The action in the Championship hits gameweek 20 this weekend. Mark Heath takes a look at the best games and storylines in the second tier....

Sacking season

Ah, December. 'tis the season for Christmas trees, mince pies, goodwill to all - and managers getting their festive farewells as a lovely early present.

There must have been something in the winter air on Monday night, because two Championship sides said bye-bye to their bosses.

First, Swansea sacked Michael Duff, with the Swans toiling towards the bottom of the table.

Then, much more surprisingly, Sunderland parted company with Ipswich legend Tony Mowbray, the man who led them to the play-offs last season.

The Black Cats sit ninth, just three points outside the play-off places. So much for season's greetings!

East Anglian Daily Times: Tony Mowbray was surprisingly sacked by SunderlandTony Mowbray was surprisingly sacked by Sunderland (Image: Pagepix Ltd)
"This was a difficult decision to make," sporting director Kristjaan Speakman told the club website.

"But we remain loyal to our ambition and our strategy, and felt that now was the right moment to take this step.

"We are now focused on identifying the right candidate and we will continue to support our coaching team and players throughout the interim period."

Swansea head to Rotherham - another side without a boss - this weekend. The Swans have just had permission denied to talk to Spurs assistant coach Chris Davies, their top target.

Sunderland, meanwhile, host high-flying West Brom. Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher is among the names linked to the Stadium of Light so far.

He said: "It's not the first time that it's happened, hopefully it won't be the last time.

"I think if you're getting linked to top jobs like that then it shows that you're doing something good in the job that you're currently at.

"I don't let it affect me, I think it's just part and parcel of the game."

There have already been ten Championship managers sacked this season - so, who's next?

Well, there's a man just down the road skating on thin ice...

East Anglian Daily Times: Delia Smith branded 20% of Norwich fans 'whingers' at the club's AGMDelia Smith branded 20% of Norwich fans 'whingers' at the club's AGM (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)
Canaries corner

Up until just recently, Norwich City and David Wagner has been in all sorts of bother.

After an impressive start, they slumped to 17th in the table with a dreadful run of just one point from six games.

Wagner's future looked bleak. But they started to turn the tide with a late 3-2 win at Cardiff followed by a 1-0 home triumph against struggling QPR.

A 3-2 loss at Watford was a setback, but the Canaries showed fight by coming from behind to prevail 2-1 at Bristol City last week, courtesy of a 95th minute Adam Idah winner.

Things are still far from rosy in the feathered garden - Delia Smith branding 20% of Norwich fans 'whingers' during a fairly extraordinary AGM last week didn't help - but it seems Wagner will survive for the foreseeable.

East Anglian Daily Times: David Wagner is still under a lot of pressure at Norwich CityDavid Wagner is still under a lot of pressure at Norwich City
Smith, the club's majority shareholder, said of Wagner's job security: "I have no crystal ball; I have no idea at all.

"I know that football goes up and down and I think Mark (Attanasio, an incoming investor) is surprised that we keep changing managers.

"My dream is to have a manager for the long term, so I hope he's right; that's all I can say."

 I think it's fair to say most Town fans will be hoping Wagner's still in the opposing dug-out come December 16th.

He has two home games to negotiate before then - against sliding Preston North End this weekend, followed by rock bottom Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday.

East Anglian Daily Times: Daniel Farke's Leeds United head to Blackburn Rovers this weekendDaniel Farke's Leeds United head to Blackburn Rovers this weekend (Image: Steve Waller)
Matches of the day

The two Saturday lunchtime games look like the tastiest festive fare on offer this weekend to me.

Always-entertaining Blackburn Rovers, in seventh, host third-placed Leeds United in what looks to be a cracking game.

And in the other 12.30pm kick-off, now managerless Sunderland entertain the promotion-pushing West Brom.

Having impressively handled Town, Carlos Corberan's men were beaten 2-1 at home by table-toppers Leicester City last week, courtesy of a late, late breakaway goal from Harry Winks.

They'll be keen to bounce back by adding to the Black Cats' woes.

Watford hosting Southampton at 3pm also looks like a game to keep an eye on.

East Anglian Daily Times: Sammie Szmodics is having a fantastic seasonSammie Szmodics is having a fantastic season (Image: CameraSport)
Stats leaders

Blackburn's Sammie Szmodics is the second tier's top marksman to date, with 14 goals, followed by Adam Armstrong of Southampton with 12.

Sunderland's saggy-socked wing wizard Jack Clarke is third with ten. 

Town's very own non-stop assist machine Leif Davis is top of the provider charts with nine assists, followed by Norwich City's Gabriel Sara on eight.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall of Leicester City - perhaps the Championship's best overall player - has seven, as does Leeds United's Georginio Rutter.

Sara has retaken the lead in the chances created table from Davis, with 51 to the Town man's 49. Dewsbury-Hall has 46 in third.

Full fixtures

Tonight: Coventry City v Birmingham City (8pm)

Tomorrow (3pm unless stated): Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United (12.30pm), Sunderland v West Brom (12.30pm), Cardiff City v Millwall, Huddersfield v Bristol City, Leicester City v Plymouth Argyle, Middlesbrough v Ipswich Town, Norwich City v Preston North End, QPR V hull City, Rotherham United v Swansea City, Stoke City v Sheffield Wednesday, Watford v Southampton.