EFL Reporter @simgholam
Sky Bet EFL: Five things to look out for on Saturday
Promotion and relegation matters take centre stage this week across the Championship, League One and League Two.
Last Updated: 23/02/19 8:34am
We cast our eye over five things to look out for in the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two this weekend.
West Brom can make three become four
You could virtually throw a hat over the top four in the Sky Bet Championship now.
West Brom's last-gasp win at QPR in midweek means there are just three points between Norwich in first and West Brom in fourth, although there is the caveat of Leeds - two behind the leaders - having a game in hand on the rest.
That adds a level of importance to an already big game between West Brom and Sheffield United on Saturday evening, which is live on Sky Sports Football.
Darren Moore's side are the top scorers in the division, have tightened up their defence slightly in recent weeks and in Jacob Murphy they may have found an adequate replacement for Harvey Barnes.
Throw in the return to fitness of Matty Phillips and the return from suspension of Dwight Gayle and you have a real promotion contender. The clash at The Hawthorns will be a very tough one to call.
Crucial game at the Madejski
The way the table is shaping up it looks as though Reading vs Rotherham may be one of the biggest games in the Championship this season.
The two are dead level on 29 points heading into Saturday's clash at the Madejski, with only goal difference keeping Reading above the dreaded relegation line and Rotherham below it.
Whatever happens, Millers boss Paul Warne won't be getting too high or too low. "If we lose we're three points behind them, but if we win, we're only three in front of them and there's a long way to go," he said.
"The key is not to get too carried away either way. I don't want to put too much pressure on the group."
You imagine a victory, which would be their first on the road all season, would make him a little bit happier than he is letting on.
Bristol City chasing eight
"The way we are playing, just avoiding relegation would be nice. Unfortunately, we could realistically be in the bottom three by Christmas."
That is what a Bristol City fan wrote for us here at Sky Sports when asked to rate their season so far just a few short months ago, and it's safe to say expectations have changed a little since.
Bristol City have forced their way into the play-off equation after seven straight wins, possess the second best defence in the league and have games in hand on all the sides above them.
This is the longest winning run the Robins have been on since their return to the Championship in 2015, it is the joint-longest winning run of any side in the division this season and a victory at the weekend would see them equal the longest winning run of any side in the second tier since August 2015. Cardiff (2018) and Newcastle (2016) both also won eight in a row.
The problem? League leaders Norwich stand in their way, fresh off an outstanding demolition of Bolton. A visit to Carrow Road is a massive test to the credentials of Lee Johnson's side.
Championship fixtures (Saturday 3pm kick-off unless stated)
Can AFC Wimbledon survive?
Suddenly the great escape is looking on for AFC Wimbledon. A couple of weeks ago a 2-0 defeat at home to Burton had left them bottom of the table, nine adrift of the nearest team above them and 10 adrift of safety.
But a nicked 1-0 at Walsall came swiftly and ended a winless League One run that stretched back to Boxing Day, and even the disappointment of an FA Cup exit didn't stop them from claiming an incredible 4-3 victory at Rochdale on Tuesday night.
Twice they fell behind at Spotland but on both occasions Joe Pigott levelled, and even when their own lead was cancelled out they found a way to win in the fifth minute of added time, as Pigott completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
Now there are just five points between themselves and safety and, while Charlton at home would have represented a daunting prospect a few weeks ago, the Addicks have scored just once in four games since their attacking partnership of Lyle Taylor and Karlan Ahearne-Grant was pulled apart.
Whether former Don hero Taylor returns to haunt the Cherry Red Records Stadium remains to be seen. But there's little doubting that the situation now looks far more hopeful for Wally Downes and in his men.
League One fixtures (Saturday 3pm kick-off unless stated)
Danns credits Lowe for Bury turnaround
It is never easy to turn things around after a relegation. Of the 10 teams that fell down a division from the Premier League, Championship or League One last summer only two currently occupy an automatic promotion spot, one of them being Bury.
LISTEN: EFL Matters podcast
Bury manager Ryan Lowe and captain Neil Danns join David Prutton in this week's EFL Matters.
Bury possess a talented squad for League Two level, but captain Neil Danns is left in no doubt that boss Ryan Lowe deserves massive credit for the way he has turned the club, and his own career, around.
"It's been one of the most enjoyable seasons I've had in my career, because we're playing with some great players and it's a fantastic group of lads," Danns told EFL Matters on Thursday, where he and Lowe joined David Prutton. "The gaffer has got everyone together and motivated them.
"The way he interacted with all the players you could see there was something special about to happen, and luckily this season it's all paying dividends. It was only last season when I was thinking about retiring, not because of the physical element but more mentally, but the gaffer has rejuvenated me."