Millwall and Stoke City were first into action in the Championship on Saturday afternoon when they played out a scoreless draw in the New Den. The hosts included Derby County loanee Alex Pearce and Shaun Williams in their starting eleven while James McClean started for the visitors. Derby County, captained by Richard Keogh, consolidated their play-off position, with a two nil defeat of their hosts Bristol City, who started the match just one point behind the ‘Rams’. Seventh place Middlesbrough, with Championship Goalkeeper of the Year Darren Randolph in their ranks, trail Derby County on goal difference only and they defeated their visitors Reading by two goals to one. The Irish quartet of John Egan, Enda Stevens, David McGoldrick and Aston Villa loanee Scott Hogan all started for second place Sheffield United who defeated already relegated Ipswich Town by two goals to nil at Bramall Lane. Hogan opened the scoring for the ‘Blades’ on twenty four minutes. Alan Judge completed the full ninety minutes for the vanquished ‘Tractor Boys’. Norwich City guaranteed their promotion to the Premier League with a two one victory over visitors Blackburn Rovers and their Irish duo of Daragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams while the Preston North End quartet of Alan Browne, Sean Maguire, Callum Robinson and defender Joe Rafferty all started their three all draw with visitors Sheffield Wednesday with Browne again on the scoresheet. Ryan Manning started for QPR with Olamide Shodipo a fifty ninth minute substitute as they went down to a one nil defeat by visitors Nottingham Forest for whom Daryl Murphy was an unused substitute.
League One leaders Luton Town saw leading goalscorer James Collins, named in the League One Team of the Year, open the scoring at Burton Albion but their hosts recovered to secure a two one success. Play-off candidates Charlton Athletic had West Ham United loanee Josh Cullen in their starting eleven at Gillingham and he scored in their two nil victory. Fourth place Sunderland played host to third place Portsmouth in a reprise of their EFL Trophy Final meeting of a few weeks ago, won by ‘Pompey’ in a penalty shoot-out following a two all draw. Aiden McGeady, also named in the League One Team of the Year, started for the ‘Makems’ but Burnley loanee Jimmy Dunne was again relegated to the substitute bench while Ronan Curtis started for the visitors as the sides shared two points in a one all draw.