Championship preview

Hammers in action early as Warnock in the dugout for Leeds

Neil Warnock: Officially takes charge of his first game as Leeds United manager at Portsmouth

West Ham United can put down an early marker in the race for promotion from the Championship this weekend as Neil Warnock officially takes charge of his first game as Leeds United manager.

At the bottom end of the table, Doncaster Rovers, Coventry City, Portsmouth and Bristol City all have home games in the fight for second-tier survival.

Sam Allardyce saw West Ham return to the top of the table with an impressive midweek win at Blackpool and the leaders entertain London rivals Crystal Palace in the early kick-off on Saturday.

New Leeds manager Warnock's impromptu half-time team-talk has been credited for inspiring last week's comeback win against Doncaster and he will be in the dugout for the first time for the game at cash-strapped Portsmouth.

Second-placed Southampton hold a mixed record on their travels this season and Nigel Adkins' side head to Watford, who are likely to give a debut to new loan signing Tomasz Kuszczak.

Birmingham City are currently in third position and are the only team to boast an unbeaten home record in the division ahead of lowly Nottingham Forest's visit to St Andrew's.

Reading have been boosted by manager Brian McDermott's decision to sign a new contract this week after he was linked with the Wolves job and the in-form Royals head to play-off rivals Middlesbrough.

Cardiff City could lose their spot in the top six this weekend due to their appearance in the Carling Cup final and Blackpool are the team best placed to take advantage.

Ian Holloway takes his Blackpool side down to Bristol City, who are six points outside the relegation zone following an indifferent run of form.

Down in the bowels of the Championship, bottom club Doncaster will be trying to end a five-game run without a win when Peterborough United visit the Keepmoat Stadium.

Coventry City have won four of their last five league games at home and will hope for more of the same when entertaining Barnsley this weekend.

Burnley are not yet out of the play-off picture, but will need three points at home to Millwall, who were knocked out of the FA Cup by Bolton last week.

Ipswich Town have won four games on the bounce and are not yet ruling out a late surge for the play-offs ahead of their trip to Brighton & Hove Albion.