EFL Championship | EFL League 1 | English Football League | Friday, April 15, 2022 | Saturday April 16, 2022 | City of Luton | Nottingham Forest | Derby County | Fulham | AFC Bournemouth

Some call it the “commercial end”. Sir Alex Ferguson coined the term “squeaky ass time”. Whatever the nickname, the final pangs of the football season bring its inimitable jubilation, grief and everything in between.

Across the EFL there are still fascinating stories to be told, but the Easter weekend is normally when the fates start to be decided. And this year’s holiday is no exception, with a bumper crop of critical luminaries to stick on the glasses box over the next few days.

Luton Town v Nottingham Forest (Sky Sports Football, Friday 15 April, 12.30pm)

Much has been made of Steve Cooper’s revolution at Nottingham Forest, taking them from the Championship pit to promotion hopefuls. They currently sit in fourth place, one place ahead of their hosts on Friday, with just two points between them. This game will be key to both teams’ momentum in the final weeks of the campaign.

Forest are in stunning form at the moment having won five on the rebound. Cooper’s side are just six points behind Bournemouth, who sit in second place in automatic promotion, and many have expressed the feeling that Forest can snatch that spot from Scott Parker’s side. As is cliché with this league, anything can happen and it’s those crowded weekends that tend to separate the men from the boys.

Nathan Jones’ team had an incredible year and this was another great snippet of their meteoric rise over the past few years. Their team spirit is something to admire and it has guided them through an incredible campaign so far. It should be a big matchup to kick off the holiday weekend.

Bournemouth v Middlesbrough (Sky Sports Football, Friday 15 April, 3pm)

The Cherries possess a talented squad, but with form tending to prove vital at this key stage of the season, their second-place position is under threat. They have won two of their last five games, losing just once, but with Forest flying there will be concerns at Vitality Stadium. Parker will be aware of how crucial this weekend could be for their hopes.

Bournemouth host Chris Wilder’s barrage chasing Middlesbrough, whose form has also dropped recently with back-to-back defeats. However, you can never cancel a Wilder side. The former Northampton Town and Sheffield United manager will have fired his players for this clash, knowing how much a win could impact their players ahead of a vital run-in.

Derby County vs Fulham (Sky Sports Main Event/Football, Friday April 15, 8pm)


Fulham have the chance to confirm their return to the Premier League with victory over Derby County at Pride Park if Forest fail to pick up a point from Luton. Manager Marco Silva has called on his side to stay focused after the 3-1 loss to Coventry City last time out. They will have to work hard to seal promotion on the second attempt, as Wayne Rooney’s side have fought hard all year, earning plenty of accolades. The Rams also still have a chance to stay up, even if it’s slim. Much of Fulham’s success this season has been down to the stunning form of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who scored 38 league goals – breaking the league goalscoring record for a single season.

Rotherham United v Ipswich Town (Sky Sports Main Event/Football, Saturday 16 April, 12.30pm)

Rotherham have always been a dominant force in the third tier of English football in recent years, but in recent weeks Paul Warne’s men have suffered three straight defeats to jeopardize what appeared to be a meteoric promotion. As things stand, they sit in third place, three points behind Milton Keynes Dons, who are not only in much better shape with three wins in their last five, but also play a more exciting style of football which has them helped to position themselves in force. late in the season. The Millers have a game in hand over their promotion rivals and they will have to make it count if they are to avoid traumatic play-offs.

They will face Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich Town, who have bounced back from a difficult start to the season under Paul Cook to show there is enough quality in their ranks to further disrupt Rotherham’s plans for a quick return to the Championship. While this game is meaningless for their season, McKenna will be looking to finish strong as they prepare for a better tilt next season.

Milton Keynes Dons vs Sheffield Wednesday (Sky Sports Main Event/Football, Saturday April 16, 7:45 p.m.)

Rotherham will be keeping a close eye on the critical clash that follows their game in the evening, with both teams having plenty to play for. Milton Keynes will look to strengthen their hold on second place while Wednesday will aim to battle a host of challengers for one of the final play-off spots. Liam Manning’s side could have the potential to move six points ahead of the Millers in the hunt for second with three games to go, so there’s huge incentive there for them to claim their fourth victory in five at the Stadium. : MK.

Darren Moore’s visitors are currently level on 73 points with Sunderland and Wycombe Wanderers, who are all battling to finish in the top six. Wednesday’s recent form isn’t as strong as their rivals, and while their record at Hillsborough is as good as the nationwide, their struggles on the road will be a concern for business. The stage is set for cheers and tears, but they are divided.

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