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Preview: the weekend's action!

12 March 2020

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We start the action in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday evening at Craven Cottage as hosts Fulham entertain West London rivals Brentford. The Bees are looking to complete a league double over the Whites for the first time since the 2014/15 season after Bryan Mbeumo’s goal was the difference at Griffin Park back in December. 

It has not been plain sailing for Thomas Frank’s side on the road of late, winning just two of their last 10 games away from home in league action. 

After failing to pick up three points against Swansea City last weekend, West Bromwich Albion surrendered top spot to Leeds United after they put in another impressive performance at Elland Road - more on them later. 

The Baggies and Birmingham City get the ball rolling in the early kick-off on Saturday afternoon at The Hawthorns, and the hosts will be hoping that they can add to their current seven-match unbeaten run against Blues. 

But Pep Clotet’s side have been dangerous from corner kicks this season; no Championship team has scored more goals via corners, with five of their last 15 goals coming in this fashion. 

The league leaders will know what they have to do before they kick a ball at the Cardiff City Stadium, as their game does not take place until Sunday afternoon. 

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have hit form at the right time as they continue on their course for the Premier League, picking up 16 points from their last six games. But playing Cardiff City away from home has not been ideal in recent years – Leeds have only picked up one point from their last four league encounters there. 

The Bluebirds are only two points off the final Play-Off spot and currently sit in ninth spot. A win and result going their way on Saturday would see them firmly in the race at the most pivotal part of the season, but draws have been the norm for Neil Harris’ side lately – they’ve carded six in their last eight games on home soil. 

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After spending a large amount of time at the top of the Sky Bet League One table, Rotherham United now sit in second place after being overtaken by a rampant Coventry City in recent weeks. 

The Millers welcome struggling Southend United to the ASSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday afternoon, looking to close the gap and hoping that the Sky Blues drop points in their game against Shrewsbury Town. 

But Paul Warne’s side have only managed one win in their last five league meetings with the Shrimpers. 

Peterborough United returned to winning ways in impressive fashion last time out, seeing off fellow promotion chasers Portsmouth 2-0, and find themselves on the road up north on Saturday. 

The University of Bolton Stadium is the destination, where Darren Ferguson’s side have never previously won in league action. Bolton on the other hand still sit bottom of the league standings after 34 games. 

This fixture has only seen one of the last 11 league games level, with the hosts winning six of the other 10. 

After spending six seasons with Milton Keynes Dons, Oxford United manager Karl Robinson will be facing his old side at the weekend once again. The 39-year-old has been performing above expectations with his U’s side, who only find themselves two points off the last automatic promotion place. 

Oxford are currently on a five-match winning streak and haven’t won six on the bounce since April 1985, when they were in the second tier. 

The Dons won the reverse fixture by a goal-to-nil at Stadium MK, Joe Mason’s 59th-minute strike enough to secure all three points on that occasion. 

Russell Martin’s side have suffered defeats in both of their previous visits to the Kassam Stadium in the EFL, losing 1-0 in February 2017 an 3-1 on New Year’s Day in 2018. 

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Crewe Alexandra reached the Sky Bet League Two summit last weekend as they capitalised on Swindon Town’s 2-0 home defeat to Forest Green Rovers. Both teams sit on 69 points as it stands but one goal separates the two sides at the moment, and a trip to Mansfield Town awaits the Railwaymen. 

Dave Artell’s side have won on four of their last five trips to the One Call Stadium in the EFL. 

After missing out on automatic promotion on the final day of last season, it has been a difficult season for Mansfield Town – one which has seen them slip to 21st in the league standings. 

Manager Graham Coughlan left his League One job at Bristol Rovers to take over the Stags but things have not gone to plan for the 45-year-old, but a win over Northampton Town last time out would have been a welcome relief. 

Should they record a win over the league leaders, it will be the first time the side has won back-to-back League Two games since October 2019. 

As mentioned, the last matchday for Swindon Town did not go to plan for Richie Wellens’ side as they tasted defeat at Forest Green. 

An away trip to Boundary Park to take on Oldham Athletic awaits the Robins, and going there unbeaten in their last two games in the EFL will be a reminder that they have had the reading of their opponents over the years. 

The Latics on the other hand have won one of their last five games in League Two and currently sit 19th. Under manager Dino Maamria, an emphasis on moving up the league table next season will be the idea. 

Bottom club Stevenage are back on home soil after losing 3-1 last time out to Crewe, and face Newport County this weekend. 

It has been a season to forget for The Boro who have only won one league game in their last 20 and have lost eight on the bounce. The visitors, Newport County, have never beaten Stevenage away from home in the EFL, losing four of their five trips to The Lamex Stadium.  

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