The Football League weekend ahead follows some heroic performances from the Football League clubs midweek and the announcement of the first round proper of the FA Cup to be played next weekend. So this week it is all about the Cup heros.
There were just three Championship teams left in the last 16 of the League Cup flying the flag for the Football League before the midweek fixtures kicked off, and with the opponents of the quality of Arsenal, Manchester United, and in form Leicester it looked unlikely that any of the team would get through, let alone all three.
Sheffield Wednesday were the most impressive with a 3-0 defeat of an Arsenal side with enough quality to know better. Middlesbrough got through in a penalty (unfairly according to Louis van Gaal) against Manchester United, as did Hull City against Leicester.
Will the extra time or excitement of beating an giant during midweek affect the bread and butter of the regular Championship season? All three teams are going well with Hull being the best sitting in second 4 points off undefeated leaders Brighton, Middlesbrough are fourth a point behind Hull, and Sheffield Wednesday are just outside the playoff places in 9th four points behind Boro and the playoff places.
BRENTFORD v QPR – FRIDAY 19:45 UK – LIVE IN AUST on BE IN SPORTS
A west London derby, and a game that should feature a few goals too. Brentford games averaging 3 goals per game and QPR games are slightly higher at 3.38 per game. Brentford benefitting from the new manager bounce with three wins in a row.
READING v BRIGHTON – SATURDAY 15:00 UK
Reading, currently in 7th , were in the top 6 and unbeaten in five games before last weekend, whilst Brighton continue to avoid defeat at the top of the table. A loss here for the Seagulls could tighten things up nicely at the top – for those supporting teams further down.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY v NOTTINGHAM FOREST – SAT 15:00 UK – LIVE IN AUST on BE IN SPORTS
BRIGHTON remain unbeaten after 13 games, but have only won 2 of their last 6 games.
Next best unbeaten run is DERBY COUNTY with 8 games.
All of BRIGHTON’s 8 wins have been by 1 goal.
CHARLTON have the longest winless run of 9 games, they need their new manager bounce soon.
PRESTON and LEEDS UNITED are yet to win at home this season.
CHARLTON and BOLTON yet to win away.
DERBY to beat Rotherham
IPSWICH to beat Cardiff
HULL to beat Milton Keynes
DRAW – Reading v Brighton
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League One has its fair share of fallen Cup heroes with 1987 winners Coventry, 2013 winners Wigan and serial FA cupset pests Sheffield United in the third tier these days. All of these fallen clubs are trying desperately to get out of League One, some like Sheffield United and Coventry for years and Wigan just this season. They all sit nicely in a group inside the top 6 currently with 4th placed Coventry just one point ahead of Wigan and Sheffield United.
GILLINGHAM v WALSALL – SAT 15:00 UK
Another 1st v 2nd clash which seems to be a regular occurrence in League One, a good sign at the competitiveness of the division. A very unlikely top o the table clash at this stage if you believed the pre season selections.
WIGAN have the longest unbeaten run with 8 games.
SWINDON TOWN are down the other end of the pool with 9 games without a win.
Although BARNSLEY’s five straight losses isn’t great form either.
CREWE have just two draws from their home games this season.
BLACKPOOL looked specials for relegation but are now equal third in last 6 form table.
DONCASTER to beat Colchester
BURY to beat Blackpool
WIGAN to beat Swindon
BURTON to beat Oldham
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League Two also have their share of Cup heroes as 2008 FA Cup winners Portsmouth now reside in the fourth tier of League Two, this season being their second in a row. After a disappointing first season in League Two didn’t end in promotion, they are looking on track this season sitting in second, four points behind Plymouth Argyle.
CARLISLE v YEOVIL – SAT 15:00 UK
In lieu of a really close positional or geographic battle this weekend, we found the game with the biggest distance to travel – 328 Miles one way. Ouch. Yeovil need a win badly as they sit second last and three points from safety and in trouble of three straight relegations. Carlisle have the comfort of upper mid table and just three points from the top 7.
PORTSMOUTH have the longest unbeaten run with 5 games.
YORK and DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE have the longest lean period with 9 games without a win.
8th placed MORECAMBE’s games see nearly four goals a game (3.87)
NEWPORT are out of the bottom two for the first time since August with two straight wins.
PLYMOUTH to beat Morecambe
LUTON TOWN to beat Dagenham & Redbridge
WYCOMBE to beat Mansfield
LEYTON ORIENT to beat Accrington
CARLISLE to beat Yeovil
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