What can be learnt from matchday 16 of Championship action?
Forest fell to their third straight defeat at home to Brentford on Wednesday evening, extending their run of games without victory to nine. The entire playing squad have suffered a collective loss of form, with just Michail Antonio performing at the level expected of him, and Stuart Pearce has admitted that mistakes are costing his side their promotion chances. The defeat dropped them to 11th place, equal on points with struggling Cardiff, and just seven points off the relegation places. With their current form, and games against Norwich, Wolves and Birmingham coming up, that gap with the route to League One could well be getting increasingly smaller as the season progresses.
Neil Lennon has rejuvenated Bolton
The Trotters remain in the relegation places after 16 games played, but, since the arrival of former Celtic boss Neil Lennon, the Greater Manchester based club have started an upturn that could kickstart their season. Three of their four wins this season have come since Lennon was appointed head coach, and he has overseen victories against Brentford and Cardiff - clubs both in strong form currently. The Northern Irishman has yet to lose a game at the Macron Stadium, and with games against Wigan and Blackpool coming up, he could well oversee the Trotters rise out of the relegation places in the near future.
Leeds must surely break their winless run against Blackpool
Neil Redfearn has picked up one point from his first two games - securing a hard-fought 2-2 draw at home to Charlton Athletic on Tuesday - and he will be looking to claim his first victory as permanent head coach on Saturday - with Elland Road playing host to Championship bottom club Blackpool. The Seasiders have won just one game this season, although they managed to claim a point at Fulham on Wednesday evening, breaking their run of four consecutive defeats. Whilst ‘Pool fans will be hoping that Lee Clark has a positive impact at Bloomfield Road following his appointment as manager, Redfearn must surely believe that his Whites side can claim a victory - and he should be looking to make his mark in Yorkshire with a convincing result. Already respected by the majority of the Leeds faithful, Redfearn could further endear himself by managing to complete a task Darko Milanic failed to do - win at Elland Road.
Bournemouth’s incredible form looks like it will not stop
The form team in the Championship, Bournemouth are on a run of six straight league victories - as well as securing their place in the League Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history - moving them atop the table - the highest position they have ever experienced. Eddie Howe has utilised his brand of attacking football in the second tier, allowing his players to express themselves, whilst his business in the transfer market - replacing Lewis Grabban with Callum Wilson - has been inspired. Howe has deservedly received all the plaudits for his continued work on the South Coast, and the only real question is when will the Cherries run of form stop. They face fellow league leaders Middlesbrough on Saturday, and a result at the Riverside could prove vital in their quest for promotion - creating a gap at the top of an increasingly close Championship table.
Can Brentford seriously challenge for promotion?
A seventh victory of the season for the Bees - a 3-1 result at Nottingham Forest - took them back into the top half of the table, and to within just two points of the final play-off place. Currently occupied by fellow League One promoted side Wolves, Brentford should seriously considerer promotion to the top flight as a real possibility - especially considering the impressive style in which all three promoted sides have shown themselves in the Championship. Mark Warburton has continued with the coaching techniques brought to the club by Uwe Rosler, and he has created an insatiable desire for success at Griffin Park. The only question that must be asked of the London club is whether they can overcome the bigger teams in the division, and results against Derby and Forest conflict with losses to Middlesbrough and Watford. If they can find some consistency when playing their promotion rivals, there is no reason why the Bees will not be at the top end of the table come May 2015.