Championship Preview – 3 Games To Keep An Eye On! 31/09/2016

Written by David Robinson

With the landmark of ten games now passed, clubs in the Championship will be looking to build on their start, whether that has been deemed a good one or not. It is of course important to remember that the second tier is a real slog and often with three games a week, momentum can be swung very quickly with a good set of results. A pattern has already started to take place in the table with some clubs limping at the bottom while the likes of Huddersfield have made a great start which is important to set yourself in that pack of clubs who will aim for promotion. With all fixtures being played on the Saturday, I pick the three most interesting clashes that you should look out for this weekend.

Reading vs Derby County

The Royals host Derby County in what should be an interesting game. Jaap Stam has got Reading off to a good start as they sit on 17 points, an equal amount to two play-off placed clubs. They face a side that is facing some turmoil with Nigel Pearson suspended, the Rams still gained their first win in seven league games midweek. With Chris Powell in temporary charge it could actually provide to be a lift for the players as shown on Tuesday and with a squad that has been heavily invested in to finally get promotion, the away side cannot afford to wait for some clarity over the situation. The game is likely to be an indicator of where both clubs could be heading this season, a Reading win would certainly raise hopes that they could be a surprise package this campaign. In a sense this is still a good opportunity to take on a Derby side although Reading lost 4-1 midweek. This could see a positive or negative reaction from this defeat.

Goals have been a huge problem so far for Derby and while two were scored against Cardiff, there will be interest to see what kind of threat Derby pose in this match, particularly against former defender Stam’s side. Both sides play a very similar system so whichever side wins the midfield battle could end up winning this game.

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credit Matt Churchill

Sheffield Wednesday vs Brighton

Hillsborough is the venue for this finely poised battle as just one point separates two sides who were both very much fancied to be up there this season. The Owls have certainly picked up after a poor start and 4 wins from 5 is good form going into this one. The Seagulls are a consistent team and that has once again allowed them to pick up points and push them into third which makes this game an important one. Chris Hughton will be looking to get revenge on Sheffield Wednesday as they were knocked out of the play-offs in testing circumstances to say the least.

With plenty of talent on display there will always be the potential for goals. However you’d imagine this game could equally be quite well structured with both managers looking to organise their teams carefully. This is where the result is of interest and maybe not necessarily the game itself. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was a tactical battle and a game won by the mercurial’s Fernando Forestieri and Anthony Knockaert, both of these players will be hoping to step up and prove decisive in a game which sees two fairly evenly matched sides go head-to-head. Just a singular goal would not be a surprise here.

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credit Adam Hinett

Wolves vs Norwich

The evening kick off will wrap up the weekends fixtures as both sides enter the clash with defeats from midweek. However the home side won’t quite be feeling as bad about themselves as the Canaries who let 95th and 96th minute goals in to hand Newcastle three points. That could be a real psychological blow so it will be fascinating to see how Alex Neil’s men respond.

I think Wolves can be pleased with their start to the season. They have been very inconsistent but there shouldn’t be too many surprises with that considering the late takeover of the club. It looks like it will be a better season at Molineux this time round but this is a game where we will find out if the club has the potential to make some serious strides towards the top of the table. The away side are there to have a go at so Wolves will be looking to unleash their new players on a side that is usually well structured and a tough opponent at this level. The first goal here should be key, we could see a real statement from Norwich should they dig deep and win.

What are your predictions for these games? Let us know in the comments below!

featured image by Mark Hillary