NPower Championship Preview, Saturday, 4 December 2010

Cancelled Games

At this stage only three games are confirmed as off, those at Sheffield United, Portsmouth and Doncaster, according to the BBC Website. Of course all other games are subject to cancellation, for reasons of ground quality or travel safety. At the time of writing (Thursday 2nd December) the remaining nine games are scheduled to go ahead.

Sheffield Utd OFF Reading, 15:00
Doncaster OFF Barnsley, 15:00
Portsmouth OFF Burnley, 15:00

Don’t forget you can get a free “no lose” £20 bet from 888sport

Ipswich v Swansea, 12:45

In an odd twist, Ipswich Town have a home record that exactly matches Swansea’s away form, with four wins, four losses and a draw. The teams have even both scored eleven and conceded twelve, remarkably. Of course, the fact that Swansea are as good on the road as Ipswich are at home may explain the relative positions in the table of the two sides.

The Tractor Boys are also coming off consecutive home losses, so if this goes ahead I’ll back Swansea to bounce back after the Portsmouth defeat last week and come out on top. BlueSquare offer 7/1 on a 1-0 Swansea win, which seems possible, although not certain.

Cardiff v Preston, 15:00

Well, this really should only go one way. Cardiff lie second in the table, with thirty-six points from nineteen games while Darren Ferguson’s Preston are five points from safety. The young Scot must be aware that he won’t be given forever to sort out the mess, and this game isn’t exactly a prime opportunity to arrest the decline.

You can take your pick of possible goalscorers, but I’ll back Craig Bellamy to get the first of the game, and BetFred offer 5/1 on such an eventuality.

Coventry v Middlesbrough, 15:00

Coventry alternate between winning and losing at home, and the sequence suggests they should be turned over by Middlesbrough. Having said that, Boro have won just once away all year, so it could be time for Coventry to get two on the spin.

Coventry are slight favourites going in, but nothing should be taken for granted and Boro do have the players to win this. Bet365 offer 13/2 on a 1-0 home win, which is slightly ahead of the market.

Derby v Norwich, 15:00

Derby have a brilliant home record this year, only conceding four goals at Pride Park and having won their last six home games. This game also represents the top match-up of the weekend, with fourth taking in fifth place in the league. Probably the icing on the cake is Kris Commons, who already has ten goals this campaign.

The betting is tight despite the Rams excellent home form, but I’ll back the boys in white to stuff the Canaries. Commons is available at 11/2, but my picked bet is 15/2 with Bet365 on a 1-0 home win. Norwich are a good side, but I’d be surprised if they can take a result home.

Hull v QPR, 15:00

Although recently QPR have been struggling to win games, with a few draws to their name, they are still top of the table and five points clear of second-place Cardiff. Hull have seen a slight easing in their financial status of late, but the football side still needs work, and the Tigers are in nineteenth place in the table.

BoyleSports offer 9/1 on QPR coming out 2-0 winners, and that seems a fair reflection of the difference between the sides. However the score finishes I’d be surprised if any of the points end up with Hull.

Leeds United v Crystal Palace, 15:00

Palace have enjoyed a mini-revival of late, with three wins in four games giving them hope of finishing the season still in the Championship. Their opponents and hosts are struggling to maintain form, with two wins in six games, and must look on this as a chance to turn things around.

Although the good results have all come at home, I think Palace could take at least a point home from this game. With that in mind I’m going for the 6/1 available on a 1-1 draw with BetFred.

Nottingham Forest v Bristol City, 15:00

Forest are in top form, with four wins and two draws from their last six home games, as well as the league’s scorer of incredible goals, Lewis McGugan. Although their opponents Bristol aren’t in great shape, they have won two of their last three away from home and shouldn’t be underestimated.

StanJames offer 7/1 on a 2-1 Forest win, and if this game does go ahead then the chance to watch McGugan torment another goalkeeper could be a real winter warmer.

Watford v Leicester, 15:00

Watford must be wondering what happened. They were flying high a month ago but suddenly life is not so great, and their buzz must have been well and truly killed by no win in six games.

Leicester are the opposite, and the move to Sheffield by Milan Mandaric is something Sven will be hoping he can ignore. The Swede has made a good start to his career in the Championship, and still wants to manage in the Premiership again. BoyleSports offer 9/1 on a 2-1 Foxes win, which might be worth something.

Millwall v Scunthorpe, 17:20

The two teams at the butt of the joke (What three teams have a swearword in them? Scunthorpe, Arsenal and f**king Millwall) meet at the New Den. Questions have been raised about the motivation for this game to be played (it is on TV) what with the weather, but it looks safe to go ahead.

Neither team can boast more than one win in their last six games, but Scunthorpe have so far relied on away points to keep their heads above water, with a quite amazing five wins on the road so far to just one at home. I’ll back them to win 1-0, with a generous 12/1 available from Bet365, although the value is probably there for a reason.

Don’t forget you can get a free “no lose” £20 bet from 888sport

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