Cardiff sacked manager Paul Trollope in October after just five months in charge, his last match a 2-0 defeat against the Bluebirds’ opponents this Saturday, Burton. His successor Neil Warnock had an immediate impact as he led the Welsh club to seven points in his first three games, and his men are in fine form after back-to-back Championship wins against Villa and Bristol City. Cardiff are good value on home ground this weekend against a Burton side which has lost seven of its last eight games.
Ipswich were woeful in the midweek FA Cup loss at Lincoln, and manager Mick McCarthy said afterwards, “If the club want to sack me, so be it”. The Tractor Boys will hope to respond to that result on the pitch this weekend, but they face a trip to a high-flying Huddersfield side which has had a full week’s rest. We’re happy to lay the Suffolk club at the Terriers, who are looking to consolidate their position in the top six.
Finally, a match that appears to tight to call is the one between Aston Villa and Preston at Villa Park. Steve Bruce’s side are in bad shape after three successive defeats without scoring, although they’ll welcome the return to home comforts on Saturday. Standing in the way of three points is an impressive Preston side which is ahead of Villa on the table. The Whites are good value to hold the Villains to a draw in a typical mid-table Championship battle.
Cardiff v Burton
Neil Warnock’s men will be fired up to make it three wins on the spin, and one suspects that Burton won’t offer enough resistance. The Bluebirds can be backed at 91/1001.91-1100.91-1.100.91 with BetVictor and William Hill to emerge with all three points.
In 18th position, Cardiff are still just six points above the relegation zone and Warnock will have no illusions about the task at hand. He’s been there and done it – most recently last year when he led Rotherham to a great escape. He’s made no secret of the need for new players to bolster the squad, but he still has a smattering of talent at his disposal. The likes of Rickie Lambert, Anthony Pilkington, and Peter Whittingham have all plied their trade in the Premier League in fairly recent years, and as Warnock is at pains to point out, a little bit of investment could reap a challenge for promotion.
Nonetheless, the reality is that they come up against a Burton team which sits just five points beneath the Welsh club. Three points are vital in this season’s survival race and a victory on Saturday would keep a rival further behind. Three points might feel like a lottery win for Burton fans at the moment, such is the rarity of wins, but it was always going to be a tough slog surviving at this level. The Brewers have accredited themselves well, and although only a point above the drop zone, they remain out of the bottom three.
However, a run of seven defeats in eight games is relegation form, and Burton’s only two victories since October have both come against bottom club Rotherham.
Huddersfield v Ipswich
The Terriers continue to confound expectations, and can surely get the better of a fragile Ipswich side at odds of 4/51.80-1250.80-1.250.80 with BetVictor and Marathonbet.
Non-league Lincoln’s victory was broadcast live on TV during the week, and it was a terrible display from the Championship side. Ultimately though, McCarthy has done a very good job in Suffolk on a minimal budget, and the club may live to regret any decision to sack him off the back of a shock cup defeat. What it does mean is that the Tractor Boys have had three days less to prepare for this than Huddersfield, and confidence must be dented.
The Terriers are off the back of a 2-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, but it was six wins in seven games prior to that for the unlikely promotion challengers. David Wagner has led Huddersfield to 5th in the Championship table, six points ahead of the chasing play off hopefuls, and we’re past the halfway point in the season. It’s been three wins in the last four on home ground, while Ipswich have lost four of their last five away games.
Aston Villa v Preston
Finally the draw at 23/103.30+2302.302.30-0.43 with Bet365 and Betfred appeals when Aston Villa host another surprise package in Preston.
The Whites are ninth in the table just six points outside the play offs, and last week beat then-leaders Brighton 2-0. Manager Simon Grayson has developed a strong team ethic at the Lancashire club, and their recent record is more than impressive. They’ve lost only two of the last eleven Championship games – both to top six clubs in Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday. Away from home it’s just one defeat in eight league games, with Preston taking at least a point from trips to Norwich, Brighton, Birmingham and Notts Forest among others.
Steve Bruce has overseen a notable upturn in form since his arrival, but it hasn’t been the supersonic rise that some fans were hoping for. Away form continues to let them down, and 1-0 defeats at Cardiff and Wolves in the last two games have seen the Villains lose further ground on the top six. In 13th place and ten points off the play offs, there is plenty of work to do at Villa Park. Thankfully for Bruce, it’s on home soil that Villa have been putting in the work. It’s five wins and two draws at the famous ground since he took charge, and they remain unbeaten in the league this season.
Unfortunately for Villa, just five goals in their last nine matches is a poor return. They come up against an organised Preston side here which will be happy to leave the midlands with a point.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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