It's a quick turnaround in the Championship and Jack Critchley has run the rule over the latest set of midweek fixtures...
"Only three sides have faced fewer shots than the Cherries this season, and although QPR will provide a stern test for the Bournemouth back-line, they should be able to keep them at arm's length for the majority of this contest"
QPR's unbeaten run to end at the Vitality
Bournemouth produced an emphatic display at the weekend as they swept aside Barnsley at the Vitality. Some neutrals weren't completed convinced by the Cherries ahead of Saturday's success, however, with several key players returning to the squad, they are beginning to look like genuine promotion contenders. With only Lewis Cook and Junior Stanislas unavailable, Scott Parker has a enviable crop of players to pick from, and he could be tempted to start recent signings Ryan Christie, Jamal Lowe and Morgan Rogers on Tuesday night. Only three sides have faced fewer shots than the Cherries this season, and although QPR will provide a stern test for the Bournemouth back-line, they should be able to keep them at arm's length for the majority of this contest.
The R's laboured to a 3-3 draw with Reading at the weekend, and although they must be commended for their never-say-die attitude, they looked defensively vulnerable against the previously shot-shy Royals. Many of their fans have commented that Mark Warburton's men have been winning without playing well, and with both Chris Willock and Ilias Chair listed as doubts for this game, their unbeaten run could come to an end here. The West London outfit has conceded at least two goals in three of their last four Championship outings and they could be in for a tough 90 minutes on the south coast.
Recommended Bet: Back Bournemouth to beat QPR @ 21/1
Toothless tigers to come up short in Lancashire
Hull haven't scored a competitive goal since August 10th, and the Tigers drew yet another blank at the weekend. Grant McCann's men managed just four shots against Swansea on Saturday afternoon and they failed to trouble a previously shaky Swans defence. They have managed to pick up points in each of their last two encounters, however, fans will not fancy watching too many more stalemates going forward. The men from Humberside look relatively solid at the back, although they have perhaps been a little fortunate that both Bournemouth and Swansea seemingly left their shooting boots at home. They are averaging just 2.5 shots on target per game with only Barnsley having produced fewer meaningful efforts on goal so far this season. Blackburn were seemingly cruising against Luton at the weekend, however, Rovers lost concentration in the second half and were forced to share the points. The Hatters' tenacity and determination was impressive, however, Tony Mowbray will have been disappointed by his side's inability to see the job through. The Lancashire side have enough firepower to win this game, and they should be able to hold on and secure all three points this time around.
Recommended Bet: Back Blackburn to beat Hull @ 2.166/5
Tangerines and Terriers to cancel one another out
Both Blackpool and Huddersfield can be backed at 2.8415/8 to collect three points on Tuesday evening and it's extremely hard to argue with these odds. There is very little between these two sides and the pair may have share the points by the Seaside. The hosts will be buoyed by an unlikely success against early pacesetters Fulham at the weekend and Neil Critchley will be hoping that the vocal Bloomfield Road crowd can play another significant role in helping his side to secure back-to-back Championship victories. Josh Bowler grabbed the winner on Saturday, however, there were notable performances from Marvin Ekpitata, Kevin Stewart and the returning Jordan Gabriel. Huddersfield were edged out by Stoke in the Potteries, however, Carlos Corberan will be pleased with his side's progress so far this season. Electric wideman Sorba Thomas continues to earn rave reviews whilst Lewis O'Brien and Harry Toffolo add a bit of class to the XI. The hosts haven't created an awful lot in recent weeks, but they are becoming increasingly tough to beat, and they should be able to add another point to their tally on Tuesday.
Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Blackpool vs Huddersfield @ 3.259/4
Resurgent Blades to clinch consecutive victories
Sheffield United have finally clicked. The Blades looked a completed different beast on Saturday afternoon with new signings Morgan Gibbs-White and Iliman N'Diaye proving valuable additions. Billy Sharp also caught the eye with the veteran striker claiming three assists at Bramall Lane and he is clearly relishing the chance to play alongside some genuine pace and quality. Prior to their success at the weekend, the South Yorkshire side had been producing some decent defensive numbers, however, they'd been lacking in the creativity department. Ben Osborn, who was relieved of his defensive duties for the first time this campaign, also looked like a player reborn at the weekend. Preston battled their way to a point at Ashton Gate and the Lilywhites have become increasingly tough to beat under Frankie McAvoy this season. Only six sides have conceded fewer shots so far, and they are unlikely to go down without a fight here. Joran Storey, Patrick Bauer and Andrew Hughes kept a tight ship at the weekend, however, the hosts may only need a single goal to win this contest.
