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Match Previews

Preview: Matchday 25

29 December 2017

Two days of EFL entertainment await us on Matchday 25, with action on both Friday and Saturday. Here’s the preview…

Top two tussle at Ashton Gate

It’s been quite a few weeks for Bristol City. After dumping Manchester United out of the Carabao Cup, they rose to second in the Sky Bet Championship, courtesy of a home win over Reading.

The big games keep on coming for Lee Johnson’s side, and next up, is a clash against table-toppers Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Should the Robins emerge triumphant, they’d cut the gap to the men from Molineux to just five points.

High five for Leeds?

A streak of four straight league victories has lifted Leeds United back into the play-offs, and they’re now in the hunt for an automatic promotion spot.

Five points separate them and the previously mentioned Bristol City, who currently sit in the runners-up position, but a win away at Birmingham City could see the Whites climb further.

City, on the other hand, are bottom of the pile and have lost four out of their previous five outings. However, there are only three points between them and Burton Albion in 21st position.

Around the grounds

Two encounters on Friday night precede the rest of the weekend’s matches, as Cardiff City host Preston North End, and Queens Park Rangers take on Millwall at the Den.

It’s then on to Saturday’s action where, at the Riverside Stadium, Tony Pulis will take charge of his first match as Middlesbrough boss with Boro facing Aston Villa.

Fulham will be aiming for their third maximum-point haul in succession, when they make the trip north to Hull City.

Another club looking to repeat that feat are Brentford — Dean Smith’s Bees take on Sheffield Wednesday at Griffin Park.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 25 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 29th December 2017

Cardiff City v Preston North End (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)
Millwall v Queens Park Rangers

Saturday 30th December 2017

Barnsley v Reading
Birmingham City v Leeds United
Brentford v Sheffield Wednesday
Bristol City v Wolverhampton Wanderers (5:30pm - live on Sky Sports)
Burton Albion v Norwich City
Hull City v Fulham
Ipswich Town v Derby County
Middlesbrough v Aston Villa
Nottingham Forest v Sunderland
Sheffield United v Bolton Wanderers

Play-off positioned Posh

Following their 3-1 victory against Bradford City on Boxing Day, Peterborough moved into the Sky Bet League One top six.

On Matchday 25 they’re on the road at Milton Keynes Dons, who are in need of a win after slipping to 21st in the table.

Grant McCann saw his team defeat their opponents in the reverse fixture back in September, when Ryan Tafazolli and Marcus Maddison scored in a 2-0 triumph.

Rotherham resurgence

The Millers are unbeaten in their last four league outings, in a run which has seen the men from the New York Stadium pick up 10 points out of a possible 12.

This comes after United suffered three consecutive defeats and, with an away encounter at Walsall next up, Paul Warne’s side will be targeting victory.

They should go into the meeting with plenty of reasons to be optimistic too, taking into account their 5-1 success over the Saddlers earlier on in the campaign.

Around the grounds

Like in the Championship, League One has an offering of two Friday clashes, with Doncaster Rovers facing Rochdale at the Keepmoat Stadium and Charlton Athletic visiting Wigan Athletic.

Third hosts fourth at Ewood Park, where Blackburn Rovers face up to a Scunthorpe United team that got the better of Blackpool last time out.

A Wigan slip-up on Friday could open the door for second-placed Shrewsbury Town to close the gap at the summit — the Shrews are at Southend United this Saturday.

Plymouth Argyle have the opportunity to pull further away from the relegation zone when they travel to Bloomfield Road to take on Blackpool.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 25 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 29th December 2017

Doncaster Rovers v Rochdale (7:45pm)
Wigan Athletic v Charlton Athletic (7:45pm)

Saturday 30th December 2017

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

Glovers glory

Impressive wins over Exeter City and Cheltenham Town have strengthened Yeovil Town’s points tally of late.

They next meet a Morecambe side with whom they shared four goals earlier on in the 2017/18 season.

It’s been tough going for the Shrimps in recent times. Since defeating Coventry City at the beginning of the month, they’ve suffered three consecutive losses.

Thou shalt not pass

The full-time whistle at Sincil Bank on Boxing Day not only brought with it three points for Lincoln City, but it also saw them go another game without conceding.

Their watertight defence hasn’t been breached for 405 minutes, with Port Vale’s Danny Pugh the last man to find a route through to goal.

Forest Green Rovers have the task of putting an end to the run when they visit the Imps this weekend — however, they’ve not scored in their last three fixtures.

Around the grounds

Nathan Jones takes his table-topping Luton Town team to Port Vale, who themselves are in good shape, following three wins and one draw in December.

Behind them are Notts County, whose three-game drawing streak was emphatically ended in a 4-1 beating of Morecambe.

The race for an automatic promotion spot is hotting up and, with just three points between third and ninth place, there is the potential for much change in the standings on Matchday 25.

Two of those teams in the running meet at Adams Park, where Wycombe Wanderers host Mansfield Town.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 25 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 29th December 2017

Morecambe v Yeovil Town (7:45pm)

Saturday 30th December 2017

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

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