PNE to revel in home comforts

Preston 2.166/5 v Cardiff 3.55; The Draw 3.3512/5

Despite a number of experienced managers having become available in the last seven days, Cardiff have opted to hand Steve Morison the job until the end of the season. The former striker has undoubtedly improved morale within the squad, and he has managed to pick up four points since replacing Mick McCarthy at the end of October.

The 38-year old has worked with many of the younger players within the squad and the club will be hoping that the likes of Isaak Davies, Rubin Colwill and Mark Harris can make a considerable contribution this season. Although they beat Huddersfield prior to the international break, their performance against QPR was concerning, and their 3-3 draw with Stoke was partly reliant on the home side committing a series of costly mistakes.

Preston are one of the weaker teams in the division, however, they’ve become incredibly tough to beat in front of their own fans. They haven’t lost here since the opening day of the season and despite facing three of the top five at Deepdale, they have still managed to avoid defeat in each of those encounters.

Emil Riis has been away on international duty, and he is likely to test the Cardiff defence, whereas Ali McCann’s return from injury has coincided with an upturn in form. PNE have conceded just four times in their last seven matches here and they should be able to continue that fine run of form in Lancashire.

Recommended Bet: Back Preston to beat Cardiff @ 2.166/5

Another entertaining afternoon at Ashton Gate

Bristol City 2.962/1 v Blackburn 2.466/4; The Draw 3.55

Bristol City have been exceptionally poor this season and they’ve already lost 24 Championship matches this calendar year. Nigel Pearson’s side cannot stop conceding and their recent 2-1 win against fellow strugglers Barnsley did very little to mask their inefficiencies. They’ve conceded 14 times in their last six matches and have managed just a single clean sheet at Ashton Gate so far. Blackburn’s away form is a mixed bag, although they did beat Derby at the end of October. Nevertheless, Tony Mowbray’s men have struggled to keep clean sheets on their travels and only Barnsley have failed to find the net when hosting Rovers since the beginning of August. Both sides have attacking talent in their ranks, however, they’ve also been plagued by defensive lapses and this could be a topsy-turvy affair.

Recommended Bet: Back BTTS in Bristol City vs Blackburn @ 1.75/7

Cottages to comfortably sweep aside toothless Tykes

Fulham 1.330/100 v Barnsley 1211/1; The Draw 5.85/1

Fulham have been superb so far this season and they are leading the way when it comes to attacking numbers in the Championship. Marco Silva’s side are averaging 16.29 shots per game and have fired in 100 shots on target this season, 12 more than any other side in the second tier. Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has enjoyed a productive international break and the prolific Serbian has scored 20 times so far this campaign, eight more than the entire Barnsley squad. The Tykes have appointed a new manager this week, however Poya Asbaghi will not take over until Monday morning. Caretaker Jo Laumann will remain in charge for this game, and having lost to fellow relegation rivals Hull a fortnight ago, confidence appears to be at an all-time low. With Fulham having scored 12 times in their last four home matches, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the visitors on the end of an embarrassing rout this weekend.

Recommended Bet: Back Over 2.5 Fulham goals @ 2.111/10

Terriers to restrict uninspiring Baggies

Huddersfield 43/1 v West Brom 2.1211/10; The Draw 3.3512/5

If West Brom are to establish themselves as serious promotion candidates this season, they simply must improve their form on the road. Away from the Hawthorns, they’ve won just 38% of their matches, whereas both Bournemouth (75%) and Fulham (67%) have been far more effective on their travels. Valerien Ismael’s side have won just three of their eight matches against fellow top half dwellers and many fans remain unconvinced by the Frenchman’s preferred style of play. Huddersfield were defeated prior to the international break, and picked up a few injuries along the way, however, the Terriers are strong at home and have kept five clean sheets in their first eight matches at the John Smith’s Stadium. Only Fulham and Nottingham Forest have won here and WBA may struggle to break down the stubborn hosts.

