Sky Bet Championship briefing

  • Last Updated: March 28 2014, 12:40 GMT

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

The top two clash as Burnley host Leicester this weekend
The top two clash as Burnley host Leicester this weekend

Saturday March 29

Burnley v Leicester

Dean Marney begins a two-match suspension for Burnley after the central midfielder accrued his 10th yellow card of the season. The Clarets will again be without top scorer Danny Ings (ankle), although Ashley Barnes, taken off late on in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Doncaster, is fine after a knock. Right-back Kieran Trippier is set to miss out with a hamstring problem.

Leicester have no new problems to report. Foxes boss Nigel Pearson has plenty of options, primarily in midfield and attack, should he wish to make changes to his starting line-up. Dean Hammond, Andy King, Lloyd Dyer, Kevin Phillips and Chris Wood were all on the bench against Yeovil in midweek.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Danny Ings (Burnley) 25; David Nugent (Leicester) 19

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

Our verdict: Burnley 2 Leicester 2

Birmingham v Bournemouth

On-loan centre-back Tom Thorpe is set to return for Birmingham after managing only 14 minutes on his debut at the start of February before being sidelined by an ankle injury. Emyr Huws is a doubt with the hip problem which forced him to miss the midweek victory over Millwall, while Lee Novak (knock) could also be absent once more.

Bournemouth are confident that Andrew Surman will be fit. The Norwich loanee, who has started all but one of their last 14 games, suffered a knock in the emphatic win over Leeds on Tuesday night and was replaced by Eunan O'Kane in the 54th minute to avoid any further damage. The Cherries will also hand fitness tests to Ryan Fraser (ankle) & Mo Coulibaly (glute).

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Lee Novak (Birmingham) 10; Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) 17

Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

Our verdict: Birmingham 1 Bournemouth 1

Bolton v Wigan

Alex Baptiste is available after suspension for Bolton, so boss Dougie Freedman may reshuffle his defence. Matt Mills is considered fully fit following a knee problem but Freedman has not yet put him back in the squad. On-loan right-back Alan Hutton is due to play his last game before returning to Aston Villa but midfielder Andy Robinson has joined from Southampton and could make the squad. Marc Tierney (broken leg), fellow full-back Joe Riley (knee) and midfield duo Darren Pratley (shoulder) and Stuart Holden (knee) are Wanderers' long-term absentees.

Long-term absentees Gary Caldwell (Achilles) and Shaun Maloney (hip) will be hoping to make their respective returns for Wigan. Club captain Caldwell has not played this season while Maloney has been out since September. Latics boss Uwe Rosler remains without central defender Leon Barnett (hamstring) and midfield trio Ben Watson (broken leg), Roger Espinoza (hernia) and Chris McCann (knee). Forwards Nicky Maynard and Martyn Waghorn will hope to return at the Reebok Stadium while midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe, left out last time as the Latics can only include five loanees in their matchday squad, could return too.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jermaine Beckford (Bolton) 8; Nick Powell (Wigan) 11

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

Our verdict: Bolton 4 Wigan 2

Brighton v Middlesbrough

Defender Inigo Calderon, midfielder Dale Stephens and top scorer Leonardo Ulloa were all ruled out of Brighton's 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday through illness, meaning boss Oscar Garcia could name only six substitutes. Andrea Orlandi (thigh) is still struggling while fellow midfielder Andrew Crofts (cruciate) is sidelined for the season. Will Hoskins has suffered a slight setback in his comeback from knee surgery and Craig Mackail-Smith (Achilles) is building up his fitness after a year out.

Grant Leadbitter returns to the Middlesbrough squad after serving a two-match ban for 10 yellow cards, while striker Kei Kamara will hope to be able to join him as he nurses a foot injury. Central defender Jonathan Woodgate (calf) remains a doubt, while goalkeeper Tomas Mejias (dislocated finger), defenders Daniel Ayala (ankle), Rhys Williams (Achilles), Seb Hines (thigh) and Stuart Parnaby (knee), plus frontman Muzzy Carayol (anterior cruciate ligament) are all out.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton) 12; Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) 11

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

Our verdict: Brighton 1 Middlesbrough 0

Derby v Charlton

John Eustace will return from suspension for Derby after completing a two-match ban. Jamie Ward (hamstring), Simon Dawkins (groin) and Will Hughes are injury concerns for head coach Steve McClaren, with all three missing the midweek defeat at Ipswich.

