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Top five EFL opening weekend games: Sheffield United host Swansea

Dave Burin | 1 August 2018

Lampard also takes his managerial bow

The new EFL season begins with a bang this weekend, with all eyes on Derby County and their new boss as they visit the Madejski Stadium on Friday night.

That’s just the beginning of what promises to be a thrilling weekend of action. And the Coral News Team have picked four more opening fixtures to keep tabs on, across the three divisions…

Championship: Reading v Derby County (8:00pm, Friday)

Frank Lampard makes his managerial bow on Friday night. His Derby side visit a Reading side who are amongst the likely relegation contenders.

Recent clashes between this pair have largely been thrilling affairs. The last meeting ended 3-3 at the Madejski Stadium in March. In fact, the last three head-to-heads have produced a combined 17 goals.

And there should be some added spice following the Rams’ signing of midfielder George Evans from Reading last week.

Coral’s odds make it 5/4 for Over 2.5 Goals, whilst it’s 21/5 for Derby to Win and Both Teams to Score.

Keep an eye out for our in-depth preview of this huge clash on Friday.

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

The Blades impressed on their return to the Championship last term, bagging a top-10 finish. And they kick off this campaign against Graham Potter’s new-look Swans.

Boss Potter arrives in South Wales on the back of a superb spell with Swedish side Ostersunds. So there’s plenty of anticipation to see how he fares – and how Swansea set up.

As for the Blades, all eyes will be on new signing David McGoldrick.

In the match betting, Sheffield United are 13/10 favourites. And it’s 2/1 for McGoldrick to bag a debut goal.

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

The Wearside club find themselves in the third tier for the first time since 1988, back in the Roker Park days.

And League One football is far from the only thing that’s new at the Stadium of Light.

Jack Ross is freshly installed in the hotseat after leading St Mirren to the Scottish top-flight. The club have also been taken over by a new consortium – lead by former Eastleigh chairman Stewart Donald.

But while there’s plenty of focus on the Black Cats, Lee Bowyer’s Addicks are also dark-horses for promotion. This promises to be an action-packed affair – and a Sunderland win at 10/11 makes them firm favourites for the three points.

League One: Portsmouth v Luton Town (3pm, Saturday)

Despite coming up from League Two last season, many are already tipping Nathan Jones’ Luton to be amongst the third-tier challengers.

Having brought in real quality this summer in the shape of Andrew Shinnie and Sonny Bradley, they could prove a tough test for a talented Portsmouth side.

Pompey missed out on the play-offs last term by just five points, and will be desperate to make up the difference this time around.

This has been a hard-fought fixture in recent times, though the South Coast club have edged it in three of the last five meetings. It’s 5/4 for a Pompey win in this one.

League Two: Northampton Town v Lincoln City (3pm, Saturday)

Last season ended with relegation heartbreak for the Cobblers. They’re looking to bounce straight back up – but it promises to be a hotly-contested league, with Lincoln among the challengers.

Home boss Dean Austin has added star strikers Junior Morias and Andy Williams to his ranks.

As for the Imps, they have John Akinde, Matt Green and Bruno Andrade to call on.

You can expect plenty of actions at both ends, with Evens for Over 2.5 Goals.

Big match previews, betting tips and transfer news – we’ve got it all.

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