QPR to continue winless sequence
Bristol City 3.052/1 v QPR 2.568/5; The Draw 3.45
QPR have enjoyed a relatively successful 2021 so far, however, their recent upturn in form already appears to be a distant memory. Since the turn of the year, Mark Warburton has guided his side to six wins in seven, and also managed to pick up creditable draws with both Preston and Norwich, however, they've subsequently lost back-to-back Championship fixtures and face the prospect of another tricky tie this weekend.
Warburton admitted that his side were second best against in-form Barnsley in midweek, claiming that his squad 'didn't take care of the football' and consistently gave possession away in dangerous areas. Fans were understandably dismayed, and will be hoping that their side can produce a much sharper performance at Aston Gate this weekend.
The West London side were sloppy in possession, didn't take their chances and couldn't match the energy of the Tykes in the final third. They sit 17th in the table and although they aren't in any immediate danger of relegation, they can't afford too many more sluggish displays between now and the end of the campaign.
Lyndon Dykes struggled throughout the 90 minutes and wasn't able to successfully link up with his teammates, whilst Dominic Ball and Lee Wallace will also be disappointed with their performances. However, Stefan Johansen and Ilias Chair were suitably industrious whilst Charlie Austin was back amongst the goals.
The hosts did have chances to get their noses in front and missed opportunities have been a common theme in recent weeks. They can't afford to be quite so wasteful on Saturday afternoon.
Bristol City slipped to their first defeat under Nigel Pearson on Wednesday night, with a last-gasp Cameron Carter-Vickers strike giving the Cherries a vital victory. Despite the result, fans were relatively pleased with the performance, and saw enough from their side to suggest a positive future under the former Leicester boss.
The Robins' home form is extremely worrying and they have lost four consecutive games at this venue. However, back-to-back away victories suggest that a corner has been turned under the new regime, and they will be expected to pick up their first home win here since January 26th.
Although Pearson praised his side's collective effort, he also bemoaned individual defensive errors which gifted the visitors all three points. Jack Hunt's injury is yet another blow to the Robins' hopes of finishing in the top six, however, there are a number of players who are slowly returning to fitness. Nevertheless, Pearson is unlikely to rush the likes of Andreas Weimann and Nathan Baker back to first team action.
Despite the raft of absentees, Bristol City still have a number of terrific players in their squad and the likes of Nahki Wells and Famara Diedhiou will test the QPR defence throughout the 90 minutes. Henri Lansbury's recent performances have been significanrly below par, and he may have to settle for a place on the bench here.
QPR's laboured performances over the last seven days are worrying, and they could struggle once again here. Bristol City are a generous 3.052/1 on the Exchange to end their winless run at Ashton Gate and should have enough quality to collect maximum points on Saturday.
Mowbray misery to continue in Bermondsey
Millwall 2.568/5 v Blackburn 3.185/40; The Draw 3.052/1
Millwall left in late in midweek to secure all three points at the Den. The Lions fell behind to a Ched Evans goal, however a superb second half display saw the Bermondsey side turn the game on its head. Mason Bennett's strike helped his side to end a three match winless streak and also made it six games unbeaten in SE16.
The hosts have struggled to turn draws into wins at this venue this season, however, Gary Rowett has now overseen three wins in four outings, and they will be feeling extremely confident coming into this weekend's tie. They've picked up just four home victories this season, with three of those having been secured in the last month. It appears a corner has been turned, despite a number of absentees including midfield duo Ryan Leonard and Michael Kieftenbeld. Tom Bradshaw was ill in midweek and is unlikely to have recovered in time for this weekend's fixture.
Scott Malone has developed a handy habit of popping up with spectacular strikes, whilst profligate striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson put in a much-improved midweek performance after the break. Rowett is unlikely to make too many changes ahead of this game although Ben Thompson and Matt Smith will both be hoping for starts.
The Lions have been reasonably secure at the back this year with only Coventry and Huddersfield having scored more than a single goal at this ground so far.
Blackburn's second half of the season slump has seen them drop down to 15th in the Championship table and manager Tony Mowbray was particularly downbeat following his side's narrow defeat at Reading. Admittedly, Rovers put in a decent shift and created a reasonable amount of chances, however, they were unable to find a way through and have now lost six of their last seven matches.
Mowbray has come under fire from some sections of support, however, his side have lost each of those matches by a one goal margin and it probably won't take much to turn things around. With Bradley Dack and Lewis Travis both available for this clash, the Teessider may opt to make changes as he seeks to put an end to his team's barren run.
The Lancashire side have lost seven of their last nine away games with five of those losses ending 1-0. They've scored just five times on the road since December 5th, and with Millwall's defence proving relatively resolute on home turf, there is a danger that they could easily draw another blank here.
There is not likely to be much in this game, however, recent results suggest that Millwall should edge this encounter. Rowett's men can be backed at 2.568/5 and should be able to continue their fine run of form on Saturday afternoon.
Canaries and Hatters to be closely matched at Carrow Road
Norwich 1.4740/85 v Luton 8.88/1; The Draw 4.67/2
It was a superb midweek for Norwich City fans as they saw their side go 10 points clear at the top of the Championship table. The Canaries beat promotion rivals Brentford at Carrow Road, and took a step closer to a Premier League return. Daniel Farke was delighted with his side's performance, and they have now won six games in a row. They've also managed to keep four clean sheets during that sequence, and another defensively adept display helped keep the free-scoring Bees off the score-sheet on Wednesday night.
Ben Gibson and Grant Hanley have formed a formidable partnership in the heart of the defence with Oliver Skipp and Kenny McLean doing a superb job in front of the back four. Emi Buendia sparkled throughout the 90 minutes, and ended the game with a season-high seven key passes. The diminutive Argentine is rarely wasteful in possession and he oozed quality once again. The biggest concern for Norwich fans is their side's inability to unlock the opposition defence without Buendia in the XI, however, the playmaker is currently enjoying a purple patch in East Anglia.
Stoke are the only side to have scored at this ground since late December and low-scoring Luton could find it hard to forge a way through this weekend.
The Hatters are three unbeaten under Nathan Jones and have won three of their last six matches on the road. They've already left the Vitality Stadium and the City Ground with maximum points this season, and they won't make it easy for the leaders on Saturday afternoon. The Bedfordshire side haven't scored more than once in an away game so far this season and only two of their last nine matches on the road have contained two or more goals.
They won't make this easy for the hosts, although their lack of firepower suggests that the Norwich back-line may be able to enjoy a relatively sedate 90 minutes. There have been a total of eight goals in Luton's last six away games, whereas seven of Norwich's last eight home matches have contained fewer than three goals.
Norwich are short enough in the betting and should be able to collect three points here, however, backing Under 2.5 Goals at 1.9420/21 looks the best option in this potentially low-scoring clash between two sides with extremely reliable back-lines.
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7