Posted on | December 6, 2013 | No Comments
This is the only Championship game of the weekend that is being televised and considering the fact that Derby sit in 4th spot and Blackpool reside in 6th, it looks as though the broadcasters have made another good choice. There’s no doubt that most viewers will be firmly backing the home side to triumph though, with the Rams on a fantastic run of form since appointing Steve McClaren as their manager.
Even though he may have his critics, it looks as though McClaren is achieving much more success than he did at Derby’s fiercest rivals Nottingham Forest a couple of years ago. The Forest fans couldn’t wait to see the back of him yet he has seemingly learnt from his mistakes, driving the Rams into a strong playoff position. Their form over the last few weeks has been scintillating and following four straight wins, it’s no surprise that their supporters are so confident ahead of this clash. Additionally, if we look to the club’s home form, it’s another reason why the Pride Park outfit hold that favourites tag. The club have not lost a home fixture since mid-September, and approach this game having won three of their last four.
Blackpool on the other hand seem to be slipping the other way. After a frantic start to the season, which saw Paul Ince’s men competing in the automatic promotion positions, the Seasiders have dropped and are clinging onto the last playoff position by the skin of their teeth. They approach this game having won just one of their last four, although two losses in their last three games will hardly brew confidence. From an away perspective it also looks as though problems are developing, with the Bloomfield Road outfit managing just one win on the road since mid-September. To make matters worse, the club had three players sent off in their Tuesday night game – meaning that they have something of a depleted squad for the next few fixtures.
As for team news, Derby are unsurprisingly looking to keep changes to a minimum although Steve McClaren does have a handful of players knocking on his door. The likes of Conor Sammon, Kalifa Cisse and Jeff Hendrick have all been in contention over recent weeks, although all look set for places on the bench. The Seasiders meanwhile are without the three players who were sent off during the week, with Kirk Broadfoot, Gary MacKenzie and Ricardo Fuller the men in question. However, following some of their recent results, several changes might just do the visitors a favour.
Derby’s form over the last few weeks has been fantastic and we thoroughly expect that to continue in this next clash. Opponents Blackpool can still be regarded as one of the most promising teams in the league, but for now they’re in a rut of bad form and we can only predict a 3-1 victory for McClaren’s side on Saturday.
Posted on | December 6, 2013 | No Comments
Expectations for both of these outfits were completely contrasting at the start of the campaign, with Bolton one of the favourites for a promotion push while Doncaster were seen as definite candidates for the drop. With that, there are plenty of surprised faces ahead of this clash, with Rovers sat several places above their opponents as they occupy 15th position.
Taking the above into account, you don’t need to be a genius to conclude that it’s been an opening to forget for home side Bolton. It took Wanderers weeks to net their first victory of the season and when that came, there was a feeling that they’d reached a turning point. However, despite going on a run which saw them go eight games unbeaten, Freedman’s men are still looking over their shoulders. They’ve lost their last two games, and that has certainly plummeted them into even more trouble. Just four points separate them from the bottom three and while most believe that relegation is off the cards, the fact that eleven points separate them from the playoff positions is the most frustrating part for their supporters.
Doncaster meanwhile are exceeding expectations. They might operate on one of the lowest budgets in the division, but that hasn’t stopped them pulling up more than a few trees. In fact, their lowly budget was highlighted significantly last weekend, when they triumphed over big spenders QPR in 2-1 fashion. That victory has contributed to a run of just one loss in their last five and this sort of form is more than sufficient to keep them in the division. Additionally, despite struggling initially on the road, Paul Dickov’s side have looked much stronger over recent weeks and have recorded two away draws out of their last three trips.
Dougie Freedman has taken the rare step of confirming to the press that one man will be starting, with Joe Mason set to make his debut as one of the club’s frontmen ahead of the clash. Elsewhere, Freedman also has Chris Eagles and Alex Baptise available after they recovered from their respective problems. Doncaster on the other hand look set to be without Ritchie Wellens, as he struggles with a back injury incurred in the club’s last game. However, that is the only issue that Paul Dickov has to contend with and he’ll be looking to make as few changes as possible following their recent results.
