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Match Previews

Preview: EFL Matchday 22

15 December 2017

There are three days of EFL entertainment coming your way this weekend, with action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Here’s the preview…

Coleman's Cottagers clash

After being in charge at Fulham between 2003 and 2007, Chris Coleman comes up against the first club of his managerial career this weekend, when the Welshman’s Sunderland side play host to the Cottagers.

The Black Cats currently sit 23rd in the Sky Bet Championship table but, with just one point between them and 21st placed Bolton Wanderers, things could significantly change should the men from the Stadium of Light pick up a positive result.

Their opponents on Saturday have won three league matches out of four though, including a dramatic 5-4 away triumph at Sheffield United.

Midlands meeting

Two teams currently positioned in the play-off places face off at Villa Park, with Aston Villa going up against Derby County.

It’s five games unbeaten for Villa, while the Rams have taken maximum points from four of their previous five outings in the Championship.

That record also stands for Steve Bruce’s men in this fixture, and County haven’t beaten the Villans since 2001.

Around the grounds

Things kick off at Hillsborough on Friday evening, when Sheffield Wednesday take on table-topping Wolverhampton Wanderers, live on Sky Sports.

There’s an important clash towards the bottom of the division. Two points separate Bolton and Burton Albion, ahead of their meeting at the Macron Stadium.

Leeds could move to within one point of the top six if they defeat Norwich City at Elland Road and Sheffield United lose out — the Blades are at Preston North End on Saturday.

The weekend’s Championship action comes to a close at the Cardiff City Stadium, with Hull City, under the stewardship of Nigel Adkins, aiming to build on the win over Brentford, against Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds. You can see that match live on Sky Sports.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 22 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 15th December 2017

Sheffield Wednesday v Wolverhampton Wanderers (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 16th December 2017

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

Rampant Rovers

Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers will be aiming for a sixth successive Sky Bet League One victory when they host Charlton Athletic at Ewood Park.

It’s a run which has taken Blackburn to third in the standings, and it saw Mowbray and Charlie Mulgrew pick up November's Manager and Player of the Month awards respectively.

The Addicks have taken just one point out of a possible nine however, and will be seeking a response this time out.

Winning Walsall

Respective wins over Fleetwood Town, AFC Wimbledon and Scunthorpe United mean Jon Whitney’s Walsall side are brimming with confidence at present.

They travel to Northampton Town on Matchday 22 with four straight League One triumphs in their sights.

The Cobblers won this fixture 2-0 last season, but they were beaten heavily on the road by Oldham Athletic in their last match and are winless in four.

Around the grounds

Wigan Athletic extended their advantage at the summit to four points last time out, and next up for them is a trip to AFC Wimbledon, who are one place above the relegation zone.

Shrewsbury Town remain their closest contenders; they’re at home to a Blackpool side who’ve accumulated two points from four previous encounters.

An impressive 12 points out of a possible 15 has seen Portsmouth rise to seventh and, if they were to see off Bury and Charlton lost out at Blackburn, they could go above Karl Robinson’s team and into sixth.

There’s Sunday action too, when Peterborough United make the trip to the Fylde Coast to face Fleetwood Town, who were involved in a Thursday night FA Cup replay, where they successfully set up a clash with Leicester City.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 22 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 16th December 2017

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

Sunday 17th December 2017

Fleetwood Town v Peterborough United

Friday fixture

Sky Bet League Two gets under way with a Friday fixture, and providing it are Swindon Town and Colchester United.

The two teams come into the game level on points, but the Robins do have the slight advantage in terms of league position, as they sit in eighth, with the U’s in 10th.

Either will move into the play-off spots, temporarily at least, with fifth to 12th currently covered by just three points.

Back at the Bank

Just 11 days after an entertaining Checkatrade Trophy tie that eventually saw Lincoln City prevail 3-2 on home turf, Accrington Stanley return to Sincil Bank.

Three Sky Bet League Two points are on offer this Saturday, and Danny Cowley’s men can go within a single point of third-placed Stanley with a win.

This will be the first meeting in the EFL since 2011, however, when the two sides played out a goalless draw at the home of the Imps. It's the only point Stanley have picked up here in five meetings.

Around the grounds

Nothing could separate Luton Town and Notts County last weekend, subsequently meaning they’re both locked together on 42 points at the top of the table.

The Hatters are on the road this time around, with Forest Green Rovers their opponents at the New Lawn. As for the Magpies, they welcome Grimsby Town to Meadow Lane.

Chesterfield’s recent unbeaten run will be put to the test when they visit Wycombe Wanderers, who they’ve not met in the league for over three years.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 22 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 15th December 2017

Swindon Town v Colchester United (7:45pm)

Saturday 16th December 2017

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

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