• Nathan Smith

EFL WATCH: YOUR WEEKEND PLANS ARE SORTED


THE CHAMPIONSHIP –

BLACKBURN ROVERS VS DERBY COUNTY (16th APRIL – KO 6pm)


2021 has not been too kind for Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers side as they have struggled to put any form together and have slid down the table. Currently 17th, Rovers have not tasted victory in seven games. There have been some encouraging results, like the 1-1 draw against Norwich, and a 2-2 draw against Cardiff City, but too often Blackburn have failed to find the back of the net in recent weeks. This is surprising due to the likes of Adam Armstrong and Harvey Elliott both lining up in the Blackburn side and if they can get their form back, they may end the season on a high note.


Derby County are not safe, and Wayne Rooney will really want his team to put a good run of form together, to avoid any potential consequences from Rotherham’s three games in hand. With only one win in ten, Rooney’s Derby haven’t really convinced anyone with their performances, and with a potential new owner on the horizon, it is clear that a big rebuild is needed at Pride Park, as the club will be desperate to move on from this season.


These two bottom half sides will be looking to avoid any form of relegation talk and a win for either side could kick off a run of form to end the season on a good run.


LEAGUE ONE –

AFC WIMBLEDON VS SWINDON TOWN (17th APRIL – KO 12:30pm)


After grinding out his first win against Northampton, Mark Robinson’s side have recovered from two consecutive defeats by finally finding their scoring touch. They thrashed Accrington Stanley 5-1 before pulling out the result of the week by beating Ipswich Town 3-0. Wimbledon dominated Paul Cook’s side, and if they can keep that level of performance up, they will find themselves safe for another season in England’s third tier.


Things look less rosy at Swindon Town, as they sit in 23rd, on the back of four consecutive losses. The worse one of those being to bottom of the league Rochdale who beat John Sheridan’s side 2-1. Clearly a side low on confidence, Swindon need to string some wins together as soon as possible if they don’t want to head straight back down to League Two. Four points off 20th placed Wigan, a win would be huge for Sheridan’s team.


Two relegation battling sides that are on different levels of form, Wimbledon are certainly the favourites for this game and a loss here for Swindon may see them as good as down.


LEAGUE TWO –

NEWPORT COUNTY VS CAMBRIDGE UNITED (17th APRIL – KO 12:30pm)


Despite some very strong early season form, Newport County find themselves battling to keep alive their play-off dream. Currently sat in 6th, Michael Flynn’s side have struggled for consistency as of late, although the same can be said for most teams in League Two this season. With one in their last five, it is clear Newport need to start winning games, although they are currently unbeaten in their last three, with two consecutive draws against Mansfield and Carlisle following on from an impressive 1-0 win against Bolton.


Cambridge went into their game against Exeter City unbeaten in five games and full of confidence. However, the visitors romped to a 4-1 win against the at the time table toppers, with Cambridge looking a bit vulnerable at the back. Mark Bonner will be wanting to prove that this was just a one-off, and further establish Cambridge’s automatic promotion push, as well as their title charge. Paul Mullin and Wes Hoolahan have proven to be a class above League Two this year, and Bonner will be looking to them to help his side secure promotion.


With both teams chasing promotion, this should be an interesting tie as a win for either side brings them closer to their shared goal of League One football.


WILDCARD –

LUTON TOWN VS WATFORD (17th APRIL – KO 12:30pm)


After a tough first season back in the Championship, Luton Town have settled into England’s second tier well, and currently sit in 13th in the table. Nathan Jones has recovered from a poor stint at Stoke City and picked back up where he left off with Luton, having left in the 18/19 season with Luton top of the league. They have traded wins and losses as of late, with a disappointing defeat to Derby County being the worst, and most recently Jones’ side beat Wycombe Wanderers 3-1. Luton will want to round off this season on some good form, and a shock win against their rivals could be the spark necessary.


It looks like Watford will return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, and while it is not mathematically correct, the Hornets are currently seven points clear of a stuttering Swansea side. Xisco Munoz has done an excellent job so far with Watford, and he will be looking to secure promotion as soon as possible, and a win will certainly help that. With seven wins in their last eight, Watford are in great form and with the likes of Ismaila Sarr in the team, that run can go on for a little longer.


The M1 Derby is sure to excite fans of each club, and as they will more than likely not be in the same league next season, both sides will want to say goodbye with the bragging rights.