Recommended Bet: Back Huddersfield Draw No Bet (vs West Brom) @ 2.68/5

Low-scoring 90 minutes in Humberside

Hull 2.727/4 v Birmingham 2.942/1; The Draw 3.39/4

Hull have been showing signs of life at the foot of the table and although Grant McCann’s side have a long way to go, they have given themselves a fighting chance of remaining in the division. The Tigers have improved defensively and have conceded just eight times in as many matches. Creativity remains an issue, and carving out opportunities against the league’s better sides continues to prove a difficult task. Birmingham were surprisingly defeated by Reading prior to the international break and Lee Bowyer’s side continue to be the epitome of inconsistency. There have been just five goals across their last four away matches and they have struggled to find the back of the net away from St. Andrews. Just two of their first eight away matches have featured three or more goals and this could be another slow burner.

Recommended Bet: Back Under 2.5 Goals in Hull vs Birmingham @ 1.645/8

Wilder to claim a point in his first home game

Middlesbrough 2.1411/10 v Millwall 3.8514/5; The Draw 3.3512/5

Chris Wilder was appointed as the new Middlesbrough manager prior to the international break and the former Sheffield United boss is tasked with taking the Teessiders to the next level. Boro have made an average start to the season, and have been incredibly effective against bottom half opposition, however, they’ve struggled against the division’s better sides. They are yet to beat a side in the top 12, although most of those games have been decided by fine margins. Millwall have lost just two of their last 13 matches and although Gary Rowett’s men have occasionally frustrated fans with their lack of adventure in the final third, they are incredibly compact and always tough to break down. Their only two away wins have come against bottom eight opposition and the points may have to be shared in this one.

Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Middlesbrough vs Millwall @ 3.39/4

Reading and Forest to exchange blows in Berkshire

Reading 3.1511/5 v Nottingham Forest 2.447/5; The Draw 3.412/5

Only high-flying duo Bournemouth and Fulham have collected more points on the road than Nottingham Forest this season. Since Steve Cooper took over at the City Ground, they’ve collected 18 points overall and they have lost just one of their last ten matches. The Tricky Trees have suffered just two away defeats so far, both of which have come against strong home sides (Coventry and Stoke). Striker Lewis Grabban was excellent against Preston prior to the international break whereas Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna appear to be establishing a solid partnership at the back. Reading have accepted their points deduction this week and although the Royals remain clear of the relegation zone, they cannot afford any more complacency. Although the signing of Andy Carroll has raised a few eyebrows, Veljko Paunovic’s side are in desperate need of some firepower and the powerful Geordie may provide some much-needed know-how in the final third. Despite their struggles, they’ve netted in seven of their eight home matches and should be able to find the back of net once again.

Recommended Bet: Back BTTS in Reading vs Nottingham Forest @ 1.784/5

Potters to ease past travelsick Posh

Stoke 1.564/7 v Peterborough 76/1; The Draw 4.3100/30

Michael O’Neill was dismayed by his side’s defensive generosity against Cardiff at the end of October, however, the Potters have responded with consecutive clean sheets. Stoke restricted in-form Blackpool at the beginning of the month and gave away very few chances against Luton a fortnight ago. They’ve suffered just a single home defeat so far this campaign, with early pacesetters Bouremouth being the only side to have left with maximum points. Although they are missing talisman Nick Powell, the hosts still have plenty of experience within their squad and that could easily make the difference here. Peterborough are always competitive on their own patch, however, they have struggled on their travels. They have a 1-0-7 record away from home and have failed to score in three of their last four matches on the road. This should be a straightforward task for the Staffordshire outfit.

Recommended Bet: Back Stoke to beat Peterborough @ 1.564/7

Swansea to see off impressive Tangerines

Swansea 1.9110/11 v Blackpool 4.67/2; The Draw 3.55/2

Swansea may still finding their feet under Russell Martin, however, the Welsh side have become incredibly tough to beat on their own patch. They’ve conceded just four times at this ground and only two sides have managed to find the net in South Wales so far. Their success has been built on keeping the ball and restricting the opposition throughout the 90 minutes. Their possession-based style has helped them to patiently carve out chances and they have scored eight times in their last three outings here. Blackpool have been transformed since the first international break of the campaign and the Seasiders should have beaten QPR at Bloomfield Road at the beginning of November. BTTS has landed in 88% of their away games and they’ve been far more effective going forward on the road so far. However, this may be a step too far for Neil Critchley’s men.

Recommended Bet: Back Swansea to beat Blackpool @ 1.9110/11

You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7

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