It's Business Time
In this strangest of seasons, we have reached the conclusion in the EFL with Saturday the final day of the Championship and League Two campaigns and League One’s climax on Sunday, in what will hopefully be the final ever EFL games without supporters present.
There are still numerous promotion, playoff and relegation places to be decided, ensuring an enthralling climax up and down the football pyramid.
Some huge games on show throughout the weekend, but which goalkeepers will need to hold their nerve when their team needs them most?
DERBY COUNTY v SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
Kelle Roos & Keiren Westwood
Our first inclusion is a huge clash for both teams and undoubtably the biggest game of the weekend at Pride Park with two of the Championship’s most reputable clubs facing each other, both in desperate need of a result to avoid the indignity of relegation to League One.
Derby’s defeat to Swansea last week, paired with 0-0 draws for both Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham in their previous games, meant that Wayne Rooney’s first season in management could end in leading the Ram’s to their first demotion to the third tier since 1984.
Darren Moore’s side, who would have been safe if not for a points deduction earlier in the year, have enjoyed a mini-revival since the former Doncaster boss’s appointment, but need to win away at Derby and hope Rotherham do not take victory at Cardiff in order to stay up and there is a chance both sides could be relegated should the Millers grab a shock win.
Owl’s stopper Keiren Westwood has kept two clean sheets in his last three and will likely need to do the same in what is bound to be an incredibly cagey affair. Derby have lost their last six and Kelle Roos must do better than he did in the 2-1 defeat at Swansea last week. One goalkeeping mistake could decide this game and the fate of both sides.
PORTSMOUTH V Accrington Stanley
Portsmouth and Accrington faced off just two games ago in a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Crown Ground, with Pompey striker John Marquis scoring a stoppage time own goal to deny the Cowley brothers’ side a win.
This time the stakes are even higher for Portsmouth, who after patchy run of form over the last five games, need a win to ensure a place in the League One playoffs, with Charlton and Oxford hot on their trail.
After a dreadful run of form which saw themselves fall away from the promotion race, Accrington are unbeaten in four in a string of fixtures against teams in the top half and will be out to spoil Pompey’s day again on Sunday.
With Colby Bishop and Dion Charles both in decent form, MacGillivray must be wary of Stanley’s forward line, particularly after their goal glut against his side last week.
Crawley Town v BOLTON WANDERERS
Matt Gilk’s experience is something Bolton will be grateful for going into their pivotal game with Crawley on Saturday, with the thirty-eight-year-old player-coach likely to be between the sticks in one of many big games in his distinguished EFL career.
Bolton’s 2-1 home defeat to Exeter last weekend meant that Ian Evatt’s side, incidentally Gilks’ former Blackpool teammate, would be sweating on an immediate return to League One going into the final day of the season.
After a very slow start Bolton have enjoyed a magnificent resurgence in the second half of the season, winning four of their last five prior to their defeat at the University of Bolton stadium.
Gilks will be mindful given Crawley’s three goal haul against Stevenage last time out and be eager to help his side secure automatic promotion with a victory.