Championship weekend preview: Fulham and Cardiff jostle for second spot

Fulham and Cardiff will continue their battle for automatic promotion in the Sky Bet Championship with both sides in action on Saturday.

The Cottagers overtook Neil Warnock’s side in the table for the first time this season in midweek, and now they’ll look to kick on and seal their Premier League return when they host Brentford on Saturday tea-time, live on Sky Sports Football,

Cardiff may have already gone above them by then, should they win at Norwich in a 3pm kick-off.

Slavisa Jokanovic insists that Cardiff are still favourites for promotion, due to the fact they still have a game in hand.

“Everything is in their hands,” said the Fulham boss. “It’s natural that we try and put them under pressure and we will try to win the next game. They have five games and we will have four, it’s possible many things will happen and we will need to be ready for the next step.”

Warnock, meanwhile, says that his side don’t fear the play-offs, should they fail to finish above Fulham.

“If you’d offered me that at the start of the season, I’d have snapped your hand off!” Warnock said. “To be in the play-offs with five games to go is incredible. I don’t fear the play-offs. Why should I? I’ve won four out of five.”

Aston Villa will be hoping both sides slip up so they can also boost their own hopes of automatic promotion. They’re in action on Friday night at home against Leeds, also live on Sky Sports Football.

There are two massive clashes in the battle for the play-offs on Saturday. ninth-placed Sheffield United host Millwall in a 1pm kick-off, with the Blades knowing victory could move them level on points with the side in sixth. The two sides between them in the table, Middlesbrough and Bristol City, meet at the Riverside Stadium at 3pm.

Derby, currently in fifth, will hope to capitalise on dropped points when they make the short trip to Burton, whose relegation could be sealed this weekend if results go against them.

Sunderland are 23rd in the table and face a must-win trip to Reading if they harbour any hopes of survival, while Barnsley will hope to leapfrog Bolton and climb out of the relegation zone when the two meet at Oakwell.

Elsewhere, Hull meet Sheffield Wednesday, managerless Ipswich head to Nottingham Forest and QPR face Preston.

A win against Birmingham on Sunday will guarantee Wolves promotion, although they’ll already be assured of a Premier League return if Fulham fail to win the day before.