A quick recap of last weekend:
Newcastle’s 3-1 victory at Huddersfield actually did Brighton – who lost at Nottingham Forest – a favour: the Magpies are now five points ahead of the Seagulls, but the Terriers are now five points behind Brighton. With all teams having just ten or more games left after this evening’s matches, the five point gap between Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday in sixth and seventh places may be significant: at this stage last season, only goal difference separated Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff for the last playoff place.
At the bottom, Bristol City slipped into the bottom three for the first time this season despite a goalless draw at home against Burton Albion. If you’ve not seen Lloyd Dyer’s miss yet, I’d recommend looking up on YouTube. Blackburn beat Wigan thanks to a Marvin Emnes goal just before the hour.
Only a couple of games worth monitoring this evening – the fact that it’s the penultimate midweek programme of the season is arguably more important that the actual games themselves:
Sheffield Wednesday v Burton (7:45pm)
Saturday’s romp over Norwich was the first time Wednesday have scored more than four goals at home in the Championship since January 2014. They’ve only failed to score twice at Hillsborough in the League since August, this is their last home game against any of the teams that are currently in the bottom six and they’ve won four of the previous five against the sides currently in that category.
Surprisingly, Burton haven’t conceded an away goal in their last two games but they were lucky that Bristol City both had a goal disallowed and missed a penalty at the weekend. If they can keep a third consecutive clean sheet on their travels, the Brewers can take a huge step in conserving their status in the Championship. It’s a very big if though…
Reading v Newcastle (8:00pm)
I’ve mentioned how impressive the Royals have been at home more than once recently, but if they’re serious about the playoffs they need to win this game. Reading are unbeaten at home against the other clubs in the top six, but Newcastle are unbeaten away at the same teams. Something’s got to give – this is only the fifth meeting in the league between the clubs in Berkshire but Reading have only lost one of the previous four. That may be worth remembering at 10pm.
Usual drill, back on Friday. No FA Cup previews though as all the Championship teams are out.