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Match Previews

Sky Bet EFL: Matchday preview

7 April 2017

It's a full house this weekend, with all 72 EFL clubs in action over the next two days.

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



Winning Wolves


Paul Lambert was named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for March after closing the month out with three straight wins, and that form has carried into April.

Awards: Click here for more on Paul Lambert's Manager of the Month award

Two further triumphs, against Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest, have lifted Wolverhampton Wanderers clear of relegation danger. The same can't be said for Saturday's opponents.

Bristol City are one point and one place above the bottom three, and have beaten Wolves just once since 1993. Will it be six in a row for Lambert and his troops?

Must-win for Wigan?

Four straight defeats, one win in nine – a set of results which has seen Wigan Athletic cast further adrift at the wrong end of the Sky Bet Championship.

Now seven points from safety, and with six games remaining, the Latics are in need of points, and this weekend could be their best chance yet of a three-point haul.

Relegated Rotherham United are the visitors to the DW Stadium, and have picked up just one point from 20 away games this term. However, the worst home record in the division belongs to Wigan...

Around the grounds

Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion will both be shown live on Sky Sports, with the Seagulls at QPR on Friday, and the Magpies travelling to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday evening.

Reading visit Norwich City looking for a fourth straight win, while third-placed Huddersfield Town go to struggling Nottingham Forest. Simon Grayson returns to Leeds United, taking his in-form Preston North End to Elland Road.

Another returning manager is Gary Rowett, who takes Derby County to Birmingham City, one of several clubs still looking over their shoulder at the relegation places.

Blackburn Rovers are just inside the bottom three and host a Barnsley side without a win in eight, while Burton Albion welcome Aston Villa, who have won four straight games.

Table: Click here to see the Sky Bet Championship table

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 41 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 7th April 2017

Queens Park Rangers v Brighton & Hove Albion (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 8th April 2017

Birmingham City v Derby County
Blackburn Rovers v Barnsley
Bristol City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Burton Albion v Aston Villa
Cardiff City v Brentford
Fulham v Ipswich Town
Leeds United v Preston North End
Norwich City v Reading
Nottingham Forest v Huddersfield Town
Sheffield Wednesday v Newcastle United (5:30pm - live on Sky Sports)
Wigan Athletic v Rotherham United

Social media: Follow @SkyBetChamp on Twitter for goal updates




Eager Beevers

Five goals in five away games is a goalscoring record that any striker would be proud of, especially when those goals have helped to put you within touching distance of promotion.

However, we're not talking about a striker – we're talking about Bolton Wanderers centre-back Mark Beevers, who has been prolific in recent weeks to help the Trotters establish a seven-point gap to third spot.

It's another day on the road for Beevers this weekend, with Phil Parkinson's men looking to stretch their unbeaten run to 10 games at Play-Off hopefuls Scunthorpe United.

Spireites' survival showdown

Lose this weekend, and Chesterfield could be relegated from Sky Bet League One.

State of play: Click here for the matchday permutations

Win, and their hopes of survival remain alive, and three points will bring them closer to this weekend's fellow strugglers, Port Vale.

The Valiants are one place above the drop zone and have won just once at Chesterfield this century; an emphatic 5-0 triumph in 2010.

Around the grounds

Sheffield United will be promoted if they win at Northampton Town this weekend. If they fail to do so, all eyes will be on Fleetwood Town, who travel to an Oldham Athletic side two points clear of safety.

Fellow strugglers Gillingham, Shrewsbury Town and Swindon Town are all also at home, taking on Millwall, Rochdale and Milton Keynes Dons respectively.

Coventry City will have an eye on those results, but will be relegated regardless should they lose to Peterborough United.

Elsewhere, Bradford City and Southend United look to keep up their Play-Off push with trips to Bury and Charlton Athletic.

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

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 42 fixtures (3pm kick-off)

Saturday 8th April 2017

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

Social media: Follow @SkyBetLeagueOne on Twitter for goal updates




Back on the goal trail

Seven hundred and twelve minutes.

That's how long Carlisle United had gone without a goal in Sky Bet League Two, a wretched seven-game period which resulted in the Cumbrians dropping out of the top seven.

However, John O'Sullivan's header against Yeovil Town inspired a return to winning ways, and a return to the Play-Off positions.

712 minutes.

John O'Sullivan finally ended the @officialcufc drought on Saturday. πŸ™Œ pic.twitter.com/1BJWce3qdH

β€” Sky Bet League Two (@SkyBetLeagueTwo) April 5, 2017


It's Notts County this weekend, in a fixture which has seen five goals in three of the last four meetings.

Out of Exile

Newport County have just six games to save their EFL status, but they are now within five points of safety after a run of form which has produced three wins and a draw from their last six fixtures.

A trip to Play-Off chasing Exeter City beckons this weekend, and boss Michael Flynn is hoping the Exiles faithful can drive the club on to another three points, just like they did at St James Park back in 2013.

Speaking to the club's official website, Flynn said: β€œWe’re going there positive, and I know as usual we will have a great following. I remember a couple of years ago when we won down there – it was an unbelievable atmosphere and it’s important we do that again.”

Around the grounds

Doncaster Rovers host Mansfield Town and will be promoted with victory, while Plymouth Argyle travel to Crawley Town as they look to stay in the title race.

Third-placed Portsmouth host Yeovil Town, while Stevenage and Luton - in fourth and fifth - travel to Colchester United and Barnet respectively.

Blackpool's unbeaten streak ended last week, but a return to winning ways at home to Grimsby Town could see them back into the top seven.

At the other end, Leyton Orient visit Cambridge United, Cheltenham Town go to Wycombe Wanderers, and struggling Hartlepool United travel to a Morecambe side who have lost seven in a row.

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

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 41 fixtures (3pm kick-off)

Saturday 8th April 2017

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

Social media: Follow @SkyBetLeagueTwo on Twitter for goal updates

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


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