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Championship Preview: In-form Boro face Cardiff

Jonathan Campkin

cardiff city 300x225new Championship Preview: In form Boro face CardiffWith just ten points separating 1st and 13th and teams recording 6-1 away victories, the Championship is once again proving to be one of the most tight and unpredictable leagues in the world. With a third of the season already gone, pressure is rising on those at the bottom to turn things around and those at the top to maintain their consistency.

We look ahead to the standout games and players to watch this week……

MATCH OF THE WEEK

Cardiff City v Middlesbrough

Cardiff got back to winning ways last weekend with a 2-1 victory over Hull City, thanks to goals from Heidar Helguson and Mark Hudson.

The win leaves the Bluebirds outside the automatic promotion places, however they are just one point behind Middlesbrough and two behind league leaders Crystal Palace. Helguson, who has scored seven goals in 17 appearances this season, has been vital to their success. The experienced Icelandic striker always pressurises opposition defences and is a threat in the air despite his size.

Meanwhile Middlesbrough come off the back of a fantastic victory and performance against Sheffield Wednesday. They have now picked up 20 points from the last 24, which has propelled them into second place. A clash between two potential automatic promotion candidates.

OTHER NOTABLE MATCHES

Huddersfield v Brighton- Huddersfield are in good form having picked up seven points from the last nine available. They sit just inside the play-offs and now have the ever-dangerous Jermaine Beckford back from injury. Meanwhile Brighton are also performing well, following a good return of points from a tricky run of games. They are just three points behind the Terriers.

Leicester v Ipswich – An important game for both but for different reasons. Ipswich are still languishing in the relegation zone whilst Leicester have slipped to 5th in their quest to achieve automatic promotion. However it might be a good time to play the Foxes given they have not won in four games.

CRUNCH MATCH

Millwall v Leeds United

A battle between two fierce rivals. There is plenty of hostility between the two clubs to say the least. The atmosphere and intensity will rise a notch at the New Den on Sunday as both look to take three points. Millwall are on a fine run of form having not lost since September. That run includes some impressive victories over Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield who have proved themselves as promotion contenders. Leeds however come off the back of a 6-1 defeat at home to Watford. They will be desperate to put in a better performance. Players and fans will be fired up come 1.15 on Sunday afternoon.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Matej Vydra

With seven goals in 15 appearances this season, Vydra has impressed many at Vicarage Road. The 20-year-old on-loan from Udinese is a real handful for opposition defences.

The Czech scored twice last time out as the Hornets secured a mightily impressive 6-1 away victory at Elland Road.
Vydra played for five Czech youth teams between under-16 and under-21 levels and received his first call-up to the Czech senior team in August.   Strong, powerful and pacy, he has settled into the Watford side with ease, unlike many of the other foreign loan signings at Vicarage Road. This week Watford, who currently lie in 12th, face Wolves who are just one point behind them. Vydra will be desperate to add to his goal tally and push the Hornets closer to the play-off places, which are just four points away.

FIXTURES

Saturday 17th November 2012

Birmingham v Hull 3pm

Bolton v Barnsley 3pm

Bristol City v Blackpool 3pm

Burnley v Charlton 3pm

Cardiff v Middlesbrough 3pm

Crystal Palace v Derby 3pm

Huddersfield v Brighton 3pm

Leicester v Ipswich 3pm

Nottingham Forest v Sheff Wed 3pm

Watford v Wolves 3pm

Peterborough v Blackburn 5.20pm

Sunday 18th November 2012

Millwall v Leeds United 1.15pm

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