Championship Preview: Rovers Kean to continue good form
As the transfer window closes this evening, managers will be desperate to add quality and depth to their squad whilst keeping hold of their top assets. The arrival of a marquee signing or the departure of a key player could make or break a club’s season.
Clubs will certainly need strength in depth in a league which is once again proving to be one of the most competitive in the world, as they fight for the ultimate prize: promotion to the promised land. The topsy-turvy world of Championship football may be a nightmare for managers, but for fans it provides excitement. Last week each game averaged more than three goals a game.
As sides look to secure wins ahead of the international break, the Championship fixture list again throws up some intriguing matches. We look ahead to the standout games and players to watch this week…
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers
Two promotion contenders who have made plenty of additions to their squad.
Leeds are full of confidence following wins against Peterborough in the league and Oxford United in the league cup in midweek.
18-year-old Sam Byram has been brought into the team by Leeds manager Neil Warnock after a strong pre-season campaign and has repaid his manager’s faith with some exceptional performances at right back.
Rodolph Austin is another player who has caught the eye. Warnock tried to sign the combative midfielder when he was in charge of QPR, but finally managed to get his man this summer. The Jamaican is full of power and pace, not afraid to make tackle and gets forward to score goals.
Blackburn secured a fabulous victory against Leicester City in their last league game, a sign they should definitely be considered for promotion.
Whilst much attention has been placed on their offensive options, their defensive unit is proving tough to break down.
Rovers have only let in two goals in their three games, thanks to the top-flight experience of former England No.1 Paul Robinson, Gael Givet and Scott Dann.
All three played in last season’s disappointing Premier League campaign and will use that experience to try and secure an immediate return.
They have been providing a solid platform on which Rovers’ more expansive players can express themselves. They will be a tough nut for Championship strikers to crack.
Two teams with one goal: Three points. Expect a fierce battle.
MORE TOP MATCHES
Nottingham Forest v Charlton: Two teams who have made solid starts to the season. Forest have just captured the impressive Henri Lansbury from Arsenal whilst Charlton are full of confidence off the back of promotion last season.
Cardiff v Wolves: Both sides continue to invest heavily in their squads, which are full of Championship experience. Two teams who are looking to build on solid starts.
MANAGER TO WATCH
Saturday’s fixture at the King Power Stadium between Leicester City and Blackpool will be dominated by one man. Holloway takes his high-flying Tangerines to one of his old clubs, where he endured a less than successful period.
From November 2007 to May 2008, Holloway managed to secure just nine wins in 32 games as Leicester were relegated to League One.
Holloway will be expecting a hostile reception and backlash from Leicester City fans as he goes in search of maintaining Blackpool’s fine start to the season.
The Seasiders are top of the league with three wins from three, and come off the back of a superb 6-0 victory over Ipswich.
Leicester will be desperate to taunt their former employee, whilst Holloway will be determined to prove his managerial ability.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Signed for a reported fee of £1.1m from West Ham, Bristol City’s natural goalscorer will frighten many of the league’s defences. Blessed with electric pace, a thunderous shot and great vision, he was a player many teams were tracking to bolster their attacking options.
After coming on as a second half substitute in the Severnside derby against Cardiff, Baldock made an instant impression. A performance that was full of determination and potential, he proved deadly with an assist and goal. He will now be full of confidence heading into Saturday’s away game against Barnsley.
Bristol City have scored four goals in their last two games, a sign Baldock will receive good service. With Barnsley languishing just above the drop zone, he will be relishing Saturday afternoon.
Saturday 1st September 2012
Millwall v Middlesbrough 12.45pm
Barnsley v Bristol City 3pm
Birmingham v Peterborough 3pm
Burnley v Brighton 3pm
Crystal Palace v Sheff Wed 3pm
Derby v Watford 3pm
Hull v Bolton 3pm
Ipswich v Huddersfield 3pm
Leeds United v Blackburn 3pm
Nottm Forest v Charlton 3pm
Leicester v Blackpool 5.20 pmTagged in: championship, football
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