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Preview: Boxing Day in the EFL

24 December 2020

Traditionally one of the biggest dates on the footballing calendar, Boxing Day always delivers when it comes to the EFL action, and this year promises to be no different.

Here are just a few of the fixtures to look forward to!

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Barnsley v Huddersfield Town

There's an all-Yorkshire clash to look forward to on Boxing Day and, with Barnsley and Huddersfield Town level on points ahead of kick-off, it looks set to be a post-Christmas cracker! In fact, these two sides have an identical record in the league this season, and even have the same goal difference. A win for either side would put them right in the Play-Off-chasing pack. This match will also be the 75th between the teams in all competitions since the first in 1910.

Cardiff City v Brentford

After a good run of form, Cardiff have lost two of their last three league games, but remain just four points off those Play-Off spots with 20 games played. The Bluebirds face a tough test on home soil on Boxing Day, as Brentford - fresh from reaching their first-ever Carabao Cup Semi-Final - make the trip to South Wales. The Bees sit fourth, and could even move into the automatic promotion places if results go their way. This is definitely one to watch. 

Watford v Norwich City

Boxing Day also pits fith-placed Watford against league leaders Norwich City, in what promises to be one of the games of the day. The Hornets will be under new management following the recent appointment of Xisco Muñoz and will be hoping for an instant impact, while the visitors have been in superb form and could extend their lead at the top to as many as eight points with victory here. With both sides harbouring promotion ambitions, this late kick-off could be a crucial clash.

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Crewe Alexandra v Fleetwood Town

Two sides on the fringes of the Play-Offs will meet on Boxing Day in Sky Bet League One, as in-form Crewe Alexandra host Fleetwood Town. The teams sit ninth and 10th in the table respectively but, with things as close as ever in the top half, maximum points here could go a long way. Crewe have won four of their last five league matches, while Fleetwood have just one victory in five, but the Cod Army have lost just one of the six previous meetings between the sides.

Doncaster Rovers v Accrington Stanley

Two more teams who remain right in the Play-Off mix will meet in Yorkshire on Saturday, as fourth-placed Doncaster Rovers welcome eighth-placed Accrington Stanley to the Keepmoat Stadium. After missing the chance to go top of the table for Christmas, Doncaster will be looking to get back to winning ways, while Accrington know that a win would move them level on points with their opponents. Who will come out on top in this one?

MK Dons v Bristol Rovers

At the other end of the table, two sides locked level on 19 points will go head-to-head at Stadium MK, as MK Dons take on Bristol Rovers. Rovers have won back-to-back league games under Paul Tisdale and will be looking to put further distance between themselves and the relegation zone, while the hosts are without a win in four and could use a post-Christmas boost. This will be the 15th competitive meeting between the sides, and it's a vital one.

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Crawley Town v Newport County

In Sky Bet League Two, it's Newport County who lead the way going into Boxing Day, when they'll travel to 11th-placed Crawley Town, who haven't lost in the league for over a month. On paper, this looks like being another entertaining clash, with Newport's lead at the top just two points, and Crawley just three points off the Play-Off places. The last two league meetings between these sides have ended level, but both will be on the hunt for maximum points here.  

Exeter City v Forest Green Rovers

It's sixth versus second on Boxing Day too, as Exeter City host Forest Green Rovers. Exeter are the division's top scorers with 39, while Forest Green boast the division's second-meanest defence, having conceded just 15 goals in their 19 league games so far this season. Victory for the hosts could see them jump up to as high as fourth place, while the incentive for Forest Green is a potential spot at the top of the tree. 

Salford City v Walsall

Salford City and Walsall sit seventh and eighth in the table respectively ahead of their Boxing Day meeting, with Salford on the right side of the Play-Off divide on goal difference alone. Walsall though are League Two's form team, having won each of their last four league games, and momentum at this time of year is never a bad thing. Like Exeter, there's a chance that either side could move up to fourth, which is undoubtedly a post-Christmas carrot for both teams. 

Don't break tradition this Boxing Day - if you can't be there, be there with iFollow.


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