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Preview: EFL weekend action

What a weekend we have in store!

22 April 2021

With potential promotions and relegations on the cards, this weekend's EFL action falls into the 'unmissable' category!

Here are just a few of the key upcoming fixtures...


Barnsley v Rotherham United

These south Yorkshire rivals are separated by just 12 miles, but different ambitions for 2020/21. After a midweek victory at Huddersfield, Barnsley need just four points to guarantee a spot in the Play-Offs and a tilt at promotion. At the other end of the table, Rotherham are desperate to cling onto their Championship status. Fatigue could be a factor for Paul Warne’s men. This will be their eighth match in a gruelling 23 days.

AFC Bournemouth v Brentford

A rehearsal for the Play-Offs? A possible preview of the Wembley final? The first priority is to secure their Play-Off places, which either side will with victory at the Vitality Stadium. A draw could be enough for both, but Bournemouth won’t want to ease off after scoring 21 goals in seven straight Championship wins. Brentford, meanwhile, need to rediscover the winning habit after drawing six of their past seven games.

Watford v Millwall

Watford’s surge towards automatic promotion has been timed impeccably. Xisco Munoz’s side has won 12 of its past 15 Championship fixtures with a glittering 29-8 goal differential over that spell. If the Hornets can sting the Lions at Vicarage Road, they will regain the Premier League status they lost nine months ago. But when did victory over Millwall ever come easily, especially with so much at stake?


Charlton Athletic v Peterborough United

With Charlton having hit Plymouth for six in midweek and Peterborough lining up with League One’s leading scorer, 28-goal Jonson Clarke-Harris, thrills and spills at The Valley should be guaranteed. The stakes could hardly be higher. Victory could push Posh to the brink of automatic promotion while Charlton’s revival under Nigel Adkins has lifted them back into the Play-Off places at the perfect time. Neither side can afford to slack off now.

Lincoln City v Hull City

On the face of it, Hull are virtually up. Indeed, a win at Sincil Bank would secure an immediate return to the Championship for Grant McCann’s side. But wait, Lincoln may be currently 11 points behind their east coast rivals, yet with two games in hand, their own automatic promotion ambitions would be well and truly ignited by victory here, setting up a thrilling end to the Sky Bet League One season.

Wigan Athletic v Burton Albion

When these two sides met in the reverse fixture in late December, they were 23rd and 24th in League One, respectively. They served up a barnstorming classic that day with Wigan prevailing 4-3 having been behind three times. Both teams have been transformed since, Burton by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, while Leam Richardson will want to celebrate being made permanent Wigan manager on Wednesday with three points to move Wigan to the brink of safety.


Cambridge United v Stevenage

Because of fixtures elsewhere, Cambridge will be celebrating their first EFL promotion this century if they can overcome a Stevenage side that has built steadily since the turn of the year. There is another burning question to be answered. Can Paul Mullin become the first player to score 30 goals in a League Two season since Port Vale’s Tom Pope in 2012/13? The prolific striker needs just one more to reach that mark.

Morecambe v Bolton Wanderers

Ten years ago this month, Premier League Bolton were playing at Wembley in an FA Cup Semi-Final. Morecambe, meanwhile, were falling to a 20th place finish in League Two. Today, all that separates them is a solitary point and the dotted line that distinguishes the automatic promotion places from the Play-Off positions. Morecambe have scored four goals in each of their last two home games. They couldn’t make it three in a row, could they?

Southend United v Leyton Orient

Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Essex rivals Colchester United means Southend are down to their final life if they are to avoid successive relegations which would see the Shrimpers drop out of the EFL after 101 years. Even victory over a Leyton Orient side who are chasing a Play-Off place might not be enough. Will Roots Hall witness tears and despair or sighs of relief that could herald a miraculous escape?


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