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EFL: Five things to look out for this weekend

Posted: Fri 17 Mar 2017
Author: Alex Butcher
Eric Lichaj and Tom Ince do battle 8x6

Eric Lichaj and Tom Ince do battle

Image by: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

Three divisions, three days, 36 matches – there's plenty going on in the EFL this weekend.

As ever, we've picked out five storylines to keep an eye on...

Nottingham Forest v Derby County – a rivalry resumed

It's a derby day that doesn't often disappoint, and Nottingham Forest versus Derby will grab even more attention this weekend with two new faces in the dugout.

The pressure is perhaps more on the new man at the City Ground, Mark Warburton. Forest are just two points above the relegation zone, and failure to defeat their rivals this weekend could see them in the bottom three.

Gary Rowett, like Warburton, has impressed in the Sky Bet Championship before. The former Birmingham City boss obviously wants to start off with the right result, but the aim is for his new charges to respond to his new methods.

“I want a strong performance,” he told dcfc.co.uk. “Regardless of the result, what is going to be important is that the players respond to what we’ve talked about in the week.”

Stevenage v Portsmouth – in-form and chasing promotion

Portsmouth have won six, drawn two and lost just one of their last nine matches, a run of form which has seen them establish themselves firmly in the top three of Sky Bet League Two.

They've hit four goals in back-to-back matches, and not conceded a goal in four outings. Can anyone stop them? Stevenage will have every reason to believe they can.

Prior to a midweek loss at Blackpool, the Boro had climbed to fourth after a run of eight wins and a draw from nine matches. In 2017, their home form reads: Played six, won six.

This one should be a cracker.

Rotherham United – the first team relegated?

Rotherham face the prospect of relegation from the Sky Bet Championship this weekend, although they would need a number of results to go against them.

The Millers travel to Queens Park Rangers this weekend, and if they avoid defeat then their stay in the division will be extended.

However, should they lose at Loftus Road, they will drop if Burton Albion pick up a point, and Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers both win.

TABLE: Click here to view the Sky Bet Championship standings

Bradford City – unbeaten at home

Swindon Town arrive at Valley Parade this weekend looking to do something that no team has yet to do this season... defeat Bradford City.

The Bantams have played 19 home games this term without loss but, with a record of won seven, drawn 12, it's actually their away form which has served them better this season.

Their latest opponents are in the bottom four and have picked up just 14 points on their travels, but did win the reverse fixture back in November.

Golden Boot – the race is on


The finish of the 2016/17 season is almost in sight and there's still plenty to play for, including the race to be top scorer in the EFL.

In Sky Bet League Two, the race couldn't be much closer, with two Johns – Marquis and Akinde – battling it out on 21 goals apiece and their striking statistics are almost identical.


Billy Sharp's 26 goals have fired Sheffield United to the top of the Sky Bet League One table, and he holds a commanding lead over James Vaughan (21) and the rest of the division's front men.

Leeds United's Chris Wood leads the way in the Sky Bet Championship – he's currently edging out Dwight Gayle by a goal, although Newcastle United's number nine is the more prolific of the two.