Posh to beat fellow relegation rivals
Darren Ferguson branded his side’s midweek display as ‘stupid’ and ‘terrible’ and bemoaned the costly mistakes which handed Blackburn an easy three points at Ewood Park. Posh have struggled on the road this season, and have failed to score in five of their last seven away trips, however, it’s a completely different story at the Weston Homes Stadium and they’ve been hard to beat on their own patch so far.
They’ve conceded just ten of their 38 goals at this venue and have given high-flying duo West Brom and Fulham plenty to think about here. Having already taken three points from Derby, Birmingham and QPR at home, the hosts will feel confident about repeating the trick against fellow strugglers Barnsley at the weekend.
Poya Asbaghi has a significant job on his hands and the former IFK Gothenburg coach slipped to a debut defeat on Wednesday night at Oakwell. Barnsley are lacking confidence and although it was always going to be tricky against a decent Swansea outfit, they managed just a single shot on target and had just 29% possession.
They’ve now lost five consecutive away games and are likely to come up short once again. Without Alex Mowatt and Daryl Dike, Barnsley have been unable to recreate last season’s heroics and with Asbaghi having had very little time on the training ground this week, it is likely to take some time to turn things around in South Yorkshire.
Recommended Bet: Back Peterborough to beat Barnsley @ 2.68/5
Seasiders to take at least a point back to the Fylde Coast
Birmingham had Matija Sarkic to thank for keeping them in the contest at the CBS Arena on Tuesday night and they will need him to deliver another above average performance on Saturday. Lee Bowyer’s squad is beginning to look a little threadbare and the suspension of midfielder Ryan Woods is unlikely to help matters. Although they are due to return before Christmas, defensive pair Kristian Pedersen and George Friend have been sorely missed and the fact that the Blues had to name youngsters Jobe Bellingham, Jordan James and Mitchell Roberts on the bench at the weekend shows the lack of depth available in B9.
Blackpool managed to pick up another decent point in midweek as they held West Brom to a goalless draw at Bloomfield Road. The Seasiders are unbeaten in six of their last seven games and have been constantly underestimated by the market during that sequence. Neil Critchley is doing an excellent job on the Fylde Coast and although he isn’t 100% fit yet, the return of Shayne Lavery is a sizeable boost for the former Liverpool youth coach. The Seasiders have lost just twice on the road all season with one of those defeats having seen the visitors play over 75 minutes with ten men.
Recommended Bet: Back Blackpool Draw No Bet (vs Birmingham) @ 2.68/5
Cherries to return to winning ways
It’s been a tough few weeks for Bournemouth who have endured their first major wobble of the campaign. Having managed to remain unbeaten for the first 15 games of the season, the Cherries have subsequently failed to win in three of their last four. Although they have been the better side in the majority of those contests, they have failed to convert their chances and have surrendered top spot to free-scoring Fulham. Despite the blip, Scott Parker still has a hugely talented squad at his disposal and he will be confident of getting back on track on Saturday afternoon.
Coventry’s home and away form has been hugely contrasting this season with the Sky Blues having won just twice on the road so far. If they are to remain in the play-off picture, Mark Robins’ men must improve their away record and start scoring more goals on the road. Only three sides, including struggling pair Barnsley and Peterborough, have netted fewer away goals than the West Midlands outfit this season and they’ve only managed 2+ goals on one occasion so far. Cov’s lack of firepower on the road may count against them here.
Recommended Bet: Back Bournemouth to beat Coventry @ 1.855/6
Terriers to beat transitioning Teessiders
Huddersfield were on the wrong end of a 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road on Wednesday night, however, Carlos Corberan will be delighted to return to West Yorkshire for this winnable looking contest. The Terriers have the eighth best home form in the division and have kept clean sheets in each of their last four matches at this venue. They aren’t doing anything spectacular, however, their tenacious style and superb fitness levels have allowed them to control games in front of their own fans. Only Fulham and Nottingham Forest have left this ground with maximum points and they will fancy their chances of buiding on their recent victory over West Brom.
