Matchday 30 in the EFL : 5 Things to Watch ! Tuesday night marked the conclusion of the January transfer window, with teams completing their final transactions before the remainder of the season.
What last-minute sales caught your eye? Who will launch a late-game playoff challenge? Does a team near the bottom have enough to remain in the league? All inquiries that will be resolved within the next few months.
Ahead of this weekend’s action, we’ve compiled a list of five things to watch in the EFL, including the Championship leaders, a Lancashire derby, and a clash between League One’s highest-scoring teams.
Baggies to bounce back from FA Cup exit?
The weekend’s action kicks off on Friday night as West Brom welcome Coventry to The Hawthorns. The Baggies crashed out of the FA Cup after a 3-0 defeat at fellow Championship side Bristol City last weekend. Now, they can be fully focused on their play-off charge, sitting just two points outside the top six.
The Baggies had won four on the bounce in the league, prior to their visit to leaders Burnley, where Scott Twine’s sensational late free-kick saw them leave empty handed.
But Carlos Corberan’s side could be expected to return to winning ways. They’ve won their last five at The Hawthorns, scoring nine goals and keeping a clean sheet in each of those. It’s 3/4 for a home win, while you can get 7/5 on West Brom shutting Coventry out.
The Sky Blues arrive here after last weekend’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield that saw them score twice in the second half. It was a welcome victory that brought a six-game winless run to an end in all competitions.
Prior to that poor run of results, Coventry’s last win came just before Christmas against West Brom. Viktor Gyokeres was the match winner, netting a 90th-minute penalty to seal a narrow victory. Coventry are 7/2 to win on their travels, with the draw priced at 13/5.
Gyokeres remained at the club despite reported interest from top-flight clubs. He’s bagged 12 league goals and is 3/1 to score anytime. The Swedish striker also features in one of our Enhanced Odds priced at 14/1.
High-quality contest at Carrow Road EFL
A mouth-watering match sees Championship leaders Burnley travel to free-scoring Norwich on Saturday lunchtime.
Norwich return to Carrow Road after a couple of away games that saw them pick up six points and score eight goals in the process. Life under David Wagner has got off to an entertaining start, leaving them just a point and place outside the top six.
The Canaries are 6/4 to make it three wins on the spin. But it might be worth looking towards Kieran Dowell to get on the scoresheet. He has three in two and seems to have been given plenty of freedom by Wagner. The attacking midfielder is 19/5 to score at any time.
Can anyone stop the Vincent Kompany Burnley machine? They’ve won their last eight in the league, keeping five clean sheets in the process. The Clarets are priced at 17/10 to extend their winning league run.
But, games between these two don’t tend to see too many goals. In fact, their last five league clashes have only seen one or neither team find the net. With Burnley’s defensive record, could they shut out their hosts? An away win to nil is 7/2.
A winning start for new manager Maloney?
The EFL action wraps up on Monday night with a Lancashire derby in front of the TV cameras at Ewood Park. Wigan are the visitors to Blackburn, as the Latics start life under Shaun Maloney.
The Wigan board acted quickly and decisively to sack Kolo Toure after a run of nine games without a win (D3 L6) in all competitions, and it sees them propping up the Championship table – four points from safety.
Despite their poor form, the Latics did grind out a 1-0 win against Rovers when the sides met in October. Can they make a winning start under Maloney? It’s 11/4.
Blackburn booked their FA Cup fifth-round spot in midweek after a 1-0 replay win at Birmingham. Their reward – a trip to Premier League Leicester.
And Rovers fans might be hoping that the top-flight is where they find themselves next season. However, they’ve slipped to sixth after winning just three of their last 10 in the league.
Only top-two sides Burnley (37) and Sheffield United (30) have picked up more points in home games than Blackburn (27). While Rovers are unbeaten in six at Ewood Park against Wigan (W4 D2). Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side are odds-on favourites for victory, while the draw is at 12/5.
The top two collide in League One EFL
One of the standout matches across the Football League comes at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday entertain leaders Plymouth, with just three points separate the sides.
The Owls haven’t lost in 90 minutes since going down 2-1 at Home Park in October – a run of 21 games in all comps (W14 D7). Meanwhile, they’ve made Hillsborough a fortress, losing just one of their last 23 home league games.
Darren Moore’s side are joint-top in the League One form table over the last six games (W5 D1) and have only conceded once in that run, while Plymouth are in third (W4 D2).
Wednesday are 7/10 to continue their red-hot run of form and go top of the table on goal difference. But Plymouth can’t be dismissed lightly. Steven Schumacher’s side have only lost twice on their travels and are unbeaten in their last 12 on the road (W5 D7). The away win is chalked up at 4/1 and the draw at 13/5.
Are you expecting there to be goals in this one? Their last seven league meetings have seen 30 scored, an average of 4.3 per game. All those games saw over 2.5 goals and a repeat is EVS.
EFL Gills fighting to beat the drop
The wave of optimism around Priestfield is transferring on to the pitch with Gillingham now unbeaten in three (W2 D1). Although they sit a point from safety, they have started to take their chances with the help of January signing Tom Nichols.
Neil Harris’s men have beaten fellow strugglers Hartlepool and Colchester in recent weeks, while they were 3-1 up inside 13 minutes at Swindon last weekend, before having to settle for a point. So, with 20th place Crawley the visitors, they won’t hold any fear, and it’s EVS they make it three wins in their last four.
Crawley might have started to turn a corner as well. They recorded a 3-2 win over Salford, who sit fifth, last Saturday in Scott Lindsey’s first game in charge. Now comes the tricky bit – doing something they’ve yet to do all season and that’s win away (D6 L6). If they do, we’ll pay out at 11/4.
Town’s last four league games have seen 16 goals, all with both teams scoring and over 2.5 per game. A repeat here is 7/4. And both sides now have a goalscorer within their ranks. Nichols has three in three for Gillingham, while last season’s League Two top scorer Dom Telford has bagged four in his last three for Crawley.
Given their recent goalscoring exploits, do you think one of them will continue their run? Nichols is 29/20 to score anytime, while it’s 16/5 on Telford, who is Crawley’s penalty taker.