The Championship is back from a week off for the FA Cup on Saturday and it returns with 11 fixtures taking place up and down the country. We are well into the second half of the campaign now so we’re getting to the stage where games take on extra importance.
As with most Saturday’s in this league, the action kicks off on TV with one televised game before the rest of the matches take place in the usual kick off slot. Things at both ends of the table are under the microscope on what should be a decent Saturday.
Saturday’s fixtures are as follows: (3pm unless stated)
Brentford v Queens Park Rangers (12.30pm)
Barnsley v Huddersfield Town
Blackburn Rovers v Preston North End
Charlton Athletic v West Bromwich Albion
Hull City v Fulham
Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday
Luton Town v Birmingham City
Middlesbrough v Derby County
Reading v Nottingham Forest
Stoke City v Millwall
Wigan Athletic v Bristol City
It is derby weekend in the Championship and it is a West London offering that gets us underway on TV on Saturday when high-flying Brentford take on an entertaining Queens Park Rangers with both sides eyeing up the three points. The top two are both in action on Saturday as well with Leeds United hosting fellow Yorkshire outfit Sheffield Wednesday in what you could call the Garry Monk derby, while West Bromwich Albion head to The Valley to take on a stuttering Charlton Athletic side.
Best of the Rest
Bottom of the table Luton Town host a Birmingham City side who are in as poor form as they are in a match both will be looking to win while the other two sides in the bottom three – Barnsley and Wigan Athletic are both at home too. Barnsley face Huddersfield Town while Wigan host Bristol City. Stoke City take on Millwall in another big match for a team at the bottom end of the table. Nottingham Forest and Fulham are both in action as well but they are on the road to Reading and Hull City respectively.
I’ll go with a couple of bets on Saturday with one of them coming in the match I’m going to be at where I think Luton Town can pick up a much needed win against a Birmingham City side who are in no such form at all. A lot has been made about Luton’s form and while you can’t argue with their defensive issues, largely in recent times they have been on the road. Indeed in the last five at Kenilworth Road, Luton have won two, drawn against Fulham and suffered narrow defeats to Leeds and Swansea so at home they are tougher to beat. Birmingham have only won three of their 13 away games and just one of their last 12 league games home or away. They now have the threat of a points deduction looming over them to add extra pressure to them so I’m happy to be on the home side here.
Another home side I like the look of are Middlesbrough. They took an absolute age to get up to speed this season but they look to have cracked it now and are in the sort of form many expected of them throughout the campaign. They host a Derby County side who as regular readers will know I am no fan of whatsoever and even less so when they are on their travels. They are a poor team and while many expect an improvement now that Wayne Rooney has arrived, they are still having to blood a number of youngsters. Boro have won their last four league games and I believe they can make it five here.
Back Luton to beat Birmingham for a 4/10 stake at 3.00 with William Hill
Back them here:
Back Middlesbrough to beat Derby for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with Coral