BILLY BUNTER

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Five things we learned from the weekend

1 Loan man making a big difference for Eagles
Sam Allardyce initially struggled at Crystal Palace but their 2-0 success at West Brom made it consecutive wins to nil and suggests the former England boss has his team's shape sorted out.

Central to the improvement has been the arrival of Mamadou Sakho, who made his Eagles debut in the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough and followed that with another strong performance at the Hawthorns.

Sakho has struck up an immediate partnership with James Tomkins and the Scott Dann-Damien Delaney centre-back axis looks over, at least for this season.

It could be argued that on-loan Sakho is far too good for Palace and only at Selhurst Park because of the clash between the Frenchman and Jurgen Klopp. On ability Sakho should be playing for Liverpool.

2 Fulham deserve to be in the top six
Time is running out for Fulham to break into the Sky Bet Championship's top six as they still have five points to make up, but they have a game in hand on most of their playoff rivals and maintained the pressure with a dominant 3-1 victory over Preston.

Ninth-placed Preston are a competent outfit and a decent form yardstick so it was interesting to note the comments of North End assistant Glynn Snodin following the Craven Cottage clash.

"We've come up against a good side," he said "I felt they were different class and a step above us."

Leeds at home is a massive clash tomorrow but even if Fulham miss out on the top six this season make sure Slavisa Jokanovic's team are in your notebook for next term.

3 Scunny promotion dream slipping away
Scunthorpe have hardly been out of the top two in Sky Bet League One all season but Saturday's 2-0 loss to rivals Fleetwood could be the beginning of the end for their automatic-promotion hopes.

The Iron have a couple of winnable (at least on paper) away matches on the horizon at Charlton and Gillingham, but it is becoming difficult to trust them after a run of seven without victory.

Boss Graham Alexander blamed the result on the officials and was encouraged by his team's overall performance, although Fleetwood jumped above Scunny into second and the likes of Bradford and Millwall are also capable of a grandstand finale.

4 Carlisle to be caught in top-three race
Keith Curle was another manager unhappy with the referee but his Carlisle side were comfortably beaten 2-0 at Plymouth and, much like Scunthorpe, the Blues seem to be falling apart at the wrong time.

Carlisle have been around the automatic promotion hunt for most of the season thanks to their goalscoring prowess which has seen them notch 56 goals in Sky Bet League Two.

However, United have gone three games without a goal, never mind a win, and top scorer Charlie Wyke's departure to Bradford in January could have serious consequences for Carlisle.

5 Lack of goals a concern for Glovers
It would be a surprise if Yeovil are relegated from League Two given they have an eight-point buffer on Leyton Orient but clearly things are going wrong at Huish Park.

Luton, demoralised after missing out on a trip to Wembley in the EFL Trophy on Wednesday, were easy 4-0 winners as Yeovil failed to score for the fourth consecutive fixture.

Yeovil are not unlucky - their poor shot statistics highlight that - and the market appears right to consistently oppose the Glovers.

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Match in Focus

20:05 TODAY BT2

Everton v Lyon

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Lyon are averaging two goals per game
Expert verdict
Everton have yet to see a return on their significant summer investment and a number of underwhelming performances have heaped the pressure on Ronald Koeman. Life doesn’t look set to get any easier as Lyon bounced back from their recent poor run by seeing off Monaco 3-2 last time out and the classy French raiders look a nice price to win at Goodison Park.