Championship Preview: Tractor Boys look to get engine running again
Championship games keep coming thick and fast. After the midweek fixtures there are some more fascinating matches to watch out for this weekend. We look ahead to the standout games and players to watch…
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday
Paul Jewell finally left Ipswich Town by mutual consent on Wednesday as a result of the Tractor Boys’ dismal form.
Tuesday’s loss to Derby was their 11th straight game without a win. With the club floundering at the wrong end of the table, it was looking increasingly unlikely that Jewell would be unable to provide the promotion push that was expected.
The main problem was that Jewell was unable to bring in his preferred transfer targets in the summer and so had to resort to using the loan market, signing eight players on temporary deals.
His assistant, Chris Hutchings, will now take charge for Saturday’s crucial game against Sheffield Wednesday. Peterborough’s midweek home win against Huddersfield meant the Blues are now rooted at the bottom of the league.
Meanwhile Sheffield Wednesday also find themselves at the wrong end of the table.
They have struggled defensively, but in Dave Jones they have one of the most experienced managers in the league.
There is still a long way to go in the season, but this already looks like a vital match for two teams who could be fighting relegation.
Leicester City v Crystal Palace: Leicester’s fine form continues following an impressive victory against a strong Brighton side on Tuesday. They now sit at the top of the league ahead of Cardiff on goal difference, but Palace will be a stern test. They are only four points behind the Foxes, but losing Dougie Freedman will be sure to affect them.
Blackpool v Brighton: Blackpool have stuttered somewhat since they took the Championship by storm in the opening matches of thE season. They have slipped into mid-table but still possess the weapons to hurt any team in the league. Brighton are always solid.
Bristol City v Hull City
After an encouraging start to the 2012/2013 Championship season, Bristol City fans believed that this campaign would take an altogether different direction to the last, where their main objective was to avoid relegation.
After early wins against rivals Cardiff City and Crystal Palace, two teams who have since proven themselves to be strong, their form has taken a dramatic nosedive.
Six games since their last win, five points out of the last 27 and nine goals conceded in the last three games make sorry reading for the Robins.
After a spirited fight back against Burnley on Tuesday night, where they managed to come back from 3-1 down, a last minute winner from Chris McCann to make it 4-3 to the visitors was the final straw for many fans at Ashton Gate.
A weak defence and central midfield continue to allow sides to score freely against the Robins. It was an issue that should have been addressed in the summer, and for that reason Derek McInnes is under increasing pressure.
Their fixture against Hull City on Saturday might well determine whether he is still taking training sessions at their Failand base on Monday morning.
PLAYER TO WATCH
The powerful striker who joined the Blues in June 2011 on a three-year-deal has followed on from an impressive first season at St Andrews where he scored 18 goals to finish as the club’s top scorer, by netting seven times in 15 appearances this term.
The Londoner, who has earned more than 20 caps for Jamaica, has a wealth of experience. Full of pace and power, he always troubles the opposition’s defence and goalkeeper.
He was the hat-trick hero as the Blues came back from 3-0 down at Millwall. It was the first domestic treble of his career and a sign of the confidence with which he is playing.
They were crucial goals to secure a precious point with Birmingham City lingering above the relegation zone.
Lee Clark will be hoping his star striker will produce the goods once again away at Leeds United on Saturday as he attempts to relieve the pressure he is under, given their inconsistent start to the season.
Saturday 27th October 2012
Barnsley v Nottingham Forest 3pm
Blackburn v Watford 3pm
Blackpool v Brighton 3pm
Cardiff v Burnley 3pm
Ipswich v Sheff Wed 3pm
Leeds United v Birmingham 3pm
Leicester v Crystal Palace 3pm
Middlesbrough v Bolton 3pm
Millwall v Huddersfield 3pm
Peterborough v Derby County 3pm
Wolves v Charlton 3pm
Bristol City v Hull City 5.20pm
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