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Championship Preview: Relegation contenders collide

Jonathan Campkin
blog 300x225 Championship Preview: Relegation contenders collide

New Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy

With games averaging almost three goals a game last week, the Championship proved as entertaining as always. However amongst the fascinating matches this week, the two teams with the worst goal differences meet at Portman Road. Even more goals could be on the cards.

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

MATCH OF THE WEEK

Ipswich Town v Peterborough

Ipswich will be looking to put their humiliating 6-0 away defeat at Leicester City behind them, a game in which they were already 4-0 down at half-time.

The loss leaves Ipswich two points away from moving out of the relegation places and just one point above bottom-placed Peterborough.

New manager Mick McCarthy has attempted to make his team hard to beat and brought in several new faces including Bradley Orr from Blackburn and Tyrone Barnett from Peterborough, but they still seem brittle and timid.

Meanwhile Peterborough are also in dire form, having lost their last four matches, including a disappointing 4-1 home defeat to Blackburn.

They now have two crucial fixtures against Ipswich and Charlton, in which they need to pick up points.

OTHER NOTABLE MATCHES

Middlesbrough v Huddersfield- Despite slipping to 1-0 away defeat against Cardiff City last time out, Boro still sit in third, just four points behind the league leaders. Meanwhile, Huddersfield are just one point outside the play-off places.

Hull v Crystal Palace - With four wins from their last five games, the Tigers are in great form, thanks in part to Sone Aluko who is a constant threat. League leaders Palace have won their last five games, and are scoring freely, with ten goals in their last three games.

CRUNCH MATCH

Blackburn v Bolton

With just 15 miles between them, this Lancashire derby will be fiercely contested.

The last time these two teams met was in the Premier League last season when Bolton won 2-1. Rovers will be looking to avenge this defeat.

Bolton are in good form, having not lost in their four matches under Dougie Freedman, a run which included difficult games against Leicester and Cardiff City.

Blackburn come off the back of a tremendous 4-1 away victory at Peterborough thanks to a hat-trick from Jordan Rhodes. This was new manager Henning Berg’s first win in charge and propelled them just inside the play-off places.

Players and fans will be fired up for this Wednesday night clash.

PLAYER TO WATCH

David Nugent

With nine goals in 19 appearances this season for Leicester, Nugent appears to be back to his best. The striker, who represented England at senior team level against Andorra in 2007, is quick, has a good work-rate and an eye for goal.

He scored twice last time out as the Foxes secured a mightily impressive 6-0 home victory against Ipswich Town. Nugent managed to get his two goals in just 29 minutes before he was taken off as a precaution, to rest a neck injury that he sustained in the match against Nottingham Forest.

The frontman has scored in three of his last four matches, despite Leicester’s shaky form before Ipswich, where they took just two points from a possible 12.

This week Leicester, who currently lie in fifth, have two tricky away fixtures against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds. Nugent will be desperate to add to his goal tally and push the Foxes closer to the automatic promotion places, which are just four points away.

FIXTURES

Saturday 24th November 2012

Barnsley v Cardiff 3pm

Blackburn v Millwall 3pm

Blackpool v Watford 3pm

Brighton v Bolton 3pm

Charlton v Huddersfield 3pm

Hull v Burnley 3pm

Ipswich v Peterborough 3pm

Leeds United v Crystal Palace 3pm

Middlesbrough v Bristol City 3pm

Sheff Wed v Leicester 3pm

Wolves v Nottingham Forest 3pm

Derby v Birmingham 5.20pm

Tuesday 27th November 2012

Barnsley v Burnley 7.45pm

Brighton v Bristol City 7.45pm

Charlton v Peterborough 7.45pm

Derby v Cardiff 7.45pm

Hull v Crystal Palace 7.45pm

Ipswich v Nottingham Forest 7.45pm

Leeds United v Leicester 7.45pm

Middlesbrough v Huddersfield 7.45pm

Sheff Wed v Watford 7.45pm

Wolves v Millwall 7.45pm

Blackpool v Birmingham 8pm

Wednesday 28th November 2012

Blackburn v Bolton 7.45pm

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