EFL: The Shrews Blues, Courtesy of Brown

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EFL: The Shrews Blues, Courtesy of Brown

James Capps

The Championship

Friday night has a double-header which includes a London derby between Millwall and QPR that deserves absolutely no air time whatsoever, and more interestingly, Cardiff v Preston in south Wales. The Bluebirds are flapping, courtesy of back-to-back defeats to Bolton and Fulham, while Preston’s unbeaten run has them right back in the mix for a play-off place. The visitors need to convert draws into wins, though, and a price of nearly 3/1 for them do that against their out-of-form opponents is well worth sticking a spare tenner of your Christmas money on.

Ipswich have been battered by injuries to their midfield in recent weeks, and their 0-0 draw at home to QPR last time out suggests those absentees are starting to catch up with them. They welcome Derby to Portman Road on Saturday, who have won on their last three visits to Tractor Town. They also boast a striker in David Nugent that’s scored 13 goals in as many starts against the Suffolk side. The Derby win is 13/10 with BoyleSports, and big Nuge to bag anytime is 11/5. Lovely stuff.

Another in-form side that have a great shout at 3 o’clock is the resurgent Leeds United. Five wins in six have them nicely nestled in the top six, and next up is a trip to St. Andrews to face a Birmingham side that have won just twice since Steve Cotterill took over in September, and have lost four of their last five games at home. 13/10 for the away side to take the spoils is my tip of the day. Buying money.

Steve Cotterill's Birmimgham are struggling for goals and points. (Source: Birmingham Mail)
Steve Cotterill’s Birmimgham are struggling for goals and points. (Source: Birmingham Mail)

And don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten the battle of the top two at Ashton Gate, where second-place Bristol City host runaway leaders Wolves. Jorge Mendes FC sit eight points clear at the summit so don’t *need* to win Saturday evening’s game, and this certainly won’t be the match that decides the Robins’ fate come May. A draw that keeps both sides ticking along is the bet for me here at 23/10.

League One

Blackburn Rovers are absolutely flying in the third tier – they’re unbeaten in ten, and haven’t lost at home since September. They need to keep up the good form to maintain the pressure on second-placed Shrewsbury, so 4/5 for the win against visiting Scunthorpe looks a great price. Scunny may sit just one place below their hosts, but have been leaky at the back, conceding eight goals in their last three games – something which Rovers will definitely take advantage of.

Speaking of the Shrews, I fancy them to come unstuck in their tough trip to sunny Southend. Phil Brown’s Southend have lost just once at home since April, and the visitors’ away form has been questionable in recent weeks – winning just one of their last five on the road. The Shrimpers are a banging 31/20 to shrink the Shrews on Shraturday.

Gotta love Phil Brown. Just seems like a nice bloke. (Source: Chronicle Live)
Gotta love Phil Brown. Just seems like a nice bloke. (Source: Chronicle Live)

Peterborough have rediscovered their winning touch, notching up four on the spin to put them back in the League One play-off positions. The form of their hosts MK Dons has gone in the other direction, however. The Dons are winless in five and now sit just outside the relegation places, which could soon spell the end for under pressure manager Robbie Neilson. The Posh to hammer the final nail into the Neilson coffin courtesy of an away win looks decent at 6/4 with BoyleSports.

League Two

Wycombe have won their last four home games, but are still somehow better than evens to climb into the automatic promotion places with a win over inconsistent Mansfield. Since the Stags’ ten-game unbeaten run ended at the start of December they’ve only won once in five games, a run which should worry manager Steve Evans ahead of a trip to one of the division’s form sides.

Most end of year blogs like to end with a bang, but this time I’m ending with what probably won’t be a classic at the County Ground between Swindon and Notts County. “Both teams to score” has been a big fat “No” in the last not-so-magnificent seven games between the two, and it looks a good bet at 21/20 for that run to continue. Happy New Year!

El Capitano’s Tip of the Day: Leeds at 13/10 to win at struggling Birmingham City in the Championship.

Cappa’s Acca: £10 on Norwich, Blackburn, Fleetwood and Exeter returns £181 with Ladbrokes. Back it here!