Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Preview: Matchday 41

6 April 2018

The business end of the season is upon us. Promotion, relegation, play-off positions - plenty will be confirmed over the next few weeks. Here's our preview as we enter April...

Top-two tussle

The EFL weekend starts in style, with the two clubs atop of the 72 heading into battle on Friday night.

Cardiff City, now 13 unbeaten, have made ground on Wolverhampton Wanderers and victory under the lights in the Welsh capital would bring them within three points of their opponents.

With a game in hand as well, Neil Warnock – named the division's Manager of the Season earlier this week – knows that a win would not only further strengthen their bid for automatic promotion, but would also give them a great chance of pipping the long-time leaders to the title.

Over the Blues

A run of seven straight losses during February and March saw Birmingham City staring relegation full in the face, but Garry Monk has worked his magic in recent times to steer them clear of the bottom three.

By no means are the Blues safe yet but, after three successive victories, they are five points clear of the relegation zone, and they will fancy their chances of extending their purple patch.

Burton Albion arrive at St. Andrew's rooted to the bottom of the table, with just one three-point haul registered since a New Year's Day success at Sheffield Wednesday.

Around the grounds

Fulham and Aston Villa are on the road where they will bid to continue their chase of a place in the top two, with respective trips to Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich City.

Derby County and Middlesbrough host Bolton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest, both looking to fend off the pack on the hunt for play-off places.

Of those, eighth-placed Millwall host seventh-placed Bristol City, while Sheffield United face fellow Yorkshire outfit Barnsley at Oakwell. Preston North End, currently 10th, travel to Reading with their eyes still firmly on the prize.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday fixtures

Friday 6th April

Cardiff City v Wolverhampton Wanderers (7:45pm - live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 7th April

Barnsley v Sheffield United (12:15pm)
Birmingham City v Burton Albion
Brentford v Ipswich Town
Derby County v Bolton Wanderers
Hull City v Queens Park Rangers
Leeds United v Sunderland
Middlesbrough v Nottingham Forest
Millwall v Bristol City
Norwich City v Aston Villa (12:30pm - live on Sky Sports)
Reading v Preston North End
Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham

P-p-play-off push

A tight race for the play-off places continues in League One, and a key clash this weekend pits Plymouth Argyle against Peterborough United, a side four places above them – albeit only by a single point.

The Pilgrims know that an extension of their five-game winning run at Home Park would catapult them back above Steve Evans' men, who have won just once on the road since the turn of the year.

It's the first meeting between the pair in Devon since 2010, with Posh running out winners in May – a season when both sides were relegated from the Championship – and in August as the League One campaign followed.

Battle for survival

Defeat at Walsall for Bury could put them within a game of relegation to League Two, while Northampton Town, sitting 23rd, are out of action due to Shrewsbury Town's participation in the Checkatrade Trophy Final.

Rochdale and Milton Keynes Dons, both rejuvenated in recent weeks, face teams with promotion ambitions. Dale host play-off chasing Portsmouth, while the Dons visit a Wigan Athletic side third but with eyes on the title.

Narrowly above the bottom four, AFC Wimbledon host an out-of-sorts Scunthorpe United, and Oldham Athletic travel to an Oxford United outfit who are not yet out of danger.

Around the grounds

Leaders Blackburn Rovers host Southend United as they look to extend their lead over the absent Shrews – Tony Mowbray's men are currently nine unbeaten.

Rotherham United, in fourth, welcome Fleetwood Town, who have won four straight games to move from relegation trouble into the safety of mid-table.

Charlton Athletic hold the last play-off spot, but travel to Bristol Rovers, who will still harbour hopes of a top-six finish.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday fixtures

Saturday 7th April

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


Race for the play-offs

Notts County versus Coventry City is the eye-catching fixture with both teams sitting in the top seven going into the weekend. The Magpies won't fall out regardless of this result, but they'll be keen to put daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.

With Lincoln City in Checkatrade Trophy Final action, the Imps could find themselves under pressure from the likes of Mansfield Town and Swindon Town, who would close the gap with positive results at home against Crewe Alexandra and Carlisle United respectively.

Colchester United's three-game winning run keeps them in contention too, and they play league leaders Accrington Stanley in Essex.

Glovers' goals

Remember the opening day of the season? Luton Town certainly do and, however much they have tried, Yeovil Town certainly will as well.

An 8-2 reverse was a far from ideal start to the season, and Darren Way will be desperate to avoid another humiliation at the hand of the promotion-chasing Hatters, whose form has stuttered of late.

However, the Glovers warmed up for the return fixture in style. A sensational 6-2 destruction away at Coventry City on Easter Monday will no doubt put them in confident mood for the Huish Park encounter.

Around the grounds

Exeter City play their game in hand over third-placed Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, knowing triumph at Cambridge United will move them within two points of the third-placed Chairboys.

At the opposite end, the bottom four all lock horns on what could prove a pivotal day in the race for EFL survival. Barnet, currently five points of safety, will target a second straight home win when entertaining 21st-placed Forest Green Rovers.

Chesterfield, four points behind 22nd-placed Grimsby Town, with three games in hand, travel to the Mariners in a vital clash. The hosts haven't won in 20 games, stretching back to 9th December.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday fixtures

Saturday 7th April

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


Advertisement block