Championship preview

Saints face Whites; Hammers battle Bluebirds; Royals tackle Lions

Nigel Adkins: Has Southampton back on top and looking to cement that standing

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There is still all to play for at both ends of the Championship and all 24 teams will take to the field this weekend over the course of three action-packed days.

League leaders Southampton face a tricky trip out on the road, West Ham will be hoping to avoid a Cardiff backlash, Reading go in search of a sixth successive win and Middlesbrough make the long journey south to Fratton Park.

Blackpool and Hull City get the second tier action up and running on Friday evening, with the high-flying Seasiders hoping they can bring an end to the Tigers' six-match unbeaten run in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Saturday will see Southampton head to Leeds looking to strengthen their standing at the summit in another fixture that will be screened live on Sky Sports 2 HD.

In-form Reading could close to within a point of the automatic promotion places should they be able to pick up yet another three-point haul on the road at lowly Millwall.

Birmingham welcome Midlands rivals Derby to St Andrew's looking to inflict a fourth straight defeat on the free-falling Rams.

Brighton have gone eight games since they last tasted defeat and, with Cardiff not in action until Sunday, will move into the play-off places should they take a positive result from an away date at rock-bottom Doncaster.

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Middlesbrough will also be eyeing a return to the top six when they make a 600-mile round trip to Portsmouth.

Burnley have suffered three defeats in four to slip off the play-off pace and will be eager to get back on track when they travel to Watford.

Leicester play host to struggling Coventry clinging to the hope that they can still fire themselves into the promotion picture.

Four defeats in five have Barnsley wobbling and they will face a rejuvenated Nottingham Forest side this weekend.

Crystal Palace find themselves locked in mid-table but could clamber back into the top half if they take maximum points off Peterborough.

Bristol City have taken only one point from the last 18 on offer to tumble into relegation danger and face an Ipswich side on Saturday that have won four of their last five.

The final fixture on a busy weekend sees Cardiff look to respond positively to their Carling Cup final disappointment when they welcome second-placed West Ham to South Wales.