With plenty of movement in the final day of the loan market, there will be an array of new faces on display in the Championship this weekend..
Leeds v Crystal Palace
It has been a busy week at Elland Road. The announcement surrounding the takeover completion deadline was followed 24 hours later by the arrival of two new faces indicating that funds have been made instantly available by GFH Capital. Jerome Thomas is just the player Leeds were craving for, and will provide Leeds with a much needed burst of pace. Alan Tate is a different player altogether, but gives Neil Warnock further options from a defensive point of view. With Ross McCormack back from injury and pushing for a starting place, Leeds’ squad looks the strongest it has been for many weeks, and it is just as well considering that Crystal Palace are this weekend’s visitors to Elland Road.
The Eagles are soaring high at the Championship summit and are easily the in form team in the division. Ian Holloway has continued where Dougie Freedman left off, and, after being tipped as one of the relegation favourites pre-season, are now firmly fixated on promotion, and few would begrudge them of a Premier League place with their exciting brand of football. The extent to which the new loan signings will have on Leeds could be pivotal in this game’s outcome. Leeds have been dreadful of late and another sub standard performance will see another crushing afternoon for the Whites with Palace in buoyant mood.
Charlton v Huddersfield
After gaining promotion from League One together last season, these two clubs have had contrasting starts but now seem to be edging closer together once more. Huddersfield shot out of the blocks and sat 2nd place in the early stages before recent inconsistencies have seen them slide down to a still respectable eighth place. In stark contrast, Charlton took a while adapting to life back in the Championship after a three year exile and spent the early weeks looking hesitantly over their shoulders. But three straight victories and a run of one defeat in six has propelled the Addicks into the relatively safe haven of mid table, now just four points adrift of Saturday’s visitors.
With this in mind, both will be satisfied with how their season’s are panning out, but there will no doubt be slight apprehension that things could yet get so much better. This should be a close contest with two evenly matched teams, but Charlton are in the better form right now and will benefit from home advantage
Wolves v Nottingham Forest
After a decent enough start, Wolves have become entrenched in the lower regions of the Championship table after an indifferent run of form. The great thing about this league, though, is that a couple of successive wins can transform a season, and this is the kind of run that Wolves will be looking to embark on if they are to live upto their pre-season tag of promotion favourites. With the parachute payments that Wolves receive following relegation, expect the squad to be strengthened considerably if they remain well adrift of the promotion places come January.
As for Nottingham Forest, they have had a relatively stable season in comparison and have sat withing striking distance of the play off places throughout. A lack of consistency has prevented Forest from entering those much sought after top six places, and you get the impression that a shortage of firepower will ultimately be their downfall. Nevertheless, they will be feeling confident that they can place more gloom on Wolves and emerge from Molineux with three points.