Championship Preview: Brighton face Villa, Norwich look to put a stop to their losing streak, plus two managerial debuts.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.51.50 by JAMES LING

Brighton take on a resurgent Aston Villa side as they look to go level on points with leaders Newcastle.

The Seagulls are unbeaten in their last 10 league games and boast the leagues best defence, conceding just nine goals all season.

Since Steve Bruce took the helm at Villa Park, the Villains are under somewhat of a resurgence from the form that saw them flirt with the drop zone.

Villa are unbeaten in their last five league games, and a win could see them close the gap on the play-offs.

Ian Holloway begins his second spell as QPR boss, with out of form Norwich City heading to Loftus Road.

Holloway replaced Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbank over the international break with the club sat 17th in the league.

The Canaries have fallen off the pace, and are now 10 points off the top after a run of results which has saw them lose four on the bounce.

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Alex Neil has been under scrutiny from Norwich fans after a run of bad results. (Image Credit: telegraph.co.uk)

Alex Neil’s side have conceded eight goals in their last two games, and have not kept a clean sheet in their last 13, which has put their play-off spot under threat.

Cardiff City take on Huddersfield Town as the Welsh club looks to bounce back from their back to back defeats before the break.

The Terriers are currently third in the SkyBet Championship, after an unprecedented start which saw them become the early pace setters.

The Bluebirds will look to bounce back after defeats to Newcastle followed by a surprise home defeat to Wigan.

Huddersfield Town head into this one having hit a rocky patch themselves, losing 5-0 to Fulham and drawing 1-1 with Birmingham.

Paul Lambert will take charge for his first game as Wolves boss as his side travel to Deepdale to take on Preston.

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Paul Lambert replaces Walter Zenga at Wolves. (Image Credit: dailystar.co.uk)

A run of seven games without a win and sitting just two points off the drop zone was enough to see former coach Walter Zenga sacked.

However, this won’t be an easy game for Lambert and his men.

Preston are currently sat 11th and have won five of their last eight league games having only lost to Newcastle 2-1.

The Lilywhites are one of the leagues in-form sides and a win for them could see them move into a play-off spot.

Other Fixtures

Birmingham v Bristol City

Blackburn v Brentford

Derby v Rotherham

Fulham v Sheff Wed

Reading v Burton

Ipswich v Nottm Forest

Barnsley v Wigan

SkyBet Championship Review: Newcastle extend their lead at the top and Brighton move into promotion spots.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.51.50 by JAMES LING

Ayoze Perez scored twice and bagged himself an assist as Newcastle extended their lead at the top of the SkyBet Championship with a 3-0 win over Ipswich Town at St James’ Park.

Newcastle started quickly, with the Spaniard putting the home side ahead after just 60 seconds, firing a low volley past Bartosz Bialkowski.

Perez doubled Newcastle’s lead in the 73rd minute, converting from close range, before midfielder Matt Ritchie clinched the points five minutes later to give manager Rafa Benitez another win.

Ipswich drop down to 17th having won just once in their last eight games.

Norwich dropped out of the automatic promotion places following a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to in-form Preston.

Simon Grayson’s side have not lost in their last six league games after Alex Baptiste rose highest to get on the end of midfielder Daniel Johnson’ cross.

Preston now move to eighth and sit just three points outside the play-offs.

Brighton capitalised on Norwich’s defeat and moved up into second spot winning a tight clash against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

Dale Stephens’ 68th minute goal was enough to give the seagulls the win, firing his shot into the top corner from 25 yards out.

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Dale Stephens celebrates his winner on Saturday. (Image Credit: seagulls.co.uk)

Huddersfield got their promotion push back on track after two disappointing defeats. David Wagnar’ side claimed a 1-0 win at home to Derby County and inflict a first defeat for new boss Steve McClaren.

Derby looked to have earned a draw before Elias Kachunga stole the points for the home side in the 93rd minute heading home a Harry Bunn cross.

The result moved Huddersfield into third and level on points with Brighton while Derby are 21st.

Cardiff’s resurgence under Neil Warnock continued after a 2-1 win against 10-man Nottingham Forest moved the Bluebirds out the relegation zone.

