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Mike Holden on the EFL: Warnock can get back to winning ways

Neil Warnock can get Cardiff's automatic promotion push back on track at Elland Road
Neil Warnock can get Cardiff's automatic promotion push back on track at Elland Road
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Cardiff have triumphed just once in their last six league outings but Neil Warnock injected some fresh blood on deadline day and can work that to his advantage against former club Leeds...

"It might be pushing our luck a little to stray from the match betting in pursuit of something more exotic but Warnock operates with a certain modus operandi away from home, looking to suck the life out of a game and silence the crowd before landing the decisive blow later on."

Leeds v Cardiff
Championship, Saturday 15:00

Cardiff's automatic promotion bid has stalled in recent weeks, prompting Neil Warnock to take drastic action in the transfer window. The Bluebirds could field as many as five new arrivals in their starting line-up at Elland Road.

Gary Madine's £6m move from Bolton was the Championship's biggest deal on deadline day and he was also accompanied through the door by Jamie Ward and Armand Traore from Nottingham Forest. Marko Grujic (Liverpool) and Yanic Wildschut (Norwich) have already made their debuts after completing loan deals in the middle of January.

None of them are jaw-dropping signings but it's not necessarily the calibre of player that matters where Warnock is concerned. He's an intense operator who drains every last drop out of what's available to him and it was patently obvious that Cardiff were running on empty when they suffered four straight defeats over the festive period.

So now Warnock has the fresh bodies he needs and we should back him to make an impact against one of his many former clubs. Leeds are blessed with some tidy creative players but remain rather ineffectual without key man Samuel Saiz, who still has three games of a six-match ban to serve.

Four years have passed since Warnock's 13-month stint in charge at Elland Road, during which time he has beaten Leeds in all four subsequent meetings with three different clubs: QPR, Rotherham and Cardiff. It's a run that includes a shock 2-0 victory at Elland Road almost a year ago to the day.

It might be pushing our luck a little to stray from the match betting in pursuit of something more exotic but Warnock operates with a certain modus operandi away from home, looking to suck the life out of a game and silence the crowd before landing the decisive blow later on.

Recommended Bets
1pt Draw/Cardiff half time/full time at [6.60]
1pt Cardiff 1-0 correct score at [9.00]


Norwich v Middlesbrough
Championship, Saturday 15:00

Tony Pulis turned the heat on his strikers after Middlesbrough drew 0-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, calling on the likes of Britt Assombalonga, Rudy Gestede and Martin Braithwaite to "join the party" after declaring himself happy with his defence and most of the approach play.

If the message wasn't already loud and clear, then Braithwaite's subsequent departure to Bordeaux on loan 24 hours later has only reiterated the point that Pulis sees no hiding place for his marksmen.

The former Stoke and West Brom boss has enjoyed a reasonable start in his new role, picking up 13 points from his first seven matches, but all his have been at frustrations have been at the Riverside with four blanks fired in five home matches, although it should be pointed out that Aston Villa, Fulham and Brighton have been the opposition in three of those matches.

On the road, though, Boro have looked formidable. They've beaten Sheffield Wednesday (2-1), Preston (3-2) and QPR (3-0) since Pulis picked up the reins and there's not enough substance to Norwich right now to believe they will avoid succumbing to a similar fate. The Canaries have only won two of their last 11 matches at Carrow Road.

Indeed, it's been a distinctly underwhelming first season for Daniel Farke and a busy January transfer window only fuels the narrative that the Norfolk is going through a period of heavy transition with a dozen players shipped out - seven of them on loan - and only five new arrivals.

A portion of the Alex Pritchard money (reported to be £11m) has been reinvested in a couple of unknown from the German second division - namely Onel Hernandez (Eintracht Braunschweig) and Dennis Srbeny (Paderborn) - and while both players might prove to be astute signings, it would be a surprise if they hit the ground running with no prior experience of English football.

Recommended Bets
1pt Middlesbrough to beat Norwich at [2.88]
1pt Middlesbrough 2-0 correct score at [15.00]

Mike Holden Profit/Loss 2017-18

Staked: 86 pts
Returned: 46.92 pts
P/L: -39.08 pts

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