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Match Previews

Preview: Sky Bet EFL Matchday 9

22 September 2017

There’s another full programme of action from the EFL this weekend, with matches across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two. Here’s our matchday preview…

Steel City Sunday

It’s their first encounter for more than five years, and they meet with just two points separating them in the Sky Bet Championship.

So it should be a fascinating affair when city rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United meet at Hillsborough on Sunday lunchtime, in a game which will be screened live on Sky Sports.

The hosts are seven unbeaten after losing on the opening day, while the Blades were on a four-game winning streak before last weekend’s loss at home to Norwich City. Who will claim bragging rights this weekend?

A maximum at the Macron?

Bolton Wanderers and Brentford clash at the Macron Stadium, with neither side yet to register a league win so far this season.

Half of the Bees’ results have however ended in draws, and they currently sit 22nd in the standings — just two points from safety.

Phil Parkinson’s men are bottom of the table, picking up just two points from their opening eight games. Success for either this weekend though could really kickstart their campaign.

Around the grounds

First takes on fifth at Elland Road, where Leeds United host an Ipswich Town side who are lurking four places, but just two points behind them.

Should the Whites fail to win, opportunities beckon for a number of clubs, such as Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City, who are both level on points with Thomas Christiansen’s men — they face Barnsley and Sunderland respectively.

Unbeaten in their last eight outings in all competitions and buoyed by the midweek Carabao Cup triumph over Stoke City, Lee Johnson’s Bristol City travel to Norwich City full of confidence.

Birmingham City, who, following the departure of Harry Redknapp, have placed Lee Carsley in caretaker charge of first-team affairs, make the trip to Pride Park to take on Derby County.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 9 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Saturday 23rd September 2017

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

Sunday 24th September 2017

Sheffield Wednesday v Sheffield United (1:15pm - live on Sky Sports)

Appointments: Click here to see the match officials on weekend duty

Second takes on third

Wigan Athletic’s 1-0 win against Northampton Town on Tuesday night saw them overtake Peterborough United and move into the Sky Bet League One automatic promotion spots.

Posh have an opportunity change that this Saturday though, when they host the Latics at London Road. Only victory would do this however, with them currently sitting two points behind their opponents.

Grant McCann’s side have won three of their four home outings so far this term, but have failed to beat Wigan in six attempts, dating back to February 2001.

Bowyer’s Blackpool buoyant

With four out of their last five fixtures resulting in maximum point hauls, Blackpool head into their away encounter at Bristol Rovers as one of League One’s in-form sides.

Wins against the likes of Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon have catapulted the Tangerines into the play-off places, and just two points off an automatic spot.

The Gas, on the other hand, have lost their previous two matches, and manager Darrell Clarke will be seeking a reaction in what will be the first meeting between the pair since April 2000.

Around the grounds

The Sky Bet League One weekend kicks off on Friday night, with AFC Wimbledon playing host to Milton Keynes Dons at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.

League leaders Shrewsbury Town have a potentially tricky home assignment to negotiate, when they welcome Blackburn Rovers to the New Meadow.

Gillingham picked up a first league win last time out, and they’ll be hoping to build on that in their away visit to Rochdale. Charlton Athletic’s winning run ended against the Gills, but they will look to return to form against a Bury side winless since the opening day.

Among the weekend’s other fixtures, two sides up last year — Plymouth Argyle and Doncaster Rovers — do battle, high-flying Bradford City go to Northampton Town, while Fleetwood Town, Rotherham United and Oxford United are all at home with a chance of moving into the top six.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 9 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Friday 22nd September 2017

AFC Wimbledon v Milton Keynes Dons (7:45pm)

Saturday 23rd September 2017

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

Appointments: Click here to see the match officials on weekend duty

Friday night action at the New Lawn

Forest Green Rovers and Swindon get the Sky Bet League Two action off and running, live in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday night.

The two teams have only ever met on one occasion previously, with the Robins prevailing 3-2 in an FA Cup tie back in 2007.

There’s an added sub-plot too, with Rovers’ boss Mark Cooper meeting the club which he was in charge of for just over two years.

Long time, no see!

Exeter City currently sit three points clear at the top of the standings, and — along with Shrewsbury — are one of just two sides to remain unbeaten in the EFL.

The next test for Paul Tisdale’s men is a visit to Coventry City, whose league form at the Ricoh Arena makes for good reading, picking up three victories from their four matches so far.

If you were to pick your winner based on recent history, then you’re out of luck — these two haven’t met in an EFL fixture since the 1958/59 season!

Around the grounds

Two sides situated in the play-off positions meet at Field Mill, where fifth-placed Mansfield Town clash with seventh-placed Cambridge United.

Accrington Stanley’s strong start to the campaign continued thanks to three more points last weekend — next up for them is the challenge of Cheltenham Town at the Crown Ground.

Notts County manager Kevin Nolan will be hoping to celebrate putting pen-to-paper on a new contract with a home triumph against Danny Cowley’s Lincoln City.

Elsewhere, Chesterfield and Port Vale go on the road under caretaker management. The Spireites visit Luton Town with Guy Branston in charge, while David Kelly and Chris Morgan will take the reins for Port Vale’s visit to Yeovil Town.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 9 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Friday 22nd September 2017

Forest Green Rovers v Swindon Town (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 23rd September 2017

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

Appointments: Click here to see the match officials on weekend duty

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