Charlton will add midfielder Davide Petrucci to their squad after he joined on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season, while striker Marcus Tudgay has moved back to Nottingham Forest and midfielder Danny Hollands has been loaned to Portsmouth. Winger Callum Harriott (ankle) will be checked over after missing the 1-0 win at Forest in midweek while defenders Leon Cort and Chris Solly are still out with knee injuries.

Last season: Charlton 1 Derby 1, Derby 3 Charlton 2

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

Top scorers: Chris Martin (Derby) 18; Simon Church (Charlton) 7

Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Derby 3 Charlton 0

Ipswich v Nottingham Forest

Cole Skuse has missed Ipswich's last two matches with a hip problem and faces a fitness test prior to kick-off. Town are without striker David McGoldrick, who will not feature again this season due to his knee ligament injury. McCarthy will be without Carlos Edwards after he joined Millwall on loan on Thursday, but on-loan Manchester City winger Alex Henshall could make his debut.

Jamaal Lascelles must serve a two-match ban for Forest after being shown a 10th yellow card of the season in midweek, with either Kevin Gomis or new loan signing Lee Peltier set to come into the team. Forwards Jamie Paterson and Radi Majewski will both be pushing for starts after being named on the bench on Tuesday night, while striker Marcus Tudgay has returned from his loan spell with Charlton and is an option for caretaker manager Gary Brazil.

Last season: Nottm Forest 1 Ipswich 0, Ipswich 3 Nottm Forest 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): David McGoldrick (Ipswich) 16; Andy Reid & Jamie Paterson (Nottm Forest) 10

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Our verdict: Ipswich 1 Nottingham Forest 1

Leeds v Doncaster

Leeds defenders Sam Byram and Stephen Warnock, plus midfielder Rudy Austin are injury doubts. Warnock missed out in midweek due to an unspecified problem, while Byram and Austin both sustained knocks in the defeat at Bournemouth and are being monitored by boss Brian McDermott. Goalkeeper Paddy Kenny (ankle) could return to contention after being sidelined since early February but Jack Butland, on loan from Stoke, is expected to retain his place. Winger Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) is still out, having missed the last four matches.

Lucas Neill could make his Doncaster debut after joining on loan from Watford and the 36-year-old is likely to be involved on Saturday. If he plays at centre-back it would allow Paul Quinn to revert to his usual right-back slot, meaning James Coppinger could drop out of the team. However, manager Paul Dickov, who has no new problems following the midweek defeat at Burnley, may still use Coppinger in his regular midfield role. Gabriel Tamas has resumed training following surgery on his fractured cheekbone and may be back in contention next week.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ross McCormack (Leeds) 27; Chris Brown (Doncaster) 8

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Leeds 2 Doncaster 1

Millwall v Blackburn

Carlos Edwards has joined Millwall on loan from Ipswich while Shaun Williams is back after serving a two-match ban. DJ Campbell cannot face his parent club, Nicky Bailey (back) and Jermaine Easter (thigh) are likely to miss out again while Danny Shittu (Achilles) has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Striker John Marquis has rejoined Northampton on loan.

