Championship Preview: Watford and Boro battle at the top

22 October 2014 21:22

Middlesbrough and Watford battle for a top two spot in the Championship on Saturday as both aim to bounce back from midweek disappointments.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s new side stayed at the summit for just two days after being held at home by Nottingham Forest while Middlesbrough are two points behind in third, following a defeat at Wolves that ended their seven-match unbeaten run.

“Saturday is another game,” Middlesbrough coach Aitor Karanka told the club’s official website.

“That’s the good thing about this league, when you lose a game you have another one to get back on track.

“It’s going to be a hard game at home against a very good team so it will be difficult and we have to forget the Wolves game as soon as possible.”

Those slips allowed Derby County to climb to the top with victory at Blackpool, thanks to Chris Martin’s late penalty. It was Derby’s sixth consecutive clean sheet, equalling a club record that dates back to 1912.

Steve McClaren’s side seek to extend that run when they host Wigan Athletic, who this week welcomed back former favourite Maynor Figueroa on loan from Hull City.

Birmingham City began life without Lee Clark with defeat at Blackburn Rovers. But they return home, where they have won just once in the past 12 months, to face Bournemouth, who are on a three-match winning run.

Fulham are also without a permanent manager although Kit Symons can strengthen his case for the position with victory against Charlton Athletic on Friday.

Leeds host Wolves with an investigation into alleged racist abuse by Giuseppe Bellusci hanging over them while the inquiry into Blackpool’s poor start to the season rumbles on with Jose Riga questioning the club’s recruitment ahead of their trip to Reading.

“On the market, you cannot find what we were able to find two months ago,” Riga told BBC Radio Lancashire.

“And it’s about also the will – the will to bring this player.

“And I want [to], believe me. The problem is I’m not sure that everybody wants the same.”

Forest are without a win in six but will remain in the play-off positions if they beat Blackburn as fifth-placed Norwich City travel to Sheffield Wednesday.

Cardiff City and Ipswich Town can keep up their play-off pushes with success against Millwall and Huddersfield Town respectively.

Bolton Wanderers take on Brentford in Neil Lennon’s first home match and Brighton and Hove Albion aim to pull away from the bottom three when they host Rotherham United.