EFL WATCH: THREE GAMES TO KEEP YOU ENTERTAINED DURING THE INTERNATIONAL BREAK
LEAGUE ONE – AFC Wimbledon vs Northampton Town (27th March – KO 3pm)
The wait for a first win under new head coach Mark Robinson continues for AFC Wimbledon, but results have slowly improved for The Dons, having drawn their last three games. Robinson will certainly be happy with his side’s fighting spirit, having gone behind twice against Charlton Athletic and managing to salvage a 2-2 draw, and giving a performance possibly deserving more than the one point they got. While not losing is great, Wimbledon sit in 23rd place and need to start collecting all three points from games like this against fellow strugglers Northampton.
Still under the leadership of caretaker boss Jon Brady, Northampton have shown signs that they can avoid the drop, with some impressive wins like the 4-1 win against Portsmouth and most recently grinding out a 1-0 win against Oxford United. Creating chances has seemed to be the key problem for the Cobblers in recent weeks, having only had two shots on target in their last three games, and while they have earned four points from those games, it is not sustainable in the long term. Brady will be looking to the likes of Sam Hoskins and Danny Rose to help fire Northampton to safety from an immediate return to League Two.
This relegation six pointer will be an intense affair, with Wimbledon knowing that they can go level on points with Northampton if they pick up the win, whereas Northampton will be able to create more breathing space from the relegation zone if they pick up all three points.
LEAGUE TWO – Forest Green Rovers vs Bolton Wanderers (27th March – KO 12pm)
After being beaten by fellow promotion chasers Cambridge United, Forest Green were held to a 0-0 draw by Mansfield. Both of those games were away from home and Mark Cooper’s side will know full well that they need to get back to winning ways as they return to the New Lawn to take on an in-form Bolton side. They currently occupy the third position in the table, but with sixth place Morecambe only three points away, Forest Green need a big performance to keep themselves in that top three.
Bolton Wanderers have finally settled under Ian Evatt, currently on a 12-game unbeaten run and looking nothing like the team that looked down and out in the bottom half of the table. Evatt favours a possession-based style, something he has implemented at his previous sides as well, hence why his Barrow side were nicknamed ‘Barrowcelona’. This has seemingly been put into action at Bolton as well, and with Evatt’s team becoming more clinical with the chances they get, and more solid at the back, automatic promotion is certainly not out of the question.
Both sides have promotion ambitions, and Bolton will be looking to make it 13 games unbeaten, whereas Forest Green will look to halt their recent blip in results.
WILDCARD – Peterborough United vs Accrington Stanley (27th March – KO 3pm)
Despite being in second place, Peterborough have really struggled as of late, winning once in their last six games, perhaps feeling the pressure to achieve the long-awaited promotion that has been expected of Posh. It has been tough at the back for Darren Ferguson’s side, having conceded three goals in all but one of their last four games, which is not good enough for a side wanting to be in the Championship next year. Ferguson will be looking towards his back three and goalkeeper Christy Pym to get back to keeping clean sheets which they are capable of, having kept 13 so far this season.
Hopes of an unlikely play-off push have slightly dwindled for Accrington Stanley due to some inconsistent form, but saying that, John Coleman’s side are only three points away from sixth placed Blackpool, who occupy the last play-off spot. A dip in form was halted last weekend as Accrington beat relegation battling Wigan Athletic 3-1. There were some concerning performances before that, mainly the 4-1 loss against Bristol Rovers, but Accrington have shown a real fighting spirit this season on and off the pitch, so it would be no surprise if they found themselves up near the play-offs come the end of the season.
Peterborough will be looking for a much-needed win to keep them away from an in-form Sunderland side, while a win for Accrington would be a real statement in regards to a play-off push.