It’s a spicy encounter at the quietest of times, but the East Midlands derby between Forest and Derby has an added tablespoon of heat this weekend thanks to the arrivals of Mark Warbuton and Gary Rowett at their respective managerial helms. Both sides are bang out of form in the Championship, so both gaffers will probably be happy to slide past this massive fixture without any major hiccups. A score draw is the way to go in this one, which you can get at 10/3 with Ladbrokes.
The night before sees two play-off chasers face off at Hillsbrough, where Sheffield Wednesday take on Reading. Wednesday have just one win in their last five, while the Royals are starting to royally fuck up their promotion challenge thanks to just two away wins since the turn of the year. A lack of away goals for Reading is enough to tell me that the Owls are good news, and their supreme front line should see them through here. Back the home win at nearly even-money.
In Saturday’s 3 o’clocks, Newcastle look like bankers for their trip to Birmingham. Rafa Benitez’s side are the best away team in the division, and are facing a Blues team that have won just twice in 16 games under Gianfranco Zola. In Lancashire, Preston are a great shout at 2/1 to win at struggling Blackburn, and I’m expecting plenty of goals at Craven Cottage, where Fulham are hosting Wolves. The last five competitive games between the two have seen a whopping 25 goals, so take a chance on at least four going in, at a chunky 7/4.
And if it’s goals you like, take a trip to Spotland, where Rochdale face Gillingham in League One. The Dale are the division’s highest scorers at home, while Gillingham have scored in five straight away games. Has something gotta give? Well, no. Back both teams to get a goal here.
Sheffield United are well and truly strolling towards the third tier title, and they should take another small step towards the crown with a win over Charlton. 2/5 is a touch too short for me, so back the Blades to keep a clean sheet for the third time in four home games at a generous 21/20 with BoyleSports.
Peterborough striker Craig Mackail-Smith scored his 100th goal for the club in last weekend’s defeat to Oxford, and then followed it up with two more in a 3-3 draw at Chesterfield. The 32-year-old will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing an Oldham side hovering just above the relegation zone. Get on the lad to bag first in this one at 11/2.
One defeat in six home games is helping to guide Cheltenham towards safety in League Two. They’re on home soil once more on Saturday as they host the erratic Cambridge United. Neither side are troubling the top sides in the clean sheets department, so both teams to score at 20/23 is a good place to start. The gut tells me Cheltenham want the three points more than their opponents, so have a punt on the home win with both teams scoring at 9/2 with Ladbrokes.
The top two should be looking at easy points this weekend in their quest for promotion. Leaders Doncaster are short at 4/7 to win at the division’s worst home side Leyton Orient, but is the most trustworthy banker I’ve seen since, well, there aren’t any – but you get the point. Plymouth are also in the odds-on department on Saturday when they host Morecambe. The away side have lost their last three, so Plymouth should capitalise on their frail confidence. Get on the Pilgrims to be winning at half-time and full-time at 6/4.
I’ll round things off with a trip to Nottinghamshire for Mansfield v Carlisle United. The Cumbrians were cruising towards promotion this time last month, but five games without a win or even a goal means they are officially worse at finishing than me after 12 vodka-Red Bulls. Mansfield, however, do know where the goal is – having found it 15 times in six home games. You know what to do here, but if you don’t, pull your finger out and back the Stags at 17/20.
El Capitano’s Tip of the Day: Preston at a massive 2/1 to win at their struggling local rivals Blackburn.
Cappa’s Acca: £10 on Villa, Norwich, Fleetwood, Bolton and Mansfield returns £287 with BoyleSports. Back it here!
Check out what my fellow tipsters are backing in the WantMyBet Blog!