The Easter fixtures is always a crunch time for Clubs chasing promotion or looking to avoid relegation, and this year’s set of games is certainly no exception, as the Championship race heats up at both ends of the table. Here we take a look at some of the big games across the weekend and make a few forecasts, the results of which could really affect the table by the time the Easter bunny goes back underground.
MIDDLESBROUGH v WOLVES (Friday 15:00)
Arguably the biggest tie of Good Friday is the clash at the Riverside Stadium between Middlesbrough, who are unbeaten in six games and have cruised into the Play Off places, and league leaders Wolves, who remain top of the table despite a rocky recent run, and remain in pole position for automatic promotion. With Cardiff at home to lowly Burton, Wolves will not want the charging Welshmen to close the gap further – but equally Boro can ill afford to drop points with the teams surrounding them all having very winnable games (on paper). Looks too close to call this game – and we think both teams will settle for a point each.
FORECAST : Middlesbrough 1-1 Wolves
DERBY COUNTY v SUNDERLAND (Friday 19:45)
After the debacle and controversy surrounding their ultimately postponed fixture against Cardiff City, the Rams will want to get back to something like normality and hopefully, from their perspective, winning ways against relegation haunted Sunderland, who are rock bottom of the table and look doomed. Derby haven’t won in seven Championship games and have only won one in eleven – but they have only lost twice in that period also so are clinging on to their Play off place, but seem out of the automatic promotion race. Sunderland have only won once since the New Year and have lost seven of their last ten games, so would seem there for the taking. But Derby fans know this is the kind of fixture that they often trip up on. It will be a tense affair at Pride Park…but we see the Rams grabbing a vital three points. Just.
FORECAST : Derby 2-1 Sunderland
SHEFFIELD UNITED v CARDIFF CITY (Monday 19:45)
A big battle at Bramall Lane is expected as playoff hopefuls Sheffield United welcome automatic promotion chasing Cardiff, who will very likely be on an 8 game winning streak as they look to charge all the way to the Premier League. But the Blades will be looking to blunt their progress and enhance their own chances of promotion. It should be a thrilling affair where we can see plenty of goals going in by two teams who will want the three points. Although they are hard to beat on their home turf, we can see the points going down to Wales in a victory that could make auto promotion almost a certainty for the Bluebirds.
FORECAST : Sheffield United 2-3 Cardiff City
BOLTON WANDERERS v BIRMINGHAM CITY (Monday 20:00)
The last game of the Championship Easter schedule is a bruising fixture that has huge relegation implications between two proud teams struggling to recapture former Premier League glories. Bolton have improved their own survival chances with a run of one loss in six games, whereas the Blues arrested their run of seven losses with a vital win in their last game against Hull. A home win here should almost see Bolton safe, but the Blues will see this game as a real chance to get another three crucial points, although they have the worst away record in the Division. No holds barred here, but we think Bolton will edge it.
FORECAST : Bolton 1-0 Birmingham
It promises to be another thrilling weekend of Championship football and we look forward to seeing how our predictions fare, as well as reviewing all the action next week!
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