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Championship Preview: QPR face Leicester as Burnley and Derby look to pounce

QPR and Leicester play each other at the top of the table, as Derby look to enter the promotion zone.

Leicester and Burnley drew with each other last week.
Leicester and Burnley drew with each other last week.
Matthew Lewis
QPR v Leicester (12:15)

The biggest game of the weekend - for neutrals. QPR know that a win will take them at least five points clear of the team in third place; Leicester know that they can possibly return to the top of the table.

The Sky Sports game could see Yossi Benayoun feature for QPR, following his arrival at the West London club nearly two weeks ago. Their captain Clint Hill should return following an illness, that prevented him an appearance against Blackburn. Alejandro Faurlin and Bobby Zamora are both long term absentees for QPR.

Leicester have no fresh injury concerns following their League Cup tie against Manchester City, but Chris Wood, Tom Hopper and Sean St. Ledger are still out injured.

QPR have collected the most points at home in the Championship this season - with a total of twenty six from a possible thirty. Also they have conceded the least goals at home this season - with two goals against - keeping eight clean sheets in the process.

Leicester have only drawn once away all season - picking up a total of sixteen points. They haven't won a match since they hit the top of the table on 30th November.

It's likely to be a close game, but I will predict a narrow QPR win (2-1).

Birmingham v Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest are looking to return to the top six, as they face fifteenth placed Birmingham at St Andrews.

Birmingham are without Lee Novak, Mitch Hancox, David Murphy, Neal Eardley and Jonathan Spector through injury, while Darius Henderson is likely to miss out for Forest. David Vaughan should return, following a month long hamstring injury.

Birmingham have only won twice in the league, at home, this season - whereas Forest have managed double that away.

I would predict a clear Forest win here (2-0) - due to the seasonal records.

Bolton v Charlton

Charlton look to move away from the relegation zone, as Bolton aim to reach twenty five points (half of the estimated points for survival in the Championship).

Mark Davies could start - following his return from a ten month injury against Wigan on Saturday. Adam Bodgan and Joe Riley will both miss out, but Stuart Holden is back in training. Charlton are without Ben Hamer (injured), Johnnie Jackson (suspended) and Marvin Sordell (can't play against parent club) for this match.

Charlton haven't won at Bolton in five attempts, but Wanderers have only managed two home wins all season. I would predict a home win (2-1) for this game.

Brighton v Huddersfield

A win will take Brighton into the play-off zone, as Huddersfield look to end their two game losing run.

Brighton's on loan Craig Conway has returned to his parent club, Cardiff, meaning that Kazenga LuaLua may start for the first time since October. Will Buckley could feature, but Andrea Orlandi is back in training, but is unlikely to be risked.

Huddersfield's Murray Wallace is expected to replace the suspended Joel Lynch, after his sending off against Reading. Top scorer James Vaughan misses out again through injury. Cristian Lopez could also feature for the Terriers.

Brighton has an average home record this season, while Huddersfield are middle of the road away. A close affair possible, but I reckon Brighton will edge it (2-1).

Burnley v Blackpool

A Lancashire Derby at Turf Moor, as Burnley could return to the top with a win, while Blackpool would probably return to the play-offs with a win themselves.

Ross Wallace is the only player missing for Burnley, as he continues his recovery from injury. Isaiah Osbourne, Bradley Orr and Gary MacKenzie are all out with injuries for Blackpool, however Neal Bishop returns from suspension.

Blackpool haven't won in any of their last seven trips to Burnley - this coupled with poor away form, make Burnley the favourites. I'm predicting a 2-0 home win.

Derby v Doncaster

Derby could find themselves in the top two with a win against Doncaster, and with other results going their way. Doncaster, who are only three points clear on the relegation zone, could end the weekend below the dotted line.

Top goalscorer Chris Martin is injured for Derby, after suffering a knock in training. Will Hughes could return for the Rams. Yun Suk-Young is in training for Doncaster, following an injury, but is unlikely to feature. Harry Forrester is available for Doncaster - he's looking for his second appearance of the season.

There should only be one outcome for this match - Derby on excellent form and Doncaster on really poor away form. I'm going for a 3-0 Derby win.

Ipswich v Watford

Not many would have predicted the collapse of Watford over recent matches, but the Hornets are looking to end their awful run following the appointment of a new manager. Ipswich are on much better form, and have Sylvan Ebanks-Blake available following his move in the week.

Ipswich have a fully fit squad, while Watford are without Marco Faraoni, Almen Abdi, Essaid Belkalem and Tommie Hoban through injury. However, they have Joel Ekstrand and Lloyd Doyley available for selection again.

Due to Watford's poor form, I can't look past Ipswich for this game. A 3-1 win would be my prediction.

Leeds v Barnsley

In form Leeds face Barnsley in a Yorkshire Derby, as the visitors look to move away from the bottom of the Championship table.

Leeds players Danny Pugh (doubtful), Scott Wootton, and Adam Drury and Dominic Poleon (all returning from injury) are unlikely to feature for this match. Chris O'Grady could play for the visitors, but Paddy McCourt is an injury doubt.

I will predict a 3-1 Leeds win, due to the form of both of the sides.

Sheff Wed v Bournemouth

Sheffield Wednesday will jump out of the bottom three with a win over Bournemouth.

Giles Coke could return for Wednesday, but Michail Antonio and Joe Mattock are both injured. Josh McQuoid could feature for the Cherries, but Elliot Ward and Mohamed Coulibaly are both out with injuries.

I would predict a Bournemouth win here (2-1) - purely because Sheffield Wednesday have only managed wins over two of the top sides in the division, and don't look as effective against sides lower in the table.

Yeovil v Blackburn

Yeovil are another side that can climb out of the bottom three with a win, as Blackburn look to push their season in the right direction.

Goalkeeper Chris Dunn suffered an injury in Yeovil's last match and is doubtful for this game. DJ Campbell could return for Blackburn, after the match fixing questioning. Josh King and Lee Williamson is likely to return, but Corry Evans is still injured.

A Blackburn win (1-0) is the most likely result here, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Glovers manage a win against them.

Millwall v Middlesbrough (17:30)

The late kick-off sees Millwall and Middlesbrough clash in a relegation battle.

Millwall's Alan Dunne will have a late fitness test, while Josh Wright has returned from his loan at Leyton Orient. Nicky Bailey and Richard Chaplow are both still injured. Jonathan Woodgate, Marvin Emnes and Jason Steele are all unlikely to feature for Boro.

A close affair here - with a draw (1-1) being my prediction.