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Sunday's Championship preview: Blackburn looking to get back on track

The Championship offers up five games to get 2023 up and running, with promotion hopefuls Blackburn, Luton and Millwall all in action.

Third-placed Blackburn will be eager to halt their recent slide of results when they welcome Cardiff to Ewood Park at 12:00.

The remaining four fixtures are all scheduled for 15:00 with Blackpool hosting Sunderland, Bristol City heading to Coventry, Huddersfield welcoming Luton to the John Smith's Stadium and Rotherham travelling to Millwall.

Rovers aiming to stop the rot

What: Blackburn v Cardiff 
Where: Ewood Park, Blackburn 
When: 12:00, Sunday 1st January 2023 
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event 
Odds: Blackburn 13/10, Draw 23/10, Cardiff 11/5

Blackburn made a great start to life under Jon Dahl Tomasson, winning each of their opening three games, while they sat second after beating Huddersfield on 5th November.

But the wheels have since come off and they've lost four of the last five to slip to third and 11 points adrift of second-placed Sheffield United.

There's still a long way to go but challenging for an automatic promotion berth is starting to look extremely unlikely and they need to refocus on retaining their spot in the playoffs.

Just three points separate Blackburn in third with Reading in 10th and any further dropped points over the coming weeks could prove costly.

Cardiff visit Lancashire on Sunday riding a four-game unbeaten run but each of those fixtures have ended in draws after the appointment of boss Mark Hudson on a permanent basis.

Hudson has focused largely on keeping things tight at the back and the Bluebirds have delivered by earning clean sheets in their last two outings.

Expect them to stick by that gameplan at Ewood Park as they attempt to frustrate their rivals and a low-scoring game could potentially be on the cards.

Backing Under 1.5 goals, which is available at 2/1, could be the way to go, especially when considering that has landed in the last two meetings between these sides.

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Improving Huddersfield hoping to halt Hatters

What: Huddersfield v Luton 
Where: John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield 
When: 15:00, Sunday 1st January 2023 
How to watch: Sky Sports Red Button 
Odds: Huddersfield 15/8, Draw 12/5, Luton 29/20

Huddersfield and Luton are hoping to start 2023 in the same fashion that they left 2022, with momentum on their side and both go into this clash on the back of successive wins.

The Terriers have climbed off the foot of the table and up to 22nd following victories over Preston and Rotherham - the first time they've won successive games this campaign - with just a two-point gap to safety.

A change in the dugout, with Mark Fotheringham at the helm, appears to be finally starting to pay off but they face a serious test on Sunday.

Luton, who saw Nathan Jones depart and Rob Edwards arrive as his replacement, are going from strength to strength as they set their sights on the top six.

Edwards has led Luton to successive wins after losing his first game in charge, seeing off Norwich and QPR, and they are only outside of the playoff places on goal difference.

The Hatters have enjoyed their engagements on the road, boasting the fifth-best record in the division after picking up six wins, but goals have been at a premium with under 2.5 in eight of their 12 games away from Kenilworth Road, while that has landed in 10 of Huddersfield's 13 at home.

Backing under 2.5 goals and a Luton win in the Result/Total Goals market at 15/4 looks the way to go.

Lions unlikely to give anything away

What: Millwall v Rotherham 
Where: The Den, London 
When: 15:00, Sunday 1st January 2023 
Odds: Millwall 3/5, Draw 11/4, Rotherham 11/2

Millwall are another contender for a playoff berth after 24 games and, like Luton, could end Sunday in the top six if they earn victory and other results go in their favour.

The Lions are unbeaten in three games, drawing two and winning one, and have only lost one of their last seven engagements.

They look well placed to add another victory to their tally when Rotherham, who sit 21st and firmly in a relegation battle, head to The Den.

Rotherham haven't won in five, losing three during that sequence, and they have only tasted victory once since 18th October.

It's also worth noting that they have only picked up two wins on the road and they are set to travel to a team with the fourth-best home record in the division.

The Millers are the Championship's lowest scorers away from home, netting only eight times, while Millwall have the best defensive record on their own patch with just eight conceded, which points to a home Win to Nil at 11/8.

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