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Preview: Easter Weekend special

31 March 2021

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Preston North End v Norwich City 

Norwich City have been relentless this season and are still leading the way in the Sky Bet Championship, with a current eight-point gap over second-placed Watford heading into the weekend. 

The Canaries are set to the return to the Premier League in emphatic fashion, with manager Daniel Farke looking to secure promotion as soon as possible. 

A Good Friday trip to Deepdale is on the cards for the league leaders, and having won 13 away league games this season - their joint-most in a league season in their history - they’ll be looking for three more points.

Preston North End are 16th in the Championship and will more than likely have one eye on next season, as they still look to appoint a new manager having parted company with Alex Neil recently. 

Watford v Sheffield Wednesday

Watford are six points ahead of Swansea City in third spot but the Swans do have a game in hand as the race for promotion hots up. 

The Hornets have been in emphatic form since the appointment of Xisco back in December 2020, and are currently on a five-game winning run in league action, looking to record six consecutive league victories for the first time since January 2011 under Malky Mackay.

Struggling Sheffield Wednesday are the visitors to Vicarage Road on Friday afternoon looking to claw back to valuable points, as they continue their fight for Championship survival. 

The Owls are winless in their last four league games against Watford however (D2 L2), since a 1-0 win in December 2013.

Barnsley v Reading (17:30) 

It is fifth v sixth in the Championship as Barnsley host Reading at Oakwell live on Sky Sports. The Tykes have been outstanding this season and have turned any worries about last seasons relegation dogfight, into a possible promotion campaign this time around.

Valérien Ismaël’s tactics have clearly been taken on board by his players after going on a 13-match unbeaten run in league action, before their resolve was finally broken, on derby day against Sheffield Wednesday last time out. 

Reading on the other hand have hit somewhat of a sticky patch in recent weeks, and although they have only lost once in three games, their other two fixtures have seen them pick up just two points from a possible six.

The Royals have won five of their six league matches against Yorkshire teams this season (D1), winning their last three in a row.

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Doncaster Rovers v Charlton Athletic (12:30)

Things have not gone to plan for interim manager Andy Butler and Doncaster Rovers of late, having not picked up a victory in six Sky Bet League One games. 

Despite their recent run of bad form they are still on level points with the last Play-Off spot which is currently occupied by Blackpool, and with fellow Play-Off chasers Charlton Athletic the visitors to the Keepmoat Stadium on Friday, it could provide the perfect kick-start to their run-in. 

The Addicks are unbeaten in their last six matches in League One, their last such defeat coming in February against Blackpool.  

Crewe Alexandra v Hull City 

League leaders Hull City travel to Crewe Alexandra on Good Friday hoping to keep ahold of top spot as Peterborough United and Sunderland AFC circle below them. 

Their last two games, both which ended level would have given both of the teams below them another sniff of blood, especially with both sides having games in hand over the Tigers. 

Crewe are 15 points above the drop zone and look comfortable for another season in League One, and will no doubt be looking to see off Hull City for the first time since April 1996. 

Fleetwood Town v Peterborough United 

Simon Grayson has put pen to paper on a long-term deal with Fleetwood Town after seemly impressing since joining the club earlier this season.

After going on a five-match unbeaten run - in which four were victories - in League One, the Cod army were beaten 2-0 by Swindon Town on home soil last time out. 

Peterborough United were huge winners at the weekend, seeing off Accrington Stanley 7-0 in more than impressive fashion. That victory was their biggest in the Football League since beating Brentford 7-0 in November 2007.

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Bolton Wanderers v Colchester United (13:00)

The early kick-off in Sky Bet League Two comes from the University of Bolton Stadium, as Bolton Wanderers take on Colchester United at 1pm.

The hosts have been on a tremendous run of form since the end of January, and have not tasted defeated in 13 games, getting maximum points in 11 of those 13 fixtures. 

That unbeaten run is the longest current unbeaten run in the top four tiers of English football.

Colchester United on the other hand sit just four points outside of the relegation places and will certainly be hoping to close the door on this season as soon as possible. 

The U’s have won just one of their last 22 league games, that victory coming last month against Carlisle United. 

Cambridge United v Morecambe 

Cambridge United still sit top of the tree in League Two, and face a difficult outfit in Morecambe in their Good Friday fixture.

Only five points separate the U’s in top spot and the Shrimps in six position, with League Two being so tightly contested, it is anyones guess what the final table will look like come May 8. 

Cambridge are looking to secure their first league double over Morecambe since 2015-16, following their 5-0 win in the reverse fixture. Meanwhile Morecambe won their last away league game 1-0 at Harrogate, but haven’t won consecutive league games on the road since their first three this season.

Cheltenham Town v Tranmere Rovers 

One of the games of the day in League Two comes from The Jonny-Rocks Stadium as Cheltenham Town entertain fellow automatic promotion chaser Tranmere Rovers. 

Tranmere are unbeaten in their last nine away league games, last having a longer unbeaten run on the road in the Football League back in August 2003 (10 games).

But Cheltenham are solid on home soil against the Super White Army, having lost just one of their six home meetings with Tranmere in the Football League (W4 D1). 

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The action doesn’t stop there, it’s a quick turnaround with another full set of EFL fixtures for you on the way! 

We have picked out five of the best games from Easter Monday’s fixtures…

Rotherham United v Wycombe Wanderers (Sky Bet Championship, Easter Monday - 15:00)

The Millers are looking to record their first Football League double over Wycombe Wanderers since the 2000/01 season.

Meanwhile the Chairboys have won their last three away league games against Rotherham, winning in 2010/11, 2012/13 and 2019/20.

Peterborough United v Sunderland AFC (Sky Bet League One, Easter Monday - 15:00)

Darren Ferguson’s side have earned more home points than any other League One side this season (44), winning 14 of their 18 at London Road (D2 L2).

The Black Cats are looking to win four consecutive away league games for the first time since November 2018.

Wigan Athletic v Portsmouth (Sky Bet League One, Easter Monday - 15:00)

The Latics could do the double over Portsmouth for only the second time. The first time they managed it was in 2008/09 in the Premier League.

Portsmouth visit Wigan for the first time in the league since August 2017 when they drew 1-1. Pompey have had nine away matches in the league against the Latics, winning on four occasions. 

Grimsby Town v Cheltenham Town (Sky Bet League Two, Easter Monday - 15:00)

The Mariners have drawn their last three home games, last drawing four on the bounce on home soil in the EFL in October 2017.

Meanwhile Michael Duff’s men have the best defence away from home, having conceded only 15 goals – in 19 away games this term, the Robins have kept 10 clean sheets.

Tranmere Rovers v Cambridge United (Sky Bet League Two, Easter Monday - 15:00)

Keith Hill’s side have won six of their last 10 home matches in League Two (D2 L2) – as many victories as in their previous 24 in the competition at Prenton Park (D6 L12).

Whereas Cambridge United have won seven of their last 10 away fixtures (D1 L2) – the U’s have accumulated more away points (22) than any other team in League Two since their win over Grimsby Town in early January.


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