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Match Previews

Sky Bet EFL: Matchday preview

24 February 2017

We've got a full EFL schedule lined up this weekend and three days' worth of action, which all kicks off on Friday 24th February 2017.

A full schedule of Sky Bet Championship fixtures takes place this weekend, with the action spread across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Mowbray's mission – Burton v Blackburn

The big talking point of this week in the Sky Bet Championship was Blackburn Rovers' dismissal of manager Owen Coyle, and the subsequent hiring of Tony Mowbray.

"I have the football bug" - Tony Mowbray on Blackburn appointment

The club sit 23rd in the standings, and the Mowbray's first task is to lead Rovers into their first ever Pirelli Stadium visit, where they face fellow strugglers Burton Albion on Friday night.

Sky Sports selections – four TV matches

Burton versus Blackburn isn't the only game taking place on Friday night. A West Midlands battle between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City is the first of four matches to be shown live this weekend.

Four promotion-chasing sides will be in front of the cameras in Saturday's double-header, with Leeds United hosting Sheffield Wednesday in a lunchtime clash between two Play-Off hopefuls.

Title-chasing Brighton & Hove Albion face off against fourth-placed Reading in the evening and then, on Sunday, the latest instalment of the East Anglian rivalry will be screened, with Carrow Road the venue for Norwich City versus Ipswich Town.

Around the grounds

Table-toppers Newcastle United host struggling Bristol City, with the Robins' one and only victory at St James' Park coming in 1910.

Another Yorkshire derby sees Huddersfield Town visit Barnsley, with the Terriers making ground on the top two following six straight wins.

Aston Villa are suffering contrasting form after nine winless games, but they have won nine successive Villa Park meetings with weekend opponents Derby County.

Table: Click here to see the Sky Bet Championship table

Sky Bet Championship Matchday 34 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Friday 24th February 2017

Burton Albion v Blackburn Rovers
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Birmingham City (7:45pm – live on Sky Sports)
Saturday 25th February 2017

Aston Villa v Derby County
Barnsley v Huddersfield Town
Brentford v Rotherham United
Brighton & Hove Albion v Reading (5:30pm – live on Sky Sports)
Cardiff City v Fulham   
Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday (12:30pm – live on Sky Sports)
Newcastle United v Bristol City
Preston North End v Queens Park Rangers
Wigan Athletic v Nottingham Forest

Sunday 26th February 2017

Norwich City v Ipswich Town (12pm – live on Sky Sports)

Social media: Follow @SkyBetChamp on Twitter for goal updates

Sweet sixteen – Fleetwood v Northampton

Fleetwood Town are the EFL's form team, currently boasting an unbeaten streak of 16 games which stretches back to mid-November. Northampton Town provide the next obstacle.


The Cobblers' form has improved under new boss Justin Edinburgh, but they have kept just two clean sheets away from home this season – the Cod Army have netted in all but two of their 33 league games this term.

Automatic aspirations – Sheffield United v Bolton

League leaders Sheffield United drew at home to their closest contenders Scunthorpe United last week, and Bramall Lane is the venue for another tussle at the top.

This time it's Bolton Wanderers who visit the Blades, and the third-placed Trotters are very much in the race for promotion with games in hand on the top two.

Two battles have already taken place this season, with Bolton winning in both the league and the FA Cup. A third triumph would be another twist in the Sky Bet League One promotion race.

Table: Click here to see the Sky Bet League One table

Around the grounds

Sandwiched in between Sheffield United and Bolton, Scunthorpe can take advantage of that fixture, but face a tricky trip to the Memorial Stadium, where Bristol Rovers are unbeaten in three months.

Coventry City versus Swindon Town is the latest battle between two relegation rivals, while the other two sides in the bottom four – Chesterfield and Port Vale – have respective home games against Oxford United and Bradford City.

Sky Bet League One Matchday 34 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 25th February 2017

AFC Wimbledon v Walsall
Bristol Rovers v Scunthorpe United
Charlton Athletic v Bury
Chesterfield v Oxford United
Coventry City v Swindon Town
Fleetwood Town v Northampton Town
Gillingham v Southend United
Milton Keynes Dons v Shrewsbury Town
Oldham Athletic v Millwall
Peterborough United v Rochdale
Port Vale v Bradford City
Sheffield United v Bolton Wanderers

Social media: Follow @SkyBetLeagueOne on Twitter for goal updates

Crunch clashes - Carlisle v Portsmouth, Luton v Plymouth

Third versus fifth. Fourth versus second. It's another big weekend for the teams contesting things at the top of Sky Bet League Two.

Carlisle United, who currently hold the much-coveted third spot, play host to Portsmouth, who have scored two goals on each of their last three lengthy trips to Cumbria. However, none of those games have resulted in three points, drawing twice and losing the other 4-2.

The other high-profile match-up sees Luton Town and Plymouth Argyle go head-to-head. In league meetings, the away side in this fixture has emerged victorious on the last six occasions, including the Hatters' emphatic 3-0 Home Park success in the 2016/17 season opener.

Table: Click here to see the Sky Bet League Two table

Next for Nugent – Barnet v Cambridge

Kevin Nugent's dream start as Barnet manager was denied by a late wonder strike against Portsmouth last time out, but the new boss at the Hive was delighted with what he saw.

More of the same, then...

“I’m definitely excited about some of the things that I saw,” he told

“If we perform against Cambridge like we did against Portsmouth – who are one of the best teams in the league – then we’ll have a chance of achieving something this season.”

Around the grounds

With the huge aforementioned fixtures between the clubs beneath them, Doncaster Rovers have the opportunity to take advantage when they host Accrington Stanley.

At the opposite end, Leyton Orient and Cheltenham Town meet in a clash between two teams fighting for survival, and struggling Hartlepool United and Newport County face away trips at Play-Off chasing Colchester United and Mansfield Town.

Sky Bet League Two Matchday 34 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 25th February 2017

Barnet v Cambridge United
Carlisle United v Portsmouth
Colchester United v Hartlepool United
Crewe Alexandra v Stevenage
Doncaster Rovers v Accrington Stanley
Exeter City v Blackpool
Leyton Orient v Cheltenham Town
Luton Town v Plymouth Argyle
Mansfield Town v Newport County
Morecambe v Grimsby Town
Notts County v Yeovil Town
Wycombe Wanderers v Crawley Town

Social media: Follow @SkyBetLeagueTwo on Twitter for goal updates

MATCH OFFICIALS: Click here to see the referees on EFL duty this weekend

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