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Championship: Tuesday preview

The EFL returns for a full midweek programme starting Tuesday, with Championship leaders Sheffield United travelling to Swansea as a Lancashire derby at Deepdale sees Preston host an impressive Burnley.

In all, six matches will take place across the Championship, while all 48 League One and League Two sides are in action.

WhatSwansea vs. Sheffield United
WhereSwansea.com Stadium
When19:45, Tuesday 13th September 2022
How to watchSky Sports Football - Red Button
OddsSwansea 12/5, Draw 12/5, Sheff Utd 23/20

Blades to stay sharp against struggling Swans

Top of the pile after eight games, Paul Heckingbottom's Sheffield United make the long trip down to South Wales as they gear up for a 19:45 clash with 19th-placed Swansea, the hosts just starting to show signs of picking up form.

After back-to-back defeats against Luton and Middlesbrough, the Swans collected a point at Stoke and a vital three against QPR last time out – enough to lift them clear of the drop zone by a point.

But head coach Russell Martin will know his side face a far tougher task against the league's team to beat – the Blades are the early joint-favourites to clinch the title, priced at 7/2.

The loss of frontman Billy Sharp – scorer of 50 goals over his last three completed Championship campaigns – to injury in August threatened to derail the South Yorkshire side's promising early progress, but the goals have not gone anywhere in his absence and have in fact been largely spread around.

Defender Anel Ahmedhodzic, newly arrived from Malmo this summer, netted twice in the 4-0 rout of Reading on Tuesday 30th August, while Oli McBurnie struck against both the Royals and Hull City last time out, in a 2-0 victory – he faces his former club on Tuesday.

WhatPreston vs. Burnley
WhereDeepdale Stadium
When20:00, Tuesday 13th September 2022
How to watchSky Sports Football
OddsPreston 2/1, Draw 23/10, Burnley 13/10

Kompany's Clarets set sights on the top

With three of the four sides above Burnley not in action until Wednesday night, Vincent Kompany's side know that victory over Preston in the 20:00 kick-off could exercise some vital overnight scoreboard pressure over the likes of Bristol City, Reading and Norwich, whose respective starts to the season have set them in pole position to hunt down Sheffield United.

But if the former Manchester City defender and his charges are to continue their pursuit of the Championship top boys, they will have to break down a Preston defence that has, incredibly, been breached just once in eight league matches, leaving them an early 7/2 shot to make the play-offs.

North End currently sit in eighth, owing to the fact that their near-unbeaten start does consist of five draws, along with two wins and a solitary loss.

Though Preston's skill in keeping opponents out could serve as a model to their Championship counterparts – indeed, they became just the third English team in history to open a season with seven clean sheets – boss Ryan Lowe will be scratching his head as to how to increase his team's output at the other end of the park.

In his first full season at Deepdale, the former Plymouth helmsman, who took over from Frankie McAvoy in December, has overseen just two goals – Burnley have hit 14.

Furthermore, the home side's 1-0 defeat to Birmingham last time out will add cause for concern, not helped by the absence of Andrew Hughes, Ben Woodburn, Bambo Diaby and Sean Maguire.

For Burnley, Kompany may be blessed by the return of goalkeeper Arijanet Muric from a shoulder issue that forced him off in the draw with West Brom a fortnight ago.

Related Championship News

Championship - Football: Dan Child's monthly round-up

Championship - Football: Season preview

WhatMiddlesbrough vs. Cardiff
WhereRiverside Stadium
When19:45, Tuesday 13th September 2022
How to watchSky Sports Football - Red Button
OddsMiddlesbrough 7/10, Draw 13/5, Cardiff 17/4 

Boro and Cardiff in basement battle

A desperately slow start to Middlesbrough's season was finally curtailed through the end of August; Chris Wilder's side, having won none of their opening five in the second tier this term, are now pulling away from danger after picking up wins over Swansea and neighbours Sunderland, either side of a respectable 2-1 defeat against promotion challengers Watford.

Now, with Cardiff the visitors to the Riverside, Boro have the chance to make their way into the top half of the table at the expense of the struggling Welshmen, whose fortunes have starkly contrasted those of their Tuesday night opponents.

City picked up an opening day win against well-fancied Norwich, before backing it up on matchday three against Birmingham, but a seven-point haul from their opening four league games made way for a dismal run of three defeats and one draw from their ensuing four assignments, meaning their relegation can be backed at 4/1.

Kion Etete, Jamilu Collins and Ebou Adams remain out of contention for Cardiff, though Callum O'Dowda may see a return from his hip injury, while for the hosts, a question mark remains next to Paddy McNair's availability after the Northern Ireland international limped off with an ankle injury in the derby win, though he did return to training over the weekend.

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen's knee injury has seen him fail two late fitness tests in a row – the same rigours await him if he is to play a part.

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