IT’S a hectic spell for teams in England’s lower leagues and at this stage of the season it’s more about stamina than quality.
In the Championship Brighton are within touching distance of the title and a price of around 1-2 at home to relegation-threatened Wigan is fine for accumulators.
Newcastle are now four points off the pace but just about safe in second and should go to Ipswich and notch a win to settle any nerves. Rafael Benitez’s men are 5-6 at Marathonbet.
Hudderfield and Reading look to have sealed play-off slots so the final two will go to two from Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham.
Reading, who bounced back brilliantly from their 7-1 mauling at Norwich to win at Aston Villa, have have the easiest game against relegated Rotherham. In fact a Brighton/Reading double looks so good to me I’m putting it up as a Super Single.
Leeds face a tricky test against a Wolves side who can be bad or brilliant but have nothing to play for but pride. Same goes for Sheffield Wednesday who travel to QPR. Chris Wood earned Leeds a vital point at St James’s and 6-5 at Ladbrokes to score again.
Aston Villa have the disadvantage of playing on Saturday so Fulham have had an extra day’s rest and they’ll fancy their chances at Craven Cottage. Take them at 17-20 with McBookie and consider on-form Stefan Johansen to score at 3-1 with Betfred.
At the other end of the table Wigan look to have too much to do especially if they lose at the Amex. So if they’re joining Rotherham in League One who will go with them?
Blackburn are third bottom but are showing some fight so Burton, Nottingham Forest, Bristol City and Birmingham are all in danger.
Blackburn v Bristol City is a massive match and Tony Mowbray’s men will fancy their chances of safety if they can follow their win at Forest with another three points.
Birmingham v Burton will be just as tense and I’d give Burton a chance at 13-5 with McBookie against a side dropping like a stone under Gianfranco Zola. Burton draw no bet is probably the way to go at 6-4 with William Hill and consider ex-Celt Jackson Irvine to score at 17-4 with 888sport as he’s notched some vital strikes rcently.
Forest travel to Cardiff and boss Mark Warburton will be hoping the hosts have one eye on their holidays as will many teams with nothing to play for. Forest are 23-10 at Unibet.
The early game in League One sees newly-crowned champs Sheffield Utd against Yorkshire rivals Bradford who will be in the play-offs but could still pip Bolton for second. This could depend on how much the Blades have celebrated since clinching top spot without playing on Saturday.
Southend are making a late run at the play-offs and after four wins in a row are just one point behind Millwall. Back them at 4-5 with betfair at home to MK Dons.
HullShaker’s Bury are back in trouble after no wins in five and three successive defeats. They don’t play until Tuesday at Bolton but could be in the bottom four by then if Swindon win at Walsall or Port Vale triumph at Oxford.
In League Two Doncaster, Portsmouth and Plymouth will finish top three with and the Argyle should seal the deal with a win against Newport. I know County are fighting for their lives – three successive 1-0 wins have lifted them to within one point of Hartlepool – but 37 points separate the sides so evens with Marathonbet on a home win is too big.
The race to the play-offs has four or five sides fighting for probably one spot. Carlisle in seventh face sixth-placed Stevenage and the likes of Blackpool, Colchester and Mansfield will be keeping a close eye on that one.
I’ll check team news in the morning and update this post if there are any key absentees.
Bets to Consider
Wood to score
Johansen to score
Burton draw no bet
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