Saturday Championship Tips: Potter has The Swans already singing his tune

Swansea boss Graham Potter
Boss Graham Potter has Swansea playing his way
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James Buttler turns against his winning best bet selection of Preston last week, believing Swansea are on course for a good season under Graham Potter...

"Ostersunds played attacking, expansive and tactically astute football under Potter's tutelage and there was evidence at Brammall Lane that The Swans have been quick to learn what their new manager has to offer."

Swansea [2.3] v Preston [3.45]; The Draw [3.35]

Preston delivered for me last weekend. My best bet selection secured a 1-0 win over QPR, but they were picked last Saturday because of their impressive home form during last season. Still my pick to make the Playoffs this season, any concerns I have would revolve around their form away from Deepdale and on Saturday they visit Swansea, a team that really impressed in their 2-1 comeback win against Sheffield United.

Graham Potter has earned his chance with Swansea after guiding Swedish club Ostersunds from the regional tiers to the top-flight Allsvenskan via three promotions, and they also won the Swedish Cup. Ostersunds played attacking, expansive and tactically astute football under Potter's tutelage and there was evidence at Brammall Lane that The Swans have been quick to learn what their new manager has to offer.

It was a big move for the 43-year-old. He left an Ostersunds public that loved what he had given them for a managerial job in the far more precarious environment of English football.

"We showed real quality and character to come back," Potter said after the Sheffield win. "I'm pleased for the lads and the supporters. We started the second half well but the goal knocked us. We could've caved in, but we responded."

One swallow doesn't make a summer and Preston provide another stern test for Potter's Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, but Barrie McKay rewarded Potter's purchase of him over the summer with a strong performance. The 23-year-old £900k summer signing from Nottingham Forest was exceptional in midfield.

Opta tell us the Swans are unbeaten in their last 17 home matches against Preston in all competitions. It's going to be a close encounter, but I'm going for the hosts to edge it at a price of [2.3].

Bees can buzz through slack Stoke back line

Stoke [2.16] v Brentford [3.1]; The Draw [3.4]

Teams relegated from the Premier League rarely adapt to the drop easily. While one match does not make a season, the 3-1 defeat by Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday suggests that Stoke City have a lot of hard work ahead if they are to live up to their billing as favourites for the Championship title.

Manager Gary Rowett said after the loss: "That's nowhere near the standard needed to do well in this division and it will shock some of those players." At times Leeds made the Stoke defence look ponderous and inept.

Captain Ryan Shawcross's powers as the talismanic rock The Potters' defence is built around seem seriously reduced by the back problem that has plagued him since 2015. Erik Pieters appeared off the pace at left-back and keeper Jack Butland had a stinker as Stoke seemed to possess few answers to a Leeds side that pressed, pushed and ultimately made them look second best in all departments. Any Stoke player thinking the Championship would offer an easy ride is mistaken.

At the other end of the success spectrum were Brentford who got their season off to a storming start with a 5-1 victory over Rotherham. Brentford created the most chances in the league last season and could be contenders if they continue to convert.

At this stage of the season anything that can build confidence and momentum is precious and, although The Bees squad will be aware they will face tougher challenges than The Millers presented them with last Saturday, they will now believe pre-season efforts have not been misplaced and know they can exploit weaknesses in Stoke's back line.

France Under-21 international Neal Maupay bagged a brace in Brentford's opening win and looks set to add to the 12 Championship goals he scored last season. As an anytime goalscorer bet against Stoke you could do a lot worse than backing the 21-year-old.

Stoke will improve under Rowett, but he doesn't have a magic wand to instantly rid them of problems and, at [3.1] on the Exchange, Brentford look a real gem for Saturday's encounter.

Stoke's last home win in competitive action was in January. It would take a brave man to back them to end that winless streak this weekend.

Ipswich Town can take the points in South Yorkshire

Rotherham [2.42] v Ipswich Town [3.2]; The Draw [3.2]

Every side has an achievement ceiling and for Rotherham it's Championship survival and yoyoing from League One. Promotion via the Playoffs last season has presented the challenge of staying in the Championship and at first glance it appears to be beyond them this time.

That thumping 5-1 defeat to Brentford last weekend will have confirmed to Millers' fans that it's going to be a long hard season littered with disappointment.

Manager Paul Warne said after the Brentford defeat: "When you're promoted you have a honeymoon spell over the summer and maybe us coming here and being out-performed is the eye opener we needed."

Prior to Ipswich's opening 2-2 draw with Blackburn manager Paul Hurst had confessed he didn't quite know where his team were ahead of the season. After the match he told reporters: "Very proud, as I said I would be, of the team at the first game at this level for myself and delighted with the start that we made."

And Ipswich showed character. After taking the lead in the fifth minute via a header from their new addition from Peterborough, Gwion Edwards, they fell behind until a stoppage-time goal from their loan signing from Fulham, Tayo Edun, secured a point.

Town completed the double signing of Aristote Nsiala and Jon Nolan from Shrewsbury this week and Hurst knows both well having worked with them at New Meadow prior to succeeding Mick McCarthy in East Anglia.

Teams will be queueing up to play Rotherham this season and Ipswich should add three points as their season gets off to a decent start.

***

*You can follow James on Twitter - @football_badger

James Buttler on 2018/19 Championship

Staked: 4 pts
Returned: 3.96 pts
P/L: -0.04 pts

*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet

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