Championship Preview: January 8-9
Its been a busy week in the Championship with two managerial vacancies being filled as Darren Ferguson took over the helm at Preston and former Preston manager Alan Irvine signed a three-and-a-half-year deal at second bottom Sheffield Wednesday to become their new manager. Also, Sheffield United completed the permanent signing of Richard Cresswell for an undisclosed fee. Derby completed the loan signing of Bolton defender Nicky Hunt until the end of the season and Newcastle rekindled their interest in goal machine Jermaine Beckford however the two clubs are yet to agree a few.
At the moment, there is only five games on this week in the championship due to the severe weather conditions. Readings game against Newcastle has been called off along with: Middlesbrough V Swansea; Preston V Doncaster; QPR V Plymouth; Reading V Newcastle; Sheffield Wednesday V Peterborough; Watford V Sheffield United. So here is the preview of the remaining games still going ahead starting with tonight’s clash:
West Brom V Nottingham Forest 19,45
Its second v third tonight in the championship which has potential to be a magnificent game. Forest, who have not lost in their last eight, will be looking to continue their good form and a victory would see them leap frog West Brom into second and that vital last automatic promotion spot. However, this will be easier said than done, as West Brom are the leagues top scores and are expected to give new signing Gabriel Tamas his debut.
What Happened Last Time? Nottingham Forest 0-1 West Brom
A 52nd minute own goal from Chris Cohen was enough to give the Baggies all three points after what was pretty much a drag game. Although it was a feisty game with no fewer than six bookings between the sides. West brom will defiantly take a repeat result and with Newcastle’s game postponed its an ideal chance for the Baggies to put pressure on the league leaders.
My Prediction: West Brom 2-1 Nottingham Forest
I believe that West Brom will have just a bit too much fire power for Forest and will edge this one. I am, however, in no doubt that this will be a close game and could quite easily end in a draw but I’ve went for the Baggies just sneaking this one.
Cardiff V Blackpool 15.00
Just three points separates these two sides in the table and both are gunning for the play-off’s this season. Blackpool, who have been a surprise package this year, have been better on the road lately and will be looking to take the three points however Cardiff have a formidable home record and influential midfielder Gavin Rae is expected back after a hand injury.
What happened Last Time? Blackpool 1-1 Cardiff
Goals from Michael Chopra and Ian Evatt meant both sides shared the points in their last outing. The game was fast, flowing and open which is something all fans will want!
My Prediction: Cardiff 3-1 Blackpool
I can see Blackpool putting up a good fight for the 1st half however then I see Cardiff taking control and seeing the game quite comfortably. This will be a very good three points for Cardiff if they can complete the task.
Coventry V Barnsley 15.00
These two mid table teams have been blowing hot and cold this season, Barnsley are still only 7 points off the play-off’s with two games in hand so they have all to play for. Coventry, on the other hand, are only 7 points off the relegation zone and will he hoping to distance themselves from the dreaded drop. Barnsley almost have a clean bill of health for this game unlike Coventry who still have three players missing but they do welcome new signing Gary Deegan.
What Happened Last Time? Barnsley 0-2 Coventry
Goals from Leon Best and Clinton Morrison gave the Midlands club the three points after Barnsley had defender Rob Kozluk sent off around the hour mark. This was also the game that Ian Hume returned from injury after nine months out with a fracture skull.
My Prediction: Coventry 1-1 Barnsley
Minus Saturdays FA Cup defeat to Scunthorpe, Barnsley had been on a good run of form beating Middlesbrough, Blackpool and Cardiff along with draws with Newcastle and Crystal Palace. I can see Barnsley continuing this good run of form and taking a point away form the Ricoh Arena.
Crystal Palace V Bristol City 15.00
Only two points separates these two sides and Crystal Palace’s manager Neil Warnock will be hoping his cash strapped club can continue putting in the performances and gain a play-off spot. City are currently 12th in the table and will be looking to climb the table after the promise they showed early on in the season. Both team’s have absences with Palace missing three and City two.
What Happened Last Time? Bristol City 1-0 Crystal Palace
The previous outing was filled with controversy as Crystal palace had a perfectly legal goal ruled out. Neil Warnock, as to be expected, was far form happy and verbally attacked City’s manager Johnson and the Referee. This means the next encounter has potential to be filled with more controversy. However I expect both managers and referee will want this game to pass quickly.
My Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-0 Bristol City
I expect Palace to scored two legal goals and for them both to count this time! I believe Darren Ambrose will be the key and may play a major part in both goals. I can see Palace really coming together and making a second half of the season push for the play-off’s.
Derby V Scunthorpe 15.00
Relegation candidates Scunthorpe face Derby, who themselves are not far from the drop zone so this is a massive six pointed which could see either side moving considerably away from the relegation zone. Scunthorpe Goalie, Joe Murphy, is expected to return after a shoulder injury and Derby will be missing creative midfielder Lee Hendrie.
What Happened Last Time? Scunthorpe 3-2 Derby
Derby came back twice to level but were unable to repeat the feat for a third time. Martyn Woolford’s goal in the 82nd minute was enough to see off the rams. A roller coaster of a game and most neutrals will want the same but I don’t think the clubs respective fans will.
My Prediction: Derby 1-0 Scunthorpe
I think that Scunthorpe will be more than happy with a point from this game and I believe they will come and park the bus and will do a very good job. However I can see Derby finally breaking Scunny down in the end and taking all three points.
So that’s this week preview, and I stress, I don’t claim to be some sort of mystic Meg, these prediction are just my opinion! If you don’t agree with my predictions then please comment and explain why. Thanks.