Southampton vs Plymouth & Ipswich vs QPR
Saints are chasing Ipswich hard for 2nd place and have moved to within five points of them after the Tractor Boys went W0-D2-L1 over the Xmas period. The Saints are in great form.
They suffered four defeats on the spin in September but have now gone W11-D4-L0. At home, it’s W7-D1-L0 since Ipswich beat them 1-0 on 19th September. Over this eight game run they have scored 1.5+ in six, scoring in all eight.
Plymouth have lost their manager and in my view one of the best managers in the division. He took Plymouth out of League One with a tiny budget in comparison to Ipswich & Sheff Wed but even last season their away form was indifferent and this has continued into this term with W0-D5-L7. They are conceding an average of 1.75 goals with only three sides conceding more shots.
The odds on a Saints win are far too small so I’m going to pair them with Ipswich. Ipswich have drawn their last two home games but have a record at Portman Road of W9-D2-L1. They have scored in each of their last 28 home fixtures and scored two or more in 21 of their last 22 with high flying Leicester the only side to stop them.
QPR are W3-D2-L8 this term on the road, conceding in 11/13 with average goals against of 1.38. There was a small upturn in form after a management change but they have now suffered three straight defeats.
Ipswich are without leading striker George Hirst but their goals are spread across the team and I see no reason why they can’t score twice again.
Birmingham vs Bristol City
Wayne Rooney is having a terrible time as Blues manager and has now overseen W2-D3-L8 with one of the two victories coming over Sheff Wed who remain joint bottom. The Blues were 6th when Rooney was appointed with a record of W5-D3-L3 just two points off 3rd placed Preston. They had conceded just 11 goals.
Fast forward a few months they sit bottom for the games that Rooney has been in charge with just nine points won with no side conceding more goals over the period.
In comparison, City have won 20 points over the last 13 games, the 7th highest in the division for the period. They have conceded just 14 goals, whereas the Blues have scored just 15.
Liam Manning has come in at Bristol and has now got the team playing. They have recently beaten Watford, Hull & Sunderland whilst also beating Boro a few weeks back. These are some of the better sides in the division.
Given that the Blues have conceded 2+ in 8 of Rooneys 13 games, winning just three I’m happy to take Bristol on draw no bet.
- Bristol City DNB at 10/11 with William Hill
Barrow vs Accrington
Barrow have a great home record with W5-D5-L0 conceding just seven goals. They were a little unlucky not to beat Stockport on Boxing Day leading 2-0 before being pegged back at 2-2 despite having more of the better chances.
This season excluding the games against the top 3 they are W12-D6-L1. Their recent form has been good with W8-D1-L0 with the recent 2-2 draw with Stockport their only dropped points and the 1st time they had conceded in five home league games.
Accrington on the road have struggled with W3-D2-L6. Stanley have kept just one away clean sheet and conceded two or more in six of 11. Two of their three wins on the road have come against sides sitting in the bottom six, which also includes their only clean sheet.
Recently they have had a bad spell with W2-D2-L5 with seven of the eight points won recently all coming at home.
- Barrow win at 5/6 with BetVictor