We are right in the thick of the winter period which can make or break teams in all divisions. Losing momentum, like Sheffield Wednesday and United have done is tough, and gaining it, like ourselves and Bristol City. However it can quickly change with the games coming up, and today will be key, with two more in the schedule coming around.
In terms of big games away from Leeds today you look at Aston Villa, and a tough trip to the dangerous Brentford. The London side host Steve Bruce and his Villa side who have dropped points the last two weeks, most notably after being 2-0 up at home to Sheffield United after 10 minutes and drawing 2-2. Wolves have a tough trip to Millwall but should win, and second placed Cardiff City host Fulham who are more than capable of winning on the road against Neil Warnock and his side. A defeat for them could see others catch up, with the table tight. Below them Derby County travel to Hull, a game they should win on paper and Bristol City host an out of sorts Reading who haven’t got going this season. Our trip to Burton Albion represents a tricky fixture, with the home side off the back of two huge wins for their season.
Sheffield United are in very poor form but did turn around what looked like a tough day at Villa to gain some momentum and they will go into today’s game at home to Sunderland thinking the point will be huge if they can back it up with win. They have dropped out of the play-offs for the first time since near the start of the season, and a win could push them back as high as 5th. Preston head to Barnsley in a game they should win, the hosts need a victory because they haven’t won in a long time and are drifting towards the bottom three. Below that Ipswich host Queens Park Rangers and will fancy a win, and Middlesbrough, managerless after sacking Garry Monk are playing hosts to Bolton Wanderers who are needing the win, the away side will look to the likes of Sammy Ameobi and Gary Madine to take advantage of an unsure Middlesbrough side.
Mid-table games see Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday meet, the away side another without a head-coach and will want to take points from a game where the home side don’t really know which way they are heading this season. Birmingham City and Norwich meet at St. Andrews, both sides on the brink of crisis, the latter are hovering above the troubled teams but still have a gap. A loss today would see the pressure mount on German coach Farke, but a loss for the home side would surely signal chaos, Steve Cotterill having a disastrous start to life in charge of the blues. It’s sure to be an up and down day in the league, with sides all under pressure for different reasons.