The second weekend of February marks the 31st matchday of the 2023/24 season for most Championship clubs and with the latter stages of the campaign within touching distance, it really is that time of the year when every game and point is priceless.
This article picks out the five fixtures we believe you should be looking out for this weekend.
1. Tractor Boys’ Turning Point
It’s fair to say that Ipswich Town’s last two results have been very underwhelming and have not been what many fans would have been expecting after their important draw at Leicester City three weeks ago. An FA Cup giant-killing at home to National League South miracle-makers Maidstone United, followed by a 3-2 defeat away to mid-table Preston North End have left the Tractor Boys two points adrift of the automatic promotion places.
Saturday’s lunchtime visit to West Bromwich Albion provides the perfect opportunity to take points off a fellow promotion hopeful. It will not be easy for the hosts, however, with Carlos Corberan’s side already winning the reverse fixture 2-0 earlier on in the season.
2. Rangers Raring To Extend Run
Last weekend’s away victory against Blackburn Rovers made it three games unbeaten for Marti Cifuentes’ Queens Park Rangers, leaving them just three points away from safety. However, with the worst home record in the division, QPR will be looking to pick up only their fourth maximum return on their own patch this season.
Whilst visitors Norwich City are well within the playoff hunt, the hosts will undoubtedly be looking to exploit the Canaries’ woeful away record as they have one of the worst on the road this season in the Championship. Victory for the hosts could see them climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since the opening months of the campaign.
3. Sliding Swansea
The beginning of the Luke Williams era at Swansea City has been quite underwhelming so far, with just one win in six matches, which came against League Two outfit Morecambe in the FA Cup. Last weekend’s home defeat to Plymouth Argyle would have hurt, not only as it was their former player Morgan Whittaker who scored the winning goal, but as it was also Argyle’s first away victory of the season.
The Swans are now merely five points clear of the relegation zone and go to playoff-chasing Hull City on Saturday with the odds stacked against them. The Tigers have won their last two matches and will be looking to pick up three important points in the race for promotion.
4. Leeds’ Perfect 2024
Since the turn of the year, Daniel Farke’s Leeds United are unbeaten in all competitions, winning seven of their last eight and only conceding three goals in the process. After putting four past Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup in midweek, the Whites will be looking to rack up a similar number of goals when bottom-of-the-table Rotherham United come to Elland Road, with the visitors still winless on the road this season.
A big result is expected from the hosts to keep the pressure on the automatic promotion spots.
5. Huge Relegation Six-Pointer
Not many people would have predicted Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City to face relegation this season, but Saturday’s game will be a crucial clash at the bottom with both sides lurking above the dotted line. The hosts are the most out-of-form team in the league all season and also have the leakiest defence in the second tier too.
Meanwhile, Rovers manager Jon Dahl Tomasson finds himself under huge pressure in the media this week but, at the time of writing, still has a job. However, you get the feeling this could be his last chance to save face.
On the other hand, Stoke come into this one after a humiliating 5-0 defeat to league leaders Leicester City last weekend and will be determined to put that behind them when visiting Ewood Park.
In conclusion, there is an intriguing round of fixtures in the Championship this weekend, with crucial matches set to take place at both ends of the table that could be pivotal both in the short and long term, let us know how you think your side will get on this weekend in the comments!