The Bluebirds took the lead through an Aaron Gunnarsson header as he was left unmarked from a Peter Whittingham corner. Joe Ralls close range effort doubled the lead before half time.

Any chance of a comeback for the hosts looked bleak with defender Thomas Lam sent off for pulling back on Anthony Pilkington.

Forest set up a nervy finale when Henri Lansbury scored a penalty in stoppage time, but the away side would hang on to give Warnock his second win in three games.

Rotherham’s new era under new boss Kenny Jackett began with a loss following a 1-0 home defeat to Reading.

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Kenny Jackett didn’t have the best of starts as Rotherham boss. (Image Credit: TEAMTalk)

Jackett, who replaced Alan Stubbs, looked set to claim a point in his first game in charge of the Millers before Reading’s Paul McShane would poke home an 85th minute winner.

The defeat condemns Rotherham to their seventh straight league defeat and they remain bottom the league.

Other Results

Aston Villa 1 – 0 Fulham

Bristol City 1- 0 Blackburn

Brentford 0 – 2 Barnsley

Sheff Wed 1 – 0 QPR

Wolves 0 -1 Leeds

League Table

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EFL Championship: Norwich go top and Warnock and McClaren both off to winning starts.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.51.50 by JAMES LING

Norwich moved top of the SkyBet Championship this weekend after cruising to a 3-1 win over Rotherham at Carrow Road.

Wes Hoolahan gave the Canaries the lead at halftime, side-footing the ball home after some brilliant footwork inside the box.

Hoolahan would then turn provider as Cameron Jerome doubled the host’s lead, getting himself on the end of the Irish internationals perfectly timed cross.

Rotherham’s Dexter Blackstock would pull one back with 15 minutes to go, but the goal would only prove as a consolation, as Steven Naismith finished the game off.

Newcastle made it three wins on the bounce coasting to a 3-1 against Brentford at St James’ Park.

The Magpies started quickly, seeing themselves 2-0 up inside the first 15 minutes. Ciaran Clark got on the end of a cross from Jonjo Shelvey to open the scoring.

Shelvey would turn provider again providing a long ball over the top for in form striker Dwight Gayle to double Newcastle’s lead.

Just after half time Shelvey would complete his hat trick of assists, setting up Gayle to tap in from close range and give the striker his ninth goal of the season. Brentford’s Scott Hogan grabbed a goal back for the Bees.

Huddersfield had the advantage of playing on Sunday, and knew a win would see them return to the top.

However the Terriers failed, losing at home to Sheffield Wednesday 1-0.

Fernando Forestieri scored the only goal from the spot, after Rajiv Van La Parra handled Tom Lee’s shot.

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Fernando Foresteri nets the only goal of the game at the John Smith’s Stadium . (Image Credit: The Sun)

Cardiff City beat rivals Bristol 2-1 in the severnside derby to give new manager Neil Warnock a winning start.

Peter Whittingham gave the Bluebirds a first half lead from the spot, after Craig Noone was tripped inside the box by Joe Bryan.

Debutant Sol Bamba doubled the lead for the Welsh side, bundling the ball home after Sean Morrisons shot hit the crossbar.

The visitors pulled one back immediately after Lee Tomlin swerved a 20 yard shot past keeper Ben Amos at his near post. However, the goal wasn’t without controversy with Cardiff’s Lex Immers and lying on the ground as the ball went in, sparking a melee.

The hosts would hold on to claim all three points and move themselves out of the relegation zone.

The weekend would also a see a winning start for Derby County’s Steve McClaren against Leeds United.

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Steve McLaren made a winning return to the Derby dugout. (Image Credit: Derby Telegraph)

Second half sub Jonny Russell riffled the ball home off a corner from the edge of the box to give the Rams their third win of the season. The win see’s Derby move into 19th.

Ipswich continue to struggle to find the net, failing to score in their fifth consecutive game, while Blackburn kept their first clean sheet of the season in a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park.

Other Results

Nottingham Forest 3-1 Birmingham

Barnsley 2-4 Fulham

Brighton 2-2 Preston

QPR 1-1 Reading

Wigan 0-0 Burton

Aston Villa 1-1 Wolves

League Table

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EFL Preview: Neil Warnock to make Cardiff bow in derby match at home to Bristol City.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.51.50 by JAMES LING

Neil Warnock will look to change Cardiff City’s fortunes starting with the Severnside derby on Friday night.

