McCarthy's men to remain unbeaten
Peterborough 3.3512/5 v Cardiff 2.3211/8; The Draw 3.211/5
Peterborough left it late to clinch their first victory of the season on Saturday lunchtime and Darren Ferguson will be delighted to get off the mark in the Championship. Posh were exceptionally poor on the opening weekend, however, they were much improved in front of a buoyant home crowd just seven days later. Despite falling behind, the newly promoted outfit displayed a never-say-die attitude and they were duly rewarded deep into stoppage time. Harrison Burrows, who was born in Wisbech, put in a man-of-the-match performance, and alongside newcomer Ollie Norburn, he helped turn the tide in the second half.
Cardiff were far too streetwise for newly promoted Blackpool on Saturday as the Seasiders struggled to cope with their opponent's Championship experience. Sean Morrison was imperious at the back, whereas the deliveries of Ryan Giles proved to be a constant thorn in the side of the Tangerines. The Bluebirds couldn't take their chances against Barnsley on the opening day of the season, however, they were clinical when it mattered at Bloomfield Road and could easily have notched three or four. Although, this is a quick turnaround, Mick McCarthy will be confident that his side can get the better of another Championship newcomer on Tuesday evening.
McCarthy's sides are incredibly tough to beat, and although the hosts are likely to approach this tie with plenty of confidence, the Welshmen should be able to leave Cambridgeshire with maximum points. Cardiff allowed the Seasiders just two shots on target at the weekend and unlike Derby, they aren't likely to switch off late in the game. Cardiff can be backed at 2.3211/8 in this midweek contest.
Barnsley and Luton to share the points
Barnsley 2.245/4 v Luton 3.55; The Draw 3.3512/5
Barnsley picked up their first victory of the season at the weekend with the Tykes edging out Coventry at Oakwell. Nevertheless, the general concensus is that the Tykes may have got away with one. Viktor Gyokeres' poor penalty in the dying embers of the game was a significant let-off, however, it gave Markus Schopp's men a much needed boost. The South Yorkshire club were almost punished for their lack of composure in front of goal, and the home fans are understandably a little concerned about their side's lack of firepower. Nevertheless, Schopp is yet to introduce the club's summer signings, and although the Belgian pair are unlikely to be rushed into first-team action, they could make a significant difference when they are finally unleashed.
Luton were unable to build upon their opening day victory, however, they competed admirably and gave West Brom a late scare. Nathan Jones' sides never know when their beaten and confidence remains high amongst the fanbase. The Hatters have plenty of firepower in their ranks, however, they've been dogged by defensive injuries during the opening couple of weeks of the 2021-22 campaign. Jordan Clark's injury is a signficant concern, as the former Accrington man plays a vital role on the right hand side. Jones will be hoping to avoid any further knocks on Tuesday evening.
Luton's superb away record last season makes them extremely hard to oppose. They were second best against the Baggies, however, despite this, they almost snatched a late equaliser. The draw looks worth backing at 3.3512/5.
Blackpool to bounce back from weekend defeat
Blackpool 2.747/4 v Coventry 2.89/5; The Draw 3.211/5
Cardiff managed to extinguish Blackpool's momentum on Saturday afternoon as the Bluebirds ran out 2-0 winners at Bloomfield Road. Even the most optimistic of Seasiders fans will be a little worried about the manner of the defeat with the hosts struggling to cope with the physicality and Championship know-how of their opponents. Neil Critchley admitted that his side's performance wasn't good enough and the former Liverpool youth coach is likely to make changes for this midweek match-up. If Blackpool are to survive this season, this is exactly the sort of game they should be winning and they will fancy their chances against a side who don't tend to travel well. Josh Bowler and Shayne Lavery were both introduced off the bench on Saturday and the speedy duo may be handed a start here.
Coventry spurned the chance to take a point away from Oakwell with Viktor Gyokeres' disappointing spotkick leaving them with nothing to show for their efforts. The Sky Blues were competitive throughout, however, some fans are understandably concerned about their side's lack of firepower. Summer signing Martyn Waghorn is yet to get off the mark, whereas Matt Godden is rarely fit enough to complete a run of games. They do have schemer Callum O'Hare who is capable of the unpredictable and they also pose a significant threat from set-pieces.
The visitors' away form is uninspiring, and that could tip this in favour of Blackpool. Neil Critchley will be hatching a plan to ensure his side don't make the same mistakes, and backing Blackpool at 2.747/4 is worth chancing.
Low-scoring affair in West Yorkshire
Huddersfield 2.56/4 v Preston 2.942/1; The Draw 3.259/4
Huddersfield fans are understandably concerned about their side's early season form and the Terriers were easily swept aside by recently relegated Fulham. They won't be the only side to fall to Marco Silva's side this year, and they are still recovering from a recent COVID outbreak which saw their manager and several players being forced to self-isolate. Despite making wholesale changes to their defence this summer, the hosts still appear shaky at the back and look capable of committing costly blunders at the drop of a hat. At the other end of the pitch, the West Yorkshire side look a little smarter, however, they still don't have enough firepower to hurt sides, and their failure to finish off Derby ten days ago is testament to that. With their transfer business currently unfinished, Carlos Corberan will be keen to add some much-needed quality to his squad before the end of the month.
