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Preview: The weekend's action

26 November 2020

Following a midweek schedule which brought goals, comebacks and plenty of drama, another weekend of EFL action is just around the corner!

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Brentford v Queens Park Rangers

This weekend’s Sky Bet Championship action kicks off with a West London derby under the lights on Friday, as Brentford welcome Queens Park Rangers to the Brentford Community Stadium for the first time. 

The Bees were victorious in both league games last season, with Ollie Watkins scoring three times over the two fixtures. The R’s defence with count itself luck that it won’t have to deal with Watkins this season following his move to Aston Villa in the summer, but they will have to deal with the prolific Ivan Toney who earlier this week took his goal tally to 11 for the season. In fact, the striker has been directly involved in 16 goals in his last 11 home league games across spells with his previous club Peterborough United and now Brentford.

We’re certainly in for a treat on Friday evening. 

Reading v Bristol City

In the Saturday lunchtime kick-off, two promotion rivals are set to lock horns - where a win could be vital for either side. The visitors are on a three-match winning streak with victories over Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City and Derby County respectively. 

Meanwhile the hosts have not won in their last four games, and surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead last time out to AFC Bournemouth, dropping from runaway league leaders to sixth in the Championship table. 

The Robins picked up six points from a possible six in this fixture last season, and will be hoping to get the first three of this season to help them keep the pressure on the top two. 

Nottingham Forest v Swansea City 

It has been an unusual season for Nottingham Forest this season languishing in the bottom half of the Championship table, seemingly not having recovered from their disappointing end to last season which saw them miss out on the Play-Offs to Swansea City. 

A lot has changed at the City Ground since then however, new manager Chris Hughton is in the building and his arrival will hopefully spark somewhat of a revival for Forest. 

The Swans on the other hand have carried on from where they left off last season, currently sat in fourth spot in the table and have been impressive this season. 

After losing 1-0 to Norwich City on the road last time out, they will be keen to ensure that they are not on the end of another away defeat, they have not lost consecutive away league matches since losing seven in a row under Graham Potter between February and April 2019.

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Fleetwood Town v Sunderland AFC

A game that Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton always looks forward to, with his prior Newcastle United connections, the 38-year-old would no doubt love to be out there himself.

With both teams sitting on 22 points in Sky Bet League One, this has all the hallmarks of a fantastic fixture between two clubs that have a lot to prove.

The Cod Army are unbeaten in their five previous encounters with Sunderland in all competitions, meanwhile The Black Cats have avoided defeat in their opening six away league matches in a season for the first time since 1998/99.

Ipswich Town v Charlton Athletic

Two of the pre-season favourites meet at Portman Road on Saturday, as Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic look to take the initiative and press on up the League One table with three valuable points.

Both teams come into this weekend’s blockbuster on the back of defeats, the Tractor Boys were comfortably beaten by league leaders Hull City in midweek, and Lee Bowyer’s side were on the wrong end of a 4-2 scoreline at the hands of 22nd-placed Burton Albion.

Ipswich are unbeaten in their last seven league games against The Addicks, last tasting defeat in September 2012.

Oxford United v Swindon Town

This is the first derby clash between Oxford United and Swindon Town since February 2017 where two goals in three minutes sealed a 2-1 win for the U’s at the County Ground.

Only 34 miles separate the two ground and these fierce rivals are currently matching each other in the league standing, both on 13 points - only straying away from the relegation zone on goal difference.

It’s not always been pleasant viewing in recent times for the Robins, who have lost nine of their last 10 away games at Oxford United in all competitions, winning the other 2-0 in March 2001.

They will be hoping for a turn of fortunes in Saturday afternoon’s fixture.

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Port Vale v Leyton Orient

The Valiants and O’s have both been impressive this season, and are both in with a chance of the Play-Offs if they continue on the path that they are on.

This fixture is one that Port Vale always seem to look forward to, having won 14 of their last 16 home games against Leyton Orient in the Football League, including both of their last two without conceding a goal.

Orient sit higher in the league standings compared to their counterparts, and three points this weekend could lift them firmly into the Play-Off places.

Bolton Wanderers v Southend United

After a somewhat difficult start to life in charge at the University of Bolton Stadium for Ian Evatt, the former Barrow manager has seemly steadied the Bolton Wanderers ship and they are now on course to take on the Play-Offs.

The Trotters are just three points from Salford City who occupy that final Play-Off spot and with a win over struggling Southend United, it could prove to be an important three points, which would pile the pressure on Richie Wellens’s side.

It’s been a difficult season so far for Southend United, having only picked up 5 points in the 13 games they have played this season.

Mark Moseley’s side 1-0 away win at Walsall in their last away League Two game was their first win on the road since January against Accrington; the Shrimpers haven’t won consecutive games on their travels since a run of three in October 2018.


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