Championship preview

Saints face Pompey; Royals host Whites; Hammers tackle Tykes

Nigel Adkins: Southampton lead the way heading into derby day

Loading Market ...

Football Betting

Up To £30 Free Matched Bet

A busy Easter weekend brings Championship treats aplenty, with a South Coast derby between Southampton and Portsmouth the pick of the fixtures.

That contest will take place on Saturday lunchtime, but there are four Bank Holiday fixtures on Friday to whet the appetite.

Second-placed Reading get the second tier action up and running, with the Royals hoping they can consolidate their standing inside the automatic promotion places when they play host to Leeds - live on Sky Sports 1 HD.

Burnley welcome Brighton to Turf Moor with the visiting Seagulls determined to cling on to their play-off spot.

Blackpool are also inside the top six at present, but only goal difference is keeping them there and they know a positive result away at in-form Watford is vital.

Friday's action is wrapped up at Oakwell, with Barnsley hoping to put another dent in West Ham's faltering promotion push.

A mouth-watering encounter at St Mary's kicks off Saturday's fixture list, with table-topping Southampton looking to edge closer to the Premier League and pile more misery on their arch-rivals Portsmouth.

Struggles

Birmingham occupy fourth spot heading into the weekend and will be hoping to catch Crystal Palace on another off day - with the Eagles having struggled for form of late.

Middlesbrough and Cardiff find themselves on the fringes of the play-off places and both will be looking to break out of runs that have brought four consecutive draws.

Four defeats on the bounce have seen Hull City slip off the promotion pace and they desperately need to get their campaign back on track at lowly Millwall.

Leicester may have given themselves too much to do in their efforts to join the play-off pack, but they will keep their foot on the gas when they welcome rock-bottom Doncaster to the King Power Stadium.

Derby and Ipswich are readying themselves for a mid-table battle in the Midlands, with the Rams currently sat just a point ahead of their weekend opponents.

A six-match unbeaten run has lifted Coventry out of the drop zone and they will be hoping the momentum they have established carries them past inconsistent Peterborough.

The final match of the weekend comes at the City Ground, as Nottingham Forest lock horns with fellow strugglers Bristol City in front of the Sky Sports cameras.