THE BIG MATCH

The highlight of this weekend's npower Championship programme sees Nottingham Forest try and close the gap between themselves and Watford, who occupy a Play-Off place, as the two sides meet at the City Ground.

Alex McLeish's men are currently in 10th, within touching distance of the top six, just five points back, but come into this weekend's game having won just three of their last 11 games in all competitions.

Last time out, Forest drew 1-1 with East Midlands rivals Derby County; Chris Cohen gave them a first-half lead but the Rams pulled level through Jamie Ward.

McLeish is confident his side can go one better on Saturday and take all three-points against a strong Hornets side.

"It's a huge game - they have a five-point advantage over us and we need to reduce the deficit," the manager explained to www.nottinghamforest.co.uk.

"We've got a great chance - we must believe that and be confident, especially at home. We need to get the fans on our side by dominating the early stages.

"Watford are a well-drilled side who play similarly to a few Italian teams - we know they are heavily influenced by Udinese. But we have to impose our own style and try our very best to get the three points."

Watford are sitting sixth in the Championship, the lowest Play-Off position, but with the two sides directly above them - Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace - not in league action, the Hornets could climb up to fourth with a three-point haul this weekend.

Gianfranco Zola's men defeated Huddersfield Town 4-0 last time out with a Matej Vydra double in between a Troy Deeney penalty and a Cristian Battocchio strike giving them back-to-back wins.

After scoring his first goal in English football, Battocchio revealed he is confident the team can continue their march for the Premier League, telling www.watfordfc.com: "We know what our goals are, and if we continue to play this way we can challenge for promotion.

"Hopefully we can take this performance into the next game, and keep playing well."

KEEP AN EYE ON

After a winless December, Charlton Athletic have won all three of their league games so far in 2013, and they will be hoping to continue that form against lowly Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

The Addicks beat Watford 4-3 on New Year's Day and followed that impressive result up with 2-1 wins against both Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers.

Next up on their agenda is Sheffield Wednesday, a team promoted alongside them in npower League 1 last term, and three points could take them as high as seventh, although they would need other results to go their way and turn around a 10-goal deficit to do so.

Manager Chris Powell isn't surprised by his team's current form and is keen for it to continue this weekend, telling www.cafc.co.uk: "After having such a tough time in December, and having a few knock-backs we have really set off this year in the right way away at Watford.

"I think after Saturday's win at Blackburn, and the Blackpool game, we have given everyone that lift that we wanted to.

"We've always said that we could compete and do okay in this league. We've always felt that we could do it, but obviously it's about actually doing it."

Sheffield Wednesday currently sit 21st, three points and a place above the relegation zone, but have had an upturn in form of late.

The Yorkshire outfit picked up eight points from a stretch of 18 league games, which saw them plummet down the table, but they have go on to lose only one of their last seven in the league.

In their most recent match, Dave Jones' men secured a goalless draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers - their fifth clean sheet in the last seven league outings - and goalkeeper Chris Kirkland paid tribute to the team's improved defensive record.

The 31-year-old told www.swfc.co.uk: "The lads have been superb. We have managed to tighten up and have done a lot of work on the training pitch. It's not just one or two - it's been a team effort.

"We're tightening up and we've got to keep doing that. We got ourselves into a terrible situation, we're putting that right but we've still got a long way to go.

"If we can keep a few more clean sheets with the lads we've got and the attacking threat we'll win more games"

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Wolverhampton Wanderers will want to improve on that 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday as they host Blackpool.

Boss Dean Saunders is yet to pick up a win as the manager of the Midlands club, who sit 17th in the table, but he is yet to lose, either, with his first game also ending in a draw - 1-1 against Blackburn Rovers.

The travelling Tangerines, who remain without a permanent manager, are just a point better off than their opponents, so it is likely to be a close game at the Molineux.

Elsewhere, two teams in and around the bottom of the division go head-to-head as rock bottom Bristol City entertain Ipswich Town, who are 19th.

With Barnsley, who are 23rd and three points better off, in FA Cup action, the match against Ipswich is the perfect opportunity for the Robins to move off the foot of the table. They will need to overcome a two-goal swing but the incentive of moving closer to safety may spur them on.

Since appointing Mick McCarthy as manager, the Tractor Boys have moved up the standings, and they now have a six-point cushion between themselves and the drop zone. With three points on Saturday, McCarthy's men could find themselves sitting as high as 15th come full-time.

The remaining game in the npower Championship this weekend sees Play-Off chasing Burnley take on lowly Birmingham City.

Sean Dyche's Clarets have climbed up to eighth with four wins in their last five, while the 20th-placed Blues continue to struggle - Lee Clark's men have registered just one victory in eight matches prior to this weekend's game at Turf Moor.

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