The Championship Previews: Stay at home on first day of 2013

Ferguson's Posh have been in excellent scoring form of late
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Mike Norman looks ahead to the New Year's Day fixtures in the Championship and predicts home wins for these three clubs...

"Even with 10 men Darren Ferguson’s side still managed to score two goals, and that means Posh have scored a very impressive 14 goals in their last five games, winning against the likes of Cardiff, Bolton and Wolves."

Back Peterborough to win @ [2.32]

Ipswich [2.68] v Brighton [2.84]; The Draw [3.55]

Ipswich are on the up under Mick McCarthy. Rising three or four positions to 19th in the table might not seem a huge step, but points wise the Tractor Boys have put an impressive gap between themselves and the relegation zone under the former Sunderland and Wolves boss.

Ipswich are now eight points clear of the relegation zone after a run of just one defeat in eight games, and amazingly they are just three points behind 12th place Blackpool and 10 points off a play-off spot. I'm not saying they are going to make the play-offs, far from it, but they are one of the clubs in the Championship who can enter 2013 well and truly looking upwards rather than downwards.

McCarthy's men are unbeaten in five at Portman Road and face a Brighton side who have failed to win in any of their previous five league games, so purely on recent form, this ought to go the way of the hosts.

The Seagulls have been one of the lowest scoring sides in the Championship this term; take out their five game winning streak at the start of the season and Gus Poyet's men have mustered just 18 goals in 19 games. Ipswich have averaged almost two goals per game in the last six weeks or so and I can see them winning this game by a small margin.

Recommended Bet: Back Ipswich to win @ [2.68]

Peterborough [2.32] v Barnsley [3.3]; The Draw [3.7]

Peterborough were available to back at around the [3.4] mark when the market opened for Saturday's game at Bristol City. By kick-off they were just [2.7] to back, so there'll be a lot of people - including myself - hoping to recoup losses following their 4-2 defeat.

Posh went a goal down very early at Ashton Gate and then had their top scorer Lee Tomlin sent off with around 80 minutes to play, so they can certainly be excused that reversal. Even with 10 men Darren Ferguson's side still managed to score two goals, and that means Posh have scored a very impressive 14 goals in their last five games, winning against the likes of Cardiff, Bolton and Wolves.

Barnsley are rock bottom of the Championship after recording just one win in their last 15 games. They are the least prolific side in the division when it comes to scoring goals - just 25 scored in 25 games - and I sense that they will need at least two, possibly three, to take anything from London Road against 'free-scoring' Peterborough. A home win is the most likely outcome.

Recommended Bet: Back Peterborough to win @ [2.32] (best bet)

Sheffield Wednesday [2.4] v Burnley [3.2]; The Draw [3.55]

The Owls are another 'relegation-threatened' side who have found a bit of form lately, and like Ipswich and Peterborough, they have every reason to believe that they can climb the table in 2013 rather than go backwards.

Dave Jones' men play some very attractive football but defensively they have been caught short in the first half of the season. They don't have a prolific striker in their ranks and when you are not scoring many goals the onus is then on the defence to keep clean sheets. And that's exactly what they've done in recent weeks, four in a row in fact meaning the Owls have taken 10 points from the last 12 available to them.

Wednesday will enter this game full of confidence then, and even though Burnley are a decent outfit capable of improving on their mid-table position, I feel home advantage and recent form just about swings this in Sheff Wed's favour.

Recommended Bet: Back Sheff Wed to win @ [2.4]

Season P/L (1pt each bet, 2pts Best Bet)

Season P/L (1pt each bet, 2pts Best Bet)

Wagered: 96 pts
Returned: 113.9 pts
P/L + 17.9 pts

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