Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: August 30 2013, 16:20 BST

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

McCarthy: One of several Reading players set to return
McCarthy: One of several Reading players set to return

Saturday, August 31

Barnsley v Huddersfield

Barnsley manager David Flitcroft fielded loan signing Mike Pollitt in goal for the League Cup defeat to Southampton and must decide whether to recall the rested Luke Steele. Left-back Scott Golbourne has joined Wolves and Jean-Yves Mvoto is suspended, meaning there will be changes. Striker Marcus Pedersen could make his first league start, but defenders Lewin Nyatanga (hamstring) and Martin Cranie (knee) remain sidelined.

Huddersfield defender Calum Woods is expected to return from a knock but if he fails to recover then Murray Wallace will retain his place as a substitute. Manager Mark Robins has no new selection worries and could name an unchanged starting line-up for the fourth successive game as Town chase a fourth straight win. Midfielders Keith Southern (calf) and Anton Robinson (knee) remain the only enforced absentees.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 2; James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 7

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Barnsley 0 Huddersfield 1

Team Versus Team
Leeds v QPR
Barnsley v Huddersfld
Birmingham v Ipswich
Blackburn v Bolton
Blackpool v Watford
Middlesbro v Sheff Wed
Yeovil v Reading
Wigan v N Forest
Brighton v Millwall
Charlton v Leicester
Derby v Burnley
Doncaster v Bournemth

Birmingham v Ipswich

Birmingham boss Lee Clark will have goalkeeper Darren Randolph, defender Mitch Hancock and midfielder Shane Ferguson all available for the visit of Ipswich. Randolph missed the League Cup clash with Yeovil after suffering a broken nose against Leicester last weekend while Hancock has been struggling with an ankle knock and Ferguson has had a groin injury. Striker Akwasi Asante is a doubt with a hamstring problem.

Ipswich defender Tyrone Mings, who has signed a new contract this week, misses out due to his knee ligament injury. He is the only player unavailable to manager Mick McCarthy whose first game in charge came at Birmingham last November, when his side won 1-0.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Scott Allan & Kyle Bartley (Birmingham) 2; Jay Tabb, Paul Anderson, David McGoldrick & Tommy Smith (Ipswich) 1

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

Our verdict: Birmingham 1 Ipswich 2

Position Player Score
1 N Forest 10
2 Blackpool 10
3 Leicester 10
4 QPR 10
5 Watford 8
6 Leeds 8
7 Huddersfld 7
8 Derby 7
9 Burnley 7
10 Brighton 6
11 Bournemth 6
12 Wigan 5
13 Reading 5
14 Middlesbro' 5
15 Blackburn 4
16 Doncaster 4
17 Ipswich 3
18 Birmingham 3
19 Yeovil 3
20 Sheff Wed 2
21 Bolton 2
22 Charlton 1
23 Millwall 1
24 Barnsley 1

Blackburn v Bolton

Winger Ben Marshall could make his Blackburn debut after joining for an undisclosed fee from Leicester. Centre-back Matt Kilgallon may be involved as he has returned to full training this week along with fellow groin injury victim Corry Evans. Midfielder Lee Williamson (back) is in light training while Ruben Rochina (shoulder), Paul Robinson (back), Dickson Etuhu (knee), DJ Campbell (ankle) and Adam Henley (hamstring) all remain on the sidelines.

Bolton's injury worries are mounting. Defender Joe Riley and midfielders Mark Davies and Stuart Holden, all out with knee problems, are joined on the injured list by winger Chris Eagles (ankle), defenders Marc Tierney (groin) and Tim Ream (hamstring) and striker Craig Davies (ankle).

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Tom Cairney & Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 2; Sanmi Odelusi & Darren Pratley (Bolton) 2

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

Our verdict: Blackburn 3 Bolton 1

Blackpool v Watford

Blackpool are again likely to be without Tom Ince, who has been absent for the last three games, initially due to suspension and then because of a thigh injury. Central defender Gary MacKenzie (hamstring) is unavailable in an area which is a concern for manager Paul Ince given Craig Cathcart (knee) missed the 1-0 win over Reading last weekend.

