Championship Weekend Match Previews
Match Previews: Pick of the bunch
EFL Championship – Saturday
Swansea vs Derby
Massive game for Wayne Rooney’s Derby as his side sit just outside of safety, while Swansea have enjoyed a wonderful season and have secured a playoff spot.
With no win in 3, Swansea have managed to hold on to a playoff place and they can’t be moved. They will want a strong performance here though as they need to get back on track quickly if they are to have any chance in the playoffs. The goal now is to head up to the Premier League, but it’ll be tough for this side and they could rotate their team here against a struggling Derby who need victories. Swansea need it just as much, but for different reasons as they currently lack confidence and aren’t looking like a side that could be playing Premier League football at the minute. It’ll be tough as Derby have to give everything, but Swansea need to show up too.
Derby hover just outside relegation after losing their last 5 games in the league. They’re lucky in some aspects also as Rotherham haven’t capitalised with their games in hand. Derby has to win here, nothing else will suffice. It’s been a shocking run of results for Derby that’s seen them fall lower down the table and the team has disappointed this season. With a strong squad, there was talk at the start of this season of this team heading up to the Premier League, but reality has hit this season and they have to now give everything in the final 2 games of the season to stay in this league. For a team like Derby to head down to League One would be completely unacceptable, and 3 points here is a must.
EFL League Two – Saturday
Bolton vs Exeter
With wins in their last 2, Bolton currently sit in an automatic place, while Exeter’s two late goals last time out has given them a chance to reach a playoff place.
Bolton have gone on a great run since February and they now are a team that looks likely to get out of this league at the first time of asking. Earlier in the season, it looked as though the struggles were going to continue for Bolton, but they’ve somehow found dramatic change in their team and now sit 3rd. A win here would likely guarantee Bolton head up automatically, while they’re still in with a chance of winning the league also, being only 3 points behind. It’ll be tough to win the league but both Cheltenham and Cambridge have slipped up in recent games and it has given Bolton the hope of winning the league. With only 2 games to go, this one is huge for both teams.
Exeter’s 3-2 win last time out against Grimsby has given the side hope of reaching the playoffs. The team is only 2 points off the playoff places, but no game is tougher at the minute in League Two than Bolton. The side will have a chance but they have to show up, and it’ll be made even more tougher as Bolton have a lot to play for also. That superb comeback against Grimsby should give Exeter a lot of confidence as they head into this one. They’ll believe they can get a victory here and it has to be all 3 points if any hope of reaching the playoffs are to continue.
EFL League Two – Saturday
Forest Green vs Tranmere
The home side has to win here if they want to reach playoffs, while Tranmere can still reach automatic promotion if results around the league go their way.
Forest Green’s playoff hopes took a stumble as they put out a disappointing performance against Barrow last time out, losing 2-0. It makes this one even bigger as they can still reach those places, but they have to win games. No win in 3 hasn’t been good enough for a team chasing something from their season and they could end up with nothing if they don’t get all 3 points here against a strong Tranmere team. With no goals scored in their last 3 either, they aren’t looking like a side that has something to fight for. They have to turn it around here as there’s only 2 games left and 3 points is a must.
Tranmere’s playoff spot isn’t nailed on just yet. While they are likely to at least finish in the playoffs, they can still fall out of them if they don’t pick up anything from their last 2 games. Should they pick up the win here, they have a chance of automatic promotion or to at least put pressure on the teams who do occupy those places. A loss here would put a lot of pressure on the side going into the last game, and this one is extremely interesting with so much on the line for either side.