Reading’s slide has turned into freefall. The Royals had a blistering start to the season, dropping just two points in their opening eight games. But they’ve lost four of their last five, conceding 14 and plummeting from top of the league with a seven-point cushion to 6th and four-points adrift.
The Robins endured their own slump after winning the first four and then going five without a win, but Dean Holden’s side have rallied and have since gone four undefeated, winning three in a row before the handy midweek draw with Watford last time out.
Saturday 12.30pm: Reading v Bristol City
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They now find themselves 3rd in the league with seven wins, three draws and three losses, giving them a grand total of 24 points.
Over 2.5 Goals has been a fruitful bet in games involving Reading recently, but at the bigger price we’re happy to side with form and back Bristol City to Win on the telly this Saturday lunchtime.
Sheffield Wednesday have hit the big red ‘in case of emergency’ button marked ‘Tony Pulis’. The wily Welshman has replaced Garry Monk in a bid to get the point-deducted club out of the drop zone and moving towards safety.
Pulis welcomes a familiar foe to Hillsborough on Saturday as Stoke, the club where he made his name, head to town. He will be looking to get one over his former employers who are desperate to return to the glory days of the Pulis era. Their current boss Michael O’Neill earned acclaim for effectively replicating what Pulis did at Stoke with Northern Ireland.
This is likely to be a very, very attritional affair, and one fans might be glad they’re not actually allowed to attend. But Stoke have the better players, the better form and O’Neill has had longer to work with his side so we’re siding with a Stoke Win here.
We mentioned a few weeks ago that Bournemouth’s defence-first policy was hampering their attacking prowess and that they’d picked up too many draws. However, something