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EFL: Five things to look out for this weekend

17 February 2017

Another EFL matchday is upon us and, although the schedule is slightly reduced due to the FA Cup, there's still plenty of entertainment ahead.

Here are five things to look out for this weekend...

Midweek mayhem

Well, first, let's reflect on a busy seven days. Last weekend produced exactly 100 goals in the EFL, and that was the same story on a fun-filled Valentine's Day on Tuesday.

Mansfield Town and Accrington Stanley played out the pick of the games in a fascinating 4-4 draw in Sky Bet League Two, while there was a topsy-turvy encounter with Cardiff City edging a seven-goal thriller away at Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship.

There were 11 goals from the 90th minute onwards too, a season-high to sum up the night's drama.

11 – Last night, there were more goals (11) in the 90th minute or later than on any other day of action in the @EFL this season. Romance.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 15, 2017


Interestingly, none of the top two in any of the divisions emerged victorious on Tuesday. In Sky Bet League Two, second-placed Plymouth Argyle were on the receiving end of one of those late strikes, slipping to a 3-2 defeat at home to Leyton Orient. Leaders Doncaster Rovers also lost, 2-0 at Carlisle United.

In the Sky Bet Championship, Newcastle led after 23 seconds against Norwich City but had to settle for a point, and Brighton & Hove Albion could also manage a draw against Ipswich Town.

Last but not least, in Sky Bet League One, table-toppers Sheffield United battled out a goalless draw with Bristol Rovers, which was a scoreline mirrored by second-placed Scunthorpe United against Walsall.

And that brings us on to a...

Top of the table showdown

It's first versus second in Sky Bet League One this weekend, and after their midweek stalemates, the division's two highest scorers will be looking to get back amongst the goals.

Sheffield United have hit 58 goals to Scunthorpe's 57 having played a game more, and the top two individual goal-getters will be in action too.

Billy Sharp reached the 20-goal milestone for the season last weekend, and 18-goal winger Josh Morris comes into the fixture fresh from picking up his January Goal of the Month award earlier this week.

Goal of the Month: View January's winners here

Should the Blades take maximum points, it will open up an eight-point gap over the Iron, and leave the visitors in danger of dropping out of the automatic promotion places, with Bolton hot on their heels.

Dugout debuts

Lee Clark's return to EFL management was announced this week, with Bury appointing the former Huddersfield Town, Birmingham City and Blackpool boss as the club's new first team manager.

Read more: "Ambition sold it to me" - Lee Clark

After a stunning start to the season, the Shakers embarked on a 16-game winless run which saw them slide into the drop zone.

However, Clark was at the helm when guiding Huddersfield to an EFL record of 43 undefeated regular season games during his Terriers' tenure, and up first is a trip to fellow strugglers Chesterfield.

There's also a new man in charge at Barnet, with Kevin Nugent taking the reins from interim boss Rossi Eames.

Nugent steadied the ship at Charlton Athletic following Russell Slade's departure at The Valley earlier this season, and now makes the switch to north London with the Bees just three points outside the top seven.

Gary Johnson and the Glovers reunite

The survival scrap at the bottom of Sky Bet League Two is being closely fought, and Gary Johnson's Cheltenham Town are one of those sides involved, currently outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone.

This weekend, Yeovil Town are the visitors to Whaddon Road, and Johnson and the Glovers have shared some memorable moments down the years.

The 61-year-old boss guided Yeovil to the EFL and another promotion two years later in his first spell, and returned for a famous second spell in which he took the Glovers up to the Championship for the first time in their history.

Johnson has witnessed a lot of Yeovil victories, but with just six points separating 19th and last place, that's not a sight he'll want to see again.

Fleetwood form and recent revivals

Fifteen games is now the long-standing unbeaten run that Fleetwood Town find themselves on, and Tuesday night's fine 2-1 comeback win against Bradford City further underlined the club's Sky Bet League One promotion credentials.

The Cod Army travel to Milton Keynes this weekend, where they face a Dons side who they've lost to in all three previous meetings.

At the opposite end of the table, any sort of form is key, and Oldham Athletic have lifted the gloom with two wins in four days, which saw them climb to 19th and open up a three-point cushion to the drop zone. Northampton Town also enjoyed back-to-back wins and now sit 16th.

The same goes for Crewe Alexandra in Sky Bet League Two, who were on a wretched run of 11 winless games. However, David Artell got his first win in style a week ago – a 5-0 rout of Grimsby Town – and followed that up with an impressive 2-1 victory against Wycombe Wanderers in midweek.