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Five things to be aware of ahead of this weekend's EFL fixtures

2 September 2022

Another matchday in the EFL is fast approaching!

Here are five things to make a note of ahead of the weekend…

North End's magnificent seven  

Not only have Ryan Lowe’s Preston remained unbeaten after the opening seven games of the season, they’ve done it without conceding a single goal!

The incredible defensive feat has only been replicated by two other teams in the history of the top four divisions – Portsmouth in 1922/23 and Hereford United in 1984/85.

Goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who has made 17 saves while maintaining his seven successive clean sheets, is yet to concede in the league for North End having signed from Newcastle United in the summer, while defenders Liam Lindsay and Jordan Storey have also been ever-present in the historic rearguard effort.

The Lilywhites host Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon knowing an eighth consecutive shut-out will equal Pompey's all-time record of clean sheets to start a season.

Weekend starts with clash of two Founding Members

The weekend action gets underway this evening as West Bromwich Albion take on Burnley live on Sky Sports. Both sides are currently on a four-game unbeaten streak, although it's the visiting Clarets who boast the higher league standing, with 12 points from a possible 21 earning them third spot in the table.

Four points adrift in fourth, Steve Bruce's Baggies will be aiming to turn more draws into victories, having registered five stalemates already this season.

Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez has started the campaign in promising form, finding the net three times in his last four appearances. The 33-year-old spent two years at West Brom and returns to the Hawthorns in front of a full crowd for the first time since leaving in 2019.

Two of the League's Founding Members from 1888, the last time this fixture was played out in the second tier was back in February 2008, when Roman Bednar's second-half strike sealed a 2-1 win for the Albion.

Bolton celebrate stadium’s 25th anniversary

This week marked the 25th anniversary of the first competitive match played at the University of Bolton Stadium.

That day in 1997, over 23,000 supporters watched a goalless draw between Bolton and Everton in the top flight, so the Wanderers faithful will be hoping for a better outcome this weekend when they welcome the visit of Charlton Athletic.

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Since moving from Burnden Park, their new home has hosted plenty of memorable occasions, from successful League Cup and European nights, to dramatic final day relegation escapes.

A win for the current crop of players this weekend would see Bolton leapfrog their opponents and could help them climb into a Play-Off position in Sky Bet League One if other results go in their favour.

Unbeaten records on the line in League One

Three teams still claim undefeated status in League One – and two of them are set to face-off on Saturday.

While table-toppers Portsmouth prepare for a tough test at home to fourth-placed Peterborough United, Accrington Stanley and Ipswich Town will try to be the first teams to inflict defeat on each other this season.

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Kieran McKenna's Tractor Boys have been particularly impressive so far, particularly on the road, with three wins from three away from Portman Road.

Meanwhile, Accy have been draw specialists at home, recording a trio of stalemates against Charlton (2-2), Burton Albion (4-4) and Exeter City (0-0), respectively.

Victory could help Ipswich rise back to the summit of the table, while Stanley enter the weekend four points behind the Play-Off places having played a game less than those above them.

Deadline day signings

The summer transfer window came to its conclusion this week, with a frantic last day of deals taking place across the EFL.

Following plenty of movement on deadline day, fans up and down the country could get the chance to see several debutants this weekend.

In the Championship, Tahith Chong confirmed his return to Birmingham City on a permanent basis from Manchester United, having spent last season on loan with the Blues.

Elsewhere, Chelsea Academy graduates Dujon Sterling and Harvey Vale will gain experience in the second tier at Stoke City and Blackpool, respectively, while Huddersfield Town continued their philosophy to sign young talents from lower divisions by swooping for Ipswich youngster Tyreece Simpson.

The East Anglian side replaced Simpson with two deadline day acquisitions of their own, with the League One promotion hopefuls adding Gassan Ahadme (Burton Albion) and Panutche Camara (Plymouth Argyle) to their ranks.

Port Vale were active late on, recruiting a trio of loanees in Liam McCarron, Dan Butterworth and Dennis Politic, who spent the first half of last season at the Club before making a permanent switch to Italian side Cremonese.

Peterborough United also strengthened their squad by securing the services of Newcastle United defender Kelland Watts on a season-long loan deal. The 22-year-old made 26 appearances in the third tier for Wigan Athletic last season, contribution to their title-winning campaign.

Meanwhile, it was a busy day for many Sky Bet League Two Clubs, with Swindon Town bringing in five new faces and Harrogate Town adding four to their squad.

Colchester United were also in the market for incomings and pulled off a loan move for midfielder Matty Longstaff, who helped Mansfield Town reach the Play-Off Final last term.

Salford City bolstered their promotion credentials with three recruits, including the purchase of Birmingham City's Odin Bailey, while Grimsby Town matched that with a triple swoop of their own, with Alex Hunt being tied down permanently from Sheffield Wednesday, after enjoying a spell on loan with the Mariners last season.


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