The final weekend of EFL fixtures this January will surprisingly involve a full League One schedule. This is as a result of no third-tier clubs making it to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
As we do every week, we will pick out five of the most interesting fixtures to look out for across the weekend and as ever, let us know what you think in the comments!
1. Bolton At Brunton Park
Saturday sees Ian Evatt’s Bolton Wanderers side head to Carlisle United after bouncing back from last weekend’s defeat to Leyton Orient with victory over Cheltenham in midweek. The visitors will be aware that three points here could take them to the top of the league if other results go their way, and will be looking to put the pressure on the two teams occupying the automatic promotion places above them. Bolton would in fact lose the return fixture 3-1 in October, so will be out for revenge on Saturday.
Carlisle need to pick up points desperately, being ten points adrift of safety down at the bottom and will be hoping that they can inflict Bolton’s second away defeat on the bounce come Saturday night.
2. All Eyes On Oxford United
Des Bukingham’s Oxford United have been very inconsistent in the league of late, winning three of their last six matches and losing the rest. Having lost a huge six-pointer in midweek to play-off chasing rivals Barnsley they will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to Bristol Rovers on Saturday. With the hosts winless in their last four games and similarly losing in midweek, it is critically important that Oxford pick up three points, or they could potentially slip out of the play-off places.
3. Addicks Fresh Start
Tuesday night’s desperately late defeat to Northampton Town saw Micheal Appleton relieved of his duties as Charlton Athletic boss after failing to win any of his last 10 matches in the hot seat. Under caretaker management, the Addicks will be looking to pull clear of the relegation zone as they are just four points above it, with 21st-place Reading also having a game in hand. Saturday’s trip to play-off chasing Blackpool will not be easy however, with the hosts having the best home record in the division, winning 10 of their 15 encounters at Bloomfield Road this season.
4. In-form Sides Do Battle
Relegation-threatened Reading have been in decent form of late, with Tuesday’s impressive win over Derby County making it three home wins in a row and only one defeat in the league in eight matches. The Royals are still in the relegation zone and four points off safety, but with a game in hand on most of the teams above them. Saturday’s visit of Leyton Orient will be far from easy for Ruben Selles’ side, with the O’s winning four of their last five matches, beating high-flying Bolton and Portsmouth in the process, and impressively keeping five clean sheets on the bounce.
5. Cobblers Closing In
After their last-gasp victory at The Valley in Midweek, Northampton Town fans have their eyes on a late play-off bid with 19 league games to play. Jon Brady’s side sit nine points behind Oxford United in the final play-off place heading into the weekend but have a very winnable fixture and could close that gap on Saturday, when they welcome Shrewsbury Town. The visitors sit nervously one place above the bottom four but will hope that they have an outside chance of walking away with a positive result at Sixfields Stadium, with the fixture coming as a first game in charge for new manager Paul Hurst
So there are our five matches to look out for this weekend in League One, let us know if you agree in the comments and also tell us what else we should be looking out for!