Championship Preview: QPR, Leeds look to maintain unbeaten starts
By Football News
Leeds United welcome QPR to Elland Road on Saturday with both sides looking to preserve their unbeaten starts to the Championship season.
Brian McDermott's Leeds have started the campaign in excellent form, beating Brighton and Hove Albion and Ipswich Town, as well as securing valuable draws with Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday. A 3-1 win over Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday in the League Cup also set up a third-round tie at Newcastle United.
The Yorkshire club sit in sixth position with eight points from their opening four games, but face a difficult task in overcoming Harry Redknapp's QPR, who have begun their quest for an instant return to the Premier League with three wins and a draw.
QPR's latest success came in a 1-0 win away to Bolton at the Reebok Stadium last Saturday, courtesy of Andrew Johnson's second-half strike.
McDermott is hoping to have young full-back Sam Byram (hip) available for the first time since April, after he featured in the development squad's fixture with Huddersfield Town on Monday.
"He (Byram) came through 45 minutes so we will see how he responds," he told Leeds' official club website.
"If we could get him back it will be a boost, but we'll see how things are over the next few days. We'll see how he is, if there's any reaction, and take things from there."
Blackpool and Watford could also see their unbeaten league starts to the season end when the two meet at Bloomfield Road.
Paul Ince's team are second, grabbing a 1-0 win over Reading on Saturday when Tom Barkhuizen struck with 15 minutes remaining.
Gianfranco Zola's Watford, victors over Championship rivals Bournemouth in the League Cup second round on Wednesday, are considered one of the favourites for promotion to the Premier League this term after their play-off final appearance in May.
Striker Troy Deeney has started the campaign in impressive form with five goals in four games.
But Zola said he wants to see improvements from the 25-year-old, who scored 20 league goals last season.
"I'm expecting much more from Troy and he knows that," Zola is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
"It's not just about scoring a goal, which I know he can do. It's about being more affective on the pitch, working on going forward and defence as well."
Billy Davies' Nottingham Forest sit top of the table, but face a difficult trip to the DW Stadium to take on Wigan Athletic.
Forest have conceded just one goal in their first four league games, which came in a solid 1-1 draw with Watford on Sunday.
Leicester are also on their travels on Saturday as Nigel Pearson takes his undefeated team to The Valley to take on Charlton Athletic.
Bolton Wanderers, dumped out of the League Cup on penalties at Tranmere Rovers in midweek, will look for their first win of the league campaign when they make the short trip to Ewood Park to face Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers, while Dave Jones' Sheffield Wednesday head to Middlesbrough in search of their maiden league win this season.
Barnsley prop up the Championship table and welcome Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield to Oakwell, while Millwall - who sit one place above David Flitcroft's team - visit Brighton.
Birmingham City and Doncaster Rovers have home fixtures against Ipswich and Bournemouth respectively, while Reading visit Yeovil and Burnley travel to Derby County.