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Preview: the weekend action

18 February 2021

Get ready for the upcoming EFL action with our weekend preview! There are plenty of big games coming up across the three divisions, and we've taken a closer look at some of them below...


Watford v Derby County

Watford made it two wins on the bounce in midweek with a tight 1-0 victory against Preston North End at Deepdale.

Joao Pedro’s second-half penalty was enough for all three points on the night, helping the Hornets move up to fourth in the Sky Bet Championship table.

They return to home soil on Friday night as they welcome Derby County to Vicarage Road.

The Rams themselves have had an upturn in fortunes since the turn of the year and have only lost once in their last six games in league action.

They, like Watford, were winners in midweek but left things late to grab all three points against Wycombe Wanderers.

Andre Wisdom’s 93rd-minute strike was enough to sink the Chairboys on that occasion. 

Coventry City v Brentford 

The early action on Saturday comes from St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium, with Coventry City set to entertain high-flying Brentford.

The Sky Blues, currently 20th in the standings, will be looking for maximum points, having only managed to pick up two wins in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Brentford, on the other hand, are aiming for automatic promotion to the Premier League, and are hot on the tail of league leaders, Norwich City.

Despite losing their last two games to Barnsley and Queens Park Rangers respectively, the Bees are still in the hunt but sit only a point above Swansea City, who have two games in hand over their counterparts.

Sheffield Wednesday v Birmingham City 

We turn our attention to the relegation places in the Sky Bet Championship now, as 22nd-placed Sheffield Wednesday take on 23rd-placed Birmingham City at the weekend.

The Owls were haunted by one of their former players in midweek, as striker Steven Fletcher netted late on for Stoke City to snatch all three points at the bet365 Stadium.

However, it has not been all doom and gloom at Hillsborough since the New Year arrived; five wins from a possible 10 in all competitions have built a bit of confidence in the Wednesday dressing room.

Things have not been as rosy for the visitors in recent weeks, who have recorded only one win in the last month’s worth of football.

That win came against Middlesbrough back on the 16th of January and, since then, Blues have lost four and drawn two.


Doncaster Rovers v Hull City

Wednesday night’s action was a complete tale of two different worlds for Doncaster Rovers and Hull City.

The former, who are still in with more than a good chance of breaking into the top two, especially with the games in hand they currently hold over Hull City, were beaten 1-0 by bogey team Accrington Stanley.

That win lifted Accy into the Play-Off places at the expense of Sunderland AFC.

Hull, on the other hand, were big winners in the week, recording a 5-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

A hat-trick from Mallik Wilks was a highlight of the night as the Tigers picked up their first league win in February.

Peterborough United v AFC Wimbledon 

Darren Ferguson and Peterborough United have certainly enjoyed life in Sky Bet League One in February, having recorded nine points from a possible nine on offer.

Posh had to battle from a goal down on Tuesday night, after John Akinde’s strike put Gillingham a goal up at half-time.

A second-half turnaround which included a double from Jonson Clarke-Harris and one from Siriki Dembele wrapped up another victory and lifted them up to third in the table.

AFC Wimbledon are sitting just outside the relegation places in League One, but do have two games in hand over the teams below them as it stands.

Mark Robinson will be hoping that ‘new manager’ bounce will kick into effect as soon as possible, but as we have seen in recent weeks, facing Peterborough and winning is no easy task.

Wigan Athletic v Lincoln City

Wigan Athletic host Lincoln City on Saturday afternoon, looking to get back to winning ways in league action.

Three points on home soil here could see them leapfrog a few teams above them, depending on results elsewhere, and in turn climb out of the relegation places.

Lincoln City were not in league action during midweek, but were fighting for a place in the 2021 Papa John’s Trophy Final.

Sunderland AFC were the eventual winners on the night, overcoming the Imps on penalties to reach Wembley.

All focus will be turned to League One now for Michael Appleton’s men, who find themselves top of the standings with two games in hand over Hull City below them.


Exeter City v Grimsby Town 

After two red cards in the opening 45 minutes of their game on Tuesday night against fellow Play-Off hopefuls Newport County, Exeter had a mountain to climb in midweek.

Ryan Bowman’s strike had given them the lead, before he became one of the two individuals to be given their marching orders, and the Grecians led at the break.

It looked as if Matt Taylor’s side could be leaving Wales with all three points as the minutes ticked by, but they would be denied with minutes of the game remaining.

Up popped January signing Dom Telford, climbing highest to nod home a dramatic equaliser for the Exiles. 

Grimsby currently sit bottom of the table in Sky Bet League Two, three points off safety.

Manager Paul Hurst will be keen to record a victory, with their last coming back on December 19 against Scunthorpe United at Blundell Park.

Cheltenham Town v Bradford City 

Both Cheltenham Town and Bradford City recorded a 2-1 victories in midweek, with the Robins seeing off Walsall and the Bantams getting the better of Morecambe on Tuesday night respectively.

Both sides went a goal down early on in their games, only to come back and pick up all three points. Cheltenham’s win was a vital one, and keeps them in touch with Forest Green Rovers and Cambridge United ahead of them.

Bradford City, meanwhile, have risen up the table in recent weeks, and have left behind any worries regarding relegation, which they might have had earlier on in the season.

The Bantams are up to 16th, 11 points clear of the drop zone.

Newport County v Forest Green Rovers 

As mentioned earlier, Newport County managed to escape embarrassment with an 88th-minute leveller to claw back a point against nine-man Exeter City.

Forest Green Rovers, on the other hand, were involved in one of the games of the night, as they were on the right side of a seven-goal thriller at The New Lawn.

From being 2-0 up to being pegged back to 2-2 early on in the second half, the game headed to a 3-3 scoreline just after the hour mark.

Luckily for the hosts, Josh Davison was hand to notch the club’s fourth goal of the game to hand them all three points and, in turn, keep them in second place in the league standings.

The Exiles have only won one game in their last 12 fixtures in all competitions and have dropped to fifth in League Two.

Michael Flynn will be keen on his side recapturing their early season form which saw them reach the top the table. 

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