Both Middlesbrough and Derby have experienced an upturn in form in recent times, which now makes this appear a more attractive game to watch. Having said that, don’t necessarily expect this to be an end-to-end thriller. Plenty of respect will be on show from both quarters even more so now they’re facing opponents that are winning games. Derby remain dreadful away from home, so they’ll aim to keep things tight. In the 2.5 Championship Goal League Table, this would be 24th versus 21st, with both averaging U2.5 goals across their league fixtures this season.
Quite clearly this is a huge derby game and there is no love lost between these two foes. Expect a tense atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium, with the Bluebirds looking for revenge having narrowly went down to Swansea earlier in the campaign. Swansea are in stronger recent form but Cardiff have proven very tough to beat since Neil Harris came through the door. Along with Birmingham, Swansea have been drawing at half-time the most in the Championship, an incredibly 15 times! Cardiff have been losing just once at home at the interval, so they know how to shut opponents out, too.
Whilst we fully acknowledge MK Dons have started to pick up some recent results under Russell Martin, the fact of the matter is that six of their seven League One victories this season have come at home. Coventry proudly sit third in the standings overall having earned three consecutive wins in league action. This is 3rd against 20th, but Coventry have the second strongest ‘home’ record and if you compare it to MK Dons have the second worst away record in the division, then there really should only be one winner at St Andrews, with Mark Robins’ side looking rather menacing at present.
All is clearly not well within the Ipswich ranks right now if results are anything to go by. An unhappy fan base has made their feelings perfectly clear towards boss Paul Lambert, who recently just signed a new long-term contract extension. The Tractor Boys now find themselves clinging onto a play-off position having incredibly not won a league match since November 5th. On the eight-game form guide, Ipswich are third from bottom, whilst Accrington are third from top. All the value is on Stanley in this one, with Ipswich not an appealing favourite given their struggles and general unrest, which again could be visible in the stands on Saturday.
There is one game that will clearly take centre stage on the League Two card this weekend and that is when league leaders Swindon entertain a Crewe side sitting in third position. There is very little to separate the pair offensively as both clubs have 46 goals to their name, which make them the joint-highest scorers in the division, with only West Brom managing more goals in the entire EFL. Goals should be on the agenda on this occasion, too, as both teams combined have seen 30/40 games contain a minimum of three goals. A cagey, tactical battle isn’t necessarily anticipated.
This match presents two outfits who have recently experienced managerial changes. Leyton Orient again have Ross Embleton in caretaker charge, whilst Ian ‘Ollie’ Holloway is back in the game with the Mariners. Grimsby have won both matches since it was announced Holloway would be coming in, whilst since winning away at Grimsby in October Orient have only won once more in the league. 16/24 of Grimsby’s League Two matches this season has been level at the break, and with goals an issue Holloway may stick with a fairly defensive approach away from home in the early stages in search of more success.