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Match Previews

Preview: Sky Bet EFL Weekend

25 August 2017

There’s more action from the EFL this weekend, with Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two football on the agenda.

Here’s our matchday preview…

Fourth takes on fifth at the City Ground

Saturday’s evening fixture comes from Nottingham, where Mark Warburton’s Forest play host to Leeds United.

Both sides have begun the campaign in good fashion, and continued that form in the Carabao Cup this week. Forest came from behind to earn an impressive 3-2 away win over Newcastle United, where as the Whites romped to a 5-1 triumph over Newport County at Elland Road.

Last season’s encounter at the City Ground came at this very point in the 2016/17 campaign and, it was the home team who prevailed, as they recorded a 3-1 victory.

High-flying Bluebirds

In search of a fifth successive league win, Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City welcome Queens Park Rangers to Wales.

The R's themselves have made a good start also, taking seven points from a possible 12 thus far. They racked up their second triumph of the season last weekend - defeating Hull City 2-1.

The clash also sees Warnock face one of his former employers, with the 68-year-old in charge at Loftus Road in two separate spells.

Around the grounds

Like Cardiff, Ipswich Town also have the opportunity to move onto a tally of 15 points. Standing in their way are Fulham, who are yet to register their first win this term.

Friday night sees two matches from the Sky Bet Championship, as Bristol City host Aston Villa, and Bolton Wanderers travel to the KCOM Stadium for an encounter with Hull City.

Following Carabao Cup joy in midweek over Southampton at St Mary’s, Wolverhampton Wanderers are once again on the road - Brentford is their destination this time round.

Elsewhere, Sunderland will be looking for maximum points on their travels for the second time in the current Championship season, when they visit Oakwell to take on Barnsley.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 5 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Friday 25th August 2017

Bristol City v Aston Villa (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)
Hull City v Bolton Wanderers (7:45pm)

Saturday 26th August 2017

Barnsley v Sunderland
Birmingham City v Reading
Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Burton Albion v Sheffield Wednesday
Cardiff City v Queens Park Rangers
Ipswich Town v Fulham
Middlesbrough v Preston North End
Millwall v Norwich City
Nottingham Forest v Leeds United (5:30pm - live on Sky Sports)
Sheffield United v Derby County

Appointments: Click here to see this weekend's match officials

The M66 derby

Just seven miles and two points separate Rochdale and Bury, and they meet at Spotland this Saturday.

Both clubs sit in the bottom half of the table at present, but a derby day triumph this weekend could provide the perfect tonic to kickstart one side’s season.

Dale are unbeaten in the league against the Shakers since 2010, and did the double over them in 2016/17.

Record-breaking Shrews?

With victory over Rochdale last time out, Shrewsbury Town equalled a club record of three successive league wins at the beginning of a campaign.

Another three points at Oxford United this Saturday would be a maiden feat for Shrewsbury, and would see them achieve four victories from their first four league games for a first time in the club’s history.

Their opponents sit just one place below in the standings, having racked two wins from two prior to last week's defeat at Scunthorpe United.

Around the grounds

Table-toppers Wigan Athletic also have four consecutive triumphs in their sights - they host Paul Cook's previous employers Portsmouth at the DW Stadium.

Third placed Fleetwood Town visit a Bristol Rovers side on a high, following the Gas’ impressive Carabao Cup victory at Fulham on Tuesday night.

Graham Alexander will be hoping his Scunthorpe United players can build on last weekend’s home success over Oxford, when they travel to Plymouth Argyle.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 4 fixtures (All 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 26th August 2017

AFC Wimbledon v Doncaster Rovers
Blackburn Rovers v Milton Keynes Dons
Blackpool v Oldham Athletic
Bristol Rovers v Fleetwood Town
Gillingham v Southend United
Northampton Town v Peterborough United
Oxford United v Shrewsbury Town
Plymouth Argyle v Scunthorpe United
Rochdale v Bury
Rotherham United v Charlton Athletic
Walsall v Bradford City
Wigan Athletic v Portsmouth

Appointments: Click here to see this weekend's match officials

Friday night action

Kevin Nolan’s Notts County side kick off the Sky Bet League Two action at home against Accrington Stanley on Friday night.

Both teams occupy the two final play-off places, with a win for either taking them onto nine points out of a possible 12.

Stanley completed a double over the Magpies for the first time in their history last season, and are unbeaten in six EFL matches against their opponents.

Rivalry renewed at Vale Park

Port Vale's relegation from Sky Bet League One last season set up the renewal of their rivalry with Crewe Alexandra, and the pair meet again this weekend after spending the 2015/16 season apart.

The visitors remain unbeaten this season with one win and two draws, while their local foes have lost both games since a convincing opening day win at Crawley Town.

However, the last time this fixture was played out at Vale Park, the hosts ran out emphatic 3-0 winners. Who will claim the bragging rights, until they meet again in April?

Around the grounds

Swindon Town, who currently sit top of the tree in League Two, host a Crawley Town team that haven’t yet registered a point from their three fixtures.

Another team looking for a maximum points return are Lincoln City, and they meet a Carlisle United side who’ve begun with two wins from three.

Buoyed by a positive Carabao Cup display against West Ham United, Gary Johnson’s Cheltenham Town will be hoping their fortunes turn when Exeter City visit Whaddon Road.

Elsewhere, Newport County return home following the re-laying of their Rodney Parade pitch, having avoided defeat in their three matches on the road so far, and Mansfield Town host Luton Town in an intriguing battle at Field Mill.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 4 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Friday 25th August 2017

Notts County v Accrington Stanley (7:45pm)

Saturday 26th August 2017

Barnet v Stevenage
Cambridge United v Morecambe
Cheltenham Town v Exeter City
Colchester United v Forest Green Rovers
Grimsby Town v Wycombe Wanderers
Lincoln City v Carlisle United
Mansfield Town v Luton Town
Newport County v Chesterfield
Port Vale v Crewe Alexandra
Swindon Town v Crawley Town
Yeovil Town v Coventry City

Appointments: Click here to see this weekend's match officials


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