Middlesbrough fans were left frustrated by yet another second half defeat on Tuesday night. Chris Wilder will be hoping to put his stamp on the squad in January, however, until that point, he must find a way of getting the best out of the current crop of players. Boro have lost four of their last seven away games and their inability to perform for a full 90 minutes has left supporters bemused. Only three teams, including struggling Barnsley, have conceded more second half goals than the Teessiders and until Wilders has time to work on the players’ fitness levels, that poor record after the break looks set to continue.
Recommended Bet: Back Huddersfield to beat Middlesbrough @ 2.727/4
Points shared in battle of the big cats
Hull have secured three consecutive Championship victories and the Tigers have been able to move themselves three points clear of the relegation zone. Nathan Baxter has been a revelation since he replaced Matt Ingram and although they survived a late scare against Cardiff on Wednesday night, they managed to secure a third consecutive clean sheet. Despite their lowly position, they’ve been a relatively tough nut to crack on their own patch and have won two of their last four at this venue.
Millwall continue to be the division’s draw specialists with the Lions having seen nine of their opening 19 matches finish all-square. Gary Rowett’s men are incredibly tough to beat and they’ve conceded just three times in their last four matches. They’ve suffered just two away defeats so far this season and only Cardiff have managed to net more than a single goal when hosting the Bermondsey outfit. Some fans are understandably frustrated by their sides lack of cutting edge and they do need to add more goals to their game. As a result, they may have to settle for yet another stalemate.
Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Hull vs Millwall @ 3.185/40
Both teams to find the net at Kenilworth Road
Luton may have failed to score in each of their last three Championship outings, however, Nathan Jones’ side were much better against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night and should have collected all three points. Despite their recent profligacy in front of goal, the Welshman will be feeling confident that his side can get back to winning ways at Kenilworth Road. Only Stoke and Birmingham have been victorious at this ground so far and the hosts have conceded just twice in their last five outings here.
Cardiff fell back into bad habits in midweek as they slipped up against Hull. Steve Morison has seemingly galvanised the club since replacing Mick McCarthy, however, he called out the supporters for their negative reaction to the performance and he will be hoping that the travelling fans will respond to his criticism on Saturday afternoon. The visitors have now scored five in their last two away games, and despite the hosts’ defensive prowess, the Welsh outfit can find a way through here.
Recommended Bet: Back BTTS in Luton vs Cardiff @ 1.8810/11
Entertaining afternoon expected in Staffordshire
Stoke missed countless opportunities against Bristol City on Wednesday night and hit the woodwork twice. It was a hugely frustrating 90 minutes for Michael O’Neill and although the Northern Irishman will have been disappointed with the outcome, he will have seen enough from his side to suggest that they can bounce back when hosting Blackburn this weekend. The Potters have scored five times in their last two matches here, and although they barely had to get out of first gear against Peterborough, this could be a little trickier.
Blackburn eased past Peterborough in midweek with Tony Mowbray left purring about his side’s incisive finishing. Rovers have been far more effective on their own patch this season, however, they have found the net in six of their eight away games and despite being comprehensively outplayed in many of those games, they’ve always found a way to get on the score-sheet. In-form Ben Brereton-Diaz is always a threat and he is likely to cause problems for the Stoke defence on Saturday afternoon.
Recommended Bet: Back BTTS in Stoke vs Blackburn @ 1.875/6
Swans to secure back-to-back victories
Russell Martin was delighted with his side’s application against Barnsley in midweek and the former defender will have been pleased to see his team pick up a much-needed away victory. The Welshmen are imperious on their own patch and boast a 4-4-1 record at this ground. They dropped points against Blackpool recently, however, they should have been awarded a penalty in that game. The additions of Ethan Laird, Jamie Paterson and Olivier Ntcham have made a significant difference and the squad has a nice balance to it. They’ve conceded just twice here since August 17th and are likely to dominate possession once again.
Reading have been hard to predict this season, however, they’ve been significantly weaker on the road. Admittedly, they’ve beaten both Fulham and Birmingham on their travels, however, having failed to score in four of their last seven away trips, they are likely to come up short against one of the division’s strongest back-lines. The Royals still have numerous injury issues and are likely to slip to back-to-back defeats here.
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7