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EFL: Five things to look out for this Boxing Day

23 December 2016

The festive period means plenty of EFL action and this year is no different.

There’s plenty to see live on Sky Sports, clubs in flying form, and managers and players returning to their previous employers… here’s five things to look out for.

1. Boxing Day fixtures – how did your team fare last year?

Sky Bet Championship

Brentford 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Bristol City 1-1 Charlton Athletic
Derby County 2-0 Fulham
Huddersfield Town 3-1 Preston North End
Hull City 3-0 Burnley
Ipswich Town 2-1 Queens Park Rangers
Milton Keynes Dons 2-1 Cardiff City
Rotherham United 4-0 Bolton Wanderers
Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Birmingham City   
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Reading    

Sky Bet League One
Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Scunthorpe United
Colchester United 0-2 Southend United
Coventry City 1-0 Port Vale
Millwall 0-1 Walsall
Peterborough United 2-0 Chesterfield   
Shrewsbury Town 1-1 Fleetwood Town   
Swindon Town 1-3 Gillingham            

Sky Bet League Two

AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Bristol Rovers
Barnet 2-0 Newport County
Crawley Town 2-1 Stevenage
Dagenham & Redbridge 0-3 Cambridge United
Leyton Orient 3-2 Portsmouth
Luton Town 0-2 Wycombe Wanderers
Oxford United 3-0 Exeter City
Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Yeovil Town

Premier League

Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham United
Newcastle United 0-1 Everton
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Norwich City

National League

Kidderminster Harriers 1-2 Cheltenham Town
Grimsby Town didn’t have a Boxing Day game in 2015/16

How Rotherham would love a repeat of their display from this time last year, when they ran out 4-0 victors over Bolton Wanderers.

The Millers have won only once in their last 18 outings so a belated Christmas gift of three points against fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic would be very much welcome on Boxing Day.

Sheffield Wednesday face arguably one of the toughest tests on the 26th, when they travel to the North East to face Sky Bet Championship leaders Newcastle United.

The Owls have good Boxing Day form to look back on, given they were 3-0 winners over Birmingham City last season and are unbeaten in their last four post-Christmas outings.

The clash at St James’ Park isn’t the only action you’ll be seeing on Sky Sports on Matchday 23 in the Championship. On the 27th, second-placed Brighton & Hove Albion host Ian Holloway’s QPR, followed by a 3pm kick-off between Derby County and Birmingham.

TV Games: Click here to see the Sky Sports schedule

2. Josh Morris back at Valley Parade

It was a dream start to life at Bradford City for Josh Morris. The now-Scunthorpe United winger netted on his debut for the Bantams against Swindon Town, but it proved to be his only goal in the 13 appearances he made during his one-season stay in Yorkshire.

Now, Morris is firing under the stewardship of Graham Alexander at Scunthorpe and finds himself joint-top of the Sky Bet League One scoring charts. He’s been involved in exactly half of the Iron’s goals, scoring 14 and assisting nine of 46 — the highest in the division.

However, Morris is on his longest drought of the season so far, having gone five games without a goal. So beware, Bradford, he’s due one!

3. Robinson returns… again!

Karl Robinson is no stranger to the MK Dons. After all, who would be after spending six years in the stadiummk dugout?

Now Charlton boss, Robinson faces his former club for the third time since his October departure. The two fixtures previously came in the FA Cup. They drew the first fixture at The Valley 0-0 and were beaten 3-1 in Milton Keynes.

4. The U’s are flying

After a slow start to the Sky Bet League Two season for Cambridge United, Shaun Derry’s side are now in fine form.

A win on the 26th against Stevenage will make it five successive EFL victories for the U’s and five consecutive away league victories. Their last four triumphs have seen them hit 11 goals to lift them into the top seven.

It’s been a fantastic turnaround — it took Cambridge nine games to achieve their first three-point haul of the season when they were victorious away at Newport County.

5. The Seagulls’ streak

It’s 16 games unbeaten for Brighton & Hove Albion and they, along with Newcastle United, have moved clear of the Sky Bet Championship chasing pack.

Last season, the Seagulls were untouchable during a run of 21 undefeated matches, with the final game in that streak being a 2-2 draw against QPR.

After that outing, which saw Lewis Dunk dismissed and subsequently suspended, Chris Hughton’s side went five matches without a win, including four losses, which allowed the sides below them back into the fold.

This time around, the battle at the Amex between Brighton and QPR – a pivotal match going on last season’s events – will unfold live on Sky Sports on the 27th December.

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