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Championship Preview: Gray to get Burnley underway, Blues and City set for exciting day

10 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Championship Preview: Gray to get Burnley underway, Blues and City set for exciting day

With the international break over attentions can return to club football and arguably the most competitive league in Europe – the Championship

If the opening five rounds of fixtures were anything to go by, we are set for another exciting season in English football’s second division.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of all of the three o’clock kick-offs in the Championship as well as Sunday’s game between Fulham and Blackburn.

Brighton (6/4) v Hull (7/4) – Draw (11/5)

We begin on the South Coast with first versus second, as the Championship’s early pace-setters Brighton and Hull meet at the Amex Stadium.

During a summer in which second-tier teams have shelled out an estimated £100m on new players, it is two sides not particularly renowned for big spending that sit atop the table.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton and forward Kazenga LuaLua deservedly picked up the Championship’s monthly awards for August, but they face a huge test of their promotion credentials against Steve Bruce’s Tigers – a side that have conceded just four times this season.

Middlesbrough (4/7) v MK Dons (5/1) – Draw (11/4)

Last season’s beaten play-off finalists have enjoyed a steady start to the new campaign, but boss Aitor Karanka will want his Middlesbrough side to begin showing a bit more consistency in their performances.

And what better side to do that against than newly-promoted MK Don?

The Dons won big last time out against Championship whipping boys Rotherham, but it is hard to see them getting anywhere near as many goalscoring chances against a strong Boro side.

Leeds (11/8) v Brentford (15/8) – Draw (23/10)

Brentford are yet to show anything like the swashbuckling football that won them plenty of plaudits last season.

Following two difficult defeats to Reading and Burnley, it could be a tricky year for the Bees.

The same could be said of Leeds United who, despite having yet to lose in the league, have only picked up one win so far under the tutelage of Uwe Rosler.

Rosler, facing one of his former sides, will fancy his chances of stringing together back-to-back victories and living up to their billing as favourites.

Preston (13/8) v Derby (13/8) – Draw (11/5)

Reportedly the Championship’s biggest spenders during the summer, few would have expected Derby to get off to such a stuttering start.

Following an outlay of around £17m and a return of just four draws and a defeat from their opening five games, Rams boss Paul Clement will be desperate for a win this weekend.

Preston will be no pushovers however, and while they too have not enjoyed the greatest of starts, Simon Grayson’s side have only conceded four times in the league so far – suggesting this one will be a low-scoring affair.

Bolton (9/5) v Wolves (7/5) – Draw (23/10)

Another side still awaiting their first league victory of the season is Bolton, who have looked worryingly feeble during the opening five matches.

Neil Lennon’s side have mustered just one goal so far, but they could add to that against a Wolves side that is far from defensively sound.

For Wolves, the emphasis appears to be on attacking play instead, with hotshot Benik Afobe having already bagged two goals this year.

He’ll fancy his chances of getting more at the weekend, so it is little surprise that he is priced at 9/2 to be the first goalscorer.afobe-blogCardiff (1/1) v Huddersfield (11/4) – Draw (9/4)

Following last month’s entertaining 2-2 draw with QPR, Cardiff’s Scott Malone stated that both sides were promotion contenders.

The Bluebirds have certainly looked like they could be in the mix come the end of the season, and their bid for a return to the Premier League continues this weekend against a Huddersfield side still without a league win to their name.

The Terriers have drawn three of their five Championship fixtures so far, and a result in Wales looks like a pretty big ask for a team sat in the relegation zone.

Birmingham (7/5) v Bristol City (7/4) – Draw (12/5)

Undefeated Birmingham will head into Saturday’s clash with Bristol City expecting to continue that impressive run of results.

Gary Rowett’s men have scored twice in all but one fixture this season and they have an excellent chance of adding to that.

Bristol, despite being towards the wrong end of the table, have shown their own knack for finding the net – even if they do concede a few along the way.

There is good value in over 3.5 goals being scored in this one at 9/4, with over 4.5 goals priced at 5/1 for the more adventurous.

Charlton (1/1) v Rotherham (11/4) – Draw (9/4)

Charlton’s strong start to the campaign was tapered slightly by a narrow defeat at the hands of Wolves last time out, but the Addicks will be expected to return to winning form against a Rotherham side that have only picked up one point so far.

Rotherham have conceded 15 times in all competitions and while boss Steve Evans will target greater defensive solidity on Saturday, it comes as no surprise that Charlton are overwhelming favourites for the victory.

Burnley (1/1) v Sheffield Wednesday (11/4) – Draw (9/4)

Burnley were one of the busiest sides during the summer transfer window and boss Sean Dyche will want a little more from his men having picked up just eight points from their opening five fixtures.

All eyes will be on Joey Barton, who recently joined the club on a one-year deal.

The former QPR man is expected to make his debut against Sheffield Wednesday who were also extremely busy this summer, signing no less than 15 players.

The Clarets come into this one as favourites and new striker Andre Gray looks a good prospect at 5/1 to be the first goalscorer.

Fulham (6/4) v Blackburn (7/4) – Draw (9/4)

As has tended to be the case ever since they were relegated, it does not look like either of these sides are ready to launch a bid to be promoted back to the Premier League.

Fulham head into the fixture as favourites having registered their first win against rock-bottom Rotherham last time out.

Blackburn on the other hand are without a victory all season, with pressure mounting on boss Gary Bowyer.

Championship betting

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