THE BIG MATCH
Two npower Championship Play-Off contenders meet at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday where Bolton Wanderers entertain Brighton and Hove Albion.
Bolton have won their last four fixtures to come into the game as one the league's in-form sides, and that run has helped them rise to ninth, just five points from the Play-Off contingent.
The Trotters beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 last time out courtesy of a stoppage-time Chris Eagles strike and the former Manchester United man was pleased with the result against a good Rovers side, and is expecting another difficult test on Saturday.
The attacker explained to www.bcfc.co.uk: "It all went to plan [against Blackburn] and the main thing is that we've carried on our good run.
"As long as we pick up points in each game that we play it doesn't matter who scores, but it was just great to get the winner especially at home as it gives everyone a boost, especially the fans and I thought they were brilliant.
"Brighton are a very good team - they are probably the best I've played against this season away from home but hopefully they'll come here and we'll bring our attacking side to them."
The Trotters' opponents, Brighton, are also in strong form coming into the fixture. Their 0-0 draw with Bristol City last time out was their 14th point from the last 18 available.
The Seagulls have been looking at the top six from the outside for most of the season but their consistency has reaped its rewards of late, with them breaking into the Play-Offs.
Manager Gus Poyet is certainly aware of the threat that Bolton will pose.
"They [Bolton] have the players to be in the top six because the quality of their squad is unbelievable," the 45-year-old told www.seagulls.co.uk.
"They have experience, they are playing at home and they are winning so it will be one of the hardest games for us. Having said that, it's another great game for us to play."
"There will be a big impact from Bolton because they are on a good run and to win we will have to be spot on. We need fresh legs because it will be competitive but we always look forward to playing against the big teams, which Bolton are."
KEEP AN EYE ON
Middlesbrough are another side harbouring promotion aspirations and they are hosted by relegation-threatened Bristol City at Ashton Gate this weekend.
Boro are eighth in the table, two points adrift of Brighton in the lowest Play-Off place, but have won just two league games in 2013.
One of those victories came against leaders Cardiff City last weekend but they failed to follow that up and conceded two late goals to lose 2-1 to Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.
"I've been trying to analyse reasons for why our results have fallen away a bit, and I think because of the injury situation we had around Christmas," Boro boss Tony Mowbray told to the Northern Echo after the loss to the Terriers.
"We've probably fallen into the trap of bringing in players who are coming in low of fitness or confidence."
Bristol City's task is Championship survival and the three points on offer against Middlesbrough would certainly enhance their chances.
The Robins come into the game at the foot of the table but only three points adrift of safety after two goalless draws and an entertaining 5-3 win against Barnsley in their last three outings.
In their last five home games, they have taken a very impressive 13 points and midfielder Cole Skuse insists the Robins can challenge any team in the division.
The 26-year-old told The Post: "Given the run of form we are on at the minute, we feel we are a match for anyone.
"There is a feeling around the place that we can cope with everything that is thrown at us. There is a good spirit in the dressing room and we are buzzing.
"The manager has put a solid base in place and everybody is involved and knows what they are doing. If you come into the team, then you know what your position is and what your job is. Everyone knows their roles and it is good.
"It means that, when we play a team at the top end of the table, we feel confident of taking something from the game.
"Boro have struck a bit of a sticky patch and we need to try and take advantage of that. Our home form has been really good and I'm sure we can cause Middlesbrough problems."
ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION
Nottingham Forest are chasing a Play-Off berth and could secure their fifth successive win when Wolverhampton Wanderers make the short trip to the City Ground.
Forest are seventh in the table, level on 54 points with Boro but with a better goal difference, and come into the fixture buoyant having had a dramatic up-turn in form since Billy Davies' return in early February - taking 13 points from the last 15 available.
Wolves, meanwhile, are deep in a relegation scrap but will take confidence from Tuesday night's 2-0 win over Millwall - Dean Saunders' first win of his two-month tenure at the Molineux - and another three-point haul will keep them out of the drop zone.
With Barnsley involved in the FA Cup, Wolves' closest challenger in action is Peterborough United, who are two points further back heading into their home game on Saturday against Ipswich Town.
Also fighting for survival is 20th-placed Sheffield Wednesday and they travel to the King Power Stadium this weekend to meet promotion hopefuls Leicester City.
The Owls went seven games without a defeat but have ground to a halt by losing their last two, while the Foxes are fifth and have one of the strongest home records in the league - of their 18 games on home soil they have won 12 and lost just three.
One place above Leicester, in fourth, is Crystal Palace, who will see a similar face on Saturday when former Eagles boss Neil Warnock takes his Leeds United team to Selhurst Park.
With Cardiff not in action this weekend, Watford have the opportunity to trim the Bluebirds' lead to two points when they host Blackpool.
The Hornets have dropped just four of the last 21 points available, while Blackpool's recent poor form - they are without a win five - has led to them dropping to 17th.
Level on 43 points with the Tangerines is Birmingham City, who have registered one win in their last six outings, and they entertain mid-table Derby County at St Andrew's.
Completing this weekend's Championship schedule is Huddersfield Town and Charlton Athletic, who meet at the John Smith's Stadium. Both sides are locked on 44 points, six points above the relegation zone, so a win for either would help them breathe a little easier.
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