Tykes to slip to yet another defeat
When it comes to appointing a head coach, Barnsley have often been lauded for their left field selections with Daniel Farke, Gerhard Struber and Valerien Ismael all having enjoyed relative success in South Yorkshire. However, despite plenty of pre-season optimism, many fans are beginning to lose faith in current incumbent Markus Schopp. Under the Austrian, the Tykes have picked up just a single victory so far this season, and they have failed to score in three of their last four matches. A change in system has somewhat disrupted their flow and although both Callum Styles and Callum Brittain have impressed, some fans believe that the balance of the XI has been thrown off by Schopp’s decision to move the former into a more central position.
Nottingham Forest appointed Steve Cooper as Chris Hughton’s successor and the former Swansea boss began his tenure with a 1-1 draw. The Welshman has been saying all of the right things and has impressed the supporters with his ability to focus on the positives. The Tricky Trees are now two unbeaten and a victory on Wednesday night could potentially move them out of the relegation zone. Although the result was disappointing, fans were impressed with Forest’s desire to move the ball forward and both Max Lowe and Djed Spence caught the eye on Saturday afternoon. Cooper hasn’t had a huge amount of time on the training ground, however, his messages appear to be getting through and this looks like the perfect opportunity to collect three points.
Recommended Bet: Back Nottingham Forest to beat Barnsley @ 3.412/5
More misery for Big Mick
It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks for Mick McCarthy and Cardiff City. The Bluebirds have struggled to recreate their August form and they’ve suffered defeat in four of their last five matches. Many fans have expressed their disappointment at the lack of penetration within the squad and the distinct lack of a plan B. With a game against much-improving Swansea on the horizon, the Yorkshireman must find a way to re-energise his squad ahead of the international break. Saturday’s 5-1 defeat to Blackburn was an exceptionally poor result for the Welshmen and the whole performance was flat and devoid of ideas. West Brom left it late to clinch three points against QPR on Friday night and they are yet to be defeated this season. Valerian Ismael has received some criticism for his style of play, however, his side are likely to control this game and if they can find their shooting boots, they shouldn’t have any problems securing back-to-back victories.
Recommended Bet: Back West Brom to beat Cardiff @ 2.226/5
Low-scoring contest in West Yorshire
Carlos Corberan was left frustrated by his team’s below par performance on Saturday afternoon. His side crashed to a 1-0 defeat in south Wales and despite creating some decent chances, they’ve now failed to score in their last 180 minutes of Championship football. Very few players emerged from the weekend loss with much credit, although all-action midfielder Lewis O’Brien looked lively and tried to make things happen in the centre of the park. Blackburn Rovers were at their swashbuckling best against Cardiff on Saturday afternoon and registered an xG of 2.8. Sam Gallagher, Ben Brereton and Tyrhys Dolan caused problems all afternoon for the visitors and they will be full of confidence coming into this midweek tie. However, they’ve scored just four times on the road and the Lancastrian outfit have struggled to create chances away from Ewood Park. Another low-scoring and slightly disjointed encounter is predicted here.
Recommended Bet: Back Under 2.5 Goals in Huddersfield vs Blackburn @ 1.84/5
Seasiders to continue upward momentum
Both Blackpool and Hull have been finding their feet at this level following promotion from League One. The Tigers began the season with a 4-1 victory over Preston North End, however, they’ve failed to kick on from that opening day success. Grant McCann’s side have scored the fewest goals in the division (5) and only Barnsley have a lower xG so far this campaign. They have held both Bournemouth and Swansea to goalless draws, however, they’ve subsequently conceded seven times in their last three matches. Blackpool have taken a few weeks to establish themselves as a competitive force in the Championship and the Seasiders have now won three of their last four matches. They’ve suffered just a single away defeat this season; an injury time reverse to Millwall, and having taken points off both Bournemouth and Middlesbrough on their travels, this upcoming trip to Humberside shouldn’t pose too many problems.
Recommended Bet: Back Blackpool to beat Hull @ 3.211/5
Boro to slip to yet another defeat at the Riverside
Despite being touted as potential dark horses, it’s been a hugely underwhelming start to the season for Middlesbrough. The Teessiders’ new signings have taken time to settle in, and although the likes of Matt Crooks and Uche Ikpeazu have added some Championship experience to the squad, they haven’t been able to find their rhythm so far. Boro are yet to keep a clean sheet at home and there was an inevitability to their 2-1 defeat against Blackpool two weeks ago. Although they were reasonably competitive against Reading and produced an xG of 1.31, they’ve now scored just four times in their last six matches. Sheffield United were slow out of the blocks, however, the Blades have got into their groove in recent weeks and they have now won three of their last four matches. They managed to find a way past a stubborn Derby side at the weekend and although their defence has been far from perfect, they should have too much firepower for their struggling hosts.