Warnock takes over with the club currently sat second from bottom, having only won twice this season.

Since joining the Bluebirds, Warnock has already bolstered his side. Junior Hoilett, Sol Bamba, Maroane Chamakh and Kieran Richardson all put pen to paper this week, and are in line to make their debuts.

Bristol head to the Cardiff City Stadium as one of the league’s top scorers and currently sit fifth, thanks in large parts to England U21 international Tammy Abraham.

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Can anyone stop this boy? (Image Credit: twitter.com)

The on-loan Chelsea starlet has already bagged eight goals this season for the Robins and is showing no sign of letting up.

Lee Johnson’s Robins haven’t tasted success in the Welsh capital back in 2002.

The manager merry-go-round continued this week with new other appointments; Steve Bruce joined Aston Villa, with Steve McClaren making a shock return to Derby County.

The Rams sit 20th in the table and have just one win in their last six games. McClaren’s first job will be to get their £8m striker Matej Vydra back in form.

They host Gary Monk’s Leeds United on Saturday.

Leeds have lost once in their last six and are the league’s in-form side. However, the Whites will be without their boss, after he was awarded touchline ban for abusive language in their 1-0 defeat to Bristol City.

In the late kick off, Aston Villa take on midland rivals Wolves.

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Steve Bruce takes over from Roberto di Matteo at Villa Park. (Image Credit: theguardian.com)

Villa have not won in six albeit five of the six have been draws. Bruce will surely have to look to summer signing Johnathan Kodjia to turn the draws into wins.

Wolves started brightly this season but a drop in form which has seen Walter Zenga’s men fall to 12th in the league and five points off from the play-offs. They too will look to return to winning ways.

Meanwhile at the top of the table Norwich are home to championship strugglers Rotherham as they look to keep pace with Huddersfield Town.

While in-form Brentford travel to Tyneside to face Newcastle. A win for the Bees could see them move into the play-off spots.

Other Fixtures

Nottingham Forest v Birmingham City

Barnsley v Fulham

Blackburn Rovers v Ipswich Town

Brighton and Hove Albion  v Preston North End

Wigan Athletic v Burton Albion

QPR v Reading

Huddersfield v Sheffield Wednesday

EFL: Preston v Wigan- Team news and statistics.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.47.27 by LIAM RICHNER

Preston North End host Wigan Athletic in tonight’s live Sky Bet Championship clash at Deepdale, with both sides struggling at the wrong end of the table.

Simon Grayson’s side suffered their heaviest defeat since he took over as manager in 2013 last weekend at Brentford (5-0).

However, they managed to shake off the devastating loss to shock Premier League Bournemouth in the EFL Cup in midweek thanks to a Simon Makienok hattrick.

The home side could include Alex Baptiste, who is available again after being cup-tied for the clash at the Vitality stadium.

Aiden McGeady, Anders Lindegaard and Paul Gallagher are in contention for a starting place for the Lilywhites.

Wigan will be without midfielder Alex Gilbey, who came off for the Latics last weekend with knee and ankle injuries.

Nick Powell could return to the starting line up after returning from injury last weekend, but Reece Burke misses out for Gary Caldwell’s side.

Recent history favours the Latics in this one. Preston have only beaten their opponents once in their last nine encounters.

However, both sides are in dire form. Simon Grayson’s side have only recorded one home win in 10, whilst Wigan are winless in six games, their worst run since April 2015.

Preston currently sit 19th in the table with six points, but are only one point ahead of the Latics, who occupy 22nd position.

 

EFL CUP! LIVE

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS GILLINGHAM LIVE COMMENTARY: http://ustre.am/1sfIN

22:14 – That’s all from me this evening, a very enjoyable night of football to discuss. Until next time, goodbye.

22:10 – And Liverpool hosting Tottenham! Two teams who have started the season very well indeed. Also West Ham against Chelsea, not bad at all.

