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Match Previews

Preview: Sky Bet EFL Matchday

20 October 2017

There’s a full programme of EFL action this weekend, following a midweek schedule of Sky Bet League One and League Two fixtures. Here’s our Matchday preview…

East Anglian bragging rights

We begin with the final fixture of Matchday 13 in the Sky Bet Championship, which sees Ipswich Town host Norwich City in the East Anglian derby.

Only a point separates the two sides at present, with the Tractor Boys sitting in 10th place, and the Canaries in eighth.

Daniel Farke’s Norwich come into the game on the back of seven unbeaten league matches, where as Mick McCarthy’s men have lost their last two outings.

Bees buzzing

A run of five Sky Bet Championship games without defeat has seen Brentford move away from the relegation zone, and into 18th position.

Next up for them is a home encounter against Sunderland, who are without a league victory since the second weekend of the campaign.

Neither have met at this level in over two decades, with their most recent encounter coming back in April 1993.

Around the grounds

Four successive three-point hauls had put Aston Villa on the cusp of a play-off spot, until they were defeated by Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out. They take on Fulham at Villa Park this Saturday, with the Cottagers on the coat-tails of Steve Bruce’s team.

The aforementioned Wolves, with that victory over Villa, rose to the top of the table and next up for them is a home clash against Preston North End, who have only a single league loss to their name so far this season.

Another club who boast that record are Bristol City, and it’s one they’ll be hoping to maintain when Leeds United travel to Ashton Gate.

Saturday’s late kick-off comes from The Den, where Millwall go head-to-head with Birmingham City, whose triumph over Cardiff City last Friday lifted them out of the bottom three.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 13 fixtures

Saturday 21st October

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

Sunday 22nd October

Ipswich Town v Norwich City (12:00pm - live on Sky Sports)

Unbeaten Wellens in permanent charge

After picking up four victories and one draw (in all competitions) in his five games in caretaker charge of Oldham Athletic, Richie Wellens was appointed as manager of the Latics on Wednesday afternoon.

His first match since as permanent boss comes at Stadium MK, where he’ll hope to take three points off Milton Keynes Dons.

There’s an added incentive for the visitors too, taking into consideration that the Dons have won the last six meetings between the two clubs.

Shrews back on top

Following their emphatic 4-0 triumph over Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night, Paul Hurst’s Shrewsbury Town returned to the summit of the Sky Bet League One standings.

To be secure of still being there by Saturday evening, they’ll have to get the better of a Fleetwood Town side who earned themselves a late point at Scunthorpe United during the week.

The Shrews have never beaten the Cod Army in seven previous attempts, but they’ll be striving to address that on this particular occasion.

Around the grounds

There’s a tough test for Wigan Athletic, who travel to Bloomfield Road to face a Blackpool side who’ve yet to be beaten on home turf in all competitions this season.

Third-placed Bradford City entertain Charlton Athletic at the Valley Parade, with the Addicks knowing three points would lift them above the Bantams in the table.

Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth face off for the first time since they were both in the top flight of English football. Both sit on 20 points ahead of the game at Ewood Park.

Sixth meets fourth at the Kassam Stadium, where Oxford United look to continue their impressive recent form against Rotherham United, whose run of three straight league triumphs was brought to a halt by AFC Wimbledon in midweek.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 15 fixtures

Saturday 21st October

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

Luton on the rise

A run of seven wins out of their last eight league fixtures, accompanied by 21 goals, has led to Luton Town’s superb ascent to the top of Sky Bet League Two.

Next up for the free-scoring Hatters is a trip to Crawley Town, who in comparison, have found the net just five times in eight previous league outings.

The Reds do have the better overall record in past clashes between the two, with six victories over the men from Kenilworth Road in all competitions, compared to Luton’s three.

Super six for the Chairboys 

Paris Cowan-Hall’s injury time strike against Carlisle United extended Wycombe Wanderers’ undefeated league streak to six games, and they’ll be looking to go one further when they visit Swindon Town this weekend.

The Robins have been on an inconsistent run of late, something which is reflected by three wins and three losses from their last six matches.

It’s the two clubs’ first match-up at this level in over a decade, with Swindon emerging triumphant in a Boxing Day clash back in 2006.

Around the grounds

Both Notts County and Exeter City will be looking to get themselves to the top of the tree — they take on Carlisle United and Port Vale respectively.

Stevenage’s terrific late comeback victory over Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night is sure to be the perfect tonic, as Darren Sarll’s side face Forest Green Rovers at the Lamex Stadium. Rovers incidentally picked up their first ever away win in the EFL in midweek too.

Occupying ninth spot currently are Lincoln City and, following a five-game unbeaten haul, Danny Cowley and his players will be targeting another positive outcome at Cheltenham Town.

Elsewhere, the likes of Accrington and Newport County have the chance to avenge recent losses, when they pit themselves against Crewe Alexandra and Mansfield Town respectively.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 15 fixtures

Saturday 21st October

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


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