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EFL Saturday 3pm predictions: Preston could edge Hull
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Warren Ashurst
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Ryan Lowe's Preston are eyeing a first victory of the season
Ryan Lowe's Preston are eyeing a first victory of the season

It is week two in the EFL and after an opening weekend of thrills and spills, we can expect more of the same across all three divisions. 

Here are our predictions for some of the key matches on Saturday afternoon, with 32 games kicking off at 3pm across the Championship, League One and League Two. 

Preston North End vs Hull (Saturday, 3pm)

Both Preston and Hull will have been happy with the starts they made last weekend, but home advantage could prove crucial in this Championship battle. 

The stats

Preston started the campaign with a 0-0 draw at Lancashire rivals Wigan, which was a particularly good point considering they had to see out the last 10 minutes with just 10 men after Ched Evans' sending off. 

North End finished last season strongly at Deepdale, losing just two of their last 14 league games on home soil and a repeat of that sort of form could see them in the play-off mix. 

Meanwhile, Hull came back from a goal down to beat Bristol City in their opening match, although they were more than a little fortunate to claim the three points. 

The Tigers' equaliser came from a very dubious penalty decision, before a 93rd minute deflected winner from Ivory Coast international Jean Michael Seri. 

Prediction

North End boss Ryan Lowe admitted his team 'could have been better' at Wigan and will demand a good start in front of their home fans, so this looks like a Preston victory. 

Reading vs Cardiff (Saturday, 3pm)

Two teams that finished in the bottom half of the table last term will meet at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, with Reading and Cardiff going head-to-head. 

Steve Morison's Cardiff started their season with an impressive win
Steve Morison's Cardiff started their season with an impressive win

The stats

However, confidence in both camps seems to be poles apart going into this campaign, with Cardiff starting with a win and several new faces in the squad while Reading are being tipped for the drop. 

The Bluebirds made people sit up and take notice with a 1-0 home win over Norwich last Saturday while, at the same time, Reading were losing 1-0 at Blackpool. 

In his first full season in charge, Steve Morison has made several squad changes over the summer and Cardiff look to be on the right track. 

In contrast, Reading boss Paul Ince admitted after the defeat at Bloomfield Road that it could take 'three to four weeks' before his team 'starts to gel'. 

Prediction

Cardiff's back four are well protected by two holding midfielders and that will make life even tougher for a shot-shy Reading side, who played with just one up front on the opening day. 

The confident Bluebirds should have enough to see off the Royals and possibly win to nil. 

Barnsley vs Cheltenham (Saturday, 3pm)

This is a League One clash between two teams expected to finish at opposite ends of the table this season, as Barnsley play host to Cheltenham. 

The stats

New Barnsley boss Michael Duff goes up against some familiar faces on Saturday
New Barnsley boss Michael Duff goes up against some familiar faces on Saturday

Having been relegated from the Championship in 2021-22, Barnsley decided to appoint a new manager and start a rebuilding process. 

That new man at the helm is Michael Duff, who moved to Oakwell from Cheltenham. 

The former Burnley defender did an outstanding job at Whaddon Road, helping the Robins to their first ever Football League promotion. 

Cheltenham have won just one of their 12 games on the road in 2022 and have conceded 12 goals in their last five League One outings - including three at home to Peterborough on the opening day. 

Prediction

Duff's departure has left a huge gap at Cheltenham and it is likely to take some time for them to recover. 

He should have a squad at Oakwell that can challenge for the top-six and that push can start with a win on Saturday. 

Gillingham vs Rochdale (Saturday, 3pm)

Both Gillingham and Rochdale fell to defeats on the opening weekend and will be desperate to get their first win of the League Two campaign as soon as possible. 

The stats

Having been relegated last season, Neil Harris has had to rebuild the Gills squad almost from scratch and it will take time for them to fire on all cylinders. 

But the hosts should have too much for a Rochdale side that finished 18th in 2021-22 and have a rookie manager at the helm in Robbie Stockdale. 

Dale's away record is also of concern ahead of their trip to Kent, having lost seven of their last nine League Two fixtures on the road. 

Prediction

The head-to-head stats show Gillingham are unbeaten in their last five meetings with Rochdale and a home victory looks to be on the cards once again.

Tags

ChampionshipLeague OneLeague TwoPrestonHullReadingCardiff CityBarnsleyCheltenhamGillinghamRochdale
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