Recommended Bet: Back Sheffield United to beat Middlesbrough @ 2.6413/8
PNE to take something back to Deepdale
Although victories continue to elude them, Frankie McAvoy’s Preston North End have become exceptionally tough to beat in recent weeks. The Lancastrians may only have won two of their opening nine Championship matches, however, they haven’t been beaten since August 17th. They were fractionally the better side against Birmingham at the weekend with both Josh Earl and Sean Maguire squandering chances to snatch all three points. Early data suggests that PNE will end the season sitting comfortably in mid-table, however, fans are still understandably concerned about their side’s lack of firepower. Stoke eased to a routine victory against shot-shy Hull at the weekend and Michael O’Neill was delighted to see his side get back to winning ways. The Potters’ home form is very impressive, however, their record on the road is extremely average. They’ve won just one of their opening four away games and often struggle to create chances on their travels. The hosts should get something from this clash and given their penchant for a stalemate, backing them Draw No Bet looks to be a sensible option.
Recommended Bet: Back Preston Draw No Bet (vs Stoke) @ 1.855/6
QPR to snap three match winless run
QPR have now lost three consecutive Championship matches and although Mark Warburton’s side have been unlucky in some cases, they must find a way to turn things around here. The R’s are the second highest scorers in the division and have found the net in every single match so far. This is likely to be much easier than recent trips to West Brom and Bournemouth and they should be able to find a way past Birmingham’s back-line. Brum have yet to completely convince this season and the goals have dried up for Lee Bowyer’s side in recent weeks. They’ve scored just once in their last three matches and although they created some half decent chances against Peterborough, they rarely looked like finding the net. Despite having picked up just a single home victory so far, QPR look far more dynamic going forward and should take all three points here.
Recommended Bet: Back QPR to beat Birmingham @ 2.166/5
Points shared at Pride Park
Both of these sides will be keen to forget their off-field issues and concentrate on matters on the pitch. Despite their respective points deductions, both of these teams have been in relatively decent form throughout September and there is unlikely to be much between the pair on Wednesday night. Derby have battled their way to some precious points in recent weeks and they were only undone by a late Billy Sharp goal on Saturday afternoon. Wayne Rooney’s men have struggled to create clear goalscoring opportunities, but they are always competitive and they won’t make it easy for the Royals. Reading have won three consecutive games and will arrive with a spring in their step. Under Vejlko Paunovic, they appear to have tightened up in recent weeks and they’ve conceded just twice in their last three outings. The hosts will turn this into a tight and cagey affair and it is likely to end in a stalemate.
Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Derby vs Reading @ 3.185/40
Swans to take at least a point back down the M4
Despite a hugely promising start to the 2021-22 campaign, Fulham’s promotion bid has stalled in recent weeks. The Cottagers have won just one of their last four matches since returning from the international break and they will be desperate to get back on track here. Marco Silva’s men haven’t neccessarily done anything wrong, although their lack of composure in front of goals hasn’t helped matters. They’ve come up against stubborn and spirited opposition and they may not have it all their own way on Wednesday evening either. Swansea are a vastly improved outfit and Russell Martin appears to be finally making progress in south wales. They are unbeaten in their last four matches and a solitary Joel Piroe goal was enough to take all three points against Huddersfield at the weekend. They’ve kept four clean sheets in their last six and are likely to make themselves hard to break down at Craven Cottage.
Recommended Bet: Back Swansea or Draw Double Chance (vs Fulham) @ 2.6213/8
All-square at Kenilworth Road
Luton made a promising start to the season, however, Nathan Jones’ side are now six matches without a victory. They’ve shown flashes of brilliance and they were the better side against Bournemouth at the weekend. Despite the result, the Hatters dominated the second half and the likes of Harry Cornick, Jordan Clark and Luke Berry working hard to carve out opportunities. Coventry eased past Peterborough on Friday night and continued their perfect sequence of results in front of their own fans. The Sky Blues haven’t been able to recreate those performances on the road and they’ve won just one of their opening four away games. The majority of these have been low-scoring affairs and they will look to keep it tight once again. It may be enough for Mark Robins’ side to secure a decent away point.
Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Luton vs Coventry @ 3.211/5
Entertaining clash at the Den
Draw specialists Millwall picked up yet another point on Saturday afternoon and fans are becoming increasingly frustrated at their side’s lack of penetration in the final third. Gary Rowett has been accused of being too conservative and with an average home xG of just 1.07 so far this season, it’s easy to see why some of the natives have become a little restless. The Lions have managed just a single home success so far, a last-minute victory against ten-man Blackpool, although BTTS has landed in each of their opening four home matches. Bristol City have been much-improved in recent weeks, although home victories continue to elude them. The Robins have been far better on their travels and have picked up maximum points at the Madejski, Loftus Road and the Cardiff City Stadium. They are yet to keep a clean sheet away from Ashton Gate and this could be another decent 90 minutes for the travelling fans.
Recommended Bet: Back BTTS in Millwall vs Bristol City @ 1.981/1
Cherries to edge past plucky Posh
The general concensus so far this season is that Bournemouth are winning games without neccessarily hitting top gear. They’ve lost the xG battle on numerous occasions and were second best against Luton at the weekend. Nevertheless, the Cherries have a two point advantage at the top of the table and they’ve conceded just twice in their last five matches. Scott Parker’s men have been better on the road and have kept three clean sheets in their opening four away matches. Peterborough have been much better at home and recently smashed three past Birmingham here. However, West Brom left with maximum points courtesy of a last-gasp strike and the visitors will not find this a straightforward task. If Bournemouth are to continue their winning run on Wednesday night, it is likely to be by a slender margin.
Recommended Bet: Back Bournemouth to beat Peterborough @ 1.84/5
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7