Another round of Sky Bet Championship action begins on Saturday afternoon and as we move towards the final quarter of the campaign every match from here on in takes on extra significance throughout the second tier table.
There are 11 matches in total on Saturday afternoon with one of them live on the TV for us to enjoy as ever and then the other 10 will all have the usual ways and means of keeping updated with throughout the day.
Saturday’s fixtures are as follows: (3pm unless stated – UK TV in brackets)
Blackburn Rovers v Queens Park Rangers (12.30 – Sky Main Event & Sky Football)
Barnsley v Middlesbrough
Birmingham City v Huddersfield Town
Blackpool v Reading
AFC Bournemouth v Stoke City
Cardiff City v Fulham
Coventry City v Preston North End
Luton Town v Derby County
Millwall v Sheffield United
Nottingham Forest v Bristol City
Peterborough United v Hull City
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The televised game on Saturday afternoon opens up the show as two promotion chasers meet at Ewood Park when an out of form Blackburn Rovers side host a QPR outfit who can actually move into second place for a couple of hours should they win the game. AFC Bournemouth would then have the chance to regain second spot when the 3pm matches kick off. They welcome a stuttering Stoke City side to the Vitality Stadium. Above those, the leaders Fulham will look to continue their march back to the Premier League when they travel to Cardiff City.
Best of the Rest
The race for the play-offs is so congested at the minute that every week there are going to be teams who are both in the race meeting each other and one such match this weekend sees Coventry City hosting Preston North End. They are all chasing Sheffield United though. The Blades head to the capital to take on Millwall while above those Huddersfield Town will look to strengthen their promotion claims when they head to Birmingham City. Down at the other end of the table Derby County know they need to keep winning football matches if they are to produce the great escape. They head to Kenilworth Road to take on a Luton Town side who are flying right now while the Grant McCann return to Peterborough United begins with a clash with his former club Hull City. Middlesbrough will hope for slip ups above them when they head south to face a Barnsley side who are still nine points from safety despite two wins in their last three.
There isn’t a massive amount that I like over the course of the afternoon but the way Huddersfield Town are playing right now I’m surprised they are the outsiders to win at Birmingham City. St Andrew’s isn’t necessarily the easiest place for a team to go but this is a Birmingham side who have won just two of their last 14 matches – against a poor Barnsley side and a Luton Town team who for some reason Lee Bowyer’s men seem to have the Indian sign over. Having seen Stoke and Reading recently, their failure to beat them this week highlights Birmingham are nothing special.
Huddersfield are on a great run right now. Seven days ago they were winning at Fulham and if you can win there you can win anywhere. The Terriers are undefeated in their last 14 matches and aren’t just pushing for a play-off place but right now are announcing themselves as automatic promotion challengers. In order to achieve either they will know they can’t afford to slip up against teams in the bottom half. Huddersfield have the personnel to deal with the physical threat that Birmingham pose and if they can then impose a bit of quality on the game they can win this one.
Back Huddersfield Town (0AH) to beat Birmingham City for a 3/10 stake at 2.08 with BetVictor
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