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Sky Bet EFL: Matchday preview

Posted: Fri 21 Apr 2017
Author: Alex Hannah
Brighton celebrate promotion

Brighton celebrate promotion

Image by: Graham Fuller/PA Images

There's EFL action from Friday through to Monday yet again, and plenty to look out for across the three divisions.

Here's our preview of what we've got to look forward to...

Sky Bet Championship masthead - 600w

Champions-elect

The Sky Bet Championship title winners can be crowned on Friday night in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Carrow Road.

Brighton & Hove Albion will be confirmed as champions with three points against Norwich City, the side they beat 5-0 in October's reverse fixture.

The Seagulls confirmed promotion last weekend after defeating Wigan Athletic, securing their return to the top flight for the first time in 34 years.

Read More: Click here to read the Daily Mail’s article about Brighton’s fairytale journey

Play-Off push

It’s a big weekend for the teams in the search of a top-six spot.

Huddersfield (fourth, 78 points) and Fulham (sixth, 73 points) face off at the John Smiths’ Stadium. Victory for the home side could open the door for Garry Monk’s Leeds United (seventh, 73 points) to reclaim their Play-Off place, should they defeat 19th-placed Burton Albion.

Sheffield Wednesday (fifth, 75 points) host Derby County and Reading (third, 79 points) travel to the City Ground to take on Mark Warburton's struggling Nottingham Forest, who are only a point above the drop zone. 

Around the grounds

At the bottom of the table, Wigan (23rd, 40 points) will be on the hunt for their third win in four games when they welcome Cardiff to the DW. If they lose and Forest (21st, 45 points) win, the Latics will be relegated to Sky Bet League One.

Elsewhere, Blackburn (22nd, 44 points) travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Then, on Sunday, Harry Redknapp makes a return to management in the Second City derby as Birmingham City (20th, 47 points) travel to Aston Villa.

The action is rounded up on Monday night, when Newcastle United and Preston North End meet for a match live on Sky Sports.
 
Table: Click here to see the Sky Bet Championship table

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 44 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 21st April 2017

Norwich City v Brighton & Hove Albion (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 22nd April 2017

Brentford v Queens Park Rangers
Bristol City v Barnsley
Burton Albion v Leeds United
Huddersfield Town v Fulham
Nottingham Forest v Reading
Rotherham United v Ipswich Town
Sheffield Wednesday v Derby County
Wigan Athletic v Cardiff City
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Blackburn Rovers

Sunday 23rd April 2017

Aston Villa v Birmingham City (12pm)

Monday 24th April 2017

Newcastle United v Preston North End (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Social media: Follow @SkyBetChamp on Twitter for goal updates


Sky Bet League One masthead - 600w

All eyes on Vale Park

There’s a huge clash at Vale Park this weekend which could carry big repercussions at both ends of the table, and it comes in the form of Port Vale versus Bolton Wanderers.

A win for Bolton (second, 80 points), along with Fleetwood (third, 78 points) dropping points, will secure the Trotters' promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.

However, it would also be a key three points for the Valiants in their battle for survival. They currently sit 21st and two points behind Bury in safety (20th, 47 points), but have a game in hand.

Two sides at either end of the table who will be keeping tabs on this fixture also face off, with 22nd-placed Swindon Town (44 points) and promotion-chasing Scunthorpe (fourth, 76 points) going head-to-head at the County Ground.

The Iron still have an outside chance of taking an automatic promotion spot, and the Robins trail Vale by just a point, and safety by three.

Around the grounds

Third-placed Fleetwood Town travel to Gillingham, still in hot pursuit of an automatic promotion spot. A win for the Cod Army, coupled with a Bolton defeat, would lift them up to second on what is the penultimate matchday of the season.

Millwall, who currently occupy sixth place, the lowest Play-Off spot, welcome Oxford to The Den. The Lions are without a loss at home since the beginning of December and are looking to fend off those below them in the race for a Play-Off place.

Southend are the side leading the chase, sitting seventh and just a point behind, and they travel to relegation-threatened Shrewsbury Town.

Table: Click here to see the Sky Bet League One table

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 45 fixtures (3pm kick-off)

Saturday 22nd April 2017
 
Bradford City v AFC Wimbledon
Bury v Northampton Town
Chesterfield v Charlton Athletic
Coventry City v Walsall
Gillingham v Fleetwood Town
Millwall v Oxford United
Milton Keynes Dons v Sheffield United
Oldham Athletic v Rochdale
Peterborough United v Bristol Rovers
Port Vale v Bolton Wanderers
Shrewsbury Town v Southend United
Swindon Town v Scunthorpe United

Social media: Follow @SkyBetLeagueOne on Twitter for goal updates


Sky Bet League Two masthead - 600w

Eleven-horse race

With only three matches remaining in Sky Bet League Two, an astonishing 11 teams are still in with a shout of a Play-Off place.

Luton, Stevenage, Exeter, and Blackpool are the front-runners that already occupy the four spots, but just two points separate 13th-placed Wycombe Wanderers from the Tangerines, and Grimsby still have an outside chance, sitting six points adrift in 14th.

Only one fixture contains a clash between two of the chasers, though. Fifth-placed Stevenage host Mansfield Town, who sit 12th. A win for the Stags would take them within a point of their hosts.

Ninth-placed Cambridge United travel to already-promoted Portsmouth, and Wycombe host leaders Doncaster Rovers, who are three points above second-placed Plymouth. 

The Exiles' great escape

At one point this season Newport County looked destined for relegation, but their recent surge in form has seen them give themselves a glimmer of hope.

Before meeting a rampant Plymouth side on Monday, County had won three on the bounce to take them within a point of Hartlepool United and safety.

This weekend they host Sky Bet League Two’s form side, Accrington Stanley. John Coleman’s men are unbeaten in 15, and two points off the Play-Offs.

Around the grounds

Hartlepool United, who have not won in six, entertain a Barnet side that have lost their last four fixtures.

Cheltenham Town, who have also experienced a recent pick-up in form to move five points above the drop zone, travel to Blackpool, whilst 19th-placed Crewe Alexandra welcome Leyton Orient to Gresty Road.  The rock-bottom O's require a win to stave off relegation.

Crawley Town are 20th and still not safe, and they face Carlisle United, who are without a victory in three but in the thick of the race for the Play-Offs.

Table: Click here to see the Sky Bet League Two table

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 44 fixtures (3pm kick-off)

Saturday 22nd April 2017

Blackpool v Cheltenham Town
Colchester United v Plymouth Argyle
Crawley Town v Carlisle United
Crewe Alexandra v Leyton Orient
Exeter City v Morecambe
Grimsby Town v Yeovil Town
Hartlepool United v Barnet
Luton Town v Notts County
Newport County v Accrington Stanley
Portsmouth v Cambridge United
Stevenage v Mansfield Town
Wycombe Wanderers v Doncaster Rovers

Social media: Follow @SkyBetLeagueTwo on Twitter for goal updates

Match officials: Click here to see the referees on EFL duty this weekend