A busy Easter period in the Sky Bet Championship begins with a full round of fixtures on Good Friday and with so much still to be settled in the division this is a potentially huge day of action for so many of the teams on show.
There are 12 matches in total on Good Friday with no fewer than four of them live on the TV for us to enjoy. There will be all the usual ways to keep up to date with everything that is going on throughout the day too.
Friday’s fixtures are as follows: (3pm unless stated – UK TV in brackets)
Luton Town vs Nottingham Forest (12.30pm – Sky Football)
Birmingham City v Coventry City
AFC Bournemouth v Middlesbrough (Sky Football)
Hull City v Cardiff City
Peterborough United v Blackburn Rovers
Preston North End v Millwall
Sheffield United v Reading
Stoke City v Bristol City
Swansea City v Barnsley
West Bromwich Albion v Blackpool
Huddersfield Town v Queens Park Rangers (5.30pm – Sky Main Event & Sky Football)
Derby County v Fulham (8pm – Sky Main Event & Sky Football)
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The race for the top six and promotion to the Premier League is very much in the spotlight throughout the day on Good Friday with the televised action beginning at Kenilworth Road where Luton Town will look to consolidate their top six spot when they host Nottingham Forest, a side who might not have given up on the top two just yet. The team Forest are chasing are AFC Bournemouth and they are involved in the second TV clash. They host Middlesbrough who need something from the game to boost their top six hopes. If Bournemouth slip up Huddersfield Town will be looking to close the gap on them. They host a QPR side whose form has fallen off the tree. The final match of the day could see Fulham promoted if Nottingham Forest have been beaten earlier in the day. If that has happened they will secure a return to the Premier League if they win away to Derby County, whose need for points is pretty obvious.
Best of the Rest
While the TV attention is on the race to escape the division at the top end of the table, the battle to avoid the drop out of the bottom part of it will continue on Friday too. Peterborough United will know it is now or never for their survival hopes and they need all three points from their home match against Blackburn Rovers, who themselves might not have given up hope of the play-offs yet. Barnsley are another side in need of points and they head to Wales to face Swansea City. Reading can as good as relegate both of them and Derby if they can come out of their away trip to Sheffield United with all three points. That won’t be easy though as the Blades need the points to stay in the top six. Millwall won’t have given up on the top six just yet but they need to win away to Preston North End if they are to get themselves right back in the mix.
Stoke City look like they have found their mojo again and although they are playing for nothing in terms of what they can achieve this season, you sense they are after a strong finish to the season to take into what will be a huge campaign for them next term with expectations clearly still high at the Bet365 Stadium. They should be capable of picking up another three points to make it four wins from their last five matches when they host Bristol City on Good Friday. This is a Bristol City who have won one of their last 14 on their travels and that was at a Blackburn side who have faded fast since January so it isn’t the greatest form guide known to man. Bristol City are an average side and one which Stoke should be able to pick three points up against.
Given that there are four TV matches it would be wrong of us not to offer something for them so I’ll take one in the third match which comes from the John Smith’s Stadium where Huddersfield Town host QPR. I don’t think much of either of these sides and while you would expect Huddersfield to build on their win over Luton on Monday but they haven’t had a lot of recovery time and that match was ending 0-0 all night long until a freak goal. Having beaten Luton though a point here will do Huddersfield no harm whatsoever so the attention should be on their goalkeeper Lee Nicholls. If you watched Huddersfield matches on a stream you could be forgiven for thinking it keeps buffering such is the speed the stopper slows down to whenever his side need to take time out of a game and as a result he is always pushing the boundaries for a booking. His yellow card against Luton, which could have come a great deal earlier than it did, was his seventh of the season and they’ve all been for time wasting. It would be folly not to take the 5/1 on him getting another on Friday given the stakes are only getting higher from here on in.
Back Stoke City to beat Bristol City for a 3/10 stake at 1.75 with BetVictor
Back them here:
Back L.Nicholls (Huddersfield) to be booked for a 1/10 stake at 6.00 with Bet365