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Preview: This weekend's big games

29 April 2021

It's the penultimate weekend of the 2020/21 season in the EFL and, with plenty still to play for in all three divisions, it's set to be one to remember!


Rotherham United v Blackburn Rovers

On the surface, earlier season postponements appear to have caught up with Rotherham in the past few weeks. The reality is that Paul Warne’s side have simply not converted their chances in recent defeats at promotion-chasing Barnsley and Brentford. They are still creating them, though, which offers hope of survival. Blackburn arrive at the New York Stadium in fine attacking form after last week’s 5-2 win over Huddersfield. It could be quite a spectacle.

Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest

The equation for relegation-threatened Wednesday is simple. Beat Forest in the lunchtime kick-off at Hillsborough and they will take their survival bid to the final day of the Sky Bet Championship season - if Derby don’t win at Swansea later in the afternoon. That is because their final fixture is against Derby at Pride Park. What a mouth-watering contest that would be, but first Wednesday have to overcome a spirited Forest side. 

Swansea City v Derby County

Three into one just does not go. Derby enter the penultimate weekend with a four-point gap over their rivals for 21st spot and a place in next season’s Sky Bet Championship. Trouble is, Wayne Rooney’s side have lost their last five matches, scoring just three goals in that spell. They managed that number in last season’s visit to Swansea alone, a 3-2 win they will be desperate to emulate against the Swans, who are preparing for the Play-Offs.


AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth

Both of these sides were involved in thrilling 3-3 draws with plenty of injury-time excitement in midweek, AFC Wimbledon salvaging a vital point against Rochdale, Pompey letting victory slip at Accrington. With so much at stake, this could be an equally thrilling encounter. A draw would be enough to secure the hosts' Sky Bet League One status, but anything less than victory for Portsmouth would severely dent their chances of making the Play-Offs.

Northampton Town v Blackpool

Having clawed their way out of Sky Bet League Two last July, Northampton will be desperate not to make an immediate return. For that, they almost certainly need to win both of their remaining games. The good news is that they have beaten the last three top-half sides to visit Sixfields. The bad news is that Blackpool still need four points to guarantee a Play-Off berth. Strap yourselves in, something has to give.

Peterborough United v Lincoln City

Play-Off football arrives early at London Road where Peterborough will clinch automatic promotion if they avoid defeat to the only side who can deny them. What sets up this clash perfectly is that Posh boast the best home record in Sky Bet League One this season with 49 goals to match their 49 points, while Lincoln have collected more points on the road (44) than any other team in the division.


Barrow v Southend United 

It is almost as if the fixture computer combines foresight with a wicked sense of timing, with Southend set to make the 650-mile round trip to face the side whose midweek win at Forest Green left the Shrimpers clinging to their Sky Bet EFL status. Barrow will be able to celebrate their remarkable revival under Rob Kelly. For Southend, only a win – which still might not be enough – will make the long journey home palatable. 

Bolton Wanderers v Exeter City

With three points needed to guarantee their side promotion and an instant return to Sky Bet League One, Bolton supporters would surely have wished for an easier fixture than this. Exeter will be just as desperate for victory as they look to secure a Play-Off spot for the fourth time in the past five seasons and will be looking to reinforce the momentum they built in Tuesday’s late comeback win over Grimsby.

Newport County v Cheltenham Town

Another titanic struggle is in prospect at Rodney Parade where Newport know that victory could seal a Play-Off berth, but defeat could leave them on the outside looking in going into their final fixture. Cheltenham arrive in south Wales having clinched automatic promotion on Tuesday, but Michael Duff’s men are desperate to go up in style as Sky Bet League Two champions and will push for the points to confirm that.

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