Championship Preview: Millwall face rivals Charlton, play-off battle intensifies
By Football News
Millwall host Charlton Athletic in a London derby that could have big implications in the battle for Championship survival.
Charlton began life under new manager Jose Riga with a goalless draw at home to Huddersfield Town in midweek - a result that means the division's bottom club have won only six times in 31 league outings this season.
But the beaten FA Cup quarter-finalists are just three points behind fourth-bottom Millwall and have four games in hand.
That puts Millwall manager Ian Holloway under notable pressure heading into Saturday's meeting after he presided over a third defeat in four matches at former club Blackpool on Tuesday.
The stand-out tie at the top of the league is a meeting between play-off incumbents Reading and Derby County at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading lie sixth after a 4-2 triumph at crisis club Leeds United ended a three-match winless run, similar to the slump Steve McClaren's Derby are currently experiencing.
That has allowed Burnley to open up an eight-point advantage with 11 games remaining in the second automatic promotion spot and Sean Dyche's men will look to inflict further misery on Leeds at Turf Moor after Federico Macheda's last-minute equaliser pegged them back to a dramatic 3-3 draw at Birmingham City on Wednesday.
Leaders Leicester City extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches with a 12th win during that period at Barnsley, and Blackpool will be the latest team to try to halt their seemingly inevitable march to the Premier League.
QPR once appeared to be Leicester's main rivals but their bid for an instant return to the top flight has subsided badly in recent weeks. Harry Redknapp's team suffered a fourth defeat in six games against Brighton and Hove Albion and must look to recover at home to struggling Yeovil Town.
Fifth-placed Nottingham Forest welcome fifth-bottom Doncaster Rovers to the City Ground searching for their first win in a month, a run that has left them and the other play-off teams fearing in-form Wigan Athletic.
Uwe Rosler's side lie seventh on goal difference with games in hand owing to their run to the FA Cup semi-finals. Jordi Gomez netted a penalty in last weekend's sensational quarter-final triumph over Manchester City and the midfielder repeated the trick from 12 yards to sink Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.
Athletic now face a long trip to face an Ipswich Town outfit with similar league ambitions to their own.
Fellow play-off chasers Brighton head north to Bolton Wanderers, while second-bottom Barnsley travel in the opposite direction to face Watford.
Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham meet at Hillsborough, where a win for either side would considerably ease their relegation fears.
Elsewhere, Huddersfield meet Blackburn Rovers and Bournemouth welcome Middlesbrough.