Birmingham to secure third consecutive Championship win
Barnsley 2.568/5 v Birmingham 2.982/1; The Draw 3.55
Barnsley were the only side in the bottom three to pick up a point at the weekend. However, the Tykes remain eight points adrift, and with just 15 games left to play, time appears to be running out for the South Yorkshire outfit. Although the club enjoyed the benefits of the so-called new manager bounce, Gerhard Struber has won just five of his 16 games in charge, with one of those successes coming against League Two Crewe in the third round of the FA Cup. The Austrian has overseen just a single Championship victory in 2020 and his side are winless in five coming into this contest.
Despite creating plenty of chances against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday lunchtime, they were unable to get the better of the lacklustre Owls, and with just five goals in seven games, Struber will be hoping that his side can rediscover their killer instinct in front of goal. He admitted that a point was not enough in their current situation, although he was delighted with his side's intensity and workrate throughout the 90 minutes. The former Wolfsberger AC coach is unlikely to deviate from his favoured 4-3-1-2 formation and has no new injury worries ahead of this contest.
The hosts have an extremely poor midweek record and have won just one of their last 20 Tuesday night fixtures. They are also searching for their first home clean sheet since the opening weekend, and they could struggle to keep free-scoring Birmingham off the scoresheet here. Having fallen behind in six of their last eight Championship matches, Barnsley often find themselves chasing the game and that could make things extremely difficult against the Blues.
Pep Clotet's side are enjoying a mid-season revival and arrive here full of confidence. They beat in-form Bristol City on Friday night, overcoming an early setback to ease past the Robins at Ashton Gate. They are now eight unbeaten in all competitions and have been scoring for fun in recent weeks. They've netted 15 times in their last seven outings, that's almost 40% of their season total. The Blues are still having problems keeping clean sheets however, although they have been able to outscore teams in recent weeks and look far more clinical than today's opponents.
The January arrival of Scott Hogan appears to be a masterstroke with the Aston Villa loanee linking up superbly with Lukas Jutkiewicz in recent weeks. He plays on the shoulder of the lofty frontman and has looked extremely sharp since making the short hop across the West Midlands. With two goals in just 166 minutes of football, he is likely to provide a constant threat on Tuesday night and is available at 2/1 on the Sportsbook to score anytime in this fixture.
Barnsley need to win their home games and they have been priced up as narrow favourites for this midweek match. However, the visitors are on a superb run of form and are unbeaten in seven of their last eight away matches. Birmingham Draw No Bet is Evens on the Sportsbook, and it's strongly advised to keep the Blues on side here.
Leeds' struggles to continue in the capital
Brentford 2.68/5 v Leeds 3.02/1; The Draw 3.45
On December 10, 2019, Leeds beat Hull 2-0 to go top of the Championship table and everything was looking rosy in West Yorkshire. At the time, the Whites were 16 points clear of Brentford, who were languishing in ninth. Two months on, there are now just two points separating these two sides and a win for the Bees would see Thomas Frank's side leapfrog their opponents.
Despite their struggles, Marcelo Bielsa's side still sit in second place and are just four points shy of leaders West Brom. Another disappointing display saw them draw yet another blank at the weekend with the early season pacesetters now having failed to find the net in four of their last five outings. Although many of their fans have taken their frustrations out on misfiring striker Patrick Bamford in recent weeks, the majority of his teammates have also been culpable with the likes of Helder Costa and Mateusz Klich struggling to recapture their early season form. Tyler Roberts was seen leaving the City Ground on crutches at the weekend and is unlikely to feature in West London.
Leeds are also struggling to keep clean sheets and have failed to keep the opposition off the scoresheet since the aforementioned victory against Hull.
Fans will be delighted to learn that this is highly likely to be their final-ever visit to Griffin Park, with the Whites having failed to pick up maximum points at this ground for just over 69 years. They don't have a particularly good record in the capital, and have already suffered defeats at the Den, the Valley and Loftus Road this season.
Brentford possess the division's tightest defence, but the Bees were far from secure on Saturday afternoon. Despite a couple of back-line blemishes, they still managed to pick up three points against Middlesbrough with Said Benrahma, Ollie Watkins and Bryan Mbeumo causing plenty of problems for the Teessiders. Frank's men are aiming to win three matches in a row for the first time since late-October and the Dane could potentially opt to shuffle his pack with Pontus Jansson now deemed fit enough to face his former employers.
They've won seven of their last eight home matches with only away-day specialists Nottingham Forest outsmarting the Bees since the beginning of November.
The hosts offer a significant threat going forward and they will look to exploit a Leeds back-line which is lacking in confidence. Bielsa could opt to freshen things up for this tie, however his side's dreadful record in the south east could potentially lead to a third consecutive defeat.
The hosts are 2.68/5 to collect all three points and climb above the visitors in the Championship table. They've been far more prolific in recent weeks and should be able to continue their superb home record against the men from West Yorkshire.
Baggies to continue their strong away form in Berkshire
Reading 4.1 v West Brom 2.1411/10; The Draw 3.3512/5
West Brom opened up a four point lead at the top of the Championship table on Sunday afternoon with a comfortable 2-0 victory at the Den. Slaven Bilic's side boast the best away record in the division having taken 32 points from their first 16 games on the road this season.
The Baggies added sensibly in the January transfer window with Callum Robinson bringing some much needed zip to the XI. The return of Matheus Pereira has also provided a significant boost with the silky Brazilian scoring five times and registering 11 assists so far this campaign.
They've also managed to claim back-to-back clean sheets against Luton and Millwall and they'll be hoping to make it a hat-trick of shutouts against low-scoring Reading. Only five sides have netted fewer times than the Royals this season and with just four goals in their last six outings, Mark Bowen's side could struggle to break the visitors down on Wednesday night.
The Welshman was upset with his side's wastefulness against Hull and they must be more clinical here if they have harbour any hopes of exploiting the division's fifth tightest defence. The men from Berkshire lost 1-0 here against both Bristol City and Leeds, both of whom have similar defensive records on the road.
West Brom can be backed at 2.1411/10 on the Exchange and the Baggies should have too much for their profligate hosts. Reading haven't tasted victory since New Year's Day and that barren run looks set to continue here.
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7