Recommended Bet: Back Sheffield United to beat Preston @ 1.9720/21
Another entertaining affair at the Madjeski
Reading find themselves firmly entrenched within the relegation zone, however, the Royals have been brilliant to watch this season and all six of their matches have featured at least three goals. Veljko Paunovic has been trying to implement a more attack-minded approach this year, and they looked extremely dangerous going forward against QPR at the weekend. John Swift's delightful hat-trick was almost enough to secure the Berkshire outfit their first victory since mid-August, however, their defence was breached in the dying embers of the contest and they were forced to settle for a point. Peterborough were battered by Sheffield United at the weekend, however, Posh did create chances and five of their seven efforts were on target. Darren Ferguson's men have a number of dangerous players including the classy Siriki Dembele, however, they have drawn blanks in three of their last five outings. Nevertheless, they should be able to benefit from the generosity of the Reading back-line and this could be another absorbing 90 minutes.
Recommended Bet: Back Over 2.5 Goals in Reading vs Peterborough @ 2.021/1
Baggies to secure narrow victory at the Hawthorns
West Brom were unable to fully capitalise on Fulham's weekend slip-up, although the Baggies did manage to claim a point against Millwall. Karlan Grant's penalty miss proved a costly misjudgement and Valerian Ismael will be hoping that his side can bounce back on Tuesday night. Compared to some of August's buccaneering performances, the men from the Black Country have looked a little lethergic in recent weeks, and the former Barnsley boss must find a way to lift his side ahead of this quick turnaround. Nevertheless, there should be enough individual quality in the squad to secure three points in front of an expectant home crowd. Derby were defeated 2-0 at St. Andrews on Friday night and the Rams must find a way of producing more in the final third. Wayne Rooney will be relatively pleased with his side's start to the season, however, with just an average of 3.3 shots-on-target per game, they must remain viligant at the back in order to start climbing the table. The visitors will look to frustrate the hosts in this one, however, WBA will inevitably find a way through at some stage.
Fulham to edge past a dogged and determined Blues
Birmingham beat Derby 2-0 on Friday night and it was a fairly routine victory for the Blues. Lee Bowyer has done a magnificant job at St. Andrews and his side look far more assured going forward this season. They've suffered just a single defeat so far this campaign, and although very few Birmingham fans are likely to be getting carried away at this early stage of the season, a top half finish appears to be a real possibility. Tahith Chong and Jeremie Bela provided plenty of energy at the weekend, and the sight of boyhood fan Troy Deeney in a Birmingham shirt will have given supporters a real lift. Nevertheless, their only loss came against Bournemouth and they may also come up short on Wednesday evening. Fulham suffered a shock reverse at the hands of Blackpool on Saturday afternoon and despite throwing absolutely everything at the Seasider's rearguard, they were unable to find a way through. Finding a way past the excellent Harlee Dean and Marc Roberts could also be equally as tough, however, just a single goal could be enough to get them back to winning ways here.
Luton to leave Ashton Gate with a least a point
Bristol City's home hoodoo continued at the weekend with the Robins unable to find a way past a dogged Preston North End. Nigel Pearson's side have shown plenty of quality on the road, however, they just cannot seem to shake off their Ashton Gate malaise. They've been average in every department so far this season with the xG numbers and shot data pointing towards a comfortable mid-table finish, however, they can't afford too many more slip-ups in front of their own fans. The hosts looked fairly assured at the back against PNE with both Rob Atkinson and Tomas Kalas catching the eye, whilst Han-Noah Massengo's return to form is a huge positive. Luton battled back from 2-0 down to secure a point against Blackburn. Although the majority of the post-match debrief centred around Darragh Lenihan's questionable challenge, Nathan Jones did make time to talk about his pride in his side's performance. The Hatters have an excellent away record under the Welshmen and their hard-working approach could pay dividends yet again. They should be able to build upon their excellent second half display at Ewood Park and take something from this contest.
