The Championship returns this weekend and Jack Critchley believes that Reading should collect three points against struggling Barnsley...
"Barnsley have struggled to recreate last season's heroics and with an average xG of 0.86, they unlikely to turn things around anytime soon. They've failed to find the net in 45% of their matches this season and Markus Schopp's men could easily draw another blank here"
Tykes to suffer fourth consecutive defeat
Reading may have rode their luck against Cardiff two weeks ago, however, they've been extremely effective at the Madejski and they've suffered just a single home defeat so far. Nevertheless, the Berkshire outfit have a number of injury worries, with recent signing Junior Hoilett the latest name to be added to this extensive list. The hosts may have to deploy George Puscas in the lone striker role once again, a position that he has generally struggled to acclimatise to. Nevertheless, they should still have enough individual talent to win this game and it may only take a single goal to clinch all three points. Barnsley have struggled to recreate last season's heroics and with an average xG of 0.86, they unlikely to turn things around anytime soon. They've failed to find the net in 45% of their matches this season and Markus Schopp's men could easily draw another blank here.
Recommended Bet: Back Reading to beat Barnsley @ 2.245/4
Both teams to register at Ewood Park
Blackburn Rovers have been one of the most consistent and entertaining home sides in the Championship and with a home xG of 2.4, they will be expected to find the back of the net against poor travellers Coventry City. Even without the services of Ben Brereton-Diaz and Sam Gallagher, they should still create enough chances throughout the 90 minutes. Coventry have been a revelation at home this season, yet their away form has left a lot to be desired. They've scored just twice on the road so far, however, with an xG of 1.34, they should provide a stern test for the hosts' shaky back-line. Although Darragh Lenihan is expected to return to the XI here, Rovers' defence is unlikely to keep a clean sheet this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back BTTS in Blackburn vs Coventry @ 1.794/5
Cherries to edge past inconsistent Robins
It's now 15 matches without a victory at Ashton Gate for Bristol City and Nigel Pearson will be desperate to end that barren run and pick up an elusive home win. Although his side are clearly improving and appear to be getting closer to collecting three points in front of their own fans, this could be an incredibly tough 90 minutes for the hosts. Bournemouth are the division's best travellers and haven't conceded an away goal for two months. Scott Parker's men are giving up an xGA of just 0.86 on the road and although they've dropped points at both Hull and Peterborough, they managed to dominate both encounters. A single goal may be enough for the visitors.
Recommended Bet: Back Bournemouth to beat Bristol City @ 1.9420/21
Terriers to tame the toothless Tigers
It's been a promising couple of weeks for Huddersfield and having collected 17 points from their opening 11 matches, they've made their best start to a campaign in half a decade. Exciting winger Sorba Thomas has been key to their progress this season, and although the lively Welshman has only just returned from international duty, he should be included in the starting XI this weekend. They've averaged 1.8 goals per game here, and the hosts are likely to create plenty of chances on Saturday afternoon. Hull are two unbeaten coming into this game, however, they've struggled on their travels in recent weeks. Since beating Preston on the opening weekend, the Tigers have failed to score in four consecutive away matches and with an average away xG of just 0.8, they could struggle to break down the home defence.
Recommended Bet: Back Huddersfield to beat Hull @ 2.0621/20
Entertaining 90 minutes at the Riverside
Middlesbrough have been incredibly inconsistent at home so far this season. With a 2-1-2 record on their own patch, they've struggled to find their rhythm at the Riverside, although their matches have been fairly entertaining affairs. Their games have averaged 3 goals per match, and Neil Warnock's men have kept just a single clean sheet at this venue so far. The veteran manager is reportedly under pressure to collect three points from this contest, and having watched his side waste copious opportunities against Hull a fortnight ago, he'll be keen to underline the importance of making the most of your chances. With a 0-0-5 record on the road so far, Peterborough may prove to be the perfect opponent, however, Posh have shown signs of life on their own patch and they do possess a number of dangermen. The visitors have scored in two of their last three away games and could play their part in a cracking contest.
Recommended Bet: Back Over 2.5 Goals in Middlesbrough vs Peterborough @ 2.01/1
Points shared at the Den
Millwall fans' concerns surrounding Gary Rowett's style of play have been ever-so-slightly assuaged by back-to-back victories. The Lions are incredibly hard to beat and they've managed to put together a seven match unbeaten sequence, however, they've been forced to share the points in four of those contests. Only Fulham and Cardiff have breached their defence on more than one occasion so far this season and they are unlikely to down without a fight. Luton have been equally effective on the road this season and although they've only managed to secure a single away victory so far, they were the better side at the Vitality and also managed to avoid defeat at Ewood Park. They will fancy their chances of taking something back to Bedfordshire.
Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Millwall vs Luton @ 3.211/5
Both sides to notch at the City Ground
The new manager bounce is in full swing at the City Ground with Steve Cooper's arrival having yielded seven points from a possible nine. Nottingham Forest have managed to steer themselves clear of trouble and they will be expected to continue their excellent run of form on Saturday afternoon. Lewis Grabban has looked revitalised, whereas both Max Lowe and Djed Spence are enjoying far more freedom in the final third. The Tricky Trees have averaged just 0.8 goals per game at home so far this season, however, they look a completely different prospect following the departure of Chris Hughton. Blackpool are unbeaten in five of their last six outings and they've been far more creative on the road. Although they have injury concerns surrounding Chris Maxwell and star striker Shayne Lavery, Neil Critchley's side are unlikely to sit back and this should be a very watchable 90 minutes.
Recommended Bet: Back BTTS in Nottingham Forest vs Blackpool @ 1.9520/21
Divison's draw specialists to cancel one another out
Only Millwall have drawn more games than Preston and Derby this season and although both sides will be desperate to collect three points in this contest, it's hard to seperate this closely-matched duo. The Rams have averaged just 0.4 goals per game on the road so far this season, although they've also been able to keep things fairly tight. Only Swansea have kept more clean sheets than Wayne Rooney's men and Preston could struggle to find a way through on Saturday afternoon. PNE have been far more creative at Deepdale, however, they've drawn 1-1 in each of their last two matches at this ground and have only managed to score 2+ goals on a single occasion. Another stalemate appears to be the most likely option.
Recommended Bet: Back Draw in Preston vs Derby @ 3.211/5
Blades and Potters to provide entertainment for the neutrals
Sheffield United continue to be a bit of an enigma with the Blades having suffered back-to-back defeats prior to the international break. Despite this, the South Yorkshire side have been much better in recent weeks and they've been creating some decent numbers of Bramall Lane. Their home xG of 1.88 is one of the best in the division and Slavisa Jokanovic sides are always encouraged to attack with gusto. Stoke beat high-flying West Brom a fortnight ago and the Potters appear to be legitimate promotion contenders this season. Their away form still needs some honing, however, they have netted in each of their last two and are averaging a goal a game on the road.
Recommended Bet: Back BTTS in Sheffield United vs Stoke @ 1.910/11
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7
Jack's 2021/22 Profit/Loss:
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