Preston supporters are feeling equally as pessimistic after seeing their side lose their opening two Championship matches. PNE have also committed a number of costly errors at the back and they struggled to cope with Reading's John Swift at the weekend. Frankie McAvoy already appears to be wheeling out the same excuses on a weekly basis, and the inexperienced coach must find a way to make the Lilywhites significantly tougher to beat. There is a smattering of quality within Preston's squad, however, their inept defending tends to give them too much to do.
Neither side will be feeling confident and this could be a tough watch. Back Under 2.5 Goals at 1.75/7 on the Exchange.
Fulham to edge their way to consectutive away wins
Millwall 3.185/40 v Fulham 2.3611/8; The Draw 3.211/5
Millwall's reliance on Jed Wallace is a little concerning. Gary Rowett's side were indebited to the former Wolves man once again, and the club's lack of options going forward is something which must be addressed. Benik Afobe looks sharp, but he's lacking confidence in front of goal, and another striker is surely the priority between now and the end of August. The Bermondsey outfit bossed the game and looked destined for three points, however, they allowed Blackburn back into the game and were left to rue a number of missed opportunities. They outshot their opponents 15-2, however, just two of those efforts landed on target.
Fulham cruised past hapless Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon and confidence will be high heading into this midweek fixture. Marco Silva admitted that he was delighted with the 'buy in' from his players and a number of standout performance including Jean Michael-Seri, Kenny Tete and Josh Onomah looked supremely confident on the ball. Bobby Decordova-Reid was absolutely superb, and the former Bristol City man claimed three assists in West Yorkshire. Some Cottagers fans have remarked that their side won't have many easier games this year, and this is likely to be much tougher. However, they have goals in their side, and with Millwall's lack of penetration, they should be able to edge this.
If they can keep Jed Wallace quiet, the recently relegated visitors should collect three points. They can be backed at 2.3611/8 on the Exchange.
Points shared in South Wales
Swansea 2.727/4 v Stoke 2.8815/8; The Draw 3.211/5
Swansea vs Sheffield was a fairly dour spectacle on Saturday evening and despite Russell Martin's side playing some tidy and attractive football, their lack of creativity is something which needs to be addressed. The Swans managed just a single shot on target, and some fans have suggested that Liam Cullen is struggling to adapt to his new role. Despite this, Flynn Downes looked extremely composed and Ryan Manning's desire to run into the opposition's half suggests that he can be a real threat this season on the left-hand side. The Welshmen are still a work in progress, however, their penchant for playing out from the back has landed them in hot water on more than a couple of occasions.
Stoke are unbeaten so far this season, and their opening two games were vastly contrasting affairs. Against Reading, Michael O'Neill's men attacked with gusto, however, they looked shaky at the back. At St.Andrews, they produced very little, however, they rarely looked likely conceding in B9. The Potters were conservative on their travels last season and rarely pushed forward outside of Staffordshire. O'Neill isn't the sort of manager to take risks and he is likely to be satisfied with another away point here.
Backing the draw at 3.211/5 looks the best option.
Royals to edge the Robins
Reading 2.186/5 v Bristol City 3.39/4; The Draw 3.39/4
Reading have a small squad and keeping the majority of their players fit this season is an absolute neccessity. John Swift has a poor injury record, however, the former Chelsea man is a potential game-changer and he has made an impressive start to the campaign. The playmaker was instrumental once again at the weekend, and he is likely to have his say at the Madejski on Tuesday night. There were a number of promising performances with youngster Femi Azeez and the dependable Josh Laurent also looking sharp. Although they look far from secure at the back, the Berkshire side have now scored four times and creating chances doesn't seem to be an issue.
Bristol City were poor at the weekend, and were deservedly defeated at the Riverside Stadium. Nigel Pearson's side still need some major renovations, however, there were a number of promising performances with youngsters Alex Scott and Saikou Janneh injecting some excitement into the XI. Zak Vyner struggled to cope with Boro's threat down the left, and Reading could take full advantage of the full back's hesitatant nature. The Robins do have experience in their ranks and both Andy King and Matty James will look get on the ball, however, they are struggling to create chances.
The hosts look more likely to find the back of the net, so they're worth backing at 2.186/5 here.
Birmingham to frustrate the Cherries
Birmingham 2.942/1 v Bournemouth 2.3211/8; The Draw 3.052/1
Birmingham have made an unbeaten start to the campaign, and their success is largely built on solid foundations. Scoring goals remains an issue with neither Scott Hogan, Lukas Jutliewicz or Jonathan Leko able to find their shooting boots so far this campaign. The Blues will improve as the season progresses and there may also be one or two more additions to arrive over the coming weeks. Tahith Chong sat out against Stoke, and the hosts missed his unpredictability in the final third. They are yet to concede a goal and they will look to make it difficult for the visitors here.
