Championship Preview: Derby eye summit, QPR look to bounce back

Steve McClaren has led his Rams to seven wins in a row and they will look to make it eight against Huddersfield Town, a result which could propel them to the top of the table
Derby County could move top of the Championship by extending their winning run to eight matches against Huddersfield Town on Thursday.

Steve McClaren's men have been in excellent form over recent weeks and could reach the summit on goal difference with victory in West Yorkshire, providing that the three teams above them all drop points in their respective Boxing Day clashes.

Derby have lost only once since McClaren took over in September and are the division's highest scorers but the former England manager has warned his side not to get carried away with their winning run.

"No game is easy and every opponent is difficult so to win seven games in succession is a brilliant achievement," he told the club's official website.

"Momentum is key and we've managed to get that behind us at the moment. We're in a great position and on a great run but, as I keep saying, we have to keep our feet on the ground."

Burnley are one of the sides whom Derby will hope to see slip up, with Sean Dyche's leaders travelling north to Middlesbrough, who come into the game on the back of a 2-0 victory against fellow strugglers Millwall.

QPR will look for a reaction following their 1-0 defeat to title rivals Leicester City when they travel to Nottingham Forest - with the latter able to move into the play-off spots with a point.

Two of the league's top six sides meet at the King Power Stadium as the Foxes host Reading while Danny Wilson takes charge of his first home clash since his return as Barnsley manager.

Bolton Wanderers are the visitors to Oakwell, while Barnsley's South Yorkshire neighbours, Sheffield Wednesday, will look for their first win at Ewood Park since 1999 when they face Blackburn Rovers.

Bournemouth face local rivals Yeovil Town, while London neighbours Watford and Millwall meet at Vicarage Road in what will be Giuseppe Sannino's first home game in charge of the hosts.

Chris Powell will be keen for his side to arrest their poor form of late when Charlton Athletic welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to the Valley in the day's early game, before Wigan go in search of a third straight league victory, with Birmingham City the visitors to the DW Stadium.

Elsewhere, Doncaster Rovers host Ipswich Town and Leeds United travel to Blackpool.