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Match Previews

EFL Matchday 2: Preview - five things to look out for

12 August 2016

After a thrilling week of EFL Cup football, it's back to the bread and butter this weekend with Matchday 2 taking place!

Here are five things to look out for across the EFL's three divisions...

1. Aston Villa - the only way is up

It's been a pretty rough week for Aston Villa.

An opening-weekend defeat was followed by a midweek EFL Cup loss at the hands of Sky Bet League Two Luton Town, and this weekend they host Rotherham United.

Roberto Di Matteo's side haven't won at Villa Park since a 2-0 Premier League victory over Norwich on 6th February, and the manager knows how vital three points will be.

In quotes: Roberto Di Matteo on the urgent need for a win, however it arrives.

— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) August 10, 2016

2. Forest first again for Brighton

Brighton & Hove Albion host Nottingham Forest live on Sky Sports on Friday night, in a repeat of what was the Seagulls' first home game last term.

In front of 24,623 supporters on the opening night of 2015/16, Brighton edged Forest 1-0 thanks to a Kazenga LuaLua goal, which sparked a 21-game unbeaten run for Chris Hughton's side.

A year on, they started at Derby and drew 0-0, while Philippe Montanier's men kicked off 2016/17 with a thrilling 4-3 home victory over Burton Albion.

3. Sky Bet League One goal machine is back in the division

Kieran Agard is a player well-versed with Sky Bet League One.

The front man has won promotion from the division twice - in 2013/14 with Rotherham United and 2014/15 with Bristol City - and he's now back at that level with MK Dons, in line to make his debut against Millwall on Saturday.

It took a club-record transfer fee to take him to Stadium MK from Bristol City, and manager Karl Robinson couldn't hide his delight at the signing.

Read more: MK Dons - Agard arrives

“We’re ecstatic to have him at the football club. We’ve had to be patient with this deal but it’s an important one for us.

“He’s been on our board for a while now but I never thought he was a realistic target. However, with everyone’s hard work and Kieran accepting the challenge here, we’ve got the deal done – I couldn’t be happier.
“I think this signing sends out a message – we are ambitious and we are heading in the right direction.”

4. Russell v Rob - Ricky reunited

One of the Sky Bet League One match-ups this weekend sees Russell Slade's Charlton Athletic welcome Rob Page's Northampton Town to The Valley.

And it's a game that will see Addicks winger Ricky Holmes reunited with his former team-mates.

The 29-year-old joined Slade's side from the Cobblers in the close-season, after a promotion-winning campaign at Sixfields in which he played a starring role.

YOUTUBE: Rob Page on coming up against Ricky Holmes in Saturday's trip to Charlton:

— Northampton Town (@ntfc) August 11, 2016

5. Loyal supporters

Fans of Plymouth Argyle and Hartlepool United will rack up the miles this weekend as they head to the opposite ends of the country to face Carlisle United and Exeter City respectively.

Home Park to Brunton Park is 389 miles, meaning Pilgrims supporters have a 778-mile round trip to contend with, while Hartlepool fans face a 691-mile round trip.

Safe travels to you all.

Here's a look at what's coming up on Matchday 2 in all three divisions of the EFL:

Friday 12th August 2016

Brighton & Hove Albion v Nottingham Forest - live on Sky Sports

Saturday 13th August 2016

Aston Villa v Rotherham United
Barnsley v Derby County
Brentford v Ipswich Town
Burton Albion v Bristol City
Leeds United v Birmingham City
Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town
Preston North End v Fulham
Wigan Athletic v Blackburn Rovers
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Reading
Norwich City v Sheffield Wednesday - live on Sky Sports

Sunday 14th August 2016

Cardiff City v Queens Park Rangers

TV Games: Click here to see a full list of TV games announced to date

Saturday 13th August 2016

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

Sunday 14th August 2016

Bristol Rovers v Oxford United

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

Follow, follow, follow...

Follow the EFL's social media channels to keep up-to-date with the weekend's action:


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