As we enter December, the festive fixtures kick off in what is a crucial time of the season for all 24 clubs. It remains an excellent chance to pick up numerous points and to gain some serious momentum in order to reach the season objectives whether that be nearer the bottom of the league or in a bid for promotion.
One thing is for sure and that is that the Championship is always full of surprises and that every fixture has the potential to go completely the opposite way you expect it to. With this in mind, I identify three games to watch out for over this weeks set of fixtures which starts on Thursday and finishes with an evening match on Saturday.
Norwich City vs Brentford
No win in 7 in all competitions means this game is finely poised at Carrow Road where a Brentford side themselves having won just one in eight league games. That is exceptionally poor form from two sides who both have real qualities in their ranks.
Brentford sit seven points outside the play-offs and I think they are better than that so this type of fixture can define their aspirations. A technical side will go to Norwich and despite their own problems, they should look to have a real go and try to out manoeuvre the home side. If they play it right they can get the home supporters worked up which will only increase the problems for Alex Neil's side.
Norwich are eleven points off automatic promotion and while this gap can easily be made up with 28 games to spare, a continued run without a run would be damaging for their chances. Despite both sides expectantly being low on confidence, I can see both fancying their chances and there to be goals in this one.
If any team needed reminding about how you can turn things around, Derby County remain the current example, trailing a play-off place by just 3 points following an awful start to the season. Momentum is well and truly with the Rams so an away win should be expected here however this is again the type of game where they still need to get results in order to make up for their poor start. I'd expect them to face a buoyant Wigan side who were victorious away at Huddersfield in their last encounter. With a relatively new manager you'd expect this has the potential to be a banana skin for Derby.
This game in particular I see the first goal being all important as I can see it dictating the pattern of play. At home Wigan will be desperate for a result here having found themselves in the relegation zone.
A difficult game to ignore but I haven't chosen this game because of the stature of both clubs. These two clubs meet with the intentions of kicking on in and around the play-offs. Leeds are starting to really build something at Elland Road and they can consider themselves pleased with the efforts they showed at Anfield midweek in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool. This could certainly be a factor towards the result if the game remains tight throughout which makes me think that a Leeds opener will be pivotal towards the match.
Aston Villa of course need to be doing better with their league position so the pressure is on despite being unbeaten in seven. They have an abundance of talent which should see the goals fly in. Dare I say I cannot see this one ending up goalless.
Monk's team can go into this one with confidence and I think they'll try and pick up from where they left off with an energetic display however we've seen it before where a game against Premier League title chasers sees the best out of a side only for it to be followed up with a much poorer display against lower opposition. This very much is a possibility and for that reason I would consider Aston Villa as the most likely side to come out with the win.
What are your predictions for these games? Let us know in the comments below!