22:09 – Well hello there! Some very tasty ties in the fourth round of the EFL Cup, with the highlight definitely the Manchester derby, Mourinho vs Guardiola, et al.

22:06 –
West Ham vs Chelsea
Manchester United vs Manchester City
Arsenal vs Reading
Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur
Bristol City vs Hull City
Leeds United vs Norwich City
Newcastle United vs Preston
Southampton vs Sunderland
22:05 – HERE WE GO! The draw is live!

21:58 – Stay with us on the blog as we bring you the fourth round draw live!

21:53 – It’s all over in tonights EFL Cup matches and the fourth round draw will take place shortly, here are all the numbers you need.
1. Arsenal
2. Chelsea
3. Leeds
4. Liverpool
5. Newcastle
6. Norwich City
7. Preston
8. Reading
9. Bristol City
10. Manchester United
11. Sunderland
12. Southampton
13. Hull City
14. Manchester City
15. Tottenham
16. West Ham

21:51 – FULL TIME
Stoke City 1-2 Hull City
Tottenham 5-0 Gillingham

21:47 – GOAL Stoke City 1-2 Hull City. Markus Henriksen scores in the last minute as Hull’s steady start to the season continues. Problems in the potteries?

21:46 – No giant-killings in the 7:45 kick-offs and unless Gillingham pull off the most unexpected comeback in history, there won’t be any tonight.

21:45 – FULL TIME West Ham 1-0 Accrington Stanley.

21:42 – GOAL West Ham 1-0 Accrington Stanley. Heartbreak for Stanley as Dimitri Payet scores in the 96th minute to send the Hammers through.

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Erik Lamela celebrates scoring Tottenham’s fifth goal this evening. (Image Credit: twitter.com/spursofficial)

21:39 – FULL TIME
Northampton 1-3 Manchester United
Southampton 2-0 Crystal Palace
QPR 1-2 Sunderland
Swansea 1-2 Manchester City
Fulham 1-2 Bristol City

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Josh Onomah celebrates his first senior goal for Tottenham Hotspur. (Image Credit: twitter.com/spursofficial)

21:36 – GOAL Fulham 1-2 Bristol City. Tammy Abraham looks to have sent Lee Johnson’s side into the third round.

21:34 – GOAL Swansea City 1-2 Manchester City. Gylfi Sigurdsson scores for the home side, can they grab an unexpected winner or is it a mere consolation?

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Ander Herrera celebrates his stunning effort that gave Manchester United the lead at Sixfields. (Image Credit: twitter.com/manutd)

21:27 – GOAL Tottenham 5-0 Gillingham. Spurs running riot tonight! Erik Lamela scores his first goal since the opening day of the season.

21:25 – GOAL Tottenham 4-0 Gillingham. Josh Onomah tops off his wonderful evening with his first goal for the club!

21:23 –  GOAL QPR 1-2 Sunderland. It’s Paddy McNair again! Doubled his tally for the evening and his short Sunderland career!

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Jake Hesketh celebrates his first senior goal for Southampton. Currently 2-0 to the Saints. (Image Credit: twitter.com/southamptonfc)

21:18 –  GOAL Northampton 1-3 Manchester United. Marcus Rashford continues his excellent year with the third goal against the Cobblers. Surely game over now?

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Sandro celebrates the opening goal at Loftus Road. (Image Credit: twitter.com/QPRFC)

21:14 –  GOAL QPR 1-1 Sunderland. Paddy McNair with his first goal for the Black Cats, at the right end anyway.

21:11 –  GOAL Northampton 1-2 Manchester United. Ander Herrera has put United back in front with a superb finish.

21:11- GOAL Swansea 0-2 Manchester City. Aleix Garcia Serrano has doubled City’s lead.

21:10 – GOAL Tottenham 3-0 Gillingham. Vincent Janssen dispatches the penalty for his first goal for the club! Surely a bridge too far for the Gills now?

21:09 – PENALTY TO TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR!

21:08 – GOAL Southampton 2-0 Crystal Palace. Jake Hesketh has doubled the Saints lead, with his first goal for the club.

21:08  – GOAL Tottenham 2-0 Gillingham. Christian Eriksen scores his second goal of the evening.

