Jamie Dickenson casts his eye over the Championship and fancies Watford to turn over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground...
Gianfranco Zola takes his Watford side on the road looking to maintain their impressive away form this season against Nottingham Forest.
The Hornets currently have the second best away record in the Championship, but with a game in hand over Hull City, they could become the outright best with victory over Forest. Watford's last away league defeat was at the end of October, and they are unbeaten in six trips since then. Recent wins at Middlesbrough and Brighton have proved their steel as promotion contenders, and beating Forest would put them right in the mix for second place. 20-year-old on-loan Udinese forward Matěj Vydra has been a revelation under Zola this campaign, and could continue his hot-streak in front of goal here after scoring twice in four of his last five games in the division.
Nottingham Forest are still finding their way under new manager Alex McLeish, with just one win in five since his appointment. Losing at home to Oldham in the FA Cup will not have helped the Scot win over skeptical fans, but on the flip side they have taken four points from six since that knock-out disappointment. McLeish will be wary of facing a dangerous Watford side who beat Forest 2-0 just last month, and he would likely settle for a point this time around. If they can stay in the game until the later stages, striker Billy Sharp should be closely tracked as his last two goals have come in stoppage time.
The odds for a Watford win are generous given their exploits on the road this season, so punters might wish to take the extra security available at a still decent rate by siding with Zola's team in the Draw No Bet market at 2.15n/a.
Chris Powell's Charlton host Dave Jones' Sheffield Wednesday, with the Addicks looking to improve their home record in the league in 2013.
Charlton have won more Championship games on the road than they have at home this season, including recent triumphs at Blackburn and Watford. The East London side will be therefore licking their lips at the prospect of improving that statistic against a Wednesday team who have failed to score in five of their last six matches. Charlton can flatter to deceive on their own patch at times, but with just one league defeat in their last seven at the Valley, things are starting to turn around.
Wednesday's only win in their last six outings was a stunning 3-1 victory at Hull City in the league, but December victories over Bolton, Barnsley and Charlton hinted that relegation might not be a concern for the Sheffield club in the New Year. However their lack of goals in recent weeks will be a grave concern for Dave Jones, and the former Cardiff boss will not have taken kindly to how his side went out in the FA Cup to MK Dons after initially being forced to a replay. They are currently out of the relegation zone, but if their goal-shy form continues, that won't be for long.
Charlton lost 2-0 at Sheffield Wednesday last month, but given the visitors have been firing blanks and the Addicks are performing well, backing the hosts to exact some revenge and Win To Nil looks worth a punt at 2.75n/a.
Burnley welcome struggling Birmingham to Turf Moor, with the visitors without a win in six outings and coming under increasing financial concerns.
The Clarets however, are marching up the table after winning four of their last five Championship games. Sean Dyche's side continue to be without top scorer Charlie Austin, who is suffering from injury and yet to play a game in 2013, but the Lancashire club appear to be learning to excel without him. Currently seventh in the league and just one position off the play-offs, Burnley will be aiming to keep their momentum going against a Blues team five points away from the relegation zone.
With the threat of administration looming for Birmingham, it is not a great time to be a Bluenose, in addition to this the return to Premier League football looking a distant proposition in this campaign. Lee Clark is doing his best under the constraints, but has managed just two wins in the club's last 15 fixtures in all competitions. Curiously, Blues haven't really struggled for goals, failing to score just twice in 16 games. But the last clean sheet Birmingham kept was on the 10th of November, and therein lies the problem for Clark and his team.
Both sides have found the net in the last seven meetings between Burnley and Birmingham, and with neither side wanting for goals recently backing Both Teams To Score looks an assured selection at 1.855/6.
Back Watford to win at 3.02/1
Back Watford in the Draw No Bet market at 2.15n/a
Back Charlton to Win at 2.15n/a
Back Charlton to Win To Nil at 2.75n/a
Back Burnley to Win at 1.9010/11
Back Both Teams To Score in Burnley v Birmingham at 1.855/6
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