Recommended Bet: Back Luton Draw No Bet (vs Bristol City) @ 2.26/5
Coventry and Cardiff to serve up plenty of entertainment
Coventry clinched their third consecutive home victory at the weekend and the Sky Blues continue to catch the eye this season. Mark Robins' side made plenty of savvy acquisitions during the summer and the home faithful will have been delighted to see Martyn Waghorn get off the mark for his latest employers. They continue to create chances and with an average of 15.8 shots per game, they are always likely to trouble the oppositon defence. Middlesbrough found them too tough to handle and the energy of Jamie Allen and Fankaty Dabo made a huge difference in midfield. Despite Callum O'Hare's quieter performance, Robins' men still carved out plenty of decent opportunities and they should be able to find joy against Cardiff's back-line on Wednesday night. The visitors turned things around at the City Ground on Wednesday night and Mick McCarthy will have been delighted to put their home loss to Bristol City firmly behind them. The Bluebirds have scored exactly two goals in each of their three away matches so far this season and with match-winners such as Keiffer Moore and Rubin Colwill in their squad, they should at least get on the score-sheet here.
Recommended Bet: Back Both Teams to Score in Coventry vs Cardiff @ 1.9420/21
Points shared by the Trent
Chris Hughton remains under pressure following Sunday's home defeat to Cardiff. The Tricky Trees managed just four meaningful efforts throughout the 90 minutes and they desperately need to improve their output in the final third. Many fans were hoping that their spirited 1-1 draw with rivals Derby would be the launchpad for some better performances, however, those hopes were subsequently dashed at the weekend. Forest have a decent squad and the likes of James Garner and Philip Zinckernagel have added some impetus to their play, however, it has not been enough to turn the tide. Middlesbrough slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Coventry on Saturday and Neil Warnock will have disappointed with his side's performance in Warwickshire. The Teessiders appeared to lose confidence after falling behind and they struggled to produce anything notable during the second period. They have picked up just two points from a possible nine on the road and they may have to settle for another stalemate here.
Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Nottingham Forest vs Middlesbrough @ 3.185/40
Stoke to clinch consecutive home victories
Stoke were once again indebited to the creativity of Mario Vrancic as they edged past Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon. Many Potters fans acknowledged that the Terriers made it difficult for Michael O'Neill's men, however, their new-look side managed to battle back and secure all three points in Staffordshire. Jacob Brown looked lively throughout and Leo Ostigard and Harry Souttar appear to be formed a rock-solid relationship at the back. Stoke sit third in the embryonic Championship table and although they are not expected to challenge for automatic promotion this season, a play-off tilt appears to be a genuine possibility. They have won each of their first three home games and they should be able to make it four from four on Wednesday evening. Barnsley were outclassed by Bournemouth and produced an xG of 0.4. The Tykes have taken the fewest shots in the division this season and they need to improve their output in the final third. It's difficult to see how the South Yorkshire side take anything from this contest.
Recommended Bet: Back Stoke to beat Barnsley @ 1.834/5
Honours even at the Liberty
Manager Russell Martin bemoaned Swansea's profligacy as he watched his side spurn multiple opportunities against Hull on Saturday afternoon. The Swans have slowly been improving over the last couple of weeks and their deadline day additions should certainly help them to start picking up points throughout September and October. Thw Welshmen are likely to dominate the possession count once again here, however, they must start turning that dominance into meaningful chances. Matt Grimes is a key player in the centre of the park and he will look to orchestrate matters in this fixture. Olivier Ntcham enjoyed a respectable debut and he is likely to get stronger as he acclimatises to life in the Championship. Millwall made it awkward for high-flying West Brom and they left the Hawthorns with a hard-earned point. The Lions have netted in every single game so far this season and they will be looking to take advantage of the hosts' penchant for playing out from the back. Swansea are improving, but the visitors will be tough to break down.
Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Swansea vs Millwall @ 3.185/40
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7
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