Jackett targets top-two spot

Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett is refusing to look too far ahead but is adamant that his side can still clinch an automatic promotion spot.

Pompey's recent victory against Scunthorpe United closed the gap on second-placed Barnsley to just four points and they are 7/5 to beat Shrewsbury Town on Saturday. The Shrews are 5/1 to be relegated from League One while Portsmouth are 10/1 to finish in the top two.

Jackett said: "As far as you can, you have to prepare for one game at a time. All of your energy has to be focused on the next one.

"But when you look at the big picture, it does change slightly because we're going to need a high number of points from the 24 that are still available. We've crept into the 70s now in terms of points and know that, if we want to go up, we'll need to be around 90.

"We're four and nine points respectively off the sides that are currently second and first, so we have to keep pushing and know it's still possible."

Shrewsbury reached the League One play-offs last season but have struggled this term and are in danger of sliding into the fourth tier of English football.

Jackett added: "The bottom half of the season is so tight – it's unbelievable. There are a number of teams that will need points on the board sooner rather than later. We understand Shrewsbury will be fighting for their lives, but have to show our quality and it's an opportunity for us to keep pushing for those promotion places."

Bowyer seeks change of luck

Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer is desperate for his struggling team to create more chances as they attempt to avoid relegation from League One.

The Bantams have endured a terrible campaign and are currently rooted to the foot of the table and available at 1/5 to be relegated.

After parting company with Simon Grayson at the end of last season, City began the 2018/19 campaign with Michael Collins in charge.

He was sacked in September and succeeded by David Hopkin, who resigned five months later.

Former Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool boss Bowyer was appointed manager at Valley Parade earlier this month and handed the task of lifting Bradford out of the relegation zone. They can be backed at 17/10 to beat Blackpool on Saturday.

Bowyer said: "We've got to look forward to Saturday now. Our debrief on Monday was focused on what we could do better ourselves. We've got to concentrate on what we can control, the energy levels, training and continuing on to the next game.

"We need to create more. We had two or three good passages of play [in the 1-0 defeat at Oxford] and then the key moment which is what we hung in the game for.

"That's how quickly things can change – and it can change back just as quickly. That's what we've been telling the boys."

Lambert eyes derby shock

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert insists he is only interested in winning Sunday's game when he returns to Norwich City.

Town are struggling at the foot of the table while the Canaries, who Lambert managed between 2009 and 2012, are pushing for promotion.

Ipswich, 1/16 to be relegated this season, are 17/2 to secure a shock victory in the derby clash at Carrow Road.

Town have failed to clinch a derby win since 2009, but Lambert said: "It doesn't matter if it's Norwich or whatever, the important thing is we have to start winning games.

"I know this one has got added spice, whether it's me going back there, or the intense rivalry, or the separation in the table and it has been too long for this club to wait to beat their local rivals.

"Everything may be against us but they will have to earn the right to beat us. I'm not going there waiting for things to happen. I want us to make things happen."

Meanwhile, Teddy Bishop has signed a new contract which will keep him at Portman Road until the summer of 2021.

The midfielder, who has struggled with a succession of injuries in the last three years, has made 71 appearances for the club.

Adkins warns against complacency

Hull City manager Nigel Adkins has demanded that his players do not get carried away by their excellent recent run.

The Tigers, who host Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, have won their last five Championship matches and have moved up to 13th in the table.

Hull are 11/10 to beat the Owls and 15/2 to win the match 2-1.

Adkins is expecting a tough Yorkshire derby against Wednesday who have appointed Steve Bruce as their next manager.

The South Yorkshire side are 16th in the table and 25/1 to be relegated this term.

"It will be a tough game and they have a squad of really good players with quite a strong attacking force," said Adkins.

"There has been a change of manager there and Steve Bruce will come in next month, but his coaching staff are already in there so the methods of how they want to go and perform are being put in place.

"They're on a good run of form themselves and they've brought a few players back into it, Keiren Westwood for example who had been left out in the cold a little bit.

"There's a spirit about them as well, so we know it's going to be challenging. We've been on a good run of form but we can't have any complacency kicking in."

Town land veteran Collins

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert is keen to add more new faces to his squad after completing the signing of the former West Ham defender James Collins.

The 35-year-old Welshman has signed a deal with the Championship's bottom club until the end of the season.

Collins made 69 league appearances for Cardiff City before joining the Hammers in 2005. He moved on to Aston Villa for £5million four years later before returning to West Ham in 2012.

Collins, who won 51 caps for Wales, was released by the east London side at the end of last season.

"James has a great presence about him and that can be huge for us," said Lambert. "He has played at the highest level and his experience will be vital. We're delighted to have him here."

Lambert has signed four other players – Callum Elder, Will Keane, Collin Quaner and Simon Dawkins – this month as he tries to steer Town out of the relegation zone.

He still hopes to bring in further signings though, adding: "We'll try and do something but we can't keep flooding the place with loans, because you can only have five in the matchday squad.

"That's where the loan system falls down because you then have to manage them, which is difficult in itself."

Ipswich, 1/8 to be relegated this season, are 29/20 to beat Rotherham United at Portman Road on Saturday.

Lambert desperate for new faces

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert will not allow anyone to leave Portman Road in January until he has signed the players he desires.

Lambert is desperate to strengthen his squad but may enter the loan market rather than make permanent signings in order to bring in experienced Championship players.

