Preview: Sky Bet Championship
With the First Round of the FA Cup occupying Sky Bet League One and League Two for the weekend, attention turns to the Sky Bet Championship and the race for top spot and survival.
The weekend’s action begins at the City Ground as arch-rivals Nottingham Forest and Derby County set to face each other in the second East Midlands derby of the season.
Forest were victorious on that occasion and there will be no doubt that Sabri Lamouchi’s men will be looking to make it two wins from two.
If they manage to pick up the win on Saturday, it will be the first time since 1990 that they have seen off the Rams in three consecutive games, in all competitions.
League leaders West Bromwich Albion compounded more misery onto bottom club Stoke City last time out, with a solid 2-0 win at the bet365 Stadium, the Baggies are on the road again at the weekend, heading to Hull City.
The Tigers boss, Grant McCann has been nominated for the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award for October, alongside Birmingham City’s Pep Clotet, Brentford’s Thomas Frank and Huddersfield Town’s Danny Cowley, emphasising the fantastic job he has done at the KCOM Stadium of late.
Hull are unbeaten in their last five home games against West Brom, last tasting defeat back in January 2008.
Just below Slaven Bilic’s side sit Preston North End who have been battling well on and off the pitch in recent weeks, a 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic on Sunday momentarily took them top of the division for the first time since 2006.
They have also had to fight to keep manager Alex Neil from the clutches of Stoke City, the Scotsman’s side welcome Huddersfield Town to Deepdale looking to keep the pressure on top spot, with the Lilywhites adding to the 20 points they have won already at home this campaign.
Towards the foot of the table, a relegation six-pointer is due to take place at Oakwell as Barnsley entertain Stoke City.
23rd and 24th in the table respectively, this represents a game that could prove to be a turning point in both Clubs’ season, this is the first league meeting between the two sides since December 2007, where they drew 3-3 on that occasion.
Middlesbrough also sit in the drop zone at this point of the campaign, a position where manager Jonathon Woodgate would not have envisaged to be when he took the reins at the start of the season.
After 15 games and only 12 points, the Boro will be hoping a run of wins can significantly turn their fortunes upside down, starting with three points against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Play-Off hopefuls Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City clash as Hillsborough, Leeds United take on Blackburn Rovers at Elland Road, and we finish Sunday’s action with a Severnside derby as Bristol City head to the Welsh capital to face Cardiff City.