Most Read Football

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
1

Paper Talk: £350m Newcastle sale

Mike Ashley has agreed to sell Newcastle for £350m to the cousin of Manchester City's Arab owner Sheikh Mansour plus plenty of transfer lines too.

Sporting Life's Sky Bet Championship final guide for Aston Villa v Derby
2

Aston Villa v Derby match preview

We've got every angle covered ahead of the richest game in football as Aston Villa face Derby in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.

Aston Villa celebrate reaching the Sky Bet Championship play-off final3

Villa to make top-flight return

The headline act of the Sky Bet EFL play-off weekend sees Aston Villa take on Derby. Tom Carnduff picks out his two best bets.

Mike Ashley4

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Newcastle are refusing to comment on claims that owner Mike Ashley is ready to agree a £350million sale of the club.

Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt5

Man Utd out of De Ligt running?

Ajax captain Matthijs De Ligt insists he does not know where his future lies, as Manchester United reportedly drop out of the race leaving Barcelona as odds-on favourites.

Sky Bet Championship team news and statistics

Team news and statistics ahead of Saturday's action in the Sky Bet Championship.

Latest league positions in brackets

Saturday, March 18

Birmingham (17) v Newcastle (1)

Clayton Donaldson could make the Birmingham squad after three months out with an Achilles injury. Jacques Maghoma is fit again but Reece Brown will not be eligible to play for Blues again this season despite returning early from his loan spell at Chesterfield.

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez may have to do without full-back DeAndre Yedlin for five weeks due to a thigh injury. The Spaniard will also make a late check on Ciaran Clark, who limped out of last weekend's 3-1 home defeat by Fulham with a knee problem.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham) 12; Dwight Gayle (Newcastle) 21

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Blackburn (21) v Preston North End (8)

Blackburn have Charlie Mulgrew and Sam Gallagher back after hamstring problems. Midfielder Corry Evans is also nearing a return to action after a groin injury which has sidelined him since January, although the Preston match will come too soon for him.

Preston boss Simon Grayson will have decisions to make on three players before naming his squad for the trip. Alex Baptiste and Marnick Vermijl have both come through a full week of training, but may need the international break to be fully fit. Paul Gallagher will also be monitored before the squad is selected.

Last season: Blackburn 1 Preston North End 2, Preston North End 1 Blackburn 2

Last five league matches: Blackburn W W D D D; Preston North End D W L D W

Top scorers: Danny Graham (Blackburn) 12; Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) 11

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Burton Albion (19) v Brentford (14)

Burton strikers Marvin Sordell (knee) and Luke Varney (glutes) are both doubts. Both players are rated a 50/50 chance for but boss Nigel Clough has options in the shape of Lucas Akins, Cauley Woodrow and Chris O'Grady.

Alan McCormack returns to the Brentford squad after a spell out injured having played for 45 minutes in a B team game in midweek. Defender Andreas Bjelland has returned to training, but the trip to Burton will come to soon for him. Midfielder Josh McEachran is out with ankle ligament damage.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Burton Albion D D D D W; Brentford W D W L L

Top scorers: Jackson Irvine (Burton Albion) 9; Lasse Vibe (Brentford) 9

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Cardiff (13) v Ipswich (16)

Cardiff hope to include Bruno Manga for the first time since the start of January following knee ligament damage. Rickie Lambert remains out with a back problem while Lee Peltier, Rhys Healey and Matthew Connolly are long-term absentees.

Ipswich have doubts over forward Kieffer Moore (groin) and midfielder Kevin Bru (knee). On-loan Cardiff midfielder Emyr Huws is not eligible to face his parent club and has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, while Teddy Bishop has been carrying a groin problem.

Last season: Cardiff 1 Ipswich 0, Ipswich 0 Cardiff 0

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

Top scorers: Kenneth Zohore, Rhys Healey & Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff) 8; Tom Lawrence (Ipswich) 11

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

Fulham (7) v Wolverhampton (18)

Fulham look set to be without club captain Scott Parker, who is struggling with a back injury and is not likely to be available until after the international break. Winger Floyd Ayite remains an injury doubt with the hamstring problem which has sidelined him for three weeks.

Wolves will check on winger Ben Marshall who did not start the win at Brentford because of a dead leg. Defender Richard Stearman is unavailable but Mike Williamson could return. Jordan Graham (knee) is close to returning but Michal Zyro continues to recover from his own serious knee problem.

