Preview: Blackburn Rovers vs. Leicester City

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between playoff hopefuls Blackburn Rovers and runaway leaders Leicester City at Ewood Park.

It appears that no-one can stop Leicester City from winning the Championship title and cruising to automatic promotion to the Premier League this season.

The Foxes made it four wins on the bounce last weekend, overcoming a minor scare when they went behind to Blackpool to eventually win 3-1 - the fourth straight match in which they have scored three goals.

Despite Burnley's continued good form in second place, Leicester aren't giving the Clarets a sniff at the moment, and the seven-point gap they have at the top of the table looks to be impenetrable, particularly as the leaders have a game in hand.

Even if Nigel Pearson's side were to suffer an unlikely collapse, their place in the top flight next year is all but guaranteed with a 17-point gap separating them from third-placed Derby.

A more likely scenario than a loss in form is for Leicester to break the 100-point barrier. They are currently 20 points short with a possible 33 points still up for grabs. You wouldn't bet against them on current form.

Their unbeaten streak in the league now stretches back 16 matches all the way to early December, and continuing with the theme of impressive milestones, Leicester could be eyeing an unbeaten 2014 in the Championship.

If there has been a weak spot for the Foxes this season, it has been away from home, where they have lost four times. However, such has been their overall dominance that they still boast the best away record in the division.

That presents a daunting challenge for Blackburn, who know that anything less than a win would kill off their playoff hopes once and for all.

The prospect of them creeping into the top six is already a long shot with three teams better placed and eight points separating them from Nottingham Forest in sixth. However, Rovers do have a game in hand over the majority of the chasing pack, and a good spell of form could enable a late charge.

They will be pleased, then, that Jordan Rhodes appears to have found his shooting boots once again, netting a hat-trick against former club Huddersfield Town to end a barren run in front of goal.

That helped Blackburn to end a three-match losing streak, and they know that they cannot afford any more setbacks if they are to stand any chance of challenging for the playoffs.

Gary Bowyer's side will certainly need to improve on their last two appearances at Ewood Park, which saw them lose to Burnley and Bournemouth in succession. With the all-conquering Leicester coming to town, his side will need to be at their very best.

Scott Dann, Ben Marshall, Tom Cairney and Grant Hanley are all injury worries for the hosts, however, while Jason Lowe could come back into midfield for the match.

Recent form

Blackburn: DWLLLW

Leicester: DDWWWW

Possible starting lineups

Blackburn: Robinson; Kane, Kilgallon, Keane, Spurr; Dunn, Lowe, Evans, Conway; Gestede; Rhodes

Leicester: Schmeichel; De Laet, Wasilewski, Morgan, Schlupp; Knockaert, James, Drinkwater, Mahrez; Vardy, Hugent

Sports Mole says: 0-2

Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer prior to kick-off against Man City in their FA Cup third round match on January 4, 2013
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Preview: Huddersfield vs. Blackburn
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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