Middlesbrough, fresh from beating Huddersfield Town, continue their push for promotion to the Premier League with another home game, this time against Cardiff City, on Tuesday.
The involvement of 10 second-tier sides in the fourth round of the FA Cup at the weekend means round 27 of the Championship is split into four chunks.
While Boro, who go to Manchester City in the cup on Saturday, host Cardiff, it’s Leeds United against leaders AFC Bournemouth at Elland Road.
Riverside Stadium boss Aitor Karanka believes this is a crucial phase of the campaign and is desperate for his side to build on the 2-0 win over Town.
Boro are in fourth place, four points behind Bournemouth, who go to Aston Villa in the cup on Sunday.
“This is a very important moment in the league because this and February are the months when the positions are going to become more fixed,” said Karanka.
“If we had lost three points, we would have been seven points behind the leaders and we always have to be thinking about the highest position.
“Now we are four points behind them and that is good for us. We can’t forget that seventh position is close either.”
Bournemouth were 2-0 winners at Rotherham United on Saturday.
They were beaten 3-1 at home by Leeds earlier in the season.
And Whites boss Neil Redfearn, who brings his side to Town for the big West Yorkshire derby a week on Saturday, says the Cherries will be wary.
“Bournemouth are riding high but they are due to lose a game,” predicted Redfearn.
“They are top of the table and everyone will expect them to come and turn us over but there is no reason, if we play with the right spirit, we get the rub of the green and things fall for us, why we can’t get a result.
“We beat them down there, so they will be wary of us because we know where they are a bit vulnerable.
“They are the best footballing team in the division so it will be a good game for us.”
Wednesday night’s Championship games are Brighton v Ipswich Town and Fulham v Nottingham Forest.
Town’s game at Wigan Athletic is one of four second-tier showdowns on Saturday.
Elsewhere Norwich City host Brentford, Watford take on basement side Blackpool and Wolves play Charlton Athletic at Molineux.
There are four games next Tuesday, January 27: Derby County v Blackburn Rovers, Millwall v Reading, Rotherham v Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday v Birmingham City.