Tommy Mc previews four matches in the Championship on Saturday with two draws predicted and his best bet being Derby to beat Brentford.
Derby v Brentford
Derby kept their good run going last Saturday lunch-time when they beat MK Dons 3-1 at Stadium MK. The Rams left it late in this one as the game looked to be heading for a draw until Darren Bent scored in the 89th minute and then Tom Ince made sure of the points six minutes into added time. Derby have now moved up to 9th and are just one point off 3rd placed Reading. Paul Clement's men really clicked into gear in September as they were unbeaten, winning three and drawing one and dropping only two points for the entire month. Their defence has also tightened up with only two goals conceded in their last four games and they have scored six at the other end with Martin, Bent and Ince all opening their accounts which is an ominous sign for the rest of the Championship.
Brentford made it three defeats out of four on Tuesday night when they lost 2-0 to Birmingham at Griffin Park. The Bees kept Birmingham out until the last 19 minutes when Blues duo Morrison and Donaldson scored two late goals to secure the win. Brentford have had a turbulent start to the season so far, after getting rid of a lot of their big players in the summer they sacked their manager Marinus Dijkuizen on Monday after only eight games in charge and have replaced him with Lee Carsley, who has experience in coaching but not managing. The Bees have been steadily falling down the table and are now 5th from bottom, just one point clear of the drop zone. The Birmingham game was Carsley's first in charge however a change in manager did not equate to a change in fortunes.
It remains to be seen what kind of a job Carsley does at Brentford, however a win over this inform Derby side is a big ask especially at the iPro and I just can't see them taking anything back to West London. The Rams will be well up for this and determined to break into the top six so with the quality they have they should win this game.
1.5 points win Derby to beat Brentford at 8/11 with Betfred and William Hill
Blackburn v Ipswich
Blackburn picked up a good point on the road last Saturday when they drew 1-1 with Hull at the KC Stadium. Abel Hernandez scored in the 73rd minute and looked to have won the game for Hull until Jordan Rhodes scored an equaliser in added time to ensure a share of the spoils. Rhodes has now scored in all of Rovers last four games coinciding with their best run so far as they are unbeaten in their last three with two good draws away to QPR and Hull and a comfortable 3-0 home win over Charlton. Gary Bowyer's men looked to have turned a corner in recent weeks as they picked up their first win of the season and are playing better football especially at Ewood Park where they have not lost since Wolves beat them 2-1 there on the opening day of the season.
Ipswich were involved in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Bristol City last Saturday at Portman Road. All the action took place in the second half as Ipswich went ahead, then behind and had to rely on a 86th minute equaliser from Ryan Fraser to rescue a point. Mick Mc Carthy's men are in 8th spot and level with five other teams on 15 points as the Championship looks to be another tight affair this season. The Tractor Boys have looked a bit nervous in recent weeks and don't look fully recovered from the 5-1 hammering Reading gave them a few weeks ago at the Madejski as they have won one and drawn the other two of their games since. However they are still a decent side and on their day can be hard to break down.
Despite their respective positions in the league I think there is not much between these two sides as Blackburn are improving and Ipswich are trying to discover their early season form. They are also both unbeaten in their last three games taking five points each from them and I think both sides would be content enough with a draw in this one and I think that is the best option here.
1 point win Blackburn v Ipswich-Draw at 12/5 with BetVictor and Bet365
Bristol City v MK Dons
Bristol City put in a spirited display against Ipswich at Portman Road last Saturday in a game they could have easily won. The Robins came from behind to go 2-1 up however a lapse in concentration four minutes from time cost them as they conceded the equaliser. Steve Cotterill would have been disappointed not to pick up the three points however a draw at Portman Road is no mean feat and it should give his side confidence going into this bottom of the table clash at Ashton Gate on Saturday. The Robins have had a tough start to life back in the Championship however they have drawn with Preston, Leeds and Ipswich and also beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at the Riverside which shows they are capable of picking up points and should be able to beat the sides in and around them.
MK Dons lost their 5th consecutive game last Saturday when they were beat 3-1 by Derby at the iPro Stadium in front of the SKY TV cameras. Milton Keynes gave a good account of themselves in this game and looked to be securing a draw until Darren Bent and Tom Ince scored two late goals to kill them off. The Dons season started well when they won two of their first three games however it has all gone pear shaped since as they have only managed a solitary point from the following six fixtures. Karl Robinson must be struggling to keep his side motivated at this stage as they have conceded 11 goals in their last five games and have only scored 3. Losing can be become a habit just as much as winning and for the Dons at the minute it looks a hard habit to break.
I think this is a great opportunity for Bristol City to lift themselves off the bottom of the table and possibly out of the bottom three as Milton Keynes look down and out at this point in time. The Robins have been improving in recent weeks and will want to win this one as they have tough fixtures ahead in the coming weeks so I think they will take advantage against the Dons and pick up their second win of the season.
1 point win Bristol City to beat MK Dons at 19/20 with Betfred and William Hill
Reading v Middlesbrough
Reading made it four wins out of five last Saturday when they beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor, picking up a big three points. The Royals were 2-0 up after just nine minutes in this game and survived a Burnley come back in the second half. Steve Clark's men have been on fire in recent weeks taking 12 points from the 15 available to them, scoring 12 goals in the process and conceding just 4. This run of form has lifted them up to 3rd and they are just five points behind second placed Middlesbrough going into this weekend. The Royals have gelled together well as a team this last few weeks after a nervy start to the season and look a decent outfit who are capable of giving anybody a game in this division.
Middlesbrough kept their impressive winning streak going last Sunday when they beat Leeds 3-0 at the Riverside. Boro were 2-0 up after 32 minutes and made sure of the points nine minutes from time when Diego Fabbrini got their third. Aitor Karnaka's men have shot up the table in the last four weeks with five wins in a row and are now sitting 2nd with 20 points, just one off leaders Brighton. Middlesbrough have possibly the best squad in the Championship and have a striking trio of Stuani, Fabbrini and the experienced David Nugent who have scored 14 goals between them already. I think Boro will win the Championship this year as they have the strength in depth to cope with injuries and I don't think they will be out of the top three between now and May.
This should be a cracking game as both of these sides are in top form and whether there are goals or not I do think it will be a close game as both of these sides are very well organised and don't make many mistakes. I think both managers will want to win this one however a draw would not be the worse result for either and I think that is the way it will finish.
1 point win Reading v Middlesbrough-Draw at 19/10 with Bet365, Coral and BetVictor