Last season: Wolverhampton 3 Fulham 2, Fulham 0 Wolverhampton 3

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

Top scorers: Chris Martin (Fulham) 11; Helder Costa (Wolverhampton) 11

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)

Leeds (4) v Brighton (2)

Leeds will be without suspended pair Kalvin Phillips and Luke Ayling. Head coach Garry Monk has no new injury problems as his side bid to extend their unbeaten league run to seven matches.

Brighton captain Bruno is fit after a groin injury. But the Seagulls are still without fellow defenders Shane Duffy (ankle), Sebastien Pocognoli (groin) and Gaetan Bong (knee).

Last season: Brighton 4 Leeds 0, Leeds 1 Brighton 2

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

Top scorers: Chris Wood (Leeds) 25; Glenn Murray (Brighton) 18

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Norwich (9) v Barnsley (11)

Managerless Norwich must do without suspended defender Mitchell Dijks. Switzerland centre-half Timm Klose could be in contention again following a back problem. Forward Nelson Oliveira (broken foot), midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu (thigh) and winger Matt Jarvis (hamstring) remain out.

Barnsley defender Marc Roberts is hoping to prove his fitness in time after sustaining an ankle injury. Head coach Paul Heckingbottom has no other new injury or suspension problems. Left-back Aidy White remains Heckingbottom's only absentee as he is recovering from surgery to resolve a pelvis problem.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Norwich L D L D D; Barnsley L D L L D

Top scorers: Cameron Jerome (Norwich) 14; Tom Bradshaw & Marley Watkins (Barnsley) 8

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Nottm Forest (20) v Derby (10)

East midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and Derby clash at the City Ground and both clubs have new managers at the helm in the shape of Mark Warburton and Gary Rowett respectively.

Forest's Warburton will not be able to call on forward Jamie Ward as he misses out against his old club through suspension.

Former Burton and Birmingham boss Rowett, who used to play for Derby between 1995 and 1998, is boosted by the return of Richard Keogh and Bradley Johnson.

Last season: Derby 1 Nottm Forest 0, Nottm Forest 1 Derby 0

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

Top scorers: Zach Clough (Nottm Forest) 12; Tom Ince (Derby) 13

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

QPR (15) v Rotherham (24)

QPR will be without left-back Jack Robinson and forward Kazenga LuaLua. Robinson (hamstring) is closing in on a return and LuaLua (ankle) is regaining his fitness quicker than expected. Midfielder Jordan Cousins remains sidelined, but Idrissa Sylla, Jamie Mackie and Yeni N'Gbakoto could all be handed a start.

Rotherham have Carlton Morris available as the deadline day signing finally joined up with the club after a hamstring injury. Joe Mattock starts a two-match ban while Stephen Kelly, Darnell Fisher and Richard Wood are still out as the Millers aim to avoid the drop.

Last season: Rotherham 0 QPR 3, QPR 4 Rotherham 2

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

Top scorers: Idrissa Sylla (QPR) 11; Danny Ward (Rotherham) 10

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Wigan (23) v Aston Villa (12)

Managerless Wigan are hoping striker Will Grigg's season is not over as they attempt to nurse him back to full fitness from a knee injury. Interim manager Graham Barrow has already given up hope of defender Donervon Daniels playing again before the end of the campaign.

Henri Lansbury could return for Aston Villa while Scott Hogan and Jack Grealish (both knee) have also trained this week. Nathan Baker (knee) is out along with Andre Green (hamstring) and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (knee).

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Wigan L D L W L; Aston Villa W W W L W

Top scorers: Omar Bogle (Wigan) 22; Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa) 15

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

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Most Read Football

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
1

Paper Talk: £350m Newcastle sale

Mike Ashley has agreed to sell Newcastle for £350m to the cousin of Manchester City's Arab owner Sheikh Mansour plus plenty of transfer lines too.

Sporting Life's Sky Bet Championship final guide for Aston Villa v Derby
2

Aston Villa v Derby match preview

We've got every angle covered ahead of the richest game in football as Aston Villa face Derby in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.

Aston Villa celebrate reaching the Sky Bet Championship play-off final3

Villa to make top-flight return

The headline act of the Sky Bet EFL play-off weekend sees Aston Villa take on Derby. Tom Carnduff picks out his two best bets.

Mike Ashley4

Newcastle silent over sale claim

Newcastle are refusing to comment on claims that owner Mike Ashley is ready to agree a £350million sale of the club.

Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt5

Man Utd out of De Ligt running?

Ajax captain Matthijs De Ligt insists he does not know where his future lies, as Manchester United reportedly drop out of the race leaving Barcelona as odds-on favourites.

Football Tips

Aston Villa celebrate reaching the Sky Bet Championship play-off final

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