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Match Previews

Preview: Sky Bet EFL Matchday

24 November 2017

There are three days of EFL encounters to look forward to this weekend, as the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two all have full programmes of fixtures on the agenda. Here’s the preview…

Yorkshire derby at Oakwell

Kicking things off on Saturday are Barnsley and Leeds United, who meet in what promises to be an intense derby affair.

Both clubs will be seeking an immediate response following midweek defeats against the division's top two, with Paul Heckingbottom's men losing at home to Cardiff City, and the Whites beaten at Molineux.

In this encounter last season, the Tykes emerged triumphant, seeing off the men from Elland Road in a five-goal thriller at Oakwell.

Neil makes Carrow Road return

Following a two-year managerial spell at Norwich City, Alex Neil will face his former employers for the first time since departing the Canaries, when he takes Preston North End to Carrow Road.

In his time at the Norfolk-based club, the Scotsman won promotion to the Premier League, before exiting in March 2017.

There’s little to choose between the two teams ahead of their clash, with Preston currently sitting two points above Daniel Farke’s side after ending a winless run of seven games at Bristol City on Tuesday night.

Around the grounds

Table toppers Wolverhampton Wanderers welcome Bolton Wanderers to Molineux, while second-placed Cardiff City are away at Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday’s evening kick-off sees Sheffield United host Birmingham City, a game which can be viewed live on Sky Sports.

Middlesbrough and Derby County are level on points going into this weekend’s meeting at the Riverside Stadium. Boro, in sixth and above Gary Rowett's side on goal difference, are unbeaten in their last five match-ups with the Rams — winning four of those.

There's a big battle towards the bottom, with two of the sides in the bottom three — Burton Albion and Sunderland — going head-to-head at the Pirelli Stadium. On Monday, the EFL action comes to a close when Queens Park Rangers and Brentford do battle in a West London derby at Loftus Road.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 19 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Saturday 25th November

Barnsley v Leeds United (12:30pm - live on Sky Sports)
Aston Villa v Ipswich Town
Burton Albion v Sunderland
Fulham v Millwall
Hull City v Bristol City
Middlesbrough v Derby County
Norwich City v Preston North End
Reading v Sheffield Wednesday
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Bolton Wanderers
Sheffield United v Birmingham City (5:30pm - live on Sky Sports)

APPOINTMENTS: Click here to see the match officials on duty

Sunday 26th November

Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City (1pm)

Monday 27th November

Queens Park Rangers v Brentford (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Fylde Coast derby

At Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood Town and Blackpool will go head-to-head in what will be only their fourth competitive meeting.

The hosts are currently positioned two places behind Gary Bowyer’s team, each having so far amassed 26 points, although the Seasiders have played a game less.

Fleetwood are still looking for a maiden victory against their rivals, who are just a short tram ride away, although they did earn a point in a goalless draw at home last season.

Bury's Luck comes in

Chris Lucketti was announced as the new boss of Bury earlier this week, the club with which he enjoyed a hugely successful spell as a player in the 1990s.

He played his part in helping the Shakers up the leagues during that period, but just steering them away from trouble will be the primary focus for the time being.

Previously at Scunthorpe United as assistant manager, Lucketti's first task is against fellow strugglers Northampton Town, who the Iron beat on two occasions last week.

Around the grounds

Following defeat for Shrewsbury Town and three points for Wigan Athletic on Tuesday, the gap at the top is now just a single point. Both have tough tasks this weekend, with the Shrews hosting Bradford City and the Latics visiting Rotherham United.

At Glanford Park, there’s a meeting of the division’s two in-form teams, with third-placed Scunthorpe United taking on Charlton Athletic, who are fourth and nine unbeaten.

Blackburn Rovers are back on home soil after two fruitful away trips. Bristol Rovers are the visitors to Ewood Park, while two managers employed permanently after successful caretaker spells meet — Steve Lovell's Gillingham taking on Richie Wellens' Oldham Athletic.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 20 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 25th November

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

APPOINTMENTS: Click here to see the match officials on duty

Three on the spin for the Spireites?

With wins over Exeter City and Forest Green Rovers in their previous outings, Chesterfield will go into their away clash at Mansfield Town full of confidence despite their position at the bottom.

However, the Stags have gone one better and racked up a treble of triumphs, which have lifted them into the play-off spots.

Both are after the points for different reasons and will want local bragging rights in what is the pair's first meeting for three-and-a-half years.

Grecians host Stanley

Fourth takes on third in Sky Bet League Two this Saturday, when Accrington Stanley head to St James Park to face Exeter City.

The latter, at present, are four points adrift of their opponents in the table, but a victory for Paul Tisdale’s men would certainly tighten things up at the top.

Blows have been traded in their last four meetings, with two wins for each in this fixture since September 2015.

Around the grounds

League leaders Luton Town are at Crewe Alexandra seeking a third successive triumph, with second-placed Notts County entertaining a Colchester United side who’ve won three of their last four.

Mark McGhee’s Barnet secured a morale-boosting comeback victory at Newport County last time out, and they’ll be in a buoyant mood ahead of the visit of Grimsby Town.

Wycombe Wanderers, who welcome Yeovil Town to Adams Park, could move into a play-off spot should results go in their favour.

They could potentially climb above both Coventry City and Swindon Town, whose respective tests come against Crawley Town and Newport County.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 20 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Mansfield Town v Chesterfield (1pm)
Barnet v Grimsby Town
Cambridge United v Stevenage
Carlisle United v Morecambe
Coventry City v Crawley Town
Crewe Alexandra v Luton Town
Exeter City v Accrington Stanley
Forest Green Rovers v Cheltenham Town
Lincoln City v Port Vale
Notts County v Colchester United
Swindon Town v Newport County
Wycombe Wanderers v Yeovil Town

APPOINTMENTS: Click here to see the match officials on duty

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