Seasiders to bounce straight back
Blackpool v Hull
Blackpool might come into this one off the back of two defeats, but that doesn’t give an accurate reflection of their recent form. The loss at Huddersfield was down to the sending off of Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel when Neil Critchley‘s side was 2-1 up and looked the likely winners.
His side will have to show resilience to bounce back from a midweek defeat to Middlesbrough, having thought that they had grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time only for Boro to go up the other end and win the game right at the death. This was one of Boro’s poorest performances under new manager Chris Wilder though, and part of the reason for that was due to the performance level of the opposition on the day.
Hull have been hit hard by COVID, postponing their game against Blackburn on the Boxing Day morning and it’s fair to assume that some players will be missing here. Teams coming back from a prolonged break have struggled in recent weeks, and it will be a tough ask for Hull to take anything from this one.
Goals galore at the Kassam Stadium
Oxford v Cheltenham
Cheltenham’s good start to the season is in danger of unravelling and it’s down to their recent poor defensive record. Their goals conceded per game recent record reads 2-4-5-2-3-2, so this isn’t the ideal time to face the side who, along with Man City, won the most home games in 2021.
Karl Robinson’s Oxford are always set up to attack and will fancy their chances here to put o a show. Cheltenham themselves will have the tools to hurt the hosts, having scored in their last 11 league home games, so this should be a game packed with goalmouth action.
Rooney’s men still going for the great escape
Reading v Derby
Can they do it? Derby remain overwhelmingly likely to be relegated this season after 21 point deduction, but three wins in a row have Rams fans wondering if they could pull off the greatest of great escapes.
Reading are the team that they need to chase down, battling back from their own points deduction and with just one win in their last five. Having not played since December 11th, there have to be concerns about whether they will be at their best for this one, and all the pressure lies on the home side as they look to ensure Derby are kept a mere speck in the distance.
Wayne Rooney deserves immense credit for the way he has his Derby team drilled defensively, and we can be sure that Reading are unlikely to create plenty of chances in the game. Having seen off Blackpool, WBA and Stoke, Derby will come into this one confident that they can avoid defeat against the weakest side in the run.