We may be less than a month into the 2020/21 EFL Championship season but a few managers are already looking nervously over their shoulders – particularly in the East Midlands.
Nottingham Forest and Derby County fans love nothing more than winding each other up, but neither set of fans have much to smile about heading into this weekend, with both clubs still scratching around for their first point of the season.
The Rams have the first crack at relieving some of that pressure as they travel to promotion-chasing Norwich City in the early Saturday kick-off.
That match heads up out latest round of Championship predictions…
EFL Championship Predictions
Could Jason Tindall slowly be building something impressive at AFC Bournemouth?
Eyebrows were raised when Eddie Howe’s No. 2 was handed the reins in pre-season given the track record of Premier League teams dropping back to this level after several years away. However, so far, it seems to have been a seamless transition, with the Cherries posting their most encouraging result to date last week in beating likely rivals Norwich City 1-0.
Tindall’s side now have a chance to set the pace on Friday night as they travel to a Coventry City team that, from all the early evidence, look more than capable of consolidating at this level.
One team that would probably happily take a season of consolidation right now is Derby County. The Rams were expecting to push on under Philip Cocu after a transitional campaign last year, but the Dutchman was left scratching his head last weekend after a woeful start to the season continued with a 4-0 home hammering by Blackburn Rovers. An away trip to Norwich City already has the feel of a ‘make-or-break’ moment for the former PSV boss.
Free-scoring Blackburn will be looking to repeat the fast start against Derby that helped propel Rovers into the early play-off picture as they take on inconsistent Cardiff City, while Luton Town have the perfect platform to bounce back quickly from a frustrating derby defeat. The Hatters take on a Wycombe team that already look destined for a short-term stay in the second tier.
The evergreen Neil Warnock is back in the dugout for Middlesbrough this week and he’ll be eyeing up three points against a Barnsley team likely to be without reportedly New York-bound manager Gerhard Struber.
Another club facing managerial uncertainty are Nottingham Forest, with Sabri Lamouchi’s job reportedly riding on this weekend’s result. Can the Forest boss finally get off the mark against pacesetters Bristol City and settle nerves in the East Midlands?
If the Robins stumble, in-form Reading could capitalise. The Royals have been at their clinical best in their three games to date to post a flawless start, but the visit of Watford will be the first major test of their staying power.
Carlos Corberán’s new-look Huddersfield secured their first three points last Friday against Forest. The Spaniard’s Bielsa-esque philosophy faces a clash of styles this weekend as they travel to a Rotherham team that won’t apologise for roughing things up, while Sheffield Wednesday will look to move closer to breaking even on points as they welcome a QPR side vying for their first points on the road.
Swansea City and Millwall round off Saturday’s action in an intriguing contest at the Liberty Stadium, with both putting unbeaten records on the line.
Sunday sees Brentford looking to make it back-to-back league wins in their brand new home as they welcome out-of-sorts Preston North End to West London, while Stoke City will be keen to avoid a second home hiccup in succession as they entertain Aitor Karanka’s Birmingham City.
Championship Correct Score Predictions – Gameweek 4
Friday 2nd October
Coventry City 1-2 AFC Bournemouth (19:45)
Saturday 3rd October
Norwich City 2-1 Derby County
Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Cardiff City
Luton Town 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Middlesbrough 2-0 Barnsley
Nottingham Forest 1-1 Bristol City
Reading 1-2 Watford
Rotherham Utd 2-1 Huddersfield Town
Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 QPR
Swansea City 1-0 Millwall
Sunday 4th October
Brentford 2-0 Preston North End (14:00)
Stoke City 1-0 Birmingham City (15:00)
Championship Betting Tips
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
Our Predicted Championship Table For 2020/21
1. NORWICH CITY
3. CARDIFF CITY
4. DERBY COUNTY
6. STOKE CITY
7. SWANSEA CITY
8. NOTTINGHAM FOREST
11. PRESTON NORTH END
13. BLACKBURN ROVERS
15. BIRMINGHAM CITY
16. LUTON TOWN
17. HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
18. BRISTOL CITY
21. COVENTRY CITY
22. ROTHERHAM UTD
23. SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
24. WYCOMBE WANDERERS