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Match Previews

Preview: Sky Bet EFL Matchday 11

29 September 2017

Matchday 11 is upon us, with a full EFL schedule across three days. Here's our preview...

Grayson's Deepdale return

Matchday 11 of the Sky Bet Championship will see Preston North End welcome Sunderland to Deepdale – a fixture which will see Simon Grayson return to his former employers.

Grayson enjoyed success with PNE during his four-year stay, guiding them to the second tier via the League One play-offs in 2015, before leaving for the Black Cats in the summer.

It's been a tough start to life at Sunderland, who currently sit 23rd in the standings, and it gets no easier – their opponents are unbeaten at home so far under Alex Neil.

Bluebirds back on top

Cardiff City returned to the top of the table in midweek, courtesy of a fine 3-1 home success over previous leaders, Leeds United.

That triumph extended their unbeaten run to five games at the Cardiff City Stadium this term, and that's where they are again on Saturday in their bid to fend off the chasing pack once more.

Derby County are the visitors and notched a 2-0 win last term, although both sides were under alternative management back then. The Rams are currently 15th, and are one of just five teams in the division to have conceded double figures on the road already.

Around the grounds

Bolton Wanderers are still seeking a first win, but they face a trip to Villa Park to face an Aston Villa side unbeaten at home this term, and without a loss since mid-August.

Sheffield United moved into second on Wednesday night and they will go looking for a third straight win at Nottingham Forest. They could potentially top the table on Saturday evening, as could Wolves, who visit Burton Albion.

Two of the division's highest scorers go head-to-head at Portman Road, where Ipswich Town will entertain Bristol City, and Millwall meet Barnsley for the first time since the 2016 League One Play-Off Final, won by the Tykes.

Among the other fixtures, derby games will start and finish the weekend. On Friday night in West London, Queens Park Rangers take on Fulham, and Sheffield Wednesday host Leeds United on Sunday.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 11 fixtures

Friday 29th September

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

Saturday 30th September

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

Sunday 1st October

Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United (12:15pm - live on Sky Sports)

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty

Yorkshire derby at Valley Parade

Bradford City were floored by Fleetwood Town in midweek, and that was the club's second home loss of 2017/18 – two more than last season's unbeaten season at Valley Parade.

However, they're the hosts once again on Saturday, and it's Doncaster Rovers making the short trip across Yorkshire to face their near neighbours.

Although Darren Ferguson's men have lost four of their last five League One outings, they have every right to feel confident. Both their three-point hauls have come on the road this term, and they won here in August, beating the Bantams 3-2 in Round One of the Carabao Cup.

Iron showing steel

Scunthorpe United will become the 11th side to try and stop Shrewsbury Town in their tracks when they visit the New Meadow this weekend, and are well equipped to do so after a solid start to the season.

Graham Alexander's men are unbeaten on the road so far this term, having not conceded since falling behind to Rochdale in their first away game of the campaign.

They have a favourable record in Shropshire too, winning 1-0 there last time out and not losing in any of their last seven visits to the Shrews.

Around the grounds

Wigan Athletic host Walsall following a run of four wins and four clean sheets in five games, while third-placed Peterborough United face off against Oxford United at London Road.

After defeating Bradford City in midweek, Fleetwood's next opponents are Charlton Athletic – the pair are separated by one point and two places, and the only two meetings have ended all square.

Blackburn Rovers welcome Gillingham to Ewood Park, with Bradley Dack set to be reunited with the club he departed in the summer, and Rotherham United host Northampton Town – the Millers have won their last two home outings by five goals to one.

Five things: Storylines to look for in Matchday 11

Among the other games, Bury, buoyed by their first win since the opening day in midweek, welcome Milton Keynes Dons to Gigg Lane, and managerless Oldham Athletic visit Portsmouth.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 11 fixtures

Saturday 30th September

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

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty

The Matt Salmon Trophy

One of two League Two fixtures to get under way early on Saturday, local rivals Mansfield Town and Notts County do battle in a 1pm kick-off at Field Mill.

Mansfield's six-game unbeaten run came to an end in midweek, while the Magpies have won six in succession and are nine without loss. But the game takes on extra significance beyond three points and local bragging rights.

Read more: The Matt Salmon Trophy

Back in May, the Stags' Academy physio, Matt Salmon, passed away following a long battle with cancer, aged just 25. Having also worked at Meadow Lane early in his career, the two clubs have united to organise the Matt Salmon Trophy, which will be presented to Saturday's winner.

The Glovers are off

Yeovil Town recorded their first win on the road this season in midweek, scoring late on to earn a 3-2 triumph at Chesterfield.

But it's at home where they've made a solid start to the campaign, unbeaten with two wins and three draws to date, and should they avoid defeat against Colchester United on Saturday, they will match their best start to an EFL season at Huish Park.

Their opponents are seeking a first win away from home, having picked up just one point from five games, and the U's lost in dramatic fashion down in Somerset last season, letting a 1-0 lead slip in the closing stages.

Around the grounds

Exeter City sit second despite successive defeats, and they will be looking to bounce back with a home encounter against Morecambe.

Accrington Stanley, in third, visit bottom side Forest Green Rovers for the first time since 2006, while there are home fixtures for Coventry City and Luton Town, who are next in line in the table. The Hatters host Newport County, who are level on points but in seventh.

Port Vale travel to sixth-placed Stevenage still on the hunt for a manager, while Chesterfield will have a new name in charge when they host Cheltenham Town on Saturday afternoon.

Elsewhere, Grimsby Town face Lincoln City in the other of the 1pm kick-offs, and Carlisle United visit Crawley Town fresh off last Saturday's 5-0 win on the road.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 11 fixtures

Saturday 30th September

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

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty

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