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Match Previews

Preview: Midweek Matchday

19 February 2018

There’s plenty of midweek fixtures again on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here’s our preview of the action…

Morais makes Tykes bow

A huge game takes place in the Championship, with 22nd-placed Barnsley taking on bottom of the table Burton Albion at Oakwell.

The Tykes turned to former AEK Athens boss Jose Morais as the man to replace Leeds United-bound Paul Heckingbottom, and the Portuguese makes his Barnsley debut on Tuesday night.

Both sides go into this game in respective poor runs of form, with a run of two points in five games seeing Barnsley slip into the relegation zone, however victory could lift the hosts out of there. The Brewers, on the other hand, haven't won any of their last six league fixtures.

The visitors' last two games have finished 0-0, and Barnsley have scored just once in their last two games - will things go against the recent respective track records on this occassion?

A Macron meeting

An equally as important clash comes from the Macron stadium, as Bolton Wanderers host fellow strugglers Sunderland. Bolton’s recent upturn in fortunes has come to a halt, with the Trotters losing two games on the bounce.

They face a Sunderland side who are winless in their last four encounters, and come into this meeting on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to Brentford.

The corresponding fixture between these two sides was a classic, finishing 3-3, in what happened to be former boss Simon Grayson’s last game in charge of the Black Cats, as he was sacked just 17 minutes after the full-time whistle.

If this is half as good as that one, we are in for a classic.

Around the grounds

Championship form side Fulham, who beat Aston Villa on Saturday, face a difficult away trip to Bristol City, while victory for Fulham could open the door to a Preston North End outfit that travel to third-placed placed Villa.

Cardiff City aren’t in action until Wednesday, when they travel to Ipswich Town, so they have 24 hours longer to prepare for a game which could see them either pull away from the chasing pack, or remain firmly in the fight. Elsewhere, Derby County host Leeds United at Pride Park.

The chasing pack will be keeping a close eye on proceedings, with fixtures coming from Middlesbrough, who host Hull City in a game between two relegated sides, Sheffield United facing strugglers Queens Park Rangers and Brentford taking on Birmingham City, in a match-up which sees Jota, Harlee Dean and Maxime Colin return to their former club.

Leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers are also in action, with them welcoming Daniel Farke’s Norwich City to Molineux.

Sky Bet Championship: fixtures (7:45pm unless stated) 

Tuesday 20th February

Aston Villa vs Preston North End 

Barnsley vs Burton Albion

Bolton Wanderers vs Sunderland (8pm)

Brentford vs Birmingham City

Middlesbrough vs Hull City 

Millwall vs Sheffield Wednesday 

Nottingham Forest vs Reading

Sheffield United vs Queens Park Rangers 

Wednesday 21st February

Bristol City vs Fulham

Derby County vs Leeds United

Ipswich Town vs Cardiff City

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Norwich City

APPOINTMENTS: Match officials on midweek duty

Dale entertain Dons

Keith Hill’s Rochdale finally get the chance to start making up their games in hand, as they host Milton Keynes Dons. 

The men from the Crown Oil Arena have slipped to bottom of League One — 11 points adrift from safety.

However, they do have four games in hand on 20th-placed Fleetwood Town, and six on a Northampton Town team that are positioned one spot above the Highbury-based club.

Their opponents will be equally as keen to take maximum points, with them still looking for a first victory under new boss Dan Micciche.

Post-Rosler era commences

Fleetwood Town begin life without Uwe Rosler against Portsmouth, after the German departed on Sunday, following a run of seven successive defeats in all competitions.

He leaves behind a Cod Army team that are now only above the bottom four by virtue of a superior goal difference and, should they suffer another loss, they could slide further.

Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for Fleetwood though, with them only failing to find the net in one of six respective previous matches.

Their opponents Pompey have won just once in their last five games, but are one of a number of sides that currently sit within a reasonable distance of the top six.

Around the grounds

The only one other League One fixture comes from the Montgomery Waters Meadow, where Shrewsbury Town, with victory over Gillingham, would move back to the summit.

Sky Bet League One: Fixtures (all 7:45pm kick-off)

Tuesday 20th February

Fleetwood Town vs Portsmouth

Shrewsbury Town vs Gillingham

Wednesday 21st February

Rochdale vs Milton Keynes Dons

APPOINTMENTS: Match officials on midweek duty

Dunne’s instant impact

Cambridge United will be aiming to maintain their good run under interim head coach Joe Dunne, who has won his first two games in charge.

He took the reins after Shaun Derry left the U’s, and has since seen Cambridge score three goals in both of their last two games.

Kevin Nolan’s Notts County are the visitors to the Cambs Glass Stadium on Tuesday night and, with them being the only one of the top seven in action, they have a great chance to put some pressure on those in the automatic promotion places.

County could close the gap to both Accrington Stanley and Wycombe Wanderers to a solitary point, before those two return to action.

Bees face the Blues

Barnet have a chance to move off the bottom of the table on Tuesday, with Carlisle United the opposition at the Hive Stadium.

A point would be enough for the Bees to leapfrog Chesterfield, but three points is what they’ll be after, as they look to edge closer to safety.

Keith Curle’s Carlisle side are, at present, 13th in the table and defeated the aforementioned Chesterfield in their last League Two match.

There’s an added incentive of reducing the deficit to the Play-Off places too — a gap that would be just five points should the Cumbrians triumph.

Around the grounds

As was the case in League One, only one further League Two fixture is taking place, and it’s an encounter between Crewe Alexandra and Exeter City at the Alexandra Stadium.

Sky Bet League Two: Fixtures (7:45pm unless stated)

Tuesday 20th February

Barnet vs Carlisle United (8pm)

Cambridge United vs Notts County

Crewe Alexandra vs Exeter City

APPOINTMENTS: Match officials on midweek duty

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