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Five star fixtures: The standout EFL matches on opening weekend

| 01.08.2018

Domestic football is back with a bang this weekend as all 72 EFL clubs get their campaigns underway from Friday to Monday.  

Stoke City, Sunderland and Milton Keynes Dons are the respective divisional favourites for promotion.

But which matches standout on the opening weekend? We’ve picked out five star encounters to keep your eye on.

Reading v Derby County (8pm, Friday)         

The new season gets going at the Madejski Stadium on Friday night. But can Frank Lampard kick-off his managerial reign with a win against his former coach Paul Clement?

Derby are the 27/20 favourites to win the match against 21/10 for Reading.

On-loan Chelsea youngster Mason Mount is expected to play a big part for the Rams, who will be targeting all three points to get their promotion push off to a flyer.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic (12:30pm, Saturday)

This League One opener is a long way off the prestige of the 4-4 draw the two clubs shared in the 1998 First Division play-off Final. But it’s an important match all the same.

Sunderland, in the third-tier for the first time since 1988, are 10/11 to open with a win against a Charlton side still without a permanent manager amid takeover uncertainty.

In the absence of Clive Mendonca, youngster Josh Maja is the favourite to break the deadlock at 7/4.

Oldham Athletic v Milton Keynes Dons (3pm, Saturday)

There are a number of interesting match-ups in League Two, but it’s this clash between two of last season’s relegated sides which catches our eye.

Paul Tisdale has made a number of impressive signings since taking the reins at Stadium: MK, including Jordan Moore-Taylor, Ryan Harley and Robbie Simpson from old club Exeter City.

Oldham boast impressive firepower in Chris O’Grady and Jose Baxter and are 31/20 to take the spoils against 7/4 for the visitors.

Sheffield United v Swansea City (5:30pm, Saturday)

One of last season’s surprise packages takes on one of the Premier League’s relegated trio at teatime on Saturday, as Sheffield United host Swansea City at Bramall Lane.

The Swans look vulnerable after losing a number of key faces and will do well to pick up three points at 11/5 under new boss Graham Potter.

Chris Wilder’s Blades still boast the formidable attacking duo of Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke and are 13/10 to slice through their opponents. The latter of the pair is 13/8 to Score Anytime.

Leeds United v Stoke City (4:30pm, Sunday)

It’s a new era at Leeds United and Stoke City as Marcelo Bielsa and Gary Rowett take charge of their respective sides for the first time.

We’ll be previewing the match with a full complement of tips on Sunday morning.

But you can get a head start on the action and back either side to collect all three points at 33/20 apiece.

With both managers keen on playing attacking football, we should be set for a ripsnorter to end the weekend at Elland Road.

Click here for the latest Championship odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the UEA where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper. He supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Darts and Horse Racing are among his other favourite sports.