Tommy Mc previews four matches in the Skybet Championship on Saturday and he is going for four home wins with Brighton, Blackburn, Queens Park Rangers and Rotherham.
Brighton v Birmingham
Brighton continued their unbeaten start to the season last Saturday when they drew 1-1 with Burnley at Turf Moor. Both goals came in the first four minutes of this game when Bobby Zamora put the Seagulls ahead in the first minute and Andre Gray equalised from the penalty spot in the 4th minute. Brighton are second in the table on goal difference as they have the same points as leaders Hull and they are enjoying an extraordinary run which doesn't look like ending anytime soon. Chris Hughton has his side playing like a well-oiled machine and they have stood up to every test so far, whether it be home or away or stronger or weaker teams, as nobody has managed to take maximum points from them yet. Saturday will be another tough test as Birmingham are a decent side however I think Brighton will be strong enough to secure the win.
Birmingham were on the wrong end of a 1-0 score-line last Saturday at St Andrews when Charlton pulled off somewhat of a surprise victory. Charlton captain Johnnie Jackson scored in the 61st minute for the Addicks and it turned out to be enough as the Blues failed to repeat their goal scoring exploits of the previous game when they put five past Fulham. Birmingham looked to be back on track after the Fulham victory as it was their first win in four games however this latest defeat against lowly Charlton has made it three defeats out of their last five and maybe all is not well at St Andrews as the season really starts to get going now. Clayton Donaldson picked up a knock on international duty and this left the Blues lacking in the final third of the pitch which will be a worry for Gary Rowett as you will not get promotion from this division if all your goal scoring hopes fall at the feet of one individual.
Brighton will not have it all their own way in this match as Birmingham look to recover from their latest setback however the Blues are inconsistent at this point in time and Brighton have been nothing but consistent, so I think this coupled with home advantage should be enough to get them over the line.
1.5 points win Brighton to beat Birmingham at 4/5 with BetVictor
Blackburn v Sheffield Wednesday
Blackburn ended Preston's six game unbeaten run last Saturday when they beat them 2-1 at Deepdale. Jordan Rhodes put Rovers 2-0 up from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute before Joe Garner got one back for the hosts with 23 minutes remaining and that was as far as the comeback went. Paul Lambert will be delighted with a win in his first game in charge as he had taken over from Gary Bowyer during the international break. This win has taken Rovers up to 13th spot and five points clear of the relegation places and Lambert will now look to put a run together which will take Rovers into the promotion picture and try to get them back to the Premier League. He has a good track record in this league and he has a decent squad there to work with and if you look at the games coming up against Bristol City, Rotherham, Forest and Reading there is no reason why they can't go on a good run.
Sheffield Wednesday came out on top in their Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield last Saturday when they beat them 3-1 at Hillsborough. Sean Scannell had put the visitors 1-0 up in the 53rd minute however they capitulated in the last 12 minutes as Wednesday scored three goals in quick succession. The Owls have had a good enough start to the season so far under Carlos Carvalhal as they sit in 8th place, just one point off 6th placed Birmingham and a play-off spot. They needed a response on Saturday after losing 3-1 away to Charlton before the international break and up until the 78th minute it was looking very dodgy and if they were playing a better team than Huddersfield they more than likely would have lost the game 1-0. I know they will give a good account of themselves at Ewood Park on Saturday however I have my doubts as to whether they are strong enough yet to sustain a promotion push and I think they might fade away as the season progresses.
The arrival of Paul Lambert seems to have given everyone a lift and I fancy them to build on that good win away to Preston with another three points against Wednesday at Ewood Park on Saturday.
1 point win Blackburn to beat Sheffield Wednesday at 13/10 with Betfred and William Hill
QPR v Leeds
QPR were unlucky not to take at least a point away from the Riverside last Friday night when Middlesbrough beat them 1-0. The Rs looked to be heading for a well deserved point until Leroy Fer handled in the box in the 92nd minute leading to his sending off and Grant Leadbitter converting the resulting penalty. This was interim manager Neil Warnock's second game in charge after a 0-0 draw with Preston at Loftus Road in his first one and although they have only taken one point from these two games there was a marked improvement in their performances. Like all Warnock teams they now look more solid at the back and in the Boro game were the better side in the second half and if Charlie Austin had been on the pitch he would have definitely converted at least one of the chances Matt Phillips missed. Noises coming from Loftus Road this week suggest a new man will be appointed next week and provided they get the right manager in there is definitely a good squad there to work with.
Leeds lost 1-0 to local rivals Rotherham at Elland Road last Saturday as Steve Evans faced his old side for the first time. Joe Newell scored for the Millers in the 54th minute and this was enough to seal the win with Leon Best and Gaetano Berardi sent off in the 74th minute as the game petered out. Leeds had won two games on the bounce going into this one and would have fancied their chances as Rotherham were bottom of the table prior to this game; however this just sums up Leeds season so far as it has been a series of fits and starts. Steve Evans is a good manager and if he is given time he will do a good job at Leeds however time is the key word with trigger happy owner Massimo Cellino in the background and on his 6th manager since he took over at Elland Road you would think that Evans is on borrowed time and if he doesn't put a run together soon his tenure could be short lived. United are just four points clear of the drop zone and I think they could be nervous on Saturday as they really need to start picking up points.
I think Leeds will go to Loftus Road on Saturday looking for a draw however with the way the Rs have been improving under Warnock and their good home form I think they will be too strong for United and I fancy them to pick up their first win in five games.
1 point win QPR to beat Leeds at 11/10 with Betfred and William Hill
Rotherham v Bristol City
Rotherham picked up their third win of the season at the expense of their local rivals last Saturday when they beat Leeds 1-0 at Elland Road. This was a happy return for Rotherham manager Neil Redfearn after he was sacked as Leeds manager at the end of last season. This was a massive win for the Millers as it lifted them off the bottom of the table for the first time in months and pulled them to within three points of 4th bottom Huddersfield. Neil Redfearn has been in charge now for over a month and will have a fair idea of the capabilities and limitations of his squad as he tries to steer them away from relegation. It will not be an easy job and they will probably be in a relegation scrap for the rest of the season however he will be looking at teams like Saturdays opponents and will know that they are capable of beating them and that it is absolutely crucial that they do especially at the New York Stadium if they are to have any chance of survival.
Bristol City earned an important point at Ashton Gate last Saturday when they drew 1-1 with top of the table Hull. The Robins took a first half lead in this match however they couldn't hold on as Shawn Maloney equalised for the visitors with 17 minutes remaining. This was City's 7th draw of the season and the point keeps them just one point clear of drop zone as they try to stay in the Championship after gaining promotion from League One last May. Steve Cotterill's men have found the going tough with just three wins from their 17 games so far and I think like Rotherham they will be fighting relegation for the rest of the season as their squad doesn't look very strong. They are going to have to rely on picking up points at home as I can't see them getting much on the road and I think they will struggle against Rotherham on Saturday as the Millers will be buoyed by their derby win and will be well up for this match.
Redfearn knows that a win in this match will take his team to within one point of Bristol City and I think he would have been focusing on that all week in training and have his players ready for this six-pointer, so I fancy the Millers to make it back to back wins for the first time this season.
1 point win Rotherham to beat Bristol City at 6/4 with Coral