FIVE TO FOLLOW: DECEMBER 18

IT’S another restricted card, especially in Scotland, but there are no experiments this weekend.

Last week I was a bit over-ambitious but hopefully any cash you lost was recuperated on Man United beating Arsenal and some standout Europa League tips.

Today I start in the EPL with Blackburn who are at home to a West Ham side rock bottom of the table.

Strangely it was Rovers and not the Hammers who sacked their boss earlier in the week and caretaker Steve Kean has everything to play for as he tries to impress the club’s Indian owners.

They’ve already praised up the Scot and three points for starters will do him no harm at all. Blackburn have been strong at home in recent weeks, beating Wolves 3-0 and Aston Villa 2-0 while losing four in a row on their travels.

Hammers boss Avram Grant has been told he must win one of his next three matches to keep his job and that’s some pressure on his shoulders.

I reckon Rovers are worth a look at a best 5-6 with Paddy Power and Stan James.

Next I’m heading for the Championship where Nottingham Forest come out of cold storage to face Preston at home.

Forest are always strong at the City Ground and are beginning to show the form that almost won them promotion last season. Crystal Palace’s home form has improved but away they suck and one win in 10 all season tells its own story. Take Forest at 4-6 with Stan James and Ladbrokes.

Watford must have bust thousands of lines with their shock win against QPR last Friday. It was Rangers’ first defeat of the season and even boss Neil Warnock admitted it was 3-1 going on seven or eight.

Next up for Malky Mackay’s men is a meeting with Preston who are unbeaten in three but still lie bottom. if they play like they did at Loftus Road it should be a cracker and three points for the Hornets who are 3-4 with William Hill and Blue Square among others.

Now it’s up to Scotland for two games that should beat the big freeze. Kilmarnock haven’t played for weeks but were on a cracking run with big striker Conor Sammon scoring in his last six SPL clashes.

Hopefully Sammon and co will be up for it from the start against Hibs and if they are it should be another three points for Mixu Paatelainen’s men who are 6-5 with Ladbrokes and totesport.

Finally, Alloa’s plastic pitch stood up to the weather and staged Scotland’s only match a fortnight ago. Their match with Airdrie is still standing and you’ve got to fancy them against a side who were hammered 5-1 at Peterhead last week. Airdrie are also without experienced skipper Paul Lovering at the back and he will be a loss. Alloa are evens with totesport.

Five to follow

  • Blackburn
  • Nottm Forest
  • Watford
  • Kilmarnock
  • Alloa
  • Perm any 4 and all 5 (6 bets)
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