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Preview: Sky Bet EFL Matchday 21

8 December 2017

A full programme of EFL football is on the cards this weekend, with action on Friday, Saturday and Monday. Here’s the preview…

Play-off occupants meet at Bramall Lane

Third takes on fourth in the Sky Bet Championship, when Sheffield United host Bristol City this Friday night.

Lee Johnson’s men have the advantage over the Blades in terms of league position, with the Robins boasting a slightly better goal difference.

Six points stand between both sides and an automatic promotion spot at present, and a win would really put one club right in the top-two picture.

Adkins begins Tigers reign

Following the departure of Leonid Slutsky last Sunday, Hull City moved to appoint Nigel Adkins as their new head coach, ahead of a home clash against Brentford.

The role sees Adkins make a return to football after he left Sheffield United in May of 2016, and he’ll be looking to get off to a winning start.

He takes over a Tigers team who currently sit 20th in the standings, with their opponents positioned in 11th position.

Around the grounds

Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers welcome Chris Coleman’s Sunderland to Molineux, with second-placed Cardiff City travelling to Reading on Monday night — a game you can see live on Sky Sports.

Aston Villa are on home turf this Saturday, when Millwall visit Villa Park for their first league meeting since 1990.

Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town will make it three successive victories if they get the better of a Middlesbrough side who’ve lost their last two fixtures.

Saturday’s evening kick-off sees Norwich City entertain Sheffield Wednesday at Carrow Road – the Owls were emphatic 5-1 winners the last time they took on the Canaries.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 21 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 8th December 2017

Sheffield United v Bristol City (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 9th December 2017

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

Monday 11th December 2017

Reading v Cardiff City (8pm - live on Sky Sports)

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty

Anniversary for the Addicks

This week marked the 25-year anniversary of Charlton Athletic returning to the Valley after they were forced to leave the stadium in 1985.

Their homecoming in 1992 was capped with a win over Portsmouth who, incidentally, they’ll face this weekend.

Going into the upcoming fixture, Karl Robinson’s team are sixth in the table, with Pompey just behind them in eighth position.

Rosler’s DW return

Wigan Athletic and Fleetwood Town do battle on Saturday, in an encounter which sees Cod Army boss Uwe Rosler meet his former employers.

The German took over at the Latics in 2013, before departing the club in November of the following year.

His current side are eight points off the play-off places, and face a Wigan Athletic outfit who are riding high at the top of the standings.

Around the grounds

Shrewsbury Town could be leapfrogged should they drop points at Milton Keynes Dons and, that’s because Scunthorpe United and Blackburn Rovers are just two and three points adrift of the Shrews respectively.

The aforementioned Iron travel to Walsall looking to make it seven league triumphs on the bounce, while Rovers are also on the road, in a clash against Peterborough United.

It’s tight at the other end of the table too, with just three points covering the bottom six teams in the division.

Four of those lock horns on Matchday 21, as Bury face AFC Wimbledon, and Gillingham make the trip to Plymouth Argyle.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 21 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 9th December 2017

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

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty

Top two showdown

The division’s pacesetters face off at Kenilworth Road, with Luton Town playing host to Notts County.

Only the Hatters’ superior goal difference stands between the two, who’ve so far amassed an impressive 41 points in Sky Bet League Two.

Luton are on a three-game winning streak, where they’ve scored 12 goals and conceded just once, while Kevin Nolan’s Magpies haven’t suffered a league defeat since October.

Evans takes on former employers

After spending just under five years at the Red Devils, Steve Evans takes his Mansfield Town team to Crawley Town, a club who the 55-year-old guided into the EFL.

Now, he’s in charge at the One Call Stadium and, with Mansfield seventh in the League Two standings, sentiment won’t be in Evans’ mind upon his return.

Crawley, on the other hand sit in 17th but, after a morale boosting victory over Exeter City, which was backed up with a point at Coventry, the hosts head into proceedings in a confident frame of mind.

Around the grounds

Third-placed Accrington Stanley could close the gap at the summit should they prevail against Swindon Town and Luton Town and Notts County draw.

Exeter City will be hoping for a Stanley slip, and they know if that is the case, three points away at Colchester United would move them into the automatic promotion spots.

Things continue to remain tight in and around the play-off positions, with just four points separating Wycombe Wanderers in fifth, from Cambridge United in 13th.

Chesterfield were minutes away from securing a third straight three-point haul, but despite only drawing at Mansfield Town, Jack Lester’s men will be buoyed ahead of the visit of Barnet.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 21 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 9th December 2017

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

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty

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