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Match Previews

Preview: Matchday 43

13 April 2018

Another EFL weekend. Another weekend sure to be packed with action, drama and excitement. Here's a look at what's coming up...

Early indicator

Saturday's early kick-off in the Championship will see Sheffield United play host to in-form Millwall, who entered the top six after a sixth successive away win in midweek.

The Blades aren't done yet though, halting a four-game winless run by beating Middesbrough on Tuesday night, and another Bramall Lane victory will bring them level on points with the Lions.

It's been a remarkable season for both clubs after promotion from League One last term, but will one be able to push on for the play-offs and make it up two in a row?

Champagne lunch

It's by no means certain, but Wolverhampton Wanderers could clinch the Sky Bet Championship crown when welcoming local foes Birmingham City to Molineux on Sunday lunchtime.

The midday kick-off, screened live on Sky Sports, will see see Wolves clinch the crown dependent on the outcome of Saturday's fixtures involving Cardiff City and Fulham.

Ups and downs: Weekend permutations

However, three points will secure a Premier League return at least, regardless of how their promotion rivals fare in the Saturday matches.

Around the grounds

As mentioned, Fulham and Cardiff are in action, with the Cottagers' 20-game unbeaten run on the line against West London rivals Brentford in a Saturday evening kick-off. Cardiff travel to Norwich City after losing their last two.

Aston Villa host Leeds United on Friday night where they can apply pressure on that pair above them, Derby County make the short trip to Burton Albion to cement fifth spot, while Middlesbrough take on Bristol City – the pair occupying the two spots just outside of the top six.

At the other end, Sunderland travel to 19th-placed Reading in hope of launching their great escape, knowing they can close the gap on either Barnsley or Bolton Wanderers, who meet at Oakwell.

Championship: Matchday 43 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Friday 13th April

Aston Villa v Leeds United (7:45pm – live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 14th April

Barnsley v Bolton Wanderers
Burton Albion v Derby County
Fulham v Brentford (5:30pm – live on Sky Sports)
Hull City v Sheffield Wednesday
Middlesbrough v Bristol City
Norwich City v Cardiff City
Nottingham Forest v Ipswich Town
Queens Park Rangers v Preston North End
Reading v Sunderland
Sheffield United v Millwall (1pm)

Sunday 15th April

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Birmingham City (12 noon – live on Sky Sports)

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty

Down and out?

Bury received a stay of execution after Oldham Athletic's draw with Walsall in midweek, but they will be relegated from League One if they fail to bring an end to their seven-game winless run.

However, three points may not be enough. Should Oldham Athletic earn at least a point at home to Gillingham, the Shakers will be relegated.

Ups and downs: Weekend permutations

Their opponents, Northampton Town, are just as desperate for points. They are 10 without a win, and failure to halt that streak will put a major dent in any lingering hopes of League One survival.

The only way is up?

Much like the Sheffield United versus Millwall clash in the Championship, two promoted sides are going head-to-head looking to further improve their play-off hopes.

Rivals Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth face off at Home Park, with the hosts currently occupying fifth spot, while Pompey are one place outside of the top six.

If last season's League Two champions can end the Pilgrims' fine home run with a three-point haul, it'll be all change again. This play-off race is going down to the wire.

Around the grounds

Continuing on that theme, Charlton Athletic will look to get back to winning ways at home to a Scunthorpe United outfit winless in 10. The pair are sixth and ninth respectively; the Iron are the lowest-placed side with a realistic chance of making the play-offs.

Rotherham United look a certainty to be playing in the post-season, but face a tricky trip to new leaders Wigan Athletic. Peterborough United host a lowly, but in-form, Rochdale side as they look to return to the play-off places.

Blackburn Rovers travel to Bristol Rovers where they will aim to take another step towards an immediate return to the Championship.

At the other end, Milton Keynes Dons welcome Doncaster Rovers looking to boost their survival hopes; Oxford United host Southend United hoping to end their relegation worries, and that applies to Walsall and AFC Wimbledon, who face off at Banks's Stadium.

League One: Matchday 43 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 14th April

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

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty

On the up?

Accrington Stanley have registered seven straight wins in Sky Bet League Two, and an eighth would secure the club promotion to the third tier of English football for the first time.

Opponents Exeter City are currently in fourth, 11 points behind, and a loss in Lancashire would stretch that gap to 14 points with just four games to play for the Grecians.

Ups and downs: Weekend permutations

Don't expect the Grecians to roll over though; Paul Tisdale's men suffered play-off heartache last season and will be eager to get the better of Wycombe Wanderers – currently two points better off – in the race for automatic promotion.

Jolley boys' outing

Grimsby Town were winless in 20 games heading in to last weekend's relegation six-pointer against Chesterfield, but they were celebrating when Mitch Rose's late penalty halted that torrid run.

That was Michael Jolley's first three-point haul as a manager, and he faces another crucial test when Barnet, rejuvenated under Martin Allen, visit Blundell Park.

Two home wins under Allen have brought the Bees closer to survival, and an away-day success would close the gap on the Mariners to just two points with three matches to go.

Around the grounds

Luton Town can take another giant stride towards promotion with victory over Crewe Alexandra, while third-placed Wycombe travel to Yeovil Town looking to fend off the challenge of the aforementioned Exeter, and Notts County, who travel to Colchester United.

After Checkatrade Trophy glory at Wembley last weekend, it's back to league business for Lincoln City, who head to Port Vale for the first time since 2011. While automatic promotion isn't out of the question, a fifth win in six would further cement their chance of securing a play-off place.

Coventry City are sixth after back-to-back losses and travel to Crawley Town, while closest rivals Mansfield Town and Swindon Town – both out of form – are also on the road, at Chesterfield and Newport County respectively.

At the other end, Forest Green Rovers travel to Cheltenham Town in the Gloucestershire derby with survival still the aim, and Morecambe – not yet out of danger – host Carlisle United.

League Two: Matchday 43 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Saturday 14th April

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

APPOINTMENTS: Click here for the match officials on weekend duty


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