The Championship enters the 16th round of games this weekend before the November international break. Mark Heath takes a look at the action...

Matches of the day

There are a few absolute crackers this weekend.

My pick for top billing is at the Riverside, where resurgent Middlesbrough host league leaders Leicester City in what should be a very tasty clash.

Boro laboured through their worst-ever start to a season, but boss Michael Carrick insisted they would turn things around - and so they have.

Carrick's side have won six of their last eight league games to climb up to 12th in the table, and another three points this weekend would lift them to the brink of the top six.

Included in that recent run are wins over Sunderland (0-4), Cardiff City (2-0), Southampton (2-1), Norwich City (1-2) and Birmingham City (1-0).

But they'll face their stiffest test yet against Enzo Maresca's flying Foxes, who will be determined to bounce back from just their second defeat of the season last time out.

Maresca's men were beaten 1-0 by third-placed Leeds United, and are now just three points clear of Ipswich Town at the top.

Both Carrick and Maresca were nominated for the SkyBet Championship manager of the month award for October, with the latter winning it.

Will the award curse strike him at 'Boro? It should be a fascinating game.

Ipswich Star: Wayne Rooney tries again for his first win as Birmingham City boss this weekendWayne Rooney tries again for his first win as Birmingham City boss this weekend (Image: PA Images)
The other match I really like the look of is the Saturday lunchtime tussle between Sunderland and the club you now have to refer to as Wayne Rooney's Birmingham City.

Sunderland, under Tony Mowbray, are pushing for the play-offs again while - as you probably know - Rooney is yet to win in four matches since his controversial appointment at St Andrew's.

And I'll throw one more cracker into the mighty fixtures mix too - the clash at Southampton between the in-form Saints and play-off pushing West Brom.

After a fairly sizeable wobble, Russell Martin's Saints are unbeaten in seven and starting to look like the promotion-chasers we all expected them to be.

West Brom, meanwhile, are flying quietly under the radar. They've won three games in a row under Carlos Corberan and are looking good for a serious tilt at the top six.

Ipswich Star: Norwich City boss David Wagner is under serious pressureNorwich City boss David Wagner is under serious pressure (Image: Paul Chesterton)
Canaries corner

Dear oh dear.

Norwich City started the season in fine form, and looked for all the world like they'd be a genuine contender this season.

In young midfielder Jonathan Rowe, they have one of the league's breakout stars - but it seems things are breaking down at Carrow Road.

They've lost four straight games and eight of their last ten in all competitions to slide all the way down to 17th in the Championship. 

Already, they're 19 points behind old rivals Town.

As you'd expect, the feathered faithful are restless. Boos are commonplace at Carrow Road, and boss David Wagner is under serious pressure.

Indeed, our colleagues at the EDP are using terms like 'sleepwalking into trouble', which is eerily similar to the language around Town not too long ago.

Ipswich Star: Frank Lampard has been linked with Norwich CityFrank Lampard has been linked with Norwich City (Image: PA Images)
Wagner, who has insisted he won't resign, appears to be a dead man walking. 

Frank Lampard has been linked with the job, with reports claiming that Wagner will be replaced if he fails to get a result at Cardiff City this weekend.

It certainly looks set to be an eventful international break down the A11....

Ipswich Star: Liam Manning has left Oxford United to take the top job at Bristol CityLiam Manning has left Oxford United to take the top job at Bristol City (Image: PA)

Familiar face, new place

Liam Manning has long been talked about as one of the best young English managers in the game, and the ex-Town player and coach is now a Championship rival.

He and fellow ex-Town man Chris Hogg have departed Oxford United - whom they'd guided to second place in the early League One table - for Bristol City.

Manning, 38, who led MK Dons to the brink of promotion from League One before being sacked after a bad start last December, said: "This is a terrific opportunity and one that I’m really looking forward to.

"If you look at the vision of the club and where they want to get to and how they want to get there I think there is really good fit and alignment with my journey and where I want to get to.

"We are custodians and you have to respect and understand the past and the culture of the area that you’ve moved to and leave the club in a better state.

“We’ll be doing our upmost in terms of the day to day in putting really strong processes in place, getting emotionally invested in what we do and having that passion, that drive, that hunger to improve everything.”

Manning starts his reign at the Robins with a trip to struggling QPR.

Ipswich Star: Sammie Szmodics is having a great seasonSammie Szmodics is having a great season (Image: PA Images)

Stats leaders

Sammie Szmodics of Blackburn Rovers and Jack Clarke of Sunderland are the league's leading scorers, with nine strikes apiece.

Southampton's Adam Armstrong has eight, while Plymouth's Morgan Whittaker has seven, as does the aforementioned Rowe of Norwich.

Town's Leif Davis is now the league's assist leader with seven, one ahead of Leicester's midfield marvel Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.

Davis is now tied with Norwich's Gabriel Sara in terms of chances created. Both have 42. 

Ipswich Star: Leif Davis is the league's top assist manLeif Davis is the league's top assist man (Image: Stephen Waller)
Full fixtures

Tonight: Blackburn Rovers v Preston North End (8pm)

Tomorrow (3pm unless stated): Sunderland v Birmingham City (12.30pm), Cardiff City v Norwich City, Coventry City v Stoke City, Hull City v Huddersfield Town, Ipswich Town v Swansea City, Leeds United v Plymouth Argyle, Middlesbrough v Leicester City, QPR v Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday v Millwall, Southampton v West Brom, Watford v Rotherham United.