by Thomas Rooney
After the surprise of England thoroughly entertaining us during the international break thanks to Mr Theo Walcott, it is back to the bread and butter of the Championship this weekend with Norwich searching for their first win of the new campaign.
Having performed so well against Birmingham in their last game, Norwich could have actually done without the break in fixtures, but it does mean the squad – which includes new signing Antoine Sibierski – will be refreshed for the trip to Plymouth. However, there was some bad news to come from the international break – Sammy Clingan came back from Northern Ireland duty with a shoulder injury and will be out for a month. This will presumably mean that Sibierski will partner Arturo Lupoli in attack and Darel Russell will revert to his preferred central midfield position after a spell leading the line in attack.
Anyway, as we all know, the Championship can be one of the hardest leagues to predict in the world. Nevertheless, a weekend wouldn’t be the same without some online football betting, so let’s take a look at who the money should be lumped on this weekend.
Birmingham v Doncaster – I don’t think there can be much doubt about this one. The odds will be extremely short for a home victory, but it will be worth using as part of an accumulator. The Blues will continue their unbeaten start. 3 – 1.
Blackpool v Barnsley – Neither of these sides has had a great start to the new season with just one victory between them so far. Blackpool are finding goals from open play hard to come by and I expect a draw in this one. 0 – 0.
Cardiff v Bristol City – This is a tough one to call. Cardiff are usually strong at home, but Bristol City have won both of their away games so far. Again, I don’t think there will be many goals but I think the home side will nick it. 1 – 0.
Charlton v Wolves – Top of the table Wolves travel to inconsistent Charlton Athletic in one of the most intriguing games of the day. Mick McCarthy’s men are playing well at the moment and I expect this to continue at The Valley. 1 – 2.
Coventry v Preston – Hardly the most glamorous game of the weekend is it? Nevertheless, it could provide a few goals. Coventry have conceded six in their last two home games and Preston have started the season well. 2 – 2.
Crystal Palace v Swansea – Neil Warnock’s side have only scored twice in the opening four games and it seems their young side is struggling to cope with the demands of the Championship. Swansea will fancy their chances. 1 – 2.
Derby v Sheffield United – County manager Paul Jewell still hasn’t won a league game with his new club. Will this game against 5th placed Sheffield United provide his first win? Yes, for some reason I think it might. Just. 3 – 2.
Ipswich v Reading – After having such an impressive home record last season, our ‘friends’ from down the A140 have lost both of their games at Portman Road so far. I think they will stop this trend but only manage a draw. 1 – 1.
Nottingham Forest v Burnley – I have said for a while now that I expect Burnley to struggle. Two points from four games with just one goal scored could suggest this may well be the case. Earnie to score two for Forest. 2 – 0.
Plymouth v Norwich – This game is at the centre of my Friday Football Betting Tip. Despite the fact that Norwich have lost at Plymouth comfortably on the last two seasons, I have a sneaky feeling that we are going to roll them over. Considering I am normally a pessimist – this really is quite something. 0 – 2.
Sheffield Wednesday v Watford – Finally for today, it’s 8th placed Watford against 14th placed Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls should be strong at home and considering Watford’s inconsistent away form I think it will be a win for Brian Laws’ men. 2-1.
So, there you have it. I may have gone against all football odds at times, but these are my predictions for tomorrow’s Championship fixtures. Let’s hope I have been accurate – especially with my prediction of the game at Home Park.