Saturday Championship Tips: Underrated Chairboys to trouble Teessiders

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth
Gareth Ainsworth will be hoping that his side can secure back-to-back wins

Wycombe picked up an important three points at Adams Park in midweek, and Jack Critchley believes they can continue their upward momentum this weekend...

"Wycombe have struggled on the road, but their form at Adams Park is solid enough. Although they have recorded just two victories at this ground, they have only been breached on 11 occasions. The likes of Brentford and Watford have left Buckinghamshire with just a single point to show for their endeavours"

Boro's struggles on the road to continue

Wycombe 4.57/2 v Middlesbrough 2.021/1; The Draw 3.412/5
Saturday, 15:00

Wycombe remain deep in relegation trouble, however, Gareth Ainsworth's side have significantly improved since they opened the campaign with seven straight defeats. The Chairboys have lost just one of their last three Championship outings, and were unlucky to have suffered defeats at both Ashton Gate and the Vitality Stadium.

Despite their struggles at the beginning of the season, 2020 has been an excellent year for the club, and Ainsworth spoke of his pride following their recent 2-1 victory over Cardiff City. Every single player in the starting XI gave 100%, with the talented David Wheeler deservedly finding the back of the net on Tuesday night. The presence of the returning Uche Ikpeazu caused problems for the Bluebirds' defence all evening, and although it may take a couple of games for the powerful striker to get fully up to speed, he could become an incredibly useful asset throughout the second half of the campaign.

Wycombe have struggled on the road, but their form at Adams Park is solid enough. Although they have recorded just two victories at this ground, they have only been breached on 11 occasions. The likes of Brentford and Watford have left Buckinghamshire with just a single point to show for their endeavours, and although odds of 2.021/1 on the Exchange suggest that Middlesbrough should get something from this encounter, it will be far from straightforward for Neil Warnock's men.

Boro's problems on the road continued in midweek as they slumped to a disappointing defeat at Hillsborough. They were carved open by a Sheffield Wednesday side who had previously struggled to stick the ball in the back of the net, and were unable to muster a sufficient response. A hugely forgettable and ineffective first 45 minutes was the main issue, and despite Duncan Watmore's best efforts, they weren't able to take anything back to Teesside on Tuesday night.

In sharp contrast to last season, their form on the road has been hugely disappointing, and they've failed to score in five of their 11 away trips. With just 10 away goals to their name, they are likely to arrive here low on confidence.

Their 4-1 victory at St.Andrews was probably more of a reflection of Birmingham's woeful home form and the Blues' recent struggles under former Boro boss Aitor Karanka. The Brum players played without passion with many of them shirking responsibility during that encounter, and that is certainly not something that this weekend's hosts could ever be accused of.

Wycombe may have only won twice here this season, but they are always competitive and should be able to take something from this clash. They are 15/8 Draw No Bet on the Sportsbook and that appears to be the best option here.

Huddersfield worth an investment

Huddersfield 2.6613/8 v Reading 2.962/1; The Draw 3.3512/5
Saturday, 15:00

Huddersfield continued their sensational form at the John Smith's Stadium in midweek as they edged past free-scoring Blackburn. Defender Naby Sarr was the unlikely hero, with the big defender notching twice to make it five consecutive home wins for the Terriers. Carlos Corberan may still be finding his feet at this level, however, he has built a side who are tough to beat on their own patch, and with seven victories from 11 at this venue, very few sides will fancy a trip to Kirklees in the coming months.

Although his hand has been largely forced, Corberan has put together a squad which combines local talent, experienced Championship campaigners and European flare. Ryan Schofield may only be in the side as a result of injuries, but the young goalkeeper has been hugely impressive, and may be hard to displace once the Spaniard has a fully fit squad to choose from. Isaac Mbenza appears to be improving with every game, while Pipa is also proving to be a hit with supporters.

Prior to the Blackburn victory, Huddersfield had kept three consecutive clean sheets here, and although they are likely to end the season safely ensconced in midtable, a play-off push in 2021-22 appears to be a realistic possibility. Corberan will be hoping to be backed in January transfer window, and with Josh Koroma's injury ruling him out until at least late-February, the Terriers could do with some added pace and creativity in the final third.

Reading picked up a decent point at the Liberty on Wednesday, and they are likely to approach this encounter in a very similar manner. Swansea have the division's best defence and went into the game as favourites, however, despite being outshot 11-8, the Royals displayed plenty of defensive solidity to keep the high-flying Swans off the score-sheet.

They have an exceptionally mixed 4-4-3 record on the road, and have become a little unpredictable on their travels. They didn't offer an awful lot going forward on Wednesday, and they will be expecting more from the likes of Sam Baldock and Ovie Ejaria in this clash. Michael Olise proved to be their biggest threat going forward, and he is likely to be a thorn in Huddersfield's side this weekend.

The visitors have picked up just a single win on the road since October 27, with a last-gasp goal helping them to claim three points at QPR in mid-December. Although they remained compact against Swansea in midweek, they may find Huddersfield far too sharp in the final third, and may return to Berkshire empty handed. They've only lost to Brentford, Coventry and Bournemouth on the road so far this season, and are unlikely to go down without a fight.

Huddersfield should edge this, and should be backed at 2.6613/8 on the Exchange. They are fancied to chalk up a sixth consecutive home success on Saturday afternoon.

Goals at both ends at Carrow Road

Norwich 1.865/6 v Barnsley 4.3100/30; The Draw 3.8514/5
Saturday, 15:00

Norwich remain top of the table, however, the Canaries' recent form has been a little unconvincing. Despite firing in 23 shots against QPR in midweek, they could only draw 1-1, with the game being settled by two penalties. Daniel Farke's men haven't scored a goal from open play in 180 minutes, and will be desperate to recapture their free-scoring form this weekend.

Teemu Pukki may not have been as prolific in recent weeks, but the Finn still has 11 goals in 20 appearances so far this season, and is their biggest threat going forward. The hosts are averaging 1.36 goals per match at Carrow Road, and have only failed to find the back of the net twice in East Anglia so far.

The Canaries swashbuckled their way to the title two seasons ago, out-scoring their opponents, and providing plenty of entertainment along the way. They appear to be taking a similar approach this time around, although they aren't quite firing on all cylinders in the final third just yet. At the other end of the pitch, they haven't been particularly reliable and have kept just a single clean sheet in their last nine Championship outings.

Since the arrival of Valerian Ismael, Barnsley's form has improved tenfold. The Tykes come into this tie having won six of their last eight encounters, with each of those successes having ended by the same score-line (2-1). Alex Mowatt was superb once again in midweek, although the combination of Mads Andersen and Michal Helik was largely responsible for keeping a lively Rotherham outfit at arm's length.

Although the club will need to invest in January, they have shown enough going forward in recent weeks. Only Bournemouth and Swansea have kept them off the scoresheet since November 24th, and they've only failed to find the net three times on the road so far. Only eight teams have scored more goals than the South Yorkshire club this year, and given Norwich's troubles at the back, they will feel confident about their chances of continuing their excellent run in front of goal.

The Tykes haven't won here since 1937, and the Canaries usually do start the calendar year with three points. However, they are hard to trust at the moment, and Barnsley are likely to be extremely lively opponents. Backing Both Teams to Score on the Exchange appears to be a wiser way to invest, and it is currently available at 1.728/11.

You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7

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