Jonas Knudsen and Bartosz Bialkowski are both expected to leave Portman Road in January but Lambert is refusing to confirm anything just yet.

"Nobody will leave until I think we can get people in, nobody," said the former Aston Villa and Stoke City boss.

"I will not sanction anyone to go out until I think we can get people in who can help us. Maybe then I might let one or two go out, but until then I'll never release anyone.

"I need to look at the club's interests and I won't put any player's interests before the club. That's important. There are one or two out of contract in the summer and we have to look at that."

Veteran Stoke City duo Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch have been linked with loan switches to Ipswich while Lambert seems certain to cancel the loans of Tayo Edun and Jordan Graham next month.

Ipswich are seven points adrift at the foot of the table after winning just one of their first 21 Championship games of the campaign.

They are 1/6 to be relegated this term, while Bolton Wanderers are 4/11 to go down and Reading 8/11.

Campbell to miss Canaries clash

Hull City striker Fraizer Campbell will miss Tuesday's clash against Norwich City after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at the weekend.

The 31-year-old former Sunderland, Cardiff City and Crystal Palace forward, who has found the net six times this season, including four in his last four games, was booked in the closing stages of the Tigers' 2-0 home loss to Nottingham Forest and will serve a one-game suspension.

Hull boss Nigel Adkins has a dearth of attacking options as Chris Martin and Will Keane are the only strikers available to him for the visit of the league leaders to the KC Stadium.

In addition Jackson Irvine, Markus Henriksen, Tommy Elphick and Jordy de Wijs are all one yellow card away from suspension.

Meanwhile, Tommy Elphick believes the Tigers are going backwards and are in grave danger of being relegated to League One.

Second-half goals by Forest's Lewis Grabban and Joe Lolley condemned Hull to their 10th defeat of the season and they are 5/2 to be relegated from the Championship and 12/5 to secure a shock victory against the Canaries on Tuesday.

Elphick, who is on loan at Hull from Aston Villa, said: "It feels like we've gone back six weeks and we need to draw a line under this defeat quickly and move on."

Lambert to let Graham leave

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has confirmed that Jordan Graham will be allowed to leave Portman Road in January.

Former Town boss Paul Hurst brought the 23-year-old to Suffolk on loan in August but the winger has not featured in the first team since Lambert took over the managerial reins.

Graham is currently training with Oxford United in a bid to earn a contract with the League One side, who are 7/2 to be relegated this season.

"I can only come in and see with my own eyes what I think is right and what I think is wrong and I think we've got a squad where there's a lot of players, young ones as well, who I think are going to make an impact sooner rather than later," said former Stoke City, Aston Villa and Norwich City boss Lambert.

"Jordan was only a young kid when I was Aston Villa when I was there and he was out injured a lot at Wolves."

Lambert has indicated that Jack Lankester's progress has led to his decision to let Graham leave, saying of the teenager: "Jack's got an incredible touch, he has a terrific way of playing.

"He's only a kid but he's one young one that I think, 'Yeah, you could have a massive career'. We have to nurture him and give him game time when we think, 'Go on now and let's see what you can do'."

Ipswich are at the foot of the Championship table and are 4/11 to be relegated this term while they are 7/2 to beat West Brom on Friday.

Davis’ progress pleases Monk

Birmingham City boss Garry Monk is hopeful that David Davis will be able to return to first-team action ahead of schedule.

The 27-year-old had to have extensive surgery for a fractured left ankle and ligament damage that he suffered during pre-season training in early July.

It was anticipated that the former Wolves midfielder would miss most of the 2018/19 campaign but Monk has revealed that Davis' recovery is going very well.

"The most important part is his early rehab, how it forms back together, and the injury recuperates," said Monk.

"I don't want to curse it, but it has gone as well as you could hope. We are hoping his time is accelerated.

"At this moment in time he is back running on the treadmill, so it's not full loading but it is still good loading and there have been no problems.

"The real test will be when he is back out jogging on the pitches, which should be pretty soon.

"I am not trying to avoid a time-line, I just don't want to say, 'It's this day' and not really know that because he has still got those mini-hurdles to go."

Birmingham City, 40/1 to be relegated from the Championship this season, can be backed at 3/1 to beat Aston Villa next weekend.

Ailing Ipswich turn to Lambert

Paul Lambert has been handed the task of lifting Ipswich Town clear of the Championship's relegation zone.

The 49-year-old, who left Stoke City in May when their relegation from the Premier League was confirmed, has signed a contract that will keep him at Portman Road until the end of the 2020/21 season.

Lambert replaces Paul Hurst, who was axed on Thursday with Town at the foot of the table after winning only one of their first 14 matches of the campaign.

He starred for Celtic and Borussia Dortmund during his playing career as well as making 40 appearances for Scotland.

Lambert has managed Livingston, Wycombe Wanderers, Colchester United, Norwich City, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and Wolves before taking charge at Stoke in January.

He said: "I can't wait to get going and I'll be using all my experience – and give everything I've got for Ipswich Town.

"I know about the history of the club, what a fantastic football club it is and I am proud to be the manager here.

"Obviously it's been a difficult start to the season but to get through this period we need to be pulling together as one – players, staff and supporters.

"I want us to play with tempo, with enthusiasm, with drive. I want the players to enjoy their football and I am relishing the challenge of helping to take this club forward."

Ipswich are 1/2 to be relegated this season, while Hull City are 6/5 to go down and Reading 5/4.