Championship Preview: Promotion contenders collide
Goals galore, comebacks, and contentious refereeing decisions. All part and parcel of Championship football and once again the weekend’s fixture list throws up some mouth-watering matches.
We look ahead to the standout games and players to watch……
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Blackburn Rovers v Middlesbrough
Both teams sit in solid positions and both will be aiming to gain promotion to the promised land.
The home team possess the man everyone has been talking about. Jordan Rhodes believed to have been bought for a reported eight million pounds, has already kicked off his Rovers career in style. Goals, passion and an understanding with the experienced Nuno Gomes mean Rovers’ fans are starting to see why their manager splashed out such an extraordinary fee to capture him.
Despite being in the automatic promotion places, Kean’s position at Blackburn is still in doubt with fans calling for his head and owners giving mixed messages about his future. The only way he will win them round is with exceptional results. Blackburn are on a fine run of form and Kean will need it to continue if he is to remain in the Rovers hot seat.
Tony Mowbray has added vast experience to his Middlesbrough squad. He now has a strong core to his team. The additions of Andre Amougou and Jonathan Woodgate at the back provide a solid platform, whilst Grant Leadbitter and Josh McEachran form one of the deadliest midfield pairings in the Championship.
McEachran, despite a disappointing loan at Swansea City last season, is still regarded as one of the finest young talents in the country. The dynamic midfielder reads the game exceptionally and is great going forward. He will add a great deal of creativity to Boro’s attacking moves.
Mowbray has also brought in Ishmael Miller. Full of pace, power and a lethal shot, Miller is one of the deadliest strikers in the division. Moreover Mowbray knows how to get the best out of him from their days together at West Bromwich Albion.
Two teams with experienced players and managers at this level. A difficult game for both.
MORE TOP MATCHES
Leeds United v Nottingham Forest: Both invested in their squads during the window and both in and around the play-offs. Both will be looking to push on.
Blackpool v Huddersfield: The high-flying Tangerines face a stern test in Simon Grayson’s Trotters. Huddersfield have already shown that they can mix it with the best in this league.
Peterborough v Wolves: Peterborough are in a desperate position. Leaking goals and unable to get points. A crucial game if Darren Ferguson is to remain in charge.
MANAGER TO WATCH
The Leicester manager spent just over a year at the helm at Hull City, guiding them to 11th in the Championship during the 2011-2012 season.
The Tigers seemed to be building a solid team before Pearson decided to move back to his former employers at the King Power Stadium. That decision to turn his back on Hull City, in favour of a second spell at The Foxes, has left many at the KC Stadium with a bitter taste in their mouth.
Pearson will be looking to prove he made the right decision whilst Hull City will look to get one over their former manager. A feisty encounter!
PLAYER TO WATCH
After moving to Brighton last summer, the frontman who had scored goals for fun at Peterborough proved that he could shine in the Championship. Renowned for his incredible work rate and great vision, he made at instant impact at the Amex Stadium.
However he perhaps did not score the goals that would have been expected, given he suffered a goal drought from October through to February. This season he is out to make amends. He has already scored some incredible goals such as an unbelievable overhead kick against Burnley.
This weekend the Seagulls have an away trip to Millwall. Expect Mackail-Smith to cause a stir in the Lions backyard.
Friday 21st September 2012
Blackburn v Middlesbrough 7.45pm
Saturday 22nd September 2012
Crystal Palace v Cardiff 3pm
Derby v Burnley 3pm
Ipswich v Charlton 3pm
Leeds United v Nottm Forest 3pm
Millwall v Brighton 3pm
Peterborough v Wolves 3pm
Sheff Wed v Bolton 3pm
Watford v Bristol City 3pm
Birmingham v Barnsley 5.20pm
Sunday 23rd September 2012
Leicester v Hull 3pm
Monday 24th September 2012
Blackpool v Huddersfield 7.45 pmTagged in: championship, football
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