Bournemouth picked up their first win of the campaign as their youthful XI was able to edge out Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. David Brooks looked sharp, however, the Welshman was later dismissed and will miss this tie. Scott Parker's men have plenty of firepower in their side and they will look to create chances, however, Brooks' absence is likely to hinder them on Wednesday night. The Cherries only just edged out the Tricky Trees at the weekend, however, they will find this a little tough.
Backing these two sides to share the points at 3.052/1 may be the best bet in this game.
Tigers to put a forgettable performance firmly behind them
Hull 1.9520/21 v Derby 43/1; The Draw 3.55/2
Hull fans were left hugely disappointed by their side's performance at the weekend as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of QPR. Grant McCann admitted that his side simply switched off and lost concentration at crucial moments, and they will be looking to avoid a similar fate on Wednesday evening. The hosts still created chances, although the dismissal of George Moncur took the wind out of their sails. The Humberside outfit still have plenty of options from the bench and although the loss of the former Luton midfielder is a blow, they will be feeling confident ahead of this midweek clash with Derby.
The Rams were on course for a second successive draw before Siriki Dembele's late intervention snatched all three points. The loss of the experienced Colin Kazim-Richards is yet another kick in the teeth for the East Midlands' outfit and this is a quick turnaround for such a small and youthful squad. Derby are playing some decent stuff and they aren't getting turned over easily, however, this could be a stretch too far. Ravel Morrison offers them something different going forward, however, they could be edged out of this game.
Hull should be able to get back to winning ways at 1.9520/21
Entertaining affair at the Riverside
Middlesbrough 2.466/4 v QPR 3.185/40; The Draw 3.3512/5
Middlesbrough have looked extremely tough to beat so far this season and Neil Warnock's men are unlikely to surrender easily this campaign. Uche Ikpeazu may not be a conventional striker, however, he offers plenty of hustle and bustle and is a nightmare to defend against. Another new crop of young players have started to make an impression over the last couple of months with the hugely impressive Isiah Jones putting in a fantastic display against Bristol City at the weekend. Under previous regimes, Boro often struggled in Teesside, however, Warnock has made them formidable on their own patch and this is not a stadium that many teams tend to enjoy visiting.
QPR have started the season in eye-catching fashion and like tonight's opponents, they remain unbeaten so far. Mark Warburton's side picked up a useful point at the Den before blitzing Hull City at the weekend. The West Londoners were the better side throughout and they took full advantage of their opponents sloppiness. Rob Dickie has been the star of the show so far and defender appears to be marketing himself as an unlikely candidate for top goalscorer this year. Warburton's men have enjoy a tremendous 2021 so far and there is nothing in their recent performances to suggest that their run of form is coming to an end anytime soon.
This could be a brilliant 90 minutes between two sides who will be full of confidence. There is likely to be plenty at action at both ends so backing Over 2.5 Goals at 2.0421/20 looks like a value selection.
Unconvincing Forest to secure a point against Blackburn
Nottingham Forest 2.546/4 v Blackburn 2.8815/8; The Draw 3.3512/5
Chris Hughton's first game in charge of Nottingham Forest came against Blackburn and its fair to say there was plenty of optimism surrounding his appointment. However, the fans are slowly beginning of tire of the manager's pragmatism and there has been plenty of criticism of his lack of adventure when it comes to making second half changes. Nevertheless, the Tricky Trees are still without a number of key players and they still have big gaps in key areas. The East Midlands outfit have now conceded four goals in the last two games, and although they looked fairly handy going forward against Bournemouth, they failed to convince at the back.
Blackburn produced a measly 0.28 xG at the weekend, yet somehow Rovers still managed to take a point from their clash with Millwall. Tony Mowbray's side have lost their top goalscorer during this transfer window, however, Ben Brereton-Diaz has stepped up to fill the void left by Adam Armstrong. The Lancashire side aren't likely to be easily swept aside this season, but they sometimes struggle to create chances against better sides.
There appears to be little between this pair, so backing the game to end all-square at 3.3512/5 appears to be a logical pick.
Blunt Blades to struggle at the Hawthorns
West Brom 2.166/5 v Sheffield United 3.711/4; The Draw 3.45
West Brom were given a fright by Luton at the weekend, however, despite the threat of a late comeback, the Baggies managed to hold on for all three points. The recently relegated outfit have very few problems in the final third and they have now scored five times in their first two matches. However, injuries have taken their toll at the other end of the pitch and they don't look entirely convincing at the back. Callum Robinson has looked electric so far, whilst classy midfielder Alex Mowatt appears to have immediately settled in. Karlan Grant can score goals at this level and Grady Diangana is always a threat.
Sheffield United have struggled to find their rhythm so far and they appear to be suffering from a relegation hangover. The Blades will surely improve under Championship promotion specialist Slavisa Jokanovic, however, on current form, they fail to convince. With very few signings coming through the door, the squad looks a little disjointed and the first half of the campaign could be a struggle for the South Yorkshire outfit. Preventing the free-scoring hosts from finding the back of the net will be challenging, however, they must also find a way to ask questions of the home defence.
WBA look perfectly backable at 2.166/5 and although they aren't likely to run away with this, they should have enough quality.
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7