Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: January 24 2014, 12:25 GMT

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

Ritchie de Laet: Should be fit for Leicester
Ritchie de Laet: Should be fit for Leicester

Saturday, January 25

Blackburn v Derby

Blackburn are hopeful goalkeeper Paul Robinson can make his return after he missed the 4-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest last weekend because of a hamstring strain. Top scorer Jordan Rhodes has trained all week following a foot injury while captain Scott Dann is fine after an X-ray on his arm injury came back with positive news. Full-back Todd Kane (thigh) is back in training and David Dunn is available after a hamstring problem but midfielder Corry Evans (ankle) will not return to full training until Monday. Midfielder Dickson Etuhu (ankle) remains out while striker DJ Campbell has left the club to join Millwall on loan.

Johnny Russell and Andre Wisdom are both fit. Striker Russell is able to play with a protective face mask after surgery on a fractured cheekbone while full-back Wisdom was withdrawn in the latter stages of the 1-0 victory over Brighton last weekend with a hamstring complaint. Striker Patrick Bamford will be hoping to be handed his first start since arriving on loan from Chelsea after netting the 76th-minute winner against the Seagulls.

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

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

Top scorers: Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 16; Chris Martin (Derby) 15

Match odds: H 8-5 A 8-5 D 21-10

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

Our verdict: Blackburn 1 Derby 2

Blackpool v Doncaster

Managerless Blackpool will again be without Gary MacKenzie and Ricardo Fuller, while caretaker boss Barry Ferguson must also do without Bobby Grant because of a foot injury. Midfielder David Perkins, signed by Paul Ince prior to his sacking, could make his debut while Tom Ince is expected to play despite continued speculation over his future.

Billy Sharp will be added to the Doncaster squad after rejoining the club on loan from Southampton. Rob Jones has resumed training after three months out with a neck problem but the defender will need at least one reserve-team game before he is considered again by Rovers manager Paul Dickov.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Tom Ince (Blackpool) 7; Chris Brown & Theo Robinson (Doncaster) 5

Match odds: H 1-1 A 13-5 D 11-5

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)

Our verdict: Blackpool 0 Doncaster 1

Ipswich v Reading

Ipswich are without Luke Hyam after he was carried off on a stretcher during the defeat to Millwall with a deep cut to the knee. Scans revealed there was no lasting damage, but he will still be sidelined for two weeks. His place in the team could be taken by Jay Tabb, who replaced Hyam last weekend. Midfielder Anthony Wordsworth (tonsillitis) is closing in on a return after undertaking double training sessions but he will not feature against the Royals.

Reading will check on Danny Guthrie (calf) but he may not be guaranteed a return to the starting line-up after the Royals won both games in his absence, including last weekend's 7-1 demolition of Bolton. Boss Nigel Adkins still has a crowded treatment room with Wayne Bridge, Sean Morrison (both knee), Hal Robson-Kanu (calf), Mikele Leigertwood (ankle), Jason Roberts (hip) and Jem Karacan (cruciate) injured.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 13; Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 10

Match odds: H 6-5 A 21-10 D 11-5

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Ipswich 1 Reading 3

Leicester v Middlesbrough

Leicester right-back Ritchie de Laet (hamstring) should be fit but striker Chris Wood is a slight injury concern after he missed training on Thursday with a tight hamstring, having missed seven games over Christmas and New Year with the problem. Ignasi Miquel is making good progress in his recovery from a thigh injury.

Middlesbrough face an anxious wait to see if Daniel Ayala will be available. His loan spell from Norwich ended on Thursday night and Boro are desperately trying to agree a permanent deal. Boro are also waiting on Albert Adomah (ankle), while goalkeeper Jason Steele is a long-term absentee following ankle surgery. Luke Williams (Hartlepool), Adam Reach (Bradford) and Richard Smallwood (Rotherham) all left on loan on Thursday and will play no part as Boro aim to make it seven Championship games unbeaten.

Last season: Leicester 1 Middlesbrough 0, Middlesbrough 1 Leicester 2

Last five league matches: Leicester W W W W W; Middlesbrough W W D W W

Top scorers (all competitions): David Nugent (Leicester) 17; Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) 9

Match odds: H H 4-5 A 3-1 D 5-2

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Leicester 1 Middlesbrough 0

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