Our Championship writer previews this weekend's matches and tips a massive 17/1 treble!
With the FA Cup taking centre stage this weekend, it’s easy to forget that the Football League Championship continues with fixtures that are unaffected by the fourth round of the Cup.
This weekend only sees five games going ahead, with the pick of the action being the match between Norwich and Birmingham City. Elsewhere, Barnsley will look to take one step closer to the play-off places when they travel to Rotherham while Reading welcome Cardiff the Madejski.
Saturday 28 January
Norwich City 7/10 | Draw 26/10 | Birmingham City 38/10
Norwich City got back to winning ways at the weekend after they downed 10-man Wolves at Carrow Road. Goals from Steven Naismith, Robbie Brady and Jonny Howson eased the pressure on the wobbling Canaries. The win moves Alex Neil’s men up to tenth place on the standings and only five points off sixth-placed Wednesday.
They have the ideal chance to ramp up the pressure on the teams above them as they take on a woefully out of form Birmingham City. The Blues have yet to win a match under new manager, Gianfranco Zola. They were held to a 1-1 draw this past weekend by relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers – things aren’t looking so rosy in England’s Second City. Back Norwich to get the points here against Birmingham.
Reading 11/10 | Draw 23/10 | Cardiff City 23/10
Reading would have been disappointed after going down 3-2 at Derby last weekend. Having taken the lead through John Swift, the Rams bounced back to go 3-1 up before Yakou Meite pulled one back for the Royals. Jaap Stam’s side are favourites heading into this clash but will be all too weary of the threat posed by a Cardiff side on a run of three straight wins.
Cardiff were made to work extremely hard for their 1-0 victory over Burton Albion at the weekend. That said, when you’re in the bottom half of the table, you don’t really care how you get the points. Neil Warnock is an excellent manager and will be targeting this match to lay down a marker. Play it safe here and take Both Teams To Score - Yes - at 15/20. With both sides going for the win, we’re likely to see goals.
Rotherham 18/10 | Draw 24/10 | Barnsley 27/20
Rotherham were smashed away at Newcastle at the weekend – a result that just about everyone saw coming. It’s back to the drawing board then for a side who look destined for the drop. With a goal difference of -33 after 27 games, it’s difficult seeing them putting up much resistance against the Tykes this weekend.
Barnsley are flying high with their fans dreaming of a potential play-off spot come the end of the season. The Tykes inflicted Leeds’ first defeat in eight games as they ran out 3-2 winners at Oakwell thanks to goals from Tom Bradshaw, Ryan Kent and Conor Hourihane. Barnsley look as though they could beat anyone in the division at the moment. Back them here on the (-1) Handicap at 33/10.
Preston 19/20 | Draw 23/10 | Ipswich 11/4
Preston head into their week 28 clash with Ipswich undefeated in three league games – a run they’ll be keen to extend at Deepdale. Their most recent results haven’t come against some of the weaker teams in the league either: a 2-0 home win over Brighton and an excellent come-from-behind 2-2 draw away at Villa underline their quality.
Ipswich on the other hand, can’t string together a decent run of results. The tractor boys went down 2-0 away at a rejuvenated Huddersfield Town at the weekend as they remain stuck in mid-table. A win against an in-form Preston could be the kick they need to get up the standings. Preston are looking too good at the minute and shouldn’t have much trouble dealing with Ipswich at Deepdale – get on the home team at 19/20.
QPR 23/20 | Draw 9/4 | Burton Albion 22/10
QPR have turned a corner following a run which saw them slip down the table within range of teams in the relegation zone. Rangers were perhaps lucky to escape from their West London derby against Fulham with a point as Chris Martin saw an early penalty saved, before grabbing the equalising goal 14 minutes from full time. Ian Holloway will now look for his team to make a big statement against a Burton side who have lost five of their last six matches.
The fun and games are over for Burton, who have slipped into the drop zone for the first time this season. It looks increasingly unlikely that the Brewers will be plying their trade in the second tier come next season as a nightmare run of form as seen them go into absolute freefall. QPR will be too good at home, back them at 23/20.
Suggested Weekend Treble: 17/1
Barnsley (-1) vs Rotherham 33/10
Preston win vs Ipswich 19/20
QPR win vs Burton 23/20
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.