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Match Previews

Preview: Matchday 29

26 January 2018

A reduced EFL schedule in the offing this weekend, but there are still a strong selection of fixtures across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two. Here’s the preview…

League leaders to bounce back?

After suffering defeat against Nottingham Forest last time out, table-topping Wolverhampton Wanderers will be looking to restore order with three points at Ipswich Town.

The men from Molineux still hold a sizeable nine-point lead over second-placed Derby County, but know another slip-up could see the Rams close the gap further when they play again.

As for former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy and his Tractor Boys, they’re six points and six places away from the Championship’s Play-Off spots. The last two Portman Road meetings have finished level.

Clinical Cottagers

The above speaks for itself; Fulham are on fire in front of goal. In their last outing, they smashed six past Burton Albion at Craven Cottage, with Rui Fonte and Ryan Sessegnon both scoring braces.

Victory over the Brewers subsequently extended their unbeaten league streak to six matches, ahead of this Saturday’s trip to Barnsley.

The Tykes currently sit just two points above the relegation zone and, when the two sides met in December, it was Slavisa Jokanovic’s team who prevailed by two goals to one.

Around the grounds

Two other Championship matches await us on Saturday, when Brentford and Norwich City and Bristol City and Queens Park Rangers do battle.

We’ll head to the capital first and to the Bees, who have not lost at home since their 2017/18 Griffin Park opener. They face a Canaries side that had picked up 10 points from a possible 12, until Sheffield United edged them out at Carrow Road last weekend.

Following a heroic effort against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup during the week, Lee Johnson will have to rally his Bristol players to ensure they get back on track in the league. Their opponents’ form has fluctuated of late, with two wins, two draws and two defeats from the last six matches.

Sky Bet Championship: Fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 27th January 2018

Barnsley v Fulham
Brentford v Norwich City
Bristol City v Queens Park Rangers
Ipswich Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Appointments: Click here for the match officials

Powell back to his Roots

There’s a new man in the Roots Hall dugout, after Chris Powell was appointed Southend United boss this week.

The former Shrimpers defender took over the reins from Phil Brown, who left Southend after almost five years in charge.

Suffering four straight losses, the 48-year-old’s first task will be to negotiate a difficult Scunthorpe United test, although the fourth-placed Iron are winless in three.

Gills looking up

An impressive seven-game unbeaten stretch has moved Gillingham away from danger and into a comfortable position in the Sky Bet League One table.

They’ve taken 17 points from a possible 21 in that time and face Fleetwood Town at Priestfield.

The Cod Army are one place below Steve Lovell’s men in the standings and, won’t want a repeat of the 2-0 loss they suffered at the hands of their opponents before the turn of the year.

Around the grounds

With Wigan Athletic out of action, Blackburn Rovers have the opportunity to go two points behind the Latics, if only temporarily, should they see off an improving Northampton Town. The Cobblers have picked up three straight wins to climb out of the bottom four.

Speaking of teams on the up, that takes us to Charlton Athletic, who have also taken nine points from a possible nine ahead of a visit to Blackpool, who've won just one of their last 12 matches.

Undoubtedly buoyed by a late equaliser at local rivals Scunthorpe on Tuesday night, Doncaster Rovers host Bristol Rovers, who turned over Bradford City on Matchday 28. The Bantams have suffered three straight losses and host 

Shrewsbury Town may have surrendered their automatic promotion spot for now, but they can claim it back if they better Blackburn’s result. The Shrews have a tough away encounter at Portsmouth, however. Oldham Athletic versus Plymouth Argyle is the day’s other match-up.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 29 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 27th January 2018

Blackburn Rovers v Northampton Town
Blackpool v Charlton Athletic
Bradford City v AFC Wimbledon
Doncaster Rovers v Bristol Rovers
Gillingham v Fleetwood Town
Oldham Athletic v Plymouth Argyle
Portsmouth v Shrewsbury Town
Southend United v Scunthorpe United

Appointments: Click here for the match officials

Accrington in the ascendancy

Scoring 12 goals, conceding just two and taking maximum points from their last four games, Accrington Stanley have climbed into Sky Bet League Two’s top three.

And, if you were to hazard a guess at which of those triumphs gave them the greatest lift, you’d probably point towards Stanley’s most recent fixture, which saw them come from two goals down to defeat Port Vale 3-2.

Things have the potential to get better, though. If they manage to beat Crawley Town, they’ll climb to second in the standings.

Spireites’ spike

Two vital wins have lifted Chesterfield out of the drop zone, and there is the opportunity for Jack Lester’s side to move further away from danger this weekend.

They host Stevenage at the Proact Stadium, with the possibility of a hat-trick of victories on the table.

Stevenage have won just two of their last 14 outings, although one of those was a resounding 5-1 success against the Spireites two days before Christmas.

Around the grounds

Luton Town continue to lead the way, and on the agenda for Nathan Jones and his players is a visit to Blundell Park and Grimsby Town.

Play-Off positioned Mansfield Town are also on the road — The Stags have lost just one of their last 15 League Two fixtures, and visit Morecambe in a bid to further extend that fine form.

Those on the fringes of the Play-Offs are in action too, with Swindon Town hosting Crewe Alexandra and Colchester United travelling to Port Vale.

Elsewhere, Carlisle United welcome a Forest Green Rovers outfit who put five past Cambridge United to Brunton Park, while Cheltenham Town and Barnet face off at Whaddon Road.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 29 fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

Saturday 27th January 2018

Carlisle United v Forest Green Rovers
Cheltenham Town v Barnet
Chesterfield v Stevenage
Crawley Town v Accrington Stanley
Grimsby Town v Luton Town
Morecambe v Mansfield Town
Port Vale v Colchester United
Swindon Town v Crewe Alexandra

Appointments: Click here for the match officials

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