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The Championship is back with a bang this weekend
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Championship weekend preview: Leaders Burnley face tough Baggies test

Two big games kick off the Championship weekend with the top two, Burnley and Sheffield United, both in action on Friday.

With the 12 second-tier games spread out between Friday and Sunday, it should be another action-packed weekend in the Championship with talking points generated at the top and bottom.

Blades in promotion form ahead of Hull's visit

WhatSheffield United v Hull City
WhereBramall Lane, Sheffield
When19:45, Friday 20th January 2023
How to watchSky Sports Red Button
OddsSheffield United 8/13, Draw 14/5, Hull 5/1

The second-placed Blades have moved just five points behind leaders Burnley with a fine recent run of six wins in seven Championship games, drawing the other.

Paul Heckingbottom's side are displaying automatic promotion form and should have too much for a Hull side who are down in 16th and appear to have a very limited chance of making the play-offs this term at best.

The Tigers have been inconsistent of late, mixing away wins over Birmingham and Wigan with home draws against Huddersfield and Blackpool, and a visit to Bramall Lane is up there with the most difficult of road trips in the Championship.

Expect United to come out on top then, with a home success at 8/13 in Full Time Result, as they aim to make it four home league wins on the spin and a ninth out of 14 in front of their own fans overall.

In-form Baggies could frustrate leaders

WhatBurnley v West Brom
WhereTurf Moor, Burnley
When20:00, Friday 20th January, 2023
How to watchSky Sports Main Event/Football
OddsBurnley 11/10, Draw 11/5, West Brom 11/4

The leaders kick-off 15 minutes later than their chasers and host a quickly-improving West Brom side, who are sure to test the Clarets' Championship-winning credentials.

The Baggies are really on the up under Carlos Corberan and have won their last four games straight in the league, while they also progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a convincing 4-0 replay win over Chesterfield in the week.

Albion are dangerous opponents for Vincent Kompany's side as they will approach the trip to Turf Moor without much fear and full of confidence.

And there have been some signs of late that Burnley's previous imperious form could be dipping. They have still managed nine wins in all competitions from their last 10 games - with the only defeat in that run coming at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the EFL Cup - but Kompany's men have had to dig out narrow one-goal victories in each of their last three league outings.

Indeed, last time out at home to Coventry they were expected to comfortably pick up the three points, but only a goal from Jordan Beyer eight minutes from time secured a late win.

That should give the in-form visitors hope on Friday night that they can come away with something and the smart money might be on a draw in the Full Time market at Turf Moor, available at 11/5.

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Nine games on busy Saturday

There are nine games on Saturday with the early kick-off at 12:30 seeing Coventry host Norwich. The Sky Blues, who are 15th and nine points clear of the relegation zone, are 9/5 to beat the seventh-placed Canaries, who are 6/4 for an away win in Full Time Result, while the draw is 12/5.

Also at 15:00, Blackpool, who sacked head coach Michael Appleton on Wednesday and have lined up the experienced Mick McCarthy as his replacement, entertain Huddersfield.

The Seasiders are 13/10 to win, the draw is 23/10 and an away success for Town, who have not won in two games, are 11/5.

Rovers try to respond to Rotherham rout

WhatBristol City v Blackburn Rovers
WhereAshton Gate, Bristol
When15:00, Saturday 21st January 2023
OddsBristol City 6/5, Draw 12/5, Blackburn 23/10

Blackburn are still only a point adrift of third-placed Watford despite winning just one of their last five league games.

Rovers were hammered 4-0 by struggling Rotherham last weekend and will have to be much better if they are to bounce back at Ashton Gate.

The Robins are unbeaten in three second-tier outings and beat Birmingham 4-2 at home last time out to move up to 16th, six points clear of the drop zone.

A home win appeals at 6/5 considering Blackburn's poor showing last time, while a draw is 12/5 and an away success is 23/10.

The remainder of Saturday's 15:00 games feature Birmingham at home to Preston, Cardiff entertain Millwall, QPR welcome Swansea to Loftus Road, while it's Stoke versus Reading, Watford versus Rotherham and bottom-placed Wigan host Luton in a repeat of Tuesday's FA Cup replay, which the Hatters won 2-1.

North-east action on Sunday

WhatSunderland v Middlesbrough
WhereStadium of Light, Sunderland
When12:00, Sunday 22nd January 2023
OddsSunderland 19/10, Draw 12/5, Middlesbrough 29/20

Sunday's solitary game is a north-east derby between Sunderland and Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats and Boro both have play-off aspirations with the former 10th, three points off the top six, while the latter sit fourth.

They come into this showdown in similar overall form, with both sides having lost one of their last five in all competitions.

However, the best bet on Sunday might be an away win considering Michael Carrick's side have won five of their last six on the road in the Championship, with their only defeat on that run being at leaders Burnley.

Another Boro win is available at 29/20, the draw is 12/5 and a Sunderland win is 19/10 in Full Time Result.

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