21:04 – GOAL QPR 1-0 Sunderland. Sandro opens the scoring at Loftus Road, is David Moyes now under pressure?

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Michael Carrick celebrating the opening goal at Sixfields. It’s 1-1 currently. (Image credit: twitter.com/manutd)

20:58 – Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic come on for Manchester United, replacing Memphis Depay and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

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Ryan Mason celebrating his first goal for Hull City. (Image Credit: twitter.com/HullCity)

20:51 – GOAL. Swansea City 0-1 Manchester City. Gael Clichy opens the scoring at the Liberty Stadium, just his fourth goal in his entire career!!

20:49 – HALF-TIME
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Gillingham
Stoke City 1-1 Hull City

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Stoke City celebrate their goal against Hull City. (Image Credit: twitter.com/stokecity)

20:47 – GOAL Stoke City 1-1 Hull City. Ryan Mason scoring his first goal for the Tigers following his move from Tottenham in the summer.

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Cameron Carter-Vickers going close on his first start for Tottenham Hotspur. (Image Credit: twitter.com/SpursOfficial)

20:36 – We spoke about an upset at the beginning of this live blog, and there is definitely one happening at Sixfields!

20:33 – HALF-TIME:
Northampton 1-1 Manchester United
Swansea 0-0 Manchester City
West Ham 0-0 Accrington Stanley
QPR 0-0 Sunderland
Southampton 1-0 Crystal Palace
Fulham 1-1 Bristol City

20:31 – GOAL! Fulham 1-1 Bristol City. Aaron Wilbraham equalises for the Robins at Craven Cottage.

20:31 – GOAL! Tottenham 1-0 Gillingham. Captain Christian Eriksen with an absolute beauty!

20:30 – Northampton fans having a great time and who can blame them?! ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ rings loudly around Sixfields.

20:28 – GOAL! Northampton 1-1 Manchester United. Alex Revell slots home the penalty as the home side draw level!!

20:28 – PENALTY TO NORTHAMPTON

20:25 – WOODWORK! Oh how Sixfields would have erupted if that had of gone in! Kenji Gorre’s effort tipped onto the crossbar by Sergio Romero.

20:24 – GOAL! Stoke City 1-0 Hull City. Marko Arnautovic with the goal for the Potters!

20:17 – GOAL! Or maybe not. Wayne Rooney has a goal disallowed at Sixfields as Mourinho’s men pile on the pressure.

20:17 – GOAL! Southampton 1-0 Crystal Palace. Charlie Austin scores the penalty for the Saints, his fourth goal in six days.

20:16 – A very quiet opening in the EFL Cup tonight. Hoping for more goals later on this evening!

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Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney with an early sighter at Sixfields. (Image Credit: telegraph.co.uk)

20:06 – Carrick’s goal for Manchester United was his first since March 15th 2015. That was against Tottenham Hotspur in a 3-0 at Old Trafford.

20:03 – GOAL! Northampton 0-1 Manchester United. Michael Carrick has put the away side in front!

20:02 – Follow live commentary of our feature match now! http://ustre.am/1sfIN

19:59 – GOAL! Fulham 1-0 Bristol City. Lucas Piazon with the goal for the Cottagers.

19:52 – CHANCE! Wayne Rooney, playing up front tonight for Manchester United, has missed an absolute sitter. Shows how low his confidence is at present.

19:49 – It’s a fairly youthful side that Mauricio Pochettino is playing tonight. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Harry Winks, fresh from signing a new contract, make their first starts for the club. On the bench, summer signing Georges-Kevin NKoudou could make his first appearance of the season, as could youngster Marcus Edwards, who Pochettino likened to Lionel Messi this week.

19:45 – KICK OFF IN THE 19:45 GAMES!

19:40 – Can Jose Mourinho avoid a fourth consecutive defeat for the first time in his managerial career? His Manchester United team travel to Sixfields to face Rob Page’s Northampton who are unbeaten at home in 2016.

