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EFL preview: the final weekend!

6 May 2021

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


Cardiff City v Rotherham United

Their midweek draw at Luton took the Millers’ survival prospects out of their own hands for the first time this season - and at the worst possible moment. To avoid relegation, Rotherham need to win at Cardiff, a feat they last achieved in August 1998, and hope that Derby fail to beat Sheffield Wednesday. They have goal difference in their favour as well as a tenacity that has carried them to six wins on the road this season.

Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday

Dry throats and knotted stomachs all round. These two grand old clubs have won 11 major trophies between them in their storied pasts, but few games will have resonated with such significance as this. If Derby win, they are safe. If it is a draw, Derby will stay up if Rotherham fail to win at Cardiff. Wednesday will be relegated unless they win and Rotherham do not. The final whistle could herald joy on one side or tears all round.

Middlesbrough v Wycombe Wanderers

The greatest final day escape from relegation in the history of the Sky Bet Championship won’t happen. It can’t happen. Or could it? Well, Wycombe have confounded logic all season, so why can’t they score the 13 goals they need at the Riverside to stay up if results elsewhere fall their way? Whatever the outcome on Teesside, Gareth Ainsworth and his side will take their leave with pride in their collective beating heart.



Doncaster Rovers v Peterborough United

And so, the end is near … No-one can say that James Coppinger hasn’t done it his way. On Sunday, the 40-year-old plays his 695th and final game for Doncaster, spanning 17 seasons and creating memories that will live on forever at the South Yorkshire club. The jinking runs, the teasing, pinpoint crosses, the exquisite free-kicks. And above all, the loyalty of the man who won the Sir Tom Finney Award last week at the 2021 EFL Awards. Thanks, James.

Oxford United v Burton Albion

The last three encounters between these sides have witnessed 16 goals, including Oxford’s 5-1 win in the east Midlands in early January. Karl Robinson’s side will settle for just one today if Portsmouth fail to beat Accrington. That would secure a Play-Off place for a team that was bottom of Sky Bet League One on the final day of October, level on points with Burton. Both teams have seen spectacular revivals. Can Oxford carry theirs one stage further?

Portsmouth v Accrington Stanley

The equation is simple; win and Portsmouth are in the Play-Offs. Except that nothing is ever simple with Pompey. This season alone has seen them start poorly, revive, dip, surge towards automatic promotion, dip again, lose at Wembley in the delayed 2020 EFL Trophy final, sack Kenny Jackett, hire Danny Cowley and finally reclaim a Play-Off berth. Which brings us to today and 90 final minutes against an Accrington side which has experienced its own ups and downs since September. Simple, it most definitely won’t be.


EFLSB_LT_L_DM_REG_ST_RGB.pngCambridge United v Grimsby Town

Of the eight clubs who could either be promoted or clinch a Play-Off spot on the final day of Sky Bet League Two action, Cambridge are right at the top of the list. Realistically, they only need a point against relegated Grimsby to go up automatically. Trouble is, they have only needed a point for two matches now. Defeats against Stevenage and Harrogate have shredded nerves at the Abbey Stadium. Take a deep breath …

Crawley Town v Bolton Wanderers

Bolton are another side who could have already punched their ticket to Sky Bet League One. The final-minute goal they conceded to Exeter last week means they have to win at Crawley to guarantee automatic promotion. Anything less for Ian Evatt’s side and they will open the door for Morecambe, who host Bradford, to step through. To add to the jitters, these sides have only ever met twice. Both matches resulted in Crawley wins.

Oldham Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

The mid-February encounter between these sides at The New Lawn was a joyful, topsy-turvy affair which ended 4-3 to Forest Green. The Gloucestershire club would take the same result today while happily forgoing the thrills and spills. Forest Green need a victory to clinch a Play-Off place. Anything less and both Exeter and Salford could leapfrog them. The situation isn’t resolved above them either with Tranmere and Newport both vulnerable to missing out, should they lose. Breathless yet? You will be.

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