Boro and Hull to Continue Championship Winning Runs
There has been an almost full set of fixtures in the Championship this week and the action continues on the weekend, with some eye-catching games in store. None more so that the clash between Hull and Queens Park Rangers at the KC Stadium, which would have been a Premier League match at this time last year. League-leaders Brighton face a tricky away tie at Wolves but could be worth a chance at long odds, while Middlesbrough are well into the winning groove and look ominous in their pursuit of promotion, with Nottingham Forest the next challenge for the Teesiders.
Brighton continued their remarkable early season form to go five points clear at the top of the table, ahead of the chasing Middlesbrough and Burnley. The Seagulls eased past bottom club Rotherham 2-1 on Tuesday night, to give Chris Hughton a sixth win in seven matches. Boro made it three on the trot with a comfortable 3-1 win over Brentford at the Riverside Stadium, with Uruguayan striker, Stuani, grabbing a brace. Meanwhile, Burnley made it four in a row in the league with a 2-1 success over MK Dons at home.
The biggest movers of the night were Huddersfield who leap-frogged their way out of the relegation zone with a hard-fought win away at Charlton. Bristol City’s draw with Preston couldn’t prevent them from slipping into the bottom three, and Brentford’s third defeat in four at Boro left them in 21st, only above the drop zone on goal difference. Hull secured an excellent 2-0 away win at Cardiff to overtake that rival and move up to fourth, while Ipswich retained their place in the top six with a 1-0 victory over Leeds at Elland Road. Of the ten games played on Tuesday evening five resulted in away wins, two were draws, and just three teams managed to win on home ground.
Hull v QPR
The Tigers were pretty dismal in their attempt to remain in the Premier league last season, but the hangover didn’t last too long, and Steve Bruce has his side ideally poised for a promotion charge. They’ve alternated between winning and losing over the last five games, but the 2-0 win at high-flying Cardiff was a very good result, and the two goalscorers – Diame and Hernadez – is a reminder of the quality that they’ve kept in the squad. They’ve won four on the bounce at home, and will be fired up for the visit of promotion rivals QPR. Steve Bruce remarked after the Cardiff game that he expected a response from his players after the previous “awful” performance in the 1-0 defeat at Brighton, but his charges shouldn’t need to much motivation for a game of this magnitude in front of their own fans. They beat QPR in the corresponding fixture last season and there’s no reason why they can’t repeat the trick.
Everything had been going well for QPR with three wins in a row, and they were a goal to the good at home to Forest at the weekend with just 15 minutes to play. However, goalkeeper Rob Green was given his marching orders for a foul in the box after he failed to control a back pass, and Henri Lansbury converted the penalty before Nelson Oliveira settled the game with 8 minutes remaining. They will have to cope without the experienced keeper, and they’ve already conceded twice as many as Hull this season.
Nottingham Forest v Middlesbrough
Boro have invested heavily this summer, with notable signings including Stewart Downing from West Ham and Christian Stuani from Espanyol. The latter scored two in the 3-1 win over Brentford, which resulted in the Teeside club moving up one place to 2nd. It was their fourth win in a row, and manager Aitor Karanka said after the game that there was more to come from his striker. They’re unbeaten in nine on the road (won five) and were noted last season for their excellent counter-attacking style.
Forest have grabbed two wins in a row – over QPR and Birmingham, but they’ve actually lost six of the last ten at home, and only managed one victory in that time. The 1-0 win away at Birmingham on Tuesday took them up to 8th position, but they don’t look to have the required strength-in-depth to mount a serious challenge.
Wolves v Brighton
Finally Brighton are worth following until the bubble bursts, and the quote of +240 from BetVictor about an away win on Saturday looks very tempting.
Chris Hughton said after the 2-1 win against Rotherham that his only disappointment was that they failed to ‘manage’ the game and see out a 2-0 victory. One would venture if that is all he has to worry about then the signs are good on the South coast, and they travel to Wolves with little to fear. Bobby Zamora continued his recovery from injury with 20 minutes at the end of the game, and he’ll prove to be a useful squad member at this level. The 100% record remains intact, and their only slip was a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield.
Wolves have been much more inconsistent this year, after a very good campaign in their first season up after promotion last year. They are entering the second season, where the euphoria has worn off, and they’ve now lost three of the last four games to leave them 15th in the table. Both games between the two were drawn last season, and Wolves are a tough proposition at home, but such is Brighton’s momentum that they are worth chancing to come away with another victory at huge odds.
Hull to beat QPR
Saturday 19th September 15:00 GMT
Middlesbrough to beat Nottingham Forest
Saturday 19th September 12:30 GMT
Brighton to beat Wolves
Saturday 19th September 15:00 GMT