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Preview: Here's what is coming up at the weekend!

21 January 2021

The EFL action continues this weekend, with fixtures taking place across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two!


Stoke City v Watford 

Michael O’Neill’s Stoke City side played out arguably one of the games of the season on Tuesday night, as they drew 3-3 with Rotherham United.

Despite managing to seal a draw at the ASSEAL New York Stadium, the Northern Irishman will be looking for an improvement on their last five league outings.

The Potters haven’t won a game in that run and are now on the chase to secure that final Play-Off spot, which is currently held by AFC Bournemouth.

Watford are their next opponents in the Sky Bet Championship, and will be looking to record another victory, like they did midweek against Barnsley.

A Troy Deeney spot-kick was all three was needed at Vicarage Road, and with the Hornets only three points off second place, they will be looking for victory at in the Potteries on Friday night. 


Preston North End v Reading 

Preston North End have been busy in the January transfer window, bringing in some players that could help them on their pursuit for a Play-Off berth.

Ben Whiteman and Ched Evans are two notable additions, coming from Sky Bet League One sides Doncaster Rovers and Fleetwood Town respectively.

The Lilywhites got back to winning ways in Championship action on Wednesday night, a single Scott Sinclair goal enough to overcome Birmingham City.

Reading, howeve,r have won three of their last five games, including their midweek fixture 3-0 against Coventry City on home soil.

They are also in contention for a place in this season’s Play-Offs, currently finding themselves in fourth spot in the league table.


Middlesbrough v Blackburn Rovers 

Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers are in the cluster of teams just outside the Play-Off places, with the sides set to lock horns on Sunday afternoon.

Blackburn’s midweek game against Swansea City was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Ewood Park.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, won 2-1 against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Wednesday evening.

As we move into the second half of the season, three points for either side could provide a springboard to push on and make a play for those coveted Play-Off places.


Ipswich Town v Peterborough United

It’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster of a season for Ipswich Town this campaign, which has been reflected in their last five games - winning three and losing two.

That said, they are just a point outside the Play-Off places and have three games in hand over their opponents above them. 

Fifth-placed Peterborough United are the visitors to Portman Road at the weekend, looking to build on their win over Charlton Athletic in midweek.

That victory saw them pick up their third win on the spin in all competitions.


Lincoln City v Northampton Town

Lincoln City were replaced as league leaders win midweek as Hull City got back on the winning trail against Accrington Stanley.

All is not lost for the Imps, however, as they are still level on points with the Tigers on goal difference, and have a game in hand over them.

Northampton Town make the trip to the LNER Stadium on Saturday searching for a much needed win, as they continue their fight against the drop.

They also have a have a game in hand over those below them, bar Wigan Athletic, and sit just one point above the drop zone.


Portsmouth v Hull City

It is third versus first at the weekend as Portsmouth welcome Hull City to Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon.

Pompey have won their last two fixtures in League One, scoring five goals and keeping two clean sheets in that run.

As mentioned earlier on in the preview, Hull picked up three points to go top with an impressive 3-0 win over Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.

Goals from Malik Wilks, Gavin Whyte and Josh Magennis were more than enough on the night, and top spot is exactly where manager Grant McCann would have wanted his team to be at the start of the season. 


Salford City v Harrogate Town

The action in Sky Bet League Two kicks off on Friday night as Harrogate Town travel to the Peninsula Stadium to take on Salford City.

The home side have certainly gone from strength-to-strength since the appointment of Richie Wellens back in November.

They find themselves in fifth spot in the league standings, just two points off those top three automatic promotion places.

Harrogate Town have enjoyed their maiden season in League Two and are five points clear of the drop zone.

The Town know that they will have to secure a few more points as the season plays out to ensure they stick in the EFL for another season.


Cambridge United v Bradford City

Mark Bonner’s U’s side sit top of the pile in League Two but know they have a tough fight on their hands to keep it with the chasing duo of Newport County and Carlisle United behind them.

Cambridge have played two more games than Newport, who are a point behind them, and three more games than Carlisle who are just two points behind them.

It will be an interesting fight for top spot in the coming weeks and months, it is certainly one we are looking forward to.

The Bantams are yet to appoint a new manager after parting company with Stuart McCall back in December.

Bradford have managed to keep their heads above the water so far in League Two, and are three points above the drop zone.

A steady second half of the season is needed for the West Yorkshire outfit.


Leyton Orient v Forest Green Rovers

Leyton Orient and Forest Green Rovers might not have been two teams that you would have expected to be in the Play-Off places at this point in the campaign.

Orient have a few teams on their tail, with those below them looking to nick their spot off from them.

Forest Green are just a point outside of the automatic promotion places, but have hit a rough patch in their last five League Two games.

They have only won one in that run, that win coming back on 19 December.

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