Tommy Mc previews four Championship matches on Tuesday with his bets headed by Derby at home to QPR while he also likes Reading, MK Dons and Preston North End.
Derby v QPR
Derby recorded their seventh win of the season last Saturday when they beat struggling Rotherham 3-0 at the iPro Stadium. The Rams were 2-0 up by half time and Richard Keogh scored a third in the 76th minute as they eased past the hapless Millers. I said a while ago that it was only a matter of time before Paul Clement's men got up and running and they have as they have now gone two months unbeaten and are just three points off leaders Brighton. The Rams have possibly the best squad in the Championship and are really starting to look like genuine title contenders as they have taken 13 points from the last 15 available to them and I think a lot of the Championship teams will be starting to take notice now and will not relish playing them.
QPR lost their third away London derby in a row last Friday night when local rivals Brentford beat them 1-0 at Griffin Park. Bar a good ten minute spell towards the end of the first have when Massimo Luongo hit the cross bar and the post, the Rs were never in this match and a Marco Djuricin strike in the 56th minute was enough to see the Bees through to the end of the game. This was QPR’s fifth defeat of the season and it looks like the pressure is starting to build on Chris Ramsey as the natives are getting restless. This is worrying times for the Loftus Road faithful as there looked to be no plan B on Friday night and for some unknown reason their loan striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was playing out on the wing and trying to cross balls in for players who are a lot shorter than he is. The only positive was the return of talisman Charlie Austin from injury and by the looks of things they are going to need him now more than ever.
QPR are in for a long night if they play the way they did last Friday and with the confidence Derby have and the way they have been playing I can only see one winner in this game which could leave Chris Ramsey in a very difficult position.
1.5 points win Derby to beat QPR at 4/6 with Betfred and Coral
Reading v Huddersfield
Reading came from behind last Saturday to earn a point against unbeaten Brighton as their game finished 1-1 at the Madejski. Brighton took the lead in the 51st minute however Reading equalised through Matej Vydra with 12 minutes to go as they tried to snatch the win. This result has left the Royals just a point behind 6th placed Birmingham and only seven behind leaders Brighton. Steve Clark's men have lost just once in their last five games and have been improving as they have climbed the table and are trying hard to get into a play-off place. The form of striker Nick Blackman has also coincided with their good run as he has scored 11 goals so far this season and looks like he is well suited to the rigours of the Championship.
Huddersfield suffered their second consecutive 2-1 defeat last Saturday when Burnley beat them at Turf Moor. An Andre Gray brace in the first half was enough to see the Clarets through as a Michael Duff own goal in the 88th minute was just a consolation for the Terriers. Chris Powell's men have fought hard at times this season and have recorded a few good results however they have just taken four points from their last five games and can't seem to pull away from the relegation places as they are in 16th spot and just four points from safety. The Terriers need to go on a run, which they have threatened to do a couple of times however it didn't materialise and it makes me wonder if they are good enough to get themselves up to mid-table or will it be a relegation fight for the rest of the season.
Reading can be a bit unpredictable however I do think they will be too strong for Huddersfield especially at the Madejski and I wouldn't be surprised if Blackman is on the score sheet again as the Terriers have a goal difference of -4 and are vulnerable at the back.
1 point win Reading to beat Huddersfield at 7/10 with Bet365 and Paddy Power
MK Dons v Charlton
MK Dons suffered their third defeat in a row on Saturday when Hull beat them 2-0 at Stadium MK. Hull took a 19th minute lead in this one however the Dons fought hard for a leveller and it took Mo Diame to score a second five minutes into added time to ease the Tigers nerves and make sure of the win. Milton Keynes have had a tough start to their return to the Championship with only three wins and two draws to show from their first 14 games however for the first time in a few weeks this looks like a fixture they are capable of winning as Charlton have been terrible since the end of August. Karl Robinson's men had recorded a win and a draw before these three defeats and that has been enough to keep them out of the bottom three albeit by virtue of goal difference and with games coming up against Brighton, Wolves and Fulham in the next few weeks this one tonight is a must win
Charlton suffered their fourth defeat in a row last Saturday when Middlesbrough beat them 3-0 at the Riverside. Boro scored three goals in 18 second half minutes to brush aside the Addicks who have now failed to hit the net in their fourth successive game. Charlton have been on a miserable run which has seen them lose eight out of their last ten games with their last win coming against Hull on the 22nd of August. Another very worrying stat is they have conceded ten goals in their last four games and have a goal difference of -13 which is the worst in the Championship and they are starting to remind me of the way Wigan were last year which will leave them in for a very long season. Guy Luzon was sacked before the Boro game and Karel Fraeye was appointed interim head coach however this still failed to give the players a lift.
I think Karl Robinson will have his players well up for this game tonight and will see it as a great chance to get a valuable three points against a Charlton side who are struggling badly and I think Milton Keynes could win this easily enough.
1 point win MK Dons to beat Charlton at 6/5 with Stan James
Preston v Nottingham Forest
Preston made it four games unbeaten on Saturday when they played out a 0-0 draw with Lancashire rivals Bolton at Deepdale. By all accounts this was a drab affair with both sides cancelling each other out. North End have started to turn their fortunes around in recent weeks as they have beat Charlton and drawn with Bolton, Brighton and Cardiff as they have lifted themselves three points clear of the relegation places and look to be going in the right direction. A big plus for Simon Grayson has been the four consecutive clean sheets they have kept as he now looks to have them well organised at the back and I think in the next few weeks they could pull further away from the relegation places and start to enjoy a bit of mid-table safety.
Nottingham Forest's poor run continued on Saturday when they lost 1-0 away to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. This game was settled in the 68th minute when Fernando Forestieri scored for the Owls to secure the three points. Dougie Freedman's men have been struggling badly this last month or so as they have now failed to win any of their last seven games and they are slipping slowly towards the drop zone as they are in 17th and just four points clear of third bottom Bolton. I highlighted some of the problems Dougie Freedman is facing in my last column however I do think he is bound to be under increasing pressure and if results don't improve soon the writing could be on the wall for him as they have also lost three out of their last five games.
Preston have been improving steadily in the last few weeks and although this could be a close game I think they will have more confidence and will fancy themselves against a Forest side that look vulnerable especially away from home.
1 point win Preston to beat Nottingham Forest at 5/4 with Betfred, Coral, Bet365 and Stan James