We’ve passed the halfway point in the Sky Bet Championship season. Sporting Life’s Tom Carnduff previews the latest round of games.
Do you like late drama? The Championship is the place to be.
Not only are Leeds rivalling Norwich for top spot in the table, but so too are they looking to steal their ‘late goal kings’ tag.
The Whites came back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 away from home on Sunday, with Kemar Roofe netting the winner in the 95th minute.
Fast-forward a few days and they’re at it again, but in even more dramatic fashion.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men host an in-form Hull side this weekend, who have won four of their last five games.
A three-point gap separates Leeds and Norwich, and the Canaries managed to overturn a 3-0 deficit in the final 20 minutes to draw 3-3 against Nottingham Forest.
We’ve grown used to seeing Daniel Farke’s side leave it late on multiple occasions this season, highlighting the great character in that squad.
City have a home tie next as they welcome Derby, who were beaten by Sheffield United in midweek.
The Blades will be aiming for consecutive home victories as they take on Blackburn, where three points will move them closer to West Brom in third.
The Baggies come up against a Sheffield Wednesday side who have two wins from two under Lee Bullen’s guidance as their caretaker manager.
Wednesday managed three points against a tough Middlesbrough outfit on the road, and will want another strong performance against a free-scoring West Brom side.
Middlesbrough remain in fifth and can move up a spot with a win over an Ipswich side who still remain bottom of the standings.
Paul Lambert’s side may have been beaten away at QPR in their last game, but they did pick up points against Sheffield United and Wigan in the weeks prior.
The R’s find themselves as contenders for a play-off spot with just two points separating them and sixth place.
They have another home game this weekend where they take on Reading, who are looking to break an eight-game winless run on the road.
Also on 37 points is Birmingham, who beat former manager Gary Rowett’s Stoke on Boxing Day.
They boast one of the best home records in the division, and will be looking to add three points to their tally against a Brentford side who have picked up points in two of their last three away.
Aston Villa sit a point behind their local rivals. Dean Smith’s side bounced back from that defeat to Leeds with a win over Swansea.
Villa will be hoping they can extend their away form to five unbeaten as they travel to Preston, who themselves saw their six-game home unbeaten run ended by Hull.
Forest will dust themselves down from being the victim of that heroic comeback from Norwich as they go to Millwall.
Neil Harris’ side have lost just one of their last seven away, while Forest are unbeaten in their last four on the road which should set this up to be a real entertaining clash.
At the other end of the table, Bolton can move out of the relegation zone if they can get something against Stoke.
The Potters are looking to snap a four-game run without a win away, while Bolton picked up their first win at home since September as they beat Rotherham in midweek.
Paul Warne’s Millers are back on the road this weekend as they go to Bristol City, who have drawn four of their last five.
Rotherham have also drawn four of their last six away – which does set this up to be a game where the points could be shared again.
Elsewhere, Swansea have found themselves involved in a number of high-scoring games in previous weeks, with that loss to Villa ending a run of seven games with two or more goals, six of which saw three or higher.
Wigan are their next opponent. Paul Cook’s side have found games away from home tricky so far this season, although this is an encounter where both sides will be hopeful of victory.
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