You wait four weeks for a full slate of EFL fixtures and the British weather decides to intervene! Nevertheless, the Championship is back; ably supported by Leagues One and Two. Oh and there’s the small matter of a World Cup quarter-final on Saturday evening. Enjoy!
In the Championship, leaders Burnley travel down to London to take on a Mick Beale-less QPR, Sheffield United host Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers face Preston North End.
In League One, Plymouth Argyle will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to Cambridge, Ipswich Town welcome Peterborough United to Portman Road and Sheffield Wednesday face the long trip down to Exeter.
In League Two, Steve Evans faces one of his former clubs as Stevenage take on Mansfield Town, Northampton travel to Harrogate and Gillingham welcome Bradford to Priestfield.
Here are our picks ahead of this weekend’s EFL fixtures:
TNP says: We fancy Matty Etherington to continue his winning start as Crawley boss and Plymouth to bounce back after their defeat to Port Vale last weekend. Both of these picks have quite a lot to do with the opposition. Hartlepool were wretched against Stockport and Cambridge have been nosediving towards the relegation zone ever since Mark Bonner turned down the Rotherham job.
If you’re looking for a bit more value then we would recommend backing Coventry to beat Reading and Barnsley to beat Oxford. The Sky Blues were the form team in the Championship prior to the World Cup break and, despite their off-field problems, we can’t see any reason why they won’t pick up where they left off. As for Barnsley, Michael Duff’s men have won their last four league games and they are eight points ahead of Saturday’s opponents Oxford – with a game in hand. Unsurprisingly, Karl Robinson’s Us have improved since some of their key players returned from injury, but they shouldn’t be seen as favourites for this one.
It was some time ago now but Blackburn suffered a bitterly disappointing 3-0 defeat to Burnley last time out. They will be desperate to give their fans something to shout about when they welcome Preston to Ewood Park and Ben Brereton Diaz may well be the man to provide the spark for Rovers. In terms of our outside bet, we’re backing Sheffield Wednesday’s Mark McGuinness to get on the scoresheet once again. With the delivery of Barry Bannan and the height in Wednesday’s team, Exeter could struggle to deal with the Owls set pieces.
It may be known as ‘El Glosico’ but we aren’t expecting Forest Green’s game with Cheltenham to be a classic. The home side lack quality in the final third and Wade Elliott’s Robins have been particularly miserly of late. On the other hand, we’re predicting a bit of a goalfest when Northampton travel to Harrogate. Simon Weaver has taken the shackles off Harrogate and they’ve responded by scoring seven goals in their last two league games. Meanwhile, Jon Brady’s Northampton are still the leading scorers in the fourth tier.
If you are placing a bet this weekend, please be gamble aware. Do not bet more than you can afford to lose and do not chase your losses. For more information, please head to the Be Gamble Aware website.
(Photo Creds – Alex Taylor)