End-to-end contest expected in South Yorkshire
Barnsley 2.47/5 v Preston 3.39/4; The Draw 3.45
Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael has won seven of his first 11 games in South Yorkshire, and the Frenchman has guided the Tykes to the fringes of the top half. They come into this game off the back of successive Championship wins, and in each of those fixtures, they have shown a pleasing ability to grind out results. Both Wycombe and Sheffield Wednesday set up to defend, yet Ismael’s men managed to find a way through. Tuesday’s clash with Preston promises to be a different test, and it’s likely to be a very watchable 90 minutes.
Although Barnsley had to display their resilient side in order to edge past the Owls at the weekend, they are equally adept with the ball at their feet, and Preston are unlikely to park the bus. Ismael has praised the ‘togetherness’ of his squad, and there have been a number of standout performers in recent weeks. Dominik Frieser came back into the side at the weekend, and proved to be the match-winner, whilst Cauley Woodrow led the line superbly, and Connor Chaplin looked dangerous throughout.
The hosts have won four of their last six matches at this ground, and although they’ve kept four clean sheets on their own patch, they have faced some of the division’s poorest travellers. Nottingham Forest have averaged just 0.33 away goals per game, with Watford and QPR also struggling for firepower on the road. Although Preston drew a blank at the weekend, they remain the division’s most prolific away outfit with 18 goals to their name.
Although Barnsley have been fairly efficient going forward, it’s now six games since they kept a clean sheet, and PNE are unlikely to misfire for the second game running.
The Lilywhites are one of the most inconsistent and unpredictable sides in the division, although their matches do tend to be entertaining. Their away games have averaged 3.78 goals, with only Blackburn and Huddersfield getting anywhere close to that total. With just a single shot on target at the weekend, Alex Neil is likely to make plenty of changes for this fixture, with Emil Riis and Daniel Johnson both likely to return.
This could be a very entertaining contest, and although they failed to find the net against high-flying Bournemouth, Barnsley have netted exactly two goals in three of their last four here. With 13 goals in Preston’s last three away games, we can expect plenty of chances at both ends, and at 2.021/1 on the Exchange, Over 2.5 Goals looks the best option.
Blackburn to ease past travel-sick Millers
Blackburn 3.185/40 v Rotherham 2.546/4; The Draw 3.259/4
Blackburn are winless in three coming into this, however, Rovers have had to negotiate some extremely tough fixtures, and they’ll fancy their chances of getting back to winning ways when they host one of the division’s poorest travellers on Wednesday. Tony Mowbray‘s side have remained competitive in each of those fixtures, and even took a point off Brentford despite going down to ten men in the first half.
The Lancashire outfit have found it tough against top half opposition, and having faced nine of the top ten so far, they’ve accumulated a paltry three points. However, when coming up against teams positioned ninth or below, they’ve suffered just a single defeat. They’ve also fired in 23 goals when taking on bottom half sides and that bodes well for this midweek match-up with fifth bottom Rotherham.
Only Norwich have taken more shots than Rovers this season, and although they were on the wrong end of a smash and grab performance from Bristol City seven days ago, they still managed to fire in 22 efforts on goal. Mowbray’s sides are renowned for playing good football, and attacking trio Sam Gallagher, Adam Armstrong and Harvey Elliott all put in decent performances at the weekend.
Rotherham picked up their first victory in over a month on Saturday as they out-fought Bristol City at the New York Stadium, however, Paul Warne’s side continue to stink the place out on their travels. They have a 1-2-6 record on the road, and have lost six consecutive away games. They kept it tight at the beginning of the campaign, but have now conceded eight times in their last three, and they barely laid a glove on Watford last week.
Although the Millers’ team spirit cannot be questioned, and the players clearly enjoying working under Warne, they haven’t been good enough going forward, and if they fall behind here, they could be in trouble. They’ve averaged just 0.67 goals per game on the road, and although Blackburn’s defence isn’t the sturdiest, it’s hard to see them keeping the hosts off the score-sheet.
Blackburn’s attacking instincts should give them the edge here, and although they’ve only won four times on their own patch, they have scored at least twice in each of those victories. Blackburn to Win and Over 1.5 Match Goals is available at 5/6 on the Sportsbook and looks a sensible way to approach this contest.
Sky Blues to edge out the Terriers
Coventry 2.47/5 v Huddersfield 3.211/5; The Draw 3.45
Coventry‘s recent form has been very impressive and Mark Robins is slowly guiding his side away from the danger zone. Although their squad still looks a little light on numbers, the Sky Blues have become extremely hard to beat, and they’ve managed to put together a seven-match unbeaten streak.
At the weekend, they managed to seal all three points in a tempestuous clash with Wycombe, courtesy of an unlikely double from Liam Kelly. Gustavo Hamer put in another superb performance, whilst Leo Ostigard was rock solid all afternoon.
Although Kelly’s injury is undoubtedly a concern, Robin’s men should still have enough to see off their inconsistent visitors on Wednesday evening.
They’ve managed to keep things tight at St Andrews in recent weeks, and have kept three clean sheets in their last four outings here. Luton, Cardiff and Birmingham have all failed to find the net at this venue, and Rotherham’s late strike was merely a consolation. With just four goals shipped in seven games, the hosts will be tough to break down once again, and one goal may be enough to tip this contest in favour of the Sky Blues.
Huddersfield remain difficult to predict, however, they are fairly competent in West Yorkshire. Away from home, Carlos Corberan has been unable to reproduce that form, and the Terriers have now failed to find the back of the net in each of their last three away trips. They will need to quickly pick themselves up after being humbled by free-scoring Bournemouth at the weekend.
Luckily for the visitors, Coventry cannot boast the attacking talents of the Cherries, however, they could be equally as tough to penetrate. Although they managed to keep a clean sheet against Wycombe at the end of November, Corberan’s side have conceded 12 times in last four away trips.
The hosts will come into this game full of confidence, and they are defending superbly at this moment in time. Huddersfield’s away form is worrying, and although they remain wildly unpredictable, they are unlikely to get anything from this encounter. Coventry can be backed at 2.47/5 on the Exchange, and should be able to pick up back-to-back wins.
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7