Christmas is all about over-indulgence. Cheap Prosecco guzzled in front of a roaring fire, paper crowns dished out to estranged relatives, and enough football on the telly to keep you awake until New Years.
In December, the Football League likes to serve up a treat of its own, and this weekend is as mouth-watering as a Heston Blumenthal cider trifle.
Top-of-the-table clashes, local derbies, legendary names locking horns and a League Two story unfolding that wouldn’t look out of place on the Eastenders omnibus.
Like a Christmas turkey, Yorkshire is stuffed to the brim with juicy ingredients to whet your appetite this weekend. We look ahead to the best of them, from the very top to the perilous bottom. So put your shopping down, your feet up, and let football be your feast.
1. Boro and Brighton vie for Christmas No.1
It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for, the clash of the big two. Middlesbrough and Brighton are locked at the top of the Championship level on points, with Derby and Hull breathing down their necks just waiting to leapfrog them if they lose. Brighton are still unbeaten 21 games in, and they won’t face a tougher test than this. Boro meanwhile, are looking for their sixth consecutive clean sheet.
2. Leeds fan Grayson back on his old stomping ground
Simon Grayson was looking cheerful as Leeds picked up an unlikely victory at Molineux on Thursday night, but he will be looking to get one over on his former employers on Sunday. Grayson spent over three years at Elland Road, and with an away win the only way for Preston to spend Christmas above the Yorkshire outfit, he will be desperate to pull off an upset.
3. Distracted by the FA Cup? No way Jose
Mark Robins can forget about sipping Portuguese port with Mourinho before the FA Cup next month, the sport’s most charismatic man has gone. Sheffield United travel the 44 miles to Glanford Park this weekend (for what was a Yorkshire derby back in the day), with just three points between the two. Nigel Adkins’ Blades broke their winning duck with their first win in seven against Coventry last week, and must now push on from here if promotion is the plan.
4. Clough v Ferguson.
One of the oldest, unresolved football forum arguments is: Who was better – Sir Alex or Brian? Well Nigel Clough should be more worried about the legacy Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has left than his late, great father on Saturday. He takes charge of Burton Albion for the first time since his prodigal return, with the Brewers five points clear at the top of League One and Darren Ferguson’s Doncaster arguably needing a miracle. But last week’s stoppage-time turnaround at Crewe was just that, so you’d be foolish to think that they will not come out fighting.
5. Legends leaving the club? Again? York-kidding me.
There’s more mystery surrounding Bootham Crescent than there is in a Midsomer Murders cast at the moment. First ‘Clubman of the Year’ Keith Lowe left the club unceremoniously last week, then on Wednesday, City stalwarts Richard Cresswell and Jonathan Greening left the club, without a word from the board as to why. York have lost their last nine in all competitions and haven’t won in the league at home since August. The Minstermen must start winning if they are to retain their Football League status.