Championship preview

16 October 2009 12:42
Leaders Newcastle face a tough trip to Nottingham Forest on Saturday, while bottom side Ipswich host Swansea looking for their first win of the campaign. In-form Nottingham Forest host table-toppers Newcastle in the Saturday tea-time game, which is being shown live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD1 at 5.20pm. Billy Davies' side will be looking for their fourth win on the bounce, but the Magpies will prove stiff opposition, being unbeaten in four games themselves, although they have drawn their last two. Earlier in the day, second-placed West Brom could temporarily go top with a resounding victory over struggling Reading. But the Baggies have hit a wobble at present - with just one point from their last three games - and they could find it hard against a Royals side who have registered both their victories in the Championship this term on the road. Third-placed Middlesbrough will be looking to get back to winning ways at home when hosting out-of-form Watford. Gareth Southgate's side were beaten by Leicester in their last outing at the Riverside but will fancy their chances against the Hornets, who have lost their last two games. Promotion ambitionsFourth-placed Cardiff host Crystal Palace in a clash of two in-form sides with promotion ambitions. After a slight wobble, the Bluebirds have won their last two matches, but the Eagles have also found their form, being unbeaten in four games, including three wins. Preston, who have dropped to fifth with just one point from their last two games, face a tough trip to Loftus Road to play QPR, who are unbeaten at home, although they have posted three draws in that run. Sixth-placed Sheffield United travel to Scunthorpe in the lunchtime game, with both sides looking to return to winning ways. The Blades have not won in three games, including two successive draws, but the Iron have not won in four matches, including losing their last two. Doncaster take on Barnsley in what should prove a keenly-contested South Yorkshire derby. Rovers are unbeaten at home but have drawn eight out of 11 games in the Championship, including their last four, while Barnsley are now motoring under new boss Mark Robins, winning their last two games to sit level on points with their opponents. Derby clashLeicester play Derby in an another derby clash with the Foxes keen to get back to winning ways at home after tasting defeat for the first time in more than a year with a 2-1 reverse to Preston last time. But they subsequently beat Middlesbrough at the Riverside and drew at Coventry, although the Rams will also be confident after a 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday last time. Bottom side Ipswich take on in-form Swansea looking for their first win of the campaign, but Roy Keane's side will find it hard against opponents who are unbeaten in five games, including victory over in-form QPR last time. Promotion hopefuls Bristol City will be targeting three points against struggling Peterborough. Darren Ferguson's side sit second-from-bottom and have yet to win on the road, while the Robins are undefeated at home, including four wins. Blackpool take on Plymouth in what should prove an intriguing contest. While the sides sit at opposite ends of the table, their current form could not be more contrasting - the Seasiders have lost their last two to drop to ninth in the table, while the Pilgrims have registered two wins on the bounce to rise to third-from-bottom, just two points from safety. Sheffield Wednesday play Coventry at Hillsborough, with victory for Brian Laws' side seeing them leapfrog the Sky Blues in the table.

Source: SKY_Sports