he could return, while Shaun Batt and Dany N'Guessan are both hoping to be promoted from the bench.

Last season: Cardiff 0 Millwall 0, Millwall 0 Cardiff 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Heidar Helguson (Cardiff) 8; Chris Wood (Millwall) 12

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Charlton (18) v Derby (12)

Manager Chris Powell could make changes to his flagging Charlton side after five games without a win. Midfielder Lawrie Wilson is available after suspension and Cedric Evina could bolster the defence following a knee injury. Goalkeeper Ben Hamer should shake off a knock but Rhoys Wiggins (foot), Andy Hughes (Achilles) and

Ade Azeez (hamstring) all remain sidelined.

Derby will assess central defender Mark O'Brien before making the trip as he struggles with a groin complaint. James O'Connor is standing by should O'Brien miss out.

Craig Bryson may be rested after playing through knee trouble recently, with boss Nigel Clough considering a host of replacements including Nathan Tyson and Theo Robinson.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Johnnie Jackson & Danny Haynes (Charlton) 4; Theo Robinson (Derby) 9

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Huddersfield (15) v Sheff Wed (21)

The Terriers can once again call on Joe Lynch following suspension, while fellow defender Anthony Gerrard is free to play after winning his appeal against an red card. Alan Lee, meanwhile, completes the final match of a three-game ban for violent conduct.

Resurgent Sheffield Wednesday are likely to be unchanged as they chase their fourth successive victory. That means on-loan striker Mamady Sidibe should keep Gary Madine and Chris O'Grady on the bench, while Jay Bothroyd (ankle) misses out. Jose Semedo has a gashed knee and is unlikely to feature.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Atkinson (Huddersfield) 6; Chris O'Grady (Sheff Wed) 6

Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

Hull (2) v Leeds (9)

Hull could go with the same side that drew 0-0 with Leicester on Boxing Day after coming through unscathed. Sone Aluko made his return from more than a month out in that game and should feature once again. However, defender Alex Bruce will complete the three-match suspension he incurred for his dismissal against Huddersfield earlier this month.

Leeds captain Lee Peltier will be rested for the second game in a row as he looks to avoid groin surgery. Midfielder Rodolph Austin (ankle) made a surprise return to the Whites' XI on Wednesday and could play a part once more.

Last season: Hull 0 Leeds 0, Leeds 4 Hull 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Sone Aluko (Hull) 8; Luciano Becchio (Leeds) 16

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear)

Middlesbrough (3) v Blackpool (11)

Andre Bikey and Josh McEachran are doubts for Boro as both men suffered ankle injuries against Blackburn. Defender Seb Hines and midfielder Faris Haroun missed that match due to hamstring complaints and they will also face late checks, while Rhys Williams is back after his first competitive appearance in four months.

Blackpool boss Michael Appleton may rotate his attacking options after being impressed by the efforts of Nathan Delfouneso and Nouha Dicko in recent weeks. Defender Craig Cathcart returned against the Terriers after recovering from a sickness bug and should retain his place after no further setbacks.

Last season: Blackpool 3 Middlesbrough 0, Middlesbrough 2 Blackpool 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough) 9; Thomas Ince (Blackpool) 13

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Nottm Forest (8) v Crystal Palace (4)

On-loan defender Daniel Ayala comes back into the Forest reckoning as Alex McLeish takes charge for the first time since Sean O'Driscoll's shock sacking. The Norwich defender had been suspended for the win over Leeds. Sam Hutchinson (knee) and Jermane Jenas (calf) are sidelined.

Danny Gabbidon will continue to deputise for the suspended Damien Delaney as Palace look to end their four-match winless run. Paddy McCarthy remains sidelined with a groin injury but midfielder Jonny Williams is in with a chance after groin trouble.

Last season: Crystal Palace 0 Nottm Forest 3, Nottm Forest 0 Crystal Palace 1

Last five league matches: Nottm Forest L W D L W; Crystal Palace W D D D L

Top scorers (all competitions): Billy Sharp (Nottm Forest) 9; Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace) 20

Referee: Mark Haywood

Wolverhampton (14) v Ipswich (20)

Changes are certain for Wolves after their shock 3-0 defeat to Peterborough. Wide man Bjorn Sigurdarson could start after a substitutes' role in that game and defender Richard Stearman is also angling for a starting berth. Jamie O'Hara is fit again but only ready for bench duty. Razak Boukari, Dave Edwards, Steven Mouyokolo, Wayne Hennessey, Stephen Hunt and George Elokobi are all out.

Former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy will be tempted to keep faith with an unchanged side for the fifth game in a row on his return to Molineux. There are no new fitness or suspension issues but Michael Chopra, Jason Scotland, Luke Hyam, Nigel Reo-Coker, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Danny Higginbotham are all ready to step up to the starting side if called upon.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolverhampton) 9; DJ Campbell (Ipswich) 9

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).


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