Norwich are showing signs of a resurgence in the Championship, and although they were held to a draw away at Wigan in midweek, the Canaries will relish a return to the home comforts of Carrow Road. Nottingham Forest are the visitors to Norfolk, and Alex Neil’s men are worthy of support as they try to force their way into the play off reckoning.
Relegated last season, Norwich were among the favourites to win this division, but that horse appears to have bolted. The Canaries are 14 points adrift of 2nd placed Brighton, and although there are 16 games remaining in the marathon Championship season, it’s a big gap to close. Norwich spent many of the early weeks of the season in the top two, but a prolonged run of poor form that stretched from October into the New Year saw them win just three times in 17 games. It was welcome relief for Norwich fans then, when their team strung together three wins in a row in late January/early February.
The Norfolk club would love to be in the position of their Yorkshire counterparts, Huddersfield, who are still flying high in 4th place. The Terriers have strung together a run of four straight wins – no mean feat when you consider they’ve beaten direct rivals Brighton and Leeds. Saturday brings a trip to the capital to play QPR, where Rangers have lost five of their last seven at Loftus Road.
In Saturday’s late kick off, league leaders Newcastle will be looking to extend their slender lead at the top by beating Wolves. The Magpies have traded places with Brighton again at the summit, but are still just six points ahead of the chasing pack and there’s a long way to go. Wolves would be in the relegation zone if the table were based on home form alone, so their position of 18th (seven points clear of the drop) is commendable. One of Wanderers’ away successes was a 2-0 victory at St James Park in September, halting a six-game Newcastle winning streak. The Magpies can turn the tables in front of the cameras on Saturday night and go back up North with three points.
Norwich v Nottingham Forest
Norwich are -133 with BetVictor to beat Forest, which is more than acceptable.
The Canaries home form has been fairly sound all season – they have a record of 10-1-3 from 14 games. It’s the away form which has let them down and left them scrapping for a play off slot. The latest three wins and a draw is the best run of results Norwich have put together since September though, so they may be coming to the boil at just the right time. They’ve won five of the last seven at Carrow Road, and have beaten Forest on each of their last two visits.
Nottingham Forest have also endured a shocking run of form, losing six of seven games over a period stretching from December through January. They’ve also turned form on its head in recent weeks with three wins from four games, but crucially all have come at the City Ground. The teams they’ve beaten – Aston Villa, Bristol City and Rotherham – are also those with some of the worst six-game form figures in the division. A 2-0 away loss at Leeds in-between those wins was Forest’s 5th defeat in six away games, and another is on the cards on Saturday.
QPR v Huddersfield
David Wagner is clearly doing something very right at Huddersfield, and his side are just six points adrift of challenging Brighton for second place. The run of four straight victories has included a 3-1 home win over Brighton and last week’s last-gasp 2-1 win over Leeds. But the Terriers are not just a home side, they’ve also won four if the last five away – victims including Norwich City. Overall Huddersfield are eight wins in ten games and confidence is high as we enter this final stretch of the season.
Ranger are not showing significant signs of improvement under Ian Holloway. In 19th place they have a diminishing six points lead over the relegation zone, and three wins in the last 14 matches is poor form. The likes of Burton, Blackburn, Wolves, Aston Villa and Derby have all left Loftus Road with three points since the start of December, meaning Rangers have lost five of the last seven on home soil. A pumped up Huddersfield side may just be too much for a fragile QPR.
Wolves v Newcastle
Newcastle are also tipped to beat Wolves at +120 with Betfred.
Rafa Benitez’ decision to stick with the Magpies looks like paying off, and it will be no surprise to anyone if they line up in next season’s Premier League. Newcastle’s away form is the best in the division, they have a 10-1-3 record in 14 matches in the road – a slightly better record than they have on home soil. They’ve won three of the last four away games in the Championship at Wigan, Burton and Brentford. only losing at ‘bogey’ side Blackburn.
Wolves have only won three of their last ten at Molineux, losing six and drawing once. As mentioned above Wolves home form would have them in the bottom three, and they are hosting the most prolific away side in the division here, which also happens to have the best defence on the road to boot.
Norwich to beat Nottingham Forest
Saturday 11th February, 15:00 GMT
Huddersfield to beat QPR
Saturday 11th February, 15:00 GMT
Newcastle to beat Wolves
Saturday 11th February, 17:30 GMT