Preston Rising to North End of Championship

Preston fought back from two down to secure a point at Aston Villa.

It was another three winning bets last weekend in England’s second tier! Cardiff struck late to beat Burton, but it was a bit more comfortable for Huddersfield as they ran out 2-0 winners against Ipswich. Preston successfully fought back from 2-0 down at Aston Villa to secure a point and land the treble, and the Lilywhites make headline appeal this week as they host an out-of-form Ipswich. The Tractor Boys were knocked out of the FA Cup by Lincoln in a televised game last week, and followed that up with a tame display at Huddersfield. Another trip north to Preston is a tough task, and the pressure is building on boss Mick McCarthy.

The fixture list has been decimated by FA Cup ties, so just five matches take place on Saturday afternoon, but another bet that catches the eye is Norwich to beat Birmingham at Carrow Road. Alex Neil is also under pressure in East Anglia, with his Canaries side floundering in 10th position. Three points will be vital on Saturday, and they come up against a Birmingham team which is yet to win under Gianfranco Zola.

Finally there’s a stirring Yorkshire derby at the New York Stadium, where Rotherham take on Barnsley, but the two teams have very different priorities. The Millers are bottom of the league and nine points from safety, so each game becomes increasingly important. The Tykes are riding high in eight place on the Championship ladder, and with a gap of just four points to the top six, a play off charge is not beyond question. In the context of this match a point is of little benefit to either side, and the desire for three points could lead to a typical end-to-end derby game.

Preston v Ipswich

Preston are great value to grab all three points in their match, with odds of -105  available at BetfredBet365 and William Hill.

The Lilywhites fightback at Aston Villa last weekend was no fluke. Preston have been very hard to beat this season, and it’s now just three defeats in the last thirteen matches. In 11th place, they’re just five points outside the play offs, and with a strong run they have an outside chance of crashing the party. To do that Simon Grayson’s men will need to pick up wins in games like this, against an Ipswich side on a downward curve. That’s not always been the case on home ground this term, and in the last eight home games Peston have suffered defeats to Arsenal, Newcastle and Leeds, and have also been held by Sheffield Wednesday, Burton and Wolves. However, their last home match was a 2-0 victory over top-of-the-table Brighton, a sign of their recent return to form.

Ipswich were tipped to lose last week at Huddersfield after that FA Cup humiliation, but the rut runs deeper than those two games. The Suffolk club have won just three of their last eleven matches, and the numbers are even poorer on the road. Five of the last six away games have ended in defeat for the Tractor Boys, and they’ve lost on four of the last five visits to this ground.

Norwich v Birmingham

Norwich are in a long enough rut of their own, but there are signs of revival and the Canaries are worth backing at -128  with Marathonbet to beat Birmingham.

Disregarding the FA Cup third round 2-2 draw with Southampton and subsequent 1-0 defeat in the replay, Norwich’s recent Championship form reads 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. The reverse was a shock at Rotherham, but that can be excused because striker Nelson Oliveira was sent off after just 18 minutes. In other January fixtures Alex Neil has presided over a 3-0 win against Derby and a 3-1 win against Wolves – both at Carrow Road. Despite the lengthy mid-season wobble Norwich still have good form at their home stadium, with four wins in the last five Championship games.

The surprise sacking of Gary Rowett by Birmingham is looking like a worse decision with every passing game. Gianfranco Zola will be remembered by most as a legendary player, but he hasn’t transferred that ability to a managerial role. Stints at West Ham and Watford were largely unsuccessful, and it was a shock to most in the football world when Zola was brought in to replace Rowett. It’s been eight games without a win since the Italian took charge – four draws and four defeats.

Rotherham v Barnsley

This Yorkshire derby will been fiercely contested, and over 2.5 goals looks the bet to be on at -132  with Marathonbet.

Rotherham are in that do-or-die situation where they have to approach every game looking for three points in a bid for survival. Each of the Millers last six games have had three or more goals, and although they’ve only won two of them, it’s clear that they won’t go down without a fight. There’s not much better to get a group of players fired up than a local derby. Home form can also be a source of inspiration after three wins in the last five home games – against Norwich, Wigan and QPR.

Barnsley arrive fresh from another Yorkshire derby with Leeds in which they emerged 3-2 winners. A great run of results through December helped push the Tykes up the table, and as it stands they are just four points off the top six. Although six of Barnsley’s last ten games have gone under 2.5 goals, they are among the top scoring and conceding sides overall with 46 for and 41 against.

Both teams will push for the points and that should create a wide open contest with plenty of goalmouth action.

Tips Summary

Preston to beat Ipswich
Saturday 28th January,15:00 GMT
Odds:  -105

Norwich to beat Birmingham
Saturday 28th January,15:00 GMT
Odds:  -128

Rotherham v Barnsley – Over 2.5 Goals
Saturday 28th January,15:00 GMT
Odds:  -132


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