19:34 – Gillingham team-news: Bond; Jackson, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Konchesky; Dack, Byrne, Wright; Emmanuel-Thomas, Osadebe, McDonald

19:33 – Tottenham team-news: Vorm; Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Davies; Carroll, Winks; Lamela, Onomah, Eriksen; Janssen

19:30 – Good Evening! It’s the second day of fixtures in the EFL Cup, and will we see any giant-killing tonight? There’s a lot of potential for an upset, with Accrington Stanley travelling to the capital to face West Ham, Manchester United facing Northampton Town and our live match this evening; Tottenham Hotspur vs Gillingham.

Sky Bet League One: Preview 01/09/16.

By the Flat Back Four Team.

Liam Richner, Macaulay Daley and Jack Prentice preview this weekend’s Sky Bet League One fixtures.

Peterborough United v Swindon Town

Peterborough are joint second in the goalscoring charts with 11 goals. Swindon in contrast have only found the net four times, and their last match at home to Bristol Rovers was abandoned due to heavy rain.

Predictions

Liam: 3-1

Jack: 3-1

Macaulay: 2-0

AFC Wimbledon v Chesterfield

After getting promoted to League One, Wimbledon are yet to win a game all season. Chesterfield’s Ched Evans has four goals in five since his return to the professional game.

Predictions

Liam: 1-1

Jack: 1-2

Macaulay: 0-1

Bolton Wanderers V Southend United

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Phil Brown during his playing days. (Image Credit: http://www.twitter.com)

Phil Parkinson’s men are one of the two unbeaten sides left in the league. Bolton’s draw with Charlton last week meant that they were the last club in the EFL to lose their 100% start to the campaign. It is the Wanderers best unbeaten record since the back end of 2014. Phil Brown returns to the Macron, having previously played for the Lancashire side. Southend have conceded the same amount of goals as Bolton have scored this season.

Predictions

Liam: 2-0

Jack: 2-0

Macaulay: 2-1

Bury v Port Vale

Bury are winless in the league since the Opening day. Port Vale have the league’s meanest defence this season after conceding just 2 goals.

Predictions

Liam: 0-0

Jack: 0-1

Macaulay: 0-1

Fleetwood Town v Coventry City

Uwe Rosler’s Fleetwood have made a solid start, winning two and drawing tow of their opening 5 games. Coventry have not finished in the top seven in any league they have competed in since 1970, and that record looks to remain in tact with the Sky Blues failing to secure a victory this campaign, scoring just twice.

Predictions

Liam: 3-0

Jack: 2-0

Macaulay: 3-1

Millwall v Bradford City

Millwall’s matches this season average four goals a game, along with Scunthorpe. This is Stuart McCall third stint at Bradford, after playing 395 matches for the Bantams. He has kept the team tight at the back, with only Port Vale conceding less goals, and the team are currently unbeaten in the league.

Predictions:

Liam: 0-1

Jack: 2-1

Macaulay: 2-2

Oldham Athletic v Shrewsbury Town

Oldham are unbeaten in four, but have only found the net twice. Peter Clarke is the only player to have scored for the Latics, with the other being an own goal. Shrewsbury have found wins hard to come by, with just one all season.

Predictions:

Liam: 1-1

Jack: 1-0

Macaulay: 0-0

Oxford United v Rochdale

Oxford are averaging a goal a game and look to be missing Kemar Roofe who scored 18 goals in the league last season for the U’s. Rochdale are joint bottom, winless and have a goal difference of -3.

Predictions:

Liam: 2-0

Jack: 1-1

Macaulay: 3-1

Northampton Town v MK Dons

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Kieran Agard has made a solid start at Stadium:MK (Image Credit: mkdons.com)

LOCAL DERBY. Northampton have drawn all five of their matches this season and are unbeaten in 2016. MK Dons currently sit in 12th following relegation from the Championship. Summer signing Kieran Agard scored a brace on his debut, and could be the difference here. MK Dons have only lost this fixture once.

Predictions:

Liam: 2-3

Jack: 1-1

Macaulay: 2-2

Gillingham v Sheffield United

Gillingham won this corresponding fixture  4-0 last season. The Gills have conceded the most goals in the league with 10, five of which came in their 5-0 defeat to Scunthorpe. Last weekend’s victory over Oxford was Chris Wilder’s first in charge of the Blades.

Predictions:

Liam: 1-1

Jack: 3-2

Macaulay: 3-1