David Prutton's Sky Bet EFL predictions including Newcastle v Aston Villa

David Prutton
Image: David Prutton returns with his Sky Bet EFL predictions

David Prutton returns with his Sky Bet EFL predictions, including Newcastle v Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday.

There are plenty of games across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two this weekend, despite FA Cup fifth-round action taking place.

Matches include second-placed Brighton's trip to Barnsley, Leeds' visit to Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday travelling to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest.

There is also a huge game live on Sky Sports 1 on Monday evening, as top-of-the-table Newcastle host Aston Villa.

Here's how Sky Sports EFL expert David Prutton is predicting the weekend's matches...

Newcastle v Aston Villa (Monday, 8pm - Live on Sky Sports 1)

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Norwich and Newcastle

It's a tough one. Both have assembled expensive teams but they are operating on vastly different levels. There is something Steve Bruce needs to address at Aston Villa, and his players owe him a big performance and results. But at this moment in time, with the way Newcastle are playing and how they are quite comfortable in large patches at home, it will be a tough one for Villa.

I don't think it is going to be particularly rampant but with Villa coming off a defeat to Barnsley, Newcastle will know they have the capabilities to beat Steve Bruce's side.

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PRUTTON PREDICTS: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

Live EFL

Barnsley v Brighton (Saturday, 3pm)

I think Barnsley have done wonders considering the exodus of players they have had over the course of the season and they have responded fantastically. They are coming up against a Brighton team who - if they win - will go top of the table, so there is plenty of incentive for them.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Aston Villa and Barnsley

Barnsley have got a lot of character about them from the manager Paul Heckingbottom down, so I fancy them to hold Brighton at home.

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 2-2 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

Birmingham v QPR (Saturday, 3pm)

This feels to me like an away win. Birmingham broke their duck under Gianfranco Zola with that win against Fulham a few weeks ago, but I just feel like QPR have got what it takes to go to a place like that and win.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Huddersfield Town

We've seen QPR go to a few places like Newcastle and Reading where they have set up very well and are tactically very sound and they are formidable when they are like that. Against Birmingham, they will be too strong.

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 1-2 (10/1 with Sky Bet)

Burton v Norwich (Saturday, 3pm)

Norwich are resurgent. They are six unbeaten and drew against Newcastle, coming up against a Burton side who, anything other than consolidation this season would be deemed more than a success. First and foremost, they have to be safe.

Does Alex Neil think Norwich can finish in the top two?

A lot was made about a patch of form or results for Norwich that may have put Alex Neil under pressure, but everyone showed a lot of patience and calm in the midst of it all - none more so than Neil himself - and to get them where they are in seventh, still fighting for a play-off berth is wonderful.

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 1-3 (14/1 with Sky Bet)

Cardiff v Rotherham (Saturday, 3pm)

This looks like a home victory for me. Cardiff have done really well over the last few games, beating Derby and Leeds. For Rotherham, it would have been tough for them to lose in the last minute to Huddersfield in a game when they were very much in it.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Derby and Cardiff

As we knew it would happen under Neil Warnock, Cardiff are looking solid. They are tough to break down - if you can be nice and tough to break down - and are sitting in 12th, which is what we thought Warnock would do.

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 2-0 (11/2 with Sky Bet)

Ipswich v Leeds (Saturday, 3pm)

Ipswich are a funny one, you kind of get the general feeling they will finish about mid-table where they are at the moment. Leeds needed to beat Bristol City after a couple of surprising results but Ipswich do look pretty solid. They are unbeaten in three and drew against Brighton.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Leeds and Bristol City

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)

Nottm Forest v Sheff Wed (Saturday, 3pm)

It has been a bit of a reality check for Gary Brazil over the last few games with how wonderful they had been, then getting thumped by Norwich and losing to Fulham shows there is still work to be done for them to not only progress but to also be safe from the drop.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers

Sheffield Wednesday are unbeaten in four and are just occupying that last play-off place, but I fancy Forest to get something. I think with the last two results, it will have brought them back down to earth and they will go into this game very aware of what Wednesday can do with the fire power they have got.

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 2-2 (14/1 with Sky Bet)

Wigan v Preston (Saturday, 3pm)

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Preston North End and Birmingham

It was a great result against Wolves for Wigan, but they are still down in 22nd and for Preston, it is another season of consolidation under Simon Grayson. He is the master of getting teams up into the Championship and getting them comfortable. Their position reflects some wonderful returns so far.

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 1-2 (10/1 with Sky Bet)

Sheff Utd v Scunthorpe (Saturday, 3pm)

Highlights of the Sky Bet League One match between Bristol Rovers and Sheffield United

Scunthorpe have been fantastic this season and Sheffield United are the ones there to be shot at after a bit of a wobbly first month, they are the ones who have had their noses out in front for quite a while. It is a huge game with five points the difference and Scunthorpe with a game in hand, plus Bolton breathing down their necks.

I've seen them a few times at home this season where they have been strong, but Bramall Lane is a tough place to go when they are playing well and the fans are behind them.

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 2-2 (14/1 with Sky Bet)

Doncaster v Luton (Saturday, 3pm)

Highlights of the Sky Bet League Two match between Luton Town and Hartlepool United

This is another tough one to call. It was a surprising loss for Doncaster against Carlisle and then looking at Luton comprehensively beating Hartlepool 3-0, they go into it on a run of good form.

Darren Ferguson will be very aware after last weekend's loss that he will want to be as solid as possible at home. They have got it in them to score goals, and I think when teams lose, managers want to concentrate on being fairly watertight at the back. Luton will want to go there, knowing how good the football is that Doncaster play and won't want to leave themselves too open so it could be quite a cagey affair.

PRUTTON PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)

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