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Match Previews

Preview: Matchday 30

1 February 2018

We’ve reached Matchday 30 in the EFL and two days of fixtures are on the horizon this weekend. Here’s the preview…

Friday feeling

Before Saturday’s action, there’s one piece of business to be taken care of at the Macron Stadium on Friday night.

Bolton Wanderers and Bristol City both need the points for different reasons, with the two at opposite ends of the Sky Bet Championship table.

Phil Parkinson’s side occupy the final relegation spot, but do know they can move up to 19th prior to those around them playing again if they were to triumph. City, on the other hand, are fifth and know just how vital victory could prove to be in order to strengthen their promotion bid.

Warnock returns

Leeds United and Cardiff City go into their clash with just one win apiece from six games — a record the two will want to improve this Saturday.

The hosts are currently four points adrift of the Play-Off places and, as for the Bluebirds, they sit fourth; three points behind second-placed Derby County.

The match, of course, does also see Cardiff boss Neil Warnock go back to the club where he spent time as a manager previously.

Around the grounds

There’s a Midlands meeting at Villa Park, where Aston Villa and Burton Albion face off. The home side are on a run of five straight victories, which is a stark contrast to the Brewers, who are bottom after three successive losses.

Fulham have the chance to match Villa’s recent record when they host Aitor Karanka’s Nottingham Forest.

That Forest side lost out on Matchday 29, with Preston North End defeating them 3-0. The Lilywhites’ next opponents are a Hull City outfit which are only above the drop zone on goal difference.

The Championship programme then comes to a conclusion in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Molineux, with league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers playing host to Sheffield United.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 30 fixtures (3pm kick-off unless stated)

Friday 2nd February 2018

Bolton Wanderers v Bristol City (8pm - live on Sky Sports)

Saturday 3rd February 2018

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

APPOINTMENTS: Match officials on weekend duty

Cobblers climbing

Baring a narrow loss against table-topping Wigan Athletic, it’s been a good start to 2018 for Northampton Town.

Victories over Southend United, Bradford City and Milton Keynes Dons and a terrific point at Blackburn Rovers have lifted them out of the bottom four.

They’ve also strengthened in the January transfer window too; including the arrival of Kevin van Veen from Scunthorpe United. Will the Dutchman fire them to three points this weekend at home to Rochdale?

Dons' delight

With three wins, one draw and no goals conceded in their last four fixtures, AFC Wimbledon are in somewhat of a purple patch at present.

Their emphatic 4-0 defeating of Bradford City last time out earned Neil Ardley’s team the EFL Result of the Day accolade, and a trip to Rotherham United is next.

The Millers are too in good form, unbeaten in seven, meaning the encounter at the New York Stadium will be an entertaining one for sure.

Around the grounds

Towards the summit of Sky Bet League One is where we head next and, more specifically, to the top three, who are opening up a gap to the rest of the chasing pack.

Just two points cover Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Shrewsbury Town, and they’re all in action on Saturday.

The league-leading Latics are at home to an in-form Gillingham side, Rovers are on the road at Plymouth Argyle, while Shrewsbury Town visit Bristol Rovers.

Fourth-placed Scunthorpe United have an away encounter against Fleetwood Town, with fellow Play-Off positioned Bradford City looking to end a streak of four consecutive defeats — they’re at Oldham Athletic.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 30 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 3rd February 2018

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

APPOINTMENTS: Match officials on weekend duty

Reds rising

Winning five wins out of their last six Sky Bet League Two fixtures, Crawley Town continue to pick up momentum, along with points.

The only blip in Harry Kewell’s men’s recent run came in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Newport County.

Chesterfield next await them and, the Spireites shouldn’t be underestimated, especially after a fabulous victory against high-flying Luton Town recently.

Winning Wanderers

Gareth Ainsworth has seen his team find the back of the net with relative ease of late, with the Chairboys scoring 15 goals in just six matches.

It’s form which has catapulted them into second position and, given the game in hand they have on Luton, they’ll want to maintain their winning haul.

Carlisle United are the visitors to Adams Park on Matchday 30 for the reverse of an encounter which finished 3-3 back in October.

Around the grounds

Back-to-back 2-1 losses have put Notts County, who were looking well positioned in the division’s top two, third and they could slip further if they don’t get a positive result at home to Crewe Alexandra.

A potentially mouthwatering afternoon could be on the cards at Kenilworth Road, with Luton Town hosting Exeter City, who on are on the cusp of returning to the automatic promotion places.

Barnet have dropped four points from winning positions in their last two fixtures — can they go one step further and win at Mansfield Town this round?

Lincoln City and Swindon Town do battle at Sincil Bank; the visitors are at present, two points ahead of the ninth-placed Imps.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 30 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 3rd February 2018

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

APPOINTMENTS: Match officials on weekend duty

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