Boxing Day marks a huge point in the season for all EFL clubs with it being the midpoint of their season for many.
Thus, a win can greatly help gain some momentum going into the second half of the season something that no doubt all teams will be wanting. It is a quick turnaround for all of the fourth tier sides, all whom either played on the Friday or Saturday prior.
With all teams in action on Friday the 29th as well, plenty of rotation will be expected both to manage injuries as well as fatigue levels in what is a hugely congested period.
As a result, upsets are by no means out of the ordinary especially given the high likelihood of the players enjoying themselves the day prior, with some potentially overdoing it on the mince pies…
Despite being halfway through the season, both the automatic as well as play-off positions are nowhere near finalised and with 6th and 15th separated by just six points, every game holds some sort of value.
However there are some games which on paper, carry far more weight than others, here are just five to monitor on Boxing Day…
Barrow Vs Stockport County
It would be silly to suggest any other game first as we’re given a late Christmas present in the form of a top-of-the-table clash. First place travel to second in what is arguably the biggest game of the season so far.
Although Stockport might be six points clear, Barrow have won their last seven on the spin and also have a game in hand on the leaders. The job that Pete Wild has done at the club is nothing short of extraordinary and being the form side in the league currently, could close the gap to Stockport to three points.
That being said, Stockport have picked up back-to-back wins in recent weeks and will fancy their chances. A win would really help them cement their place at the top and they could prove hard to peg back.
AFC Wimbledon Vs Sutton United
From the top of the table to the bottom, Sutton United travel to local rivals AFC Wimbledon in what is on paper a one-sided affair but one that has huge implications at both ends of the table.
Wimbledon currently occupy the final play-off position and have been in great form of late. The play-offs are currently wide open and Wimbledon will be looking to really stake their claim to be in them in the coming weeks. Keeping their current winning momentum will be crucial going into the new year, and they have a relatively easy opportunity to do so.
As for Sutton, they are beginning to put themselves in serious trouble and are now nine points adrift from safety. Having not won since the start of November, it is vital they put some points on the board in the coming weeks or they’re at serious risk of being down and out as early as March.
Bradford City Vs Morecambe
It was mentioned earlier just how many teams are currently in touch of the play-offs and both Bradford and Morecambe are in contention for a place come the end of the season. With Bradford in 10th on 32 points and Morecambe in 12th on 31, it is a huge game in the middle of the table.
Graham Alexander’s side have won each of their last four matches and will go into the clash as favourites given Morecambe have just one win in their last five.
Momentum, as previously mentioned, is pivotal over the Christmas period and both will be looking to carry some into the new year to give themselves a shot at the play-offs.
Newport County Vs Forest Green Rovers
Forest Green, much like Sutton, are at serious risk of falling adrift from the teams ahead of them and are currently seven points from safety. New coach Troy Deeney got off to a respectable start with a draw against Gillingham on Friday, however at some point they seriously need to put some wins together.
Newport go into the match with no wins in their last three and after losing 2-0 to Welsh rivals Wrexham, may have taken a bit of a knock to their confidence.
Having not won in the league since October, Forest Green are bound to win again at some point, and given that Boxing Day throws up the odd result, now might be the time for them to re-gain the winning thread.
Swindon Town Vs Wrexham
On paper, this could be a Boxing Day classic, with the second and fifth highest scorers in the league going head to head.
Wrexham will be licking their lips at the Barrow Stockport match as they know that at least one of the two teams ahead of them will be dropping some points. Unbeaten in their last four, Phil Parkinson’s side are well within touch of the top two and a win here will greatly help towards a title push.
Swindon on the other hand, are still in that chasing pack for the play-offs but have lost their last three and are gradually slipping down the League Two table.
Expect plenty of goals and some poor defending, this match has the potential to be the highest scoring of the day.