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EFL Preview: A busy weekend of football awaits

Daniel Farke & Mick McCarthy seemingly now have little to play for. Or do they? Credit: PA

It's getting to that point in the season where for some teams it's make and break and for others there is little left to play for. This weekend serves up a full fixture list due to the upcoming international break. Here is everything you need to know going into the business end of the season.

  • Bristol City v Ipswich Town - Championship, Saturday 17th March, 3pm
Joe Garner will miss the rest of the season with a fractured skull Credit: PA

After the start to the season Ipswich Town had a few dared to dream that they could mount a challenge on the top six this season, and they had reason to with some of the performances put in by Mick McCarthy's team. However Town have consistently been inconsistent and never been able to put together a run together that would give real substance to play-off contention.

The narrative at Portman Road now revolves around McCarthy, on Tuesday they were thrashed 3-0 at home to the struggling Hull City and with attendances dwindling quickly, McCarthy was subject to heavy criticism. It seems unlikely that the experienced manager will continue with the challenge next season with his contact up in the summer.

McCarthy has refused to talk about his future at the club but remains adamant his squad is still fully behind him.

This weekend they take on a Bristol City side who are still in with a shout of the play-offs but have struggled form wise in recent weeks. McCarthy knows that there is little left to play for in terms of league positioning this season - but he'll want to try and get the fans back on side in some capacity.

However it's not helped with Joe Garner out for the rest of the season with a small fracture on his skull, Dominic Iorfa is also out and Mustapha Carayol is also expected to be sidelined.

  • Norwich City v Reading - Championship, Saturday 17th March, 3pm
Norwich City have relied on James Maddison all too much this season Credit: PA

The last time Norwich City faced Reading at Carrow Road they scored six goals in the first half - it's unlikely that will happen this time round.

City have seriously struggled in front of goal this season and it's probably one of the main reasons they find themselves lurking in the mid-table of the Championship. All Canaries fans knew that this season was always going to be a transitional one, few expected such a limp play-off challenge.

Recent form has been far from ideal for Daniel Farke's side - just three points collected from Bolton, Nottingham Forest, Hull and Barnsley is not the outcome that they would have wanted.

Reading pose a similar challenge, a team that have struggled this season and find themselves just six points above the drop zone.

Daniel Farke is yet to find the balance between attack and defence and he'll be hoping that comes this weekend.

  • Oxford v Peterborough United - League One, Saturday 17th March, 3pm
Steve Evans has won his first two games in charge of Peterborough United Credit: ITV Anglia

The play-off dream is well and truly back on for Peterborough United and what an addition Steve Evans has been. He's guided Posh to two straight victories and Tuesday's win over Bury came late into injury time thanks to Jack Marriott.

It means that they now find themselves in the top six but will need to keep their good form up with Plymouth right behind them in seventh.

With 10 games remaining in the League One season Evans is expected to make the full use of his squad. It looks like he'll make changes going into this game once again.

The players came back to work yesterday (March 15) looking remarkably fresh considering how hard a game it was at Bury and how late we got back home (3am)

– Steve Evans
  • MK Dons v Bury - League One, Saturday 17th March, 3pm
Dan Micciche grabbed his first win at the ninth time of asking Credit: PA

Dan Micciche picked up his first win in charge at the ninth time of asking on Tuesday night with a superb 3-2 victory over Rotherham United.

This weekend they face the team that Peterborough inflicted defeat on in the 92nd minute on Tuesday, Bury. The Dons have been woeful at the best of times but they'll be hoping that after the win in midweek fortunes may now turn.

This really is a huge opportunity for the Dons with Bury rock bottom of the league and eight points from safety - with a win this weekend Micciche's side could start to put together a run that saves them from relegation.

Bury have failed to score in six of their previous eight away league games - Dons will be hoping for another three points here.

  • Newport County v Luton Town - League Two, Saturday 17th March, 3pm
Luke Berry in action against Coventry on Tuesday night Credit: PA

What a season it's been so far for Luton Town. The second highest scorers in the top 4 tiers of English football and some memorable wins along the way.

For the majority of the season they've been top of the table but after a few weeks of below par results, they're now second and chasing Accrington Stanley.

Luton came from two down on Tuesday to draw and they'll be looking to go one better this weekend as they travel to Newport County who have little left to play for this season.

Complacency can't creep in at this stage of the season and teams behind Town will be looking to pounce.

Manager Nathan Jones has a clean bill of health with his squad.

  • Other fixtures
Chris Powell will look to continue his good start as Southend United boss Credit: PA
  • Blackpool v Southend United - Saturday 17th March, 3pm, League One
  • Northampton Town v Rotherham United - Saturday 17th March, 3pm, League One
  • Cambridge United v Swindon - Saturday 17th March, 3pm, League Two
  • Colchester United v Yeovil Town - Saturday 17th March, 3pm, League Two
  • Port Vale v Stevenage - Saturday 17th March, 3pm, League Two