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    Joe Jones
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    Championship Preview Part 1: Millwall host Cardiff City on Friday night, high-flying Derby County face Norwich City and Sheffield sides in Yorkshire derby action

    Part 1 of the Football Manics Championship gameweek 31 preview focuses on the likes of Millwall's Friday night meeting with Cardiff City, Derby County's clash with Norwich City, and the two Yorkshire derbies.

    How will the action unfold? Let's take a closer look.

    Millwall vs. Cardiff City

    Millwall are in a good run of form in the league, with two wins and two draws from their last five, plus they are a tough nut to crack at The Den, having only lost four of their last 35 home matches in all competitions.

    Cardiff, however, have put their recent blip behind them, with resounding victories over Sunderland and Leeds United, plus a goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday, and if anyone knows how to handle an intimidating environment, it'll be a Neil Warnock-managed side.

    I expect it will be a fiercely contested game between two physical, intense sides, with the final outcome a share of the spoils.

    Score prediction: 2-2

    Barnsley vs. Sheffield Wednesday

    It's not a good time for Barnsley at present, having lost their last four league games on the trot and seeing Paul Heckingbottom leave to join Leeds United just a week after penning a new contract at Oakwell.

    Wednesday are in even worse form, however, with just one win from their last 14 league games, though seven draws in that time have kept them afloat above the drop zone.

    The Owls' last three away games in all competitions ended goalless but given how beleaguered Barnsley are at the moment, I fancy them to nick a goal and win this derby.

    Score prediction: 0-1

    Sheffield United vs. Leeds United

    Another Yorkshire derby with a lunchtime-ish kickoff, both sides are fairly well placed in the standings but are both out of form, Sheff Utd with two wins from their last 13 and Leeds winless in their last six.

    The history favours the Blades, who haven't lost at home to Leeds since April 1992, and are unbeaten in their last 17 Yorkshire derbies, although they will be missing goalkeeper Simon Moore due to suspension.

    It's a baptism of fire for new Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom, with both sides desperate to get back on form and into the playoffs, but I fancy the spoils to be shared.

    Score prediction: 1-1

    Brentford vs. Preston North End

    The Bees are in a strange vein of form, their last eight games yielding five wins and three losses without a single draw, but they go into this match looking to avoid a third defeat on the trot.

    Preston have made a name for themselves as a solid side on the road - indeed, only the current top two Wolves (33) and Derby (27) have won more away Championship points this season than the Whites (24).

    With both sides missing key players in Sergi Canos and Ben Pearson, it'll be a fairly even game but I fancy Preston to emerge victorious.

    Score prediction: 0-2

    Bolton Wanderers vs. Fulham

    Bolton are very much on the up, having won three and drawn one of their last five, but they're up against one of the most in-form sides boasting one of the best players in the league.

    Fulham have collected more points across their last 10 league matches than any other Championship side, including five wins on the spin, and Ryan Sessegnon continues to sparkle for his side, his talents recognised with the January Player of the Month award and its PFA counterpart.

    As such, I expect Slavisa Jokanovic's charges to come through their trip to the Macron Stadium with all three points, even if Bolton did earn a very good win against Bristol City last time out.

    Score prediction: 1-2

    Derby County vs. Norwich City

    The Rams are in a rich vein of form, unbeaten in 11 league matches and in the automatic promotion spots, while striker Matej Vydra is the Championship's leading scorer with 16 goals.

    Norwich are also doing well at the moment, with five wins from their last seven games, and in terms of head to head, Nelson Oliveira has scored four goals in two Championship starts against Derby, including a hat-trick in January 2017.

    That said, the Canaries have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 league matches against the Rams, and with the hosts in such good form, I fancy them to emerge victorious.

    Score prediction: 2-0

    To check out part 2 of our Championship gameweek 31 preview, click here.

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