Even though Doncaster are proving to be a solid Championship outfit at the moment, we think Bolton’s experience will prove to be too much in this game. Wanderers have struggled over the past couple of games, but prior to that they were in excellent form. With Freedman’s men holding the home advantage, we think they’ll be good for a 2-0 victory.
Posted on | December 6, 2013 | No Comments
There’s no doubt that both of these sides desperately need points for different reasons, with home team Burnley looking to regain a foothold in the automatic promotion positions while visitors Barnsley attempt to drag themselves off the foot of the table. While a home win would have been a foregone conclusion a few weeks ago, Barnsley’s decision to replace their manager has led some to believe that their opponents won’t have an easy ride.
However, it also appears as though the Clarets have some problems of their own as well. In the only parts of the season it looked as though they were pretty much invincible, romping their way to the top of the table. Over recent weeks they have hit a few stumbling blocks though and approach this game without a victory in their last six – with their last win coming all the way back in October. Admittedly, most of their recent outings have ended in draws, but it has been enough to dislodge them out of the top two and into 3rd position. It’s not quite panic stations yet at Turf Moor, but Sean Dyche will know that this is a must-win game if his team have serious aspirations of returning to the Premier League. The fact that they have not lost at home all season will undoubtedly spur them on, but Dyche will want to ensure his team don’t just net another point and are going for those elusive three.
Barnsley meanwhile caused a huge surprise in their last game, after overcoming playoff hopefuls Brighton in comfortable 2-1 fashion. The Tykes were playing in their first game since David Flitcroft’s dismissal and the result has unquestionably thrown caretaker boss Micky Mellon into the ring for the permanent job. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t enough to lift them off the foot of the table, but it has at least closed the gap between them and the safety zone. That happened to be only their first away win of the season, so it remains to be seen if they can do the unthinkable and record back to back victories on the road.
In terms of team news, Burnley are sweating on the fitness of two influential players with Danny Ings and Dean Marney both doubtful as ankle and thigh issues hinder the duo respectively. Someone who is a definite absentee is Ross Wallace as he continues to site on the sidelines with a knee injury, but the Clarets can at least call upon Michael Duff who has now served his suspension. Barnsley on the other hand are poised to keep changes to a minimum, with Micky Mellon keen to stick to a winning formula following the club’s impressive victory over Brighton.
Even though Barnsley caused a scalp against Brighton in their last outing, we don’t think lightning can strike twice. Opponents Burnley are due a victory and with the Clarets also holding the home advantage, our tip is going to be a 2-1 win for Sean Dyche’s side.
Posted on | December 5, 2013 | No Comments
Australia ended day one of the Second Test against England in the Ashes on 273-5, that came after captain Michael Clarke won the toss once again chose to bat on a decent wicket.
Chris Rodgers top scored for the hosts with 72 before he fell off the bowling of Swann.
There were also half centuries for Shane Watson and George Bailey as Australia were going well at 155-2 and 174-4, however, England just edged themselves back into the gamer later in the day as their bowlers worked hard despite the pitch not offering much in Adelaide.
Stuart Broad was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors. He finished with two wickets after dismissing David Warner early in the morning and then Bailey just before the close of play.
When Australia return tomorrow Clarke will resume on 48 not out, while he will be partnered by Brad Haddin. The players have plenty of experience between them and will be hoping to lift their side past 300 in the opening session before lunch.
Bet365 make Australia 11/10 favourites going into day two. The draw is then next best at 6/4 as rain is likely over the next four days, while an England win at this stage is as big as 4/1.
Haddin is 8/13 to be the next man out at the crease in a match bet with Clarke who is much bigger at 13/10.
In terms of the series now, Australia are aiming to go 2-0 in front and are 8/15 to regain the Ashes by winning the five-match encounter.
England only need a draw to retain the urn and take it back with them in 2014. A drawn series is 4/1 in the cricket betting at bet365.