There are 11 games in the EFL Championship this Saturday, starting with the lunchtime kick off between fourth-placed Brentford and 18th-placed Nottingham Forest at the Brentford Community Stadium. In the evening, big rivals Swansea City and Cardiff City clash in a South Wales derby at the Liberty Stadium. With a packed day of action there could be big implications at both ends of the table but who will be the winners and losers?
Brentford v Nottingham Forest
12:30, Sky Sports, Brentford Community Stadium
Brentford and Nottingham Forest kick off the Championship weekend with a fixture at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon. After dropping points in midweek, the Bees will be eager to bounce back with a win this weekend if they are to maintain hopes of finishing in the top two and achieving their ambition of being promoted to the Premier League (without having to rely on the lottery of the play-offs).
Brentford were 2-0 up at Pride Park but only left with a point on Tuesday, which will have come as a big disappointment, to say the least. They did win three of their previous four games prior to that though so their fans will be hopeful they can rediscover the winning touch in this one. Forest are without a win in five matches and have lost three and drawn two of those. Overall we feel compelled to back the Bees to win with a -1 goal handicap at odds of 15/8.
Barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday
Yorkshire sides Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday meet in a big fixture at Oakwell on Saturday. The Tykes are in astonishing form at the moment and Valerien Ismael’s men will be eyeing up another three points at the weekend as they continue their march up the table.
Barnsley moved into fifth place in midweek with a solid 3-1 victory at Adams Park. Since a 0-0 draw with Nottingham Forest in January, Ismael’s men have taken 28 points from a possible 30, which is promotion form by anyone’s standards. They have won without conceding a goal four times during that run and given that Wednesday have bee somewhat ineffectual of late, we’re backing the hosts to win to nil on Saturday at odds of 6/4.
Bristol City v Rotherham United
15:00, Ashton Gate
Nigel Pearson’s Bristol City and Paul Warne’s Rotherham United go head-to-head at Ashton Gate on Saturday. The Robins have shown a slight improvement of late, winning three of their last six games but they look destined to finish in mid-table obscurity.
Rotherham, meanwhile, still have games in hand on their relegation rivals but the Millers head to Ashton Gate having lost six of their last seven games. With Rotherham getting increasingly desperate we think Bristol City’s level heads will win the day and we’re backing the home win here at odds of 11/8.
Coventry City v Wycombe Wanderers
15:00, St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium
Coventry City and Wycombe Wanderers, who were promoted together last season, square off at St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Sky Blues are the odds-on favourites in this one as they attempt to earn the last few points they need to ensure survivial in the division.
Wycombe, meanwhile, are on their way back down to EFL League One after taking just 26 points so far. Coventry, who are in 20th, will be desperate not to join them and we think they’ll have enough to earn a priceless three points from this one. We like the look of the home win and both teams to score here at a nice price of 3/1.
Millwall v Middlesbrough
15:00, The Den
Millwall and Middlesbrough meet in an intriguing Championship clash at The Den this Saturday. The Lions have improved at home in recent weeks but they were beaten by Blackburn Rovers in their last home fixture and they have failed to find any real consistency for some time.
Middlesbrough have moved to within five points of the final play-off spot after three wins from their last four games. Boro have won 2-1 on five occasions in this season’s Championship and we could see it happening once again. The 2-1 away win on Saturday is nicely priced at 10/1 which is certainly enough to catch our eye.
Norwich City v Blackburn Rovers
15:00, Carrow Road
Leaders Norwich City entertain Blackburn at Carrow Road on Saturday. The Canaries will be hoping to take another big leap towards the Premier League with three points on home soil and few will be backing against them doing exactly that.
Norwich have really kicked into gear and taken control of the Championship title race in the last couple of months. Victory at Nottingham Forest in midweek was their ninth league win on the spin. With confidence sky high at present, we can’t see anything other than a comfortable home win here. Take a punt on Norwich to win both halves of this one at odds of 3/1.
Preston North End v Luton Town
Inconsistent Preston North End host Luton Town at Deepdale this Saturday. Only bottom side Wycombe have suffered more defeats than North End this term and they are perhaps a little lucky not to be lower down the table.
Luton are three points above Preston in the current Championship table and the Hatters sealed an excellent 2-0 win against Coventry last time out. The away win here is available at the decent odds of 21/10, which is worth considering.
Reading v Queens Park Rangers
15:00, Madejski Stadium
Reading and Queens Park Rangers square off at the Madejski Stadium with the home side desperate to earn the points they need to stay in the play-off positions. After a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham City on Wednesday, can the promotion-chasing Royals get back to winning ways this Saturday?
Mark Warburton’s QPR are in superb form, winning nine of their past 14 games in the Championship. In a game that could feasibly go either way, we fancy the London side to leave Berkshire with a point. You can get the draw and both teams to score at odds of 15/4.
Stoke City v Derby County
15:00, bet365 Stadium
At the bet365 Stadium this Saturday afternoon, Stoke City and Derby go head-to-head. On paper, these two seem evenly matched and this could be quite a tight battle between them. However, the Potters are the favourites with the bookies.
Both teams picked up draws in midweek, as Stoke were involved in a goalless draw with Cardiff, while the Rams came from two goals down to hold Brentford to a 2-2 stalemate at Pride Park. We can see these two cancelling one another out at the bet365 Stadium this Saturday. The draw is priced at odds of 11/5 which looks the right pick to us.
Watford v Birmingham City
15:00, Sky Sports, Vicarage Road
In-form Watford entertain lowly Birmingham at Vicarage Road on Saturday. The Hornets are one of the form teams of the Championship right now and they have every chance of earning one of the automatic promotion spots if they maintain their positive run.
Watford have won eight of their last nine in the league and have begun to stamp their authority on second place. Birmingham picked up a hard-fought victory over Reading on Wednesday in Lee Bowyer’s first game in charge, but Watford should win this with relative ease. Put some money on the hosts to be winning at half time and full time at odds of 11/4.
Swansea City v Cardiff City
17:30, Sky Sports, Liberty Stadium
Rivals Swansea and Cardiff face off in a South Wales derby at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday evening. After a 2-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium earlier in the season, the Swans will be hoping to become the first team to ever do a league double in this fixture.
Swansea were uncharacteristically poor in a 3-0 reverse at Bournemouth in midweek. Cardiff have been tough to beat since Mick McCarthy arrived in the Welsh capital, and the Bluebirds could avoid defeat at the home of their rivals. This is likely to be a close one, so check out the top odds of 7/2 for the draw at half time and full time.