Tom Cairney is set to feature for Blackburn after missing the last six matches with an ankle injury. Loanee Liam Feeney is unable to play against his parent club but Jason Lowe (ankle) should be okay after training on Thursday and Friday. Captain Grant Hanley could also come back into the team after being an unused substitute in the 3-3 draw with Watford following his hamstring problem. Winger Josh King is expected to return following a back spasm but full-back Adam Henley (ankle) is unlikely to play again this term. Ben Marshall also has a long-term ankle problem but the wide man is pencilled in to do some light running again this Monday.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Steve Morison & Martyn Woolford (Millwall) 7; Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn) 20

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

Our verdict: Millwall 0 Blackburn 2

QPR v Blackpool

QPR will be without Yossi Benayoun, who will serve a one-match ban after being sent off against Wigan in midweek. Boss Harry Redknapp could be further depleted in midfield after Niko Kranjcar tweaked his hamstring in the first half and Joey Barton limped off towards the end. Fit-again right-back Danny Simpson (back) was on the bench in midweek and could be involved but Kevin Doyle (knee), Charlie Austin (shoulder), Matty Phillips, Andrew Johnson (both ankle) and Alejandro Faurlin (cruciate) remain on the sidelines.

Apostolos Vellios could make his Blackpool debut, and first appearance of the season, after joining on loan from Everton. Vellios should replace Ricardo Fuller, who is definitely out after he hobbled off in the defeat to Bolton on Tuesday. New signing Robert Earnshaw is also struggling for match fitness. Defender Kirk Broadfoot (knee) is another 10 days away so Craig Cathcart will play in central defence while striker Steve Davies (groin) may not play again this season.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: QPR L W L W W; Blackpool L W L W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Charlie Austin (QPR) 15; Ricardo Fuller (Blackpool) 6

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)

Our verdict: QPR 4 Blackpool 1

Reading v Huddersfield

Sean Morrison could return to the Reading squad after being sidelined since November with a knee injury. Fellow defender Wayne Bridge (also knee) is on the mend but will not quite be ready to return. Midfielder Danny Guthrie completes a two-match ban for collecting 10 yellow cards this season while Danny Williams (knee), Mikele Leigertwood (ankle) and Jem Karacan (cruciate) remain on the sidelines.

Huddersfield defender Joel Lynch has stepped up his bid to return to action but is expected to miss out again. Lynch, who has returned to full training, has missed the last seven matches due to a hip injury. Manager Mark Robins has no new injury or suspension problems.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Adam Le Fondre (Reading) 13; James Vaughan (Huddersfield) 12

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

Our verdict: Reading 3 Huddersfield 0

Sheffield Wednesday v Watford

Midfielder Sam Hutchinson, on loan at Sheffield Wednesday from Chelsea, was forced out of the action due to a knee problem during the midweek win against Brighton and remains doubtful. Manager Stuart Gray has no new injury or suspension worries, with defender Oguchi Onyewu overcoming a virus to play the full 90 minutes on Tuesday night and striker Caolan Lavery expected to recover from a hamstring strain that kept him out.

Former Manchester City and Liverpool winger Albert Riera is in line to make his Watford debut after joining until the end of the season. Fernando Forestieri has missed the last three games with a toe injury and is a doubt again, while Park Chu-young (thigh) and Fitz Hall (Achilles) are also expected to miss out.

Last season: Watford 2 Sheff Wed 1, Sheff Wed 1 Watford 4

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Maguire (Sheff Wed) 9; Troy Deeney (Watford) 18

Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire)

Our verdict: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Watford 1

Yeovil v Barnsley

Yeovil boss Gary Johnson could name an unchanged side for the third straight match. Spanish midfielder Ruben Palazuelos has missed their last three games, all draws, with a hamstring injury and will be assessed by the Glovers' medical staff. Winger Joel Grant missed Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Leicester with a chest injury and could miss out again.

Barnsley teenager Ryan McLaughlin is expected to be back in contention. The on-loan Liverpool defender returned from a torn hamstring in last week's home defeat to Bournemouth and although he missed the midweek win at Reading, he is hoping to be recalled to the squad. Peter Ramage and Martin Cranie (both hamstring) remain sidelined and fellow defender Jack Hunt, on loan from Crystal Palace, is still doubtful after missing out on Tuesday night due to a knock.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Ishmael Miller (Yeovil) 10; Chris O'Grady (Barnsley) 11

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)

Our verdict: Yeovil 0 Barnsley 0

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