Championship Preview: Foxes after sixth straight league win
After the international break, fans of Championship teams will be relieved that the action gets back underway this week. Once again the fixture list throws up some mouth-watering matches.
We look ahead to the standout games and players to watch…
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Leicester City v Brighton
Leicester’s 2-0 win against Bristol City was their fifth straight league win and sent them into the automatic promotion places, just one point behind Cardiff City.
They did not begin the season fantastically, after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of League Two side Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup. Rumours then surfaced that City’s Thai owners were looking at other options, including Harry Redknapp, to achieve their ambition of seeing Premier League football at the King Power Stadium.
However Nigel Pearson has turned around their fortunes, and got his team playing fantastically. It is a sign of the strength of depth that his team have that they can afford to send Jermaine Beckford and Richie Wellens out on loan.
Their strong league position is in part due to their fantastic home form which has seen them record five victories already this season at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes are full of goals thanks to the threat posed by Jamie Vardy and David Nugent and possess an experienced squad at this level of football.
Meanwhile Brighton are positioned inside the play-off places, only three points behind the Foxes.
The Seagulls possess a strong defensive record and will be boosted by the return of their striker Craig Mackail-Smith to try and end a winless streak of three matches, which has seen them draw with Derby and Ipswich and lose against Birmingham City.
Both will be looking to build upon impressive starts to the season. A tough battle between two solid teams.
OTHER KEY MATCHES
Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City: Despite having one of the best teams in the league on paper, Forest have struggled to find consistency. They sit in mid-table and will be looking to show they are underachieving when the highflying Bluebirds come to town. Cardiff will look to continue the form that has propelled them to the top of the league.
Huddersfield v Wolves: Huddersfield lie just inside the play-off positions and will be desperate to stay in the top six. Easier said than done when you are facing the team currently in third and driven to achieve automatic promotion. A close match!
Middlesbrough v Hull: Two teams both one point outside the play-off places and two experienced managers. An extremely important match.
Crystal Palace v Millwall
A battle between two fierce rivals. There is plenty of hostility between the two clubs to say the least.
The atmosphere and intensity at Selhurst Park will rise a notch as both look to get three points, which would taste sweeter than usual.
Palace are, along with Leicester, the form team in the Championship, currently on a four-match winning streak, and will fancy their chances against The Lions who lie in 20th place.
However Millwall did produce a spirited performance to beat Bolton in their last game, with Darius Henderson scoring twice.
Dougie Freedman will be looking to get his players and the crowd fired up to put one over their local rivals. A feisty encounter!
PLAYER TO WATCH
After beating several clubs to the signing of the former France under-21 international, Stale Solbakken must be delighted with the performances of the former St Etienne midfielder.
Combining pace and power, left-footed Sako is a constant threat to the opposition goal and able to operate on either wing and behind the striker.
He was the hero at Blackburn as he found the net from 25 yards after an impressive first touch. The win put Wolves just outside the automatic promotion places.
He has scored four times in eight appearances, which has softened the blow of losing Steven Fletcher to Sunderland.
He will be looking to put in another sterling performance away at Huddersfield on Saturday and then at home to Bolton in midweek, as Wolves look to push on.
Friday 19th October 2012
Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United 7.45pm
Saturday 20th October 2012
Crystal Palace v Millwall 1pm
Birmingham City v Leicester City 3pm
Bolton Wanderers v Bristol City 3pm
Brighton v Middlesbrough 3pm
Charlton v Barnsley 3pm
Derby v Blackburn 3pm
Huddersfield v Wolves 3pm
Hull City v Ipswich Town 3pm
Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City 3pm
Watford v Peterborough 3pm
Burnley v Blackpool 5.20pm
Tuesday 23rd October 2012
Barnsley v Crystal Palace 7.45pm
Bristol City v Burnley 7.45pm
Cardiff City v Watford 7.45pm
Ipswich Town v Derby County 7.45pm
Leeds United v Charlton 7.45pm
Leicester City v Brighton 7.45pm
Middlesbrough v Hull City 7.45pm
Millwall v Birmingham City 7.45pm
Peterborough v Huddersfield 7.45pm
Wolves v Bolton 7.45pm
Blackpool v Nottingham Forest 8pm
Wednesday 24th October 2012
Blackburn v Sheffield Wednesday 7.45pmTagged in: championship, nigel pearson
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