As the second tier sides return to Championship action this weekend, HITC Sport has taken a look at some of the games and had a go at predicting the scorelines. Part Two of our predictions looks at Aston Villa's clash with Nottingham Forest, Birmingham City's game against Derby County and Sheffield United's short trip to Sheffield Wednesday.
Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest
Both sides go into this game off the back of disappointing Carabao Cup defeats, with Aston Villa losing to Middlesbrough while Forest were beaten by Chelsea. Mark Warburton's men go into the game higher in the table, but Villa's form is marginally better and they will have home advantage. In fairness to Forest, their last three league defeats have come against the current top two and the side directly above them, Sheffield Wednesday. The two played out a draw at Villa Park last term, and HITC Sport is expecting something similar this time around.
HITC Sport prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Derby County vs Birmingham City
Derby have lost three of their last four, but they are facing a managerless Birmingham side that have lost their last six in all competitions, and won just once in the league all season. Gary Rowett would surely love to see the Rams get back to winning ways against the side that so harshly dismissed him last season. Unfortunately for Birmingham - who have scored once away from home this term - HITC Sport is expecting Derby to add to their misery.
HITC Sport prediction: Derby 2-0 Birmingham
Sheffield Wednesday vs Sheffield United
As it is the first Steel City derby in five years, Sheffield Wednesday's clash with Sheffield United needs little buildup to get the supporters excited, but the fact that the Blades actually sit above the Owls in the table following their promotion from League One makes the game all the more intriguing. Wednesday have not lost in the league since the opening day but still sit ninth. United meanwhile, have not drawn on their travels yet, but HITC Sport is expecting that to change on Sunday.
HITC Sport prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 2-2 Sheffield United
Reading vs Hull City
Few would have anticipated before the season began that Reading's clash with Hull would pit 18th against 17th in the Championship. Reading have not won any of their last three in all competitions, while the Tigers are enduring a similar run, having conceded eight in their last three. Hull's poor away record just hints that Jaap Stam's men will be the ones to pick up their first win since August - and given some of the scorelines Leonid Slutsky's men have been involved in this term, this could be a high-scoring game.
HITC Sport prediction: Reading 3-2 Hull
Norwich City vs Bristol City
No game in the Championship pits two in-form teams against each other quite like Norwich's clash with Bristol City. The Canaries have won three of their last four, keeping three clean sheets along the way, while Bristol City have not lost since the second weekend of the season, and beat Stoke City in the Carabao Cup in midweek. Lee Johnson's men have no problem scoring, but they also struggle to keep them out, so this game should provide plenty of goals. The Robins' longer unbeaten run hints they may just edge this one.
HITC Sport prediction: Norwich 1-2 Bristol City
Bolton Wanderers vs Brentford
Bolton's game with Brentford pits the only two sides in the Championship still awaiting their first league win against each other. The Bees could move themselves out of the bottom three, and three draws in their last four in the league suggests that there is no reason for Dean Smith's men to lose all hope by any means. They have taken the lead in their last two, so Saturday may finally be the day that they hold onto a lead. Bolton will look at Brentford's position and know that this could be the ideal game to try and bag that first win, which could lead to an open game. But Brentford are the team with the quality to take advantage.
HITC Sport prediction: Bolton 0-2 Brentford
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