Watford duo Almen Abdi and Lloyd Doyley are expected to be fit after their respective foot and thigh injuries. Defensive duo Nyron Nosworthy (Achilles) and Tommie Hoban (ankle), who have yet to feature this season, remain sidelined.

Last season: Watford 1 Blackpool 2, Blackpool 2 Watford 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Davies, Tom Ince, Tom Barkhuizen, Gary MacKenzie & Chris Basham (Blackpool) 1; Troy Deeney (Watford) 5

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Blackpool 1 Watford 3

Brighton v Millwall

Brighton will give striker Ashley Barnes a late fitness check on the hip injury which forced him to miss last weekend's 2-0 win over Burnley. With Craig Mackail-Smith (Achilles) and Will Hoskins (knee) still on the sidelines, Leonardo Ulloa could again be Brighton's only fit senior forward. Defender Bruno (hamstring) is set to miss out again along with Andrea Orlandi (knee) and Liam Bridcutt (hernia) but midfielder Keith Andrews (hamstring) could return.

Winger James Henry could return to Millwall's starting XI after recent illness. Striker Steve Morison is out following a hernia operation and fellow forwards Jermaine Easter (hamstring) and Dany N'Guessan (knee) are injury doubts but midfielder Liam Trotter and goalkeeper David Forde (both knee) are close to returning. Defenders Danny Shittu and Shane Lowry and midfielders Richard Chaplow and Shaun Derry could be recalled.

Last season: Brighton 2 Millwall 2, Millwall 1 Brighton 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jose Ulloa (Brighton) 3; Andy Keogh (Millwall) 2

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Brighton 2 Millwall 1

Charlton v Leicester

Charlton will check on skipper Johnnie Jackson who managed 80 minutes in the midweek League Cup defeat by Huddersfield on his return from a troublesome calf problem. Midfielder Jackson and fit-again Dale Stephens (groin) were selected among eight changes made by Powell for the cup game, so the likes of Leon Cort, Rhoys Wiggins, Chris Solly, Mark Gower, Yann Kermorgant and Simon Church could come back in. Teenage forward Joe Piggott could make his league debut.

Captain Wes Morgan and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel should be back in contention for Leicester. Morgan has returned to training after a back problem and Schmeichel has had an ankle knock. Defender Sean St Ledger remains the only other injury absentee but his comeback from a knee problem is progressing well.

Last season: Leicester 1 Charlton 2, Charlton 2 Leicester 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Simon Church (Charlton) 3; Chris Wood (Leicester) 3

Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire)

Our verdict: Charlton 1 Leicester 2

Derby v Burnley

Derby will be without midfielder Jeff Hendrick who hobbled off in the league win at Yeovil last weekend. Paul Coutts and John Eustace are battling it out to replace Hendrick. Manager Nigel Clough has no other new problems to contend with.

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton returns from suspension to take over from Alex Cisak, who kept a clean sheet against Preston in the League Cup on Tuesday. The Clarets, whose only injury absentee is midfielder Ross Wallace (knee), have won at Pride Park on each of their last three visits.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Martin (Derby) 5; Danny Ings (Burnley) 4

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Derby 1 Burnley 1

Doncaster v Bournemouth

Paul Keegan comes back into the reckoning for Doncaster, having been suspended for the Capital One Cup tie with Leeds on Tuesday night following his red card in the abandoned league fixture at Charlton last weekend. He could replace James Coppinger, who took a hefty knock during the Leeds game. Midfielder Marc De Val Fernandez continues to recover from a torn medial ligament and is still some way of making his debut for the club.

Bournemouth's record signing Tokelo Rantie will not be involved. The 22-year-old South African striker was acquired from Malmo this week but will not join up with Eddie Howe's men until after the international break. Midfielder Harry Arter returns after a thigh strain.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Theo Robinson (Doncaster) 2; Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 4

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Our verdict: Doncaster 2 Bournemouth 2

Leeds v QPR

Leeds manager Brian McDermott made six changes for the League Cup win at Doncaster, handing debuts to recent signing Scott Wootton in central defence and teenage midfielder Alex Mowatt. He has no new injury problems and must decide whether to recall Tom Lees at centre-half, right-back Stephen Warnock and midfield pair Luke Murphy and Paul Green. Strikers Noel Hunt and Luke Varney were also rested at Doncaster.

Junior Hoilett could return to the QPR squad after recovering from a hamstring injury. New signing Matt Phillips is closing in on a return to action having also taken some part in training following an arm injury, but he is set to see a specialist before confirming his availability. Goalkeeper Robert Green, defender Richard Dunne and midfielders Karl Henry, Joey Barton and Gary O'Neil were rested for the League Cup defeat by Swindon and are poised to return.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ross McCormack (Leeds) 4; Andrew Johnson (QPR) 2

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Our verdict: Leeds 1 QPR 1

Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray has only one fresh injury concern, after defender Frazer Richardson tweaked a groin muscle in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Wigan. Goalkeeper Jason Steele returned from an ankle problem in the same game and should keep his place. Centre-back Seb Hines remains absent after his close-season knee operation.

Sheffield Wednesday winger Jermaine Johnson is available after suspension. Right-back Lewis Buxton faces a late fitness test after sustaining a hamstring strain against Millwall last week and if he fails to make it Liam Palmer will come into contention. Midfielder Kieran Lee (hip) and defender Joe Mattock (knee) remain sidelined.

Last season: Sheff Wed 2 Middlesbrough 0, Middlesbrough 3 Sheff Wed 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough) 2; Atdhe Nuhiu, Rhys McCabe, Kamil Zayatte, Reda Johnson, Jeremy Helan & David Prutton (Sheff Wed) 1

Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Middlesbrough 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0

Wigan v Nottingham Forest

Grant Holt is doubtful for Wigan after being forced off in Sunday's draw with Middlesbrough by a knee injury. Shaun Maloney should return from a foot injury to pep up the attacking options, while fellow winger Callum McManaman remains suspended following his dismissal at Bournemouth. Defenders Gary Caldwell (hip) and Ivan Ramis (knee) remain sidelined, but Thomas Rogne could have a role to play.

Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies made 11 changes for the League Cup match against Millwall and is expected to bring back many of those who played in last weekend's draw with Watford. Jamie Paterson and Djamel Abdoun are among those who impressed against Millwall but they may have to settle for bench duty.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Grant Holt, Shaun Maloney & Leon Barnett (Wigan) 2; Henri Lansbury, Matt Derbyshire & Andy Reid (Nottm Forest) 2

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Wigan 1 Nottingham Forest 1

Yeovil v Reading

Yeovil manager Gary Johnson could play Paddy Madden alongside Andy Williams in attack. Neither played in the midweek League Cup match against Birmingham, with Madden rested and Williams, who returned to his old club on loan from Swindon last week, cup-tied having already played in the competition for the Robins. Wayne Hennessey looks set to start in goal once more while defender Jamie McAllister is pushing for his first league start since the Wembley play-off win over Brentford.

Reading boss Nigel Adkins made nine changes for the midweek League Cup trip to Peterborough but his stand-in players did not cover themselves in glory in a 6-0 defeat. Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, defenders Wayne Bridge, Alex Pearce and Sean Morrison, midfielders Danny Guthrie, Royston Drenthe, Garath McCleary and Jem Karacan and striker Nick Blackman could all return. Mikele Leigertwood (ankle) and Jason Roberts (hip) and Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) miss out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Edward Upson (Yeovil) 2; Jem Karacan & Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 2

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

Our verdict: Yeovil 0 Reading 3


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