THE BIG MATCH

The highlight of this weekend's npower Championship programme comes on Sunday as a rejuvenated Millwall host Leeds United in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

The Lions have transformed their season over recent weeks and go into this Sunday's potentially pulsating tie with Leeds unbeaten in nine matches, sitting 10th.

And Danny Shittu believes the team is confident coming into the match off the back of a run that was extended last weekend with a 2-1 home win against Derby County.

"Every match is a big one and Leeds are just another team that we're up against," the experienced Lions defender told www.millwallfc.co.uk.

"It's a game that we believe we can win with the way we're playing at the moment. They're coming to our ground as well and we're trying to make the Den a fortress again. We want to show Leeds that they're not going to find it easy.

"I'm sure they are going to try and bounce back from that [losing 6-1 to Watford last weekend]. Neil Warnock won't have been too happy with that result but we just want to play our game and do what we need to do right."

The two clubs have met a number of times over recent years with the 2006/07 season being the only time they haven't been in the same division since 2004.

And Millwall chairman John Berylson believes their match with Leeds is always one that sticks out in the fixture list.

"There is always a bit of added excitement when we play Leeds United," he commented on www.millwallfc.co.uk.

"They are a massive club with a great tradition, and our rivalry dates back to some epic encounters we had with them in League 1 as we both endeavoured to win promotion to the Championship."

While Millwall have surged up the npower Championship table in recent weeks, Neil Warnock's men have slid down the standings.

They now find themselves 18th and without a victory in six matches, their latest result being the aforementioned 6-1 mauling at the hands of Watford.

It remains extremely tight in the division, though, and three points could take them to a high mid-table position.

Leeds midfielder Michael Tonge believes it will be a tough encounter at the Den, telling www.leedsunited.com: "They're doing really well at the minute but I can remember not too long ago they weren't on a good run and now they have put one together.

"They've got a good manager down there with Kenny Jackett, and there was no panic when they were on their bad run. They just kept doing the right things, had faith and now things have turned around."

KEEP AN EYE ON

As well as a cracking fixture on Sunday, there are a number of intriguing games from the npower Championship on Saturday, including Middlesbrough's trip to Cardiff City.

Boro travel to the Welsh capital off the back of an eight-match unbeaten run; form that has seen them rise to second place in the division.

Tony Mowbray picked up the npower Championship Manager of the Month award for October and he will be hoping that doesn't curse his side this weekend. The 48-year-old is certainly not leaving anything to chance.

He explained to the South Wales Echo: "We have to have a game plan against Cardiff, be totally concentrated and work as hard as we have been.

"We take nothing for granted because Cardiff have some extremely good players who can give you problems. It's a tough game for us, but we look forward to the challenge.

"Do our last two wins there have any bearing on tomorrow's game? Probably not. And yet, some of the same players will be playing for both sides and it can give you a feel-good factor if you are going to a ground where you have done particularly well in the past.

"Let's hope we can give Cardiff a hard time."

If Mowbray's side are to give Cardiff a hard time and extend their unbeaten run, they will become the first side to take points off the third-placed Bluebirds at the Cardiff City Stadium this term.

Malky Mackay's men are in red hot form on home soil and a victory over Hull City last weekend extended their 100 per cent home record to eight games.

Mackay wants his side to maintain their standards, telling the South Wales Echo: "We are a couple of points off the top and highest scorers in the division. I won't let up on the players to keep working to sustain that.

"We have to be as consistent as we can possibly be. With a third of the season gone I am proud to be working with this group every day."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Bristol City slumped to their seventh defeat in succession against Charlton Athletic last weekend and they now prop the rest of the division up.

A win for Derek McInnes' men could lift them off the bottom but they face a tough task at home to Blackpool. Neil Danns could make his debut for the Robins after joining on a month-long loan from divisional rivals Leicester City.

Danns' parent club come up against another side in the relegation mire as Leicester host Ipswich Town. The Tractor Boys have improved under the leadership of Mick McCarthy and collected their first home win of the season last time out. McCarthy has signed two new players this week - former Charlton Athletic defender Kelly Youga and Blackburn Rovers full-back Bradley Orr - and they could be thrown straight into action against the Foxes.

Peterborough United are the other team currently in the bottom three and they entertain Blackburn in front of the Sky Sports cameras in a 5.20pm kick-off on Saturday. Darren Ferguson's men have won just two of their eight home games so far, while the Rovers have drawn six of their eight away matches.

Crystal Palace lead the way at the summit after a 2-1 victory over the Posh last weekend and their next assignment is a home match with Derby County, who sit ninth.

Going into the weekend's fixtures, the Play-Off places are occupied by the aforementioned Cardiff City and Leicester City, as well as Hull City and Huddersfield Town.

The Tigers are on the road to Birmingham City this weekend, while the Terriers welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to the John Smith's Stadium.

Lee Clark's Birmingham prop up a bulk of 10 teams who are separated by just three points, and there's two matches between those sides this weekend. Burnley sit 13th and host 16th-placed Charlton, while Wolverhampton Wanderers are winless in six and face Watford, who haven't lost in three.

Nottingham Forest sit towards the top end of that pack of teams, in 11th, and they meet Sheffield Wednesday, who remain dangerously close to the relegation zone.

The final match in the npower Championship this weekend sees struggling Barnsley, who have lost their last four, travel to the Reebok Stadium to take on Dougie Freedman's Bolton Wanderers.

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