Rotherham v Burnley
Friday 2 October
Live on Sky Sports 2
Football never ceases to surprise but even so I don't think anybody expected Steve Evans to follow the two successive wins, which have lifted his side off the foot of the Championship table, by leaving the club on Monday morning. Eric Black has been placed in temporary charge and will pick the side for this game with the club hoping to a new man in place after next week's international break.
The 2-0 win at Birmingham on Saturday, which followed up victory over Cardiff last time out at the New York Stadium, was in fact the first time the Millers had won two on the spin since earning promotion from League One the season before last. It suggested that those of us, myself included, who had almost written them off this season may need to at least consider thinking again, but the uncertainty surrounding a new boss won't help them try to build on it.
After looking as though they had begun to get the measure of the division with four consecutive wins, the Clarets have stumbled in their last two fixtures - a dull as dishwater goalless draw at Derby then that 2-1 defeat at home to Reading on Saturday. In truth Sean Dyche's side didn't play too badly in that loss but having gifted the in-form visitors a two-goal start within the first ten minutes they weren't able to earn themselves a point despite creating enough second-half chances to do so.
Record signing Andre Gray missed the defeat with a hamstring injury but should return here which would be a big boost for the Clarets, while Dyche will have to decide whether to give Joey Barton his first start after the midfielder make a positive impact as a second-half substitute last week. With injuries and the arrival of Gray, Burnley have used five different combination up front in just 10 league and cup games so far this season but the former Brentford man and Welsh international Sam Vokes are clearly the preferred pairing.
Evan's departure has not surprisingly affected the market for this game and Rotherham are now 3.3512/5 to make it three wins in a row, while Burnley are priced 2.3611/8 and the draw is 3.45. Yet, at those prices, the away win still stands out. Yes, the home side have shown some real fight and beaten two decent sides in their past two games but who knows what the players' mindsets will be going into this one.
We saw an insipid performance from Brentford at home to Birmingham on Tuesday night, having just parted company with their manager, and sides rarely perform to their best with caretaker managers who they know are only stop-gap appointments. Blues boss Gary Rowett also reckoned writing was on the wall for his side just five minutes into the game on Saturday with their usual energy and bite sapped by the huge cup derby at Aston Villa in midweek, which certainly helped the visitors' cause.
Burnley's form on the road has been mixed so far with defeat at Ipswich and draws at Leeds and Derby as well as a win at Bristol City but, put simply, their likely starting line-up here should have too much quality for the managerless Millers and I'll be very disappointed if they don't take the three points back to Lancashire at a very nice price.
Over/Under 2.5 goals
The market doesn't expect a goal glut here with unders priced at 1.758/11 and overs 2.245/4. That looks about right as Burnley have managed just three goals in their previous four away games this season, while the Millers have scored only four times in their home fixtures.
However, if Gray and Vokes start together and do click then it could be that the visitors offer a much more potent attacking threat and we do see some goals. I don't think there's great value in this market so am happy to put all my eggs in one basket and back an away victory as the sole recommended bet to get the weekend's punting off to a good start.
Back Burnley to beat Rotherham at 2.3611/8 *3pts
You can read my previews of all the live Championship games here along with Mike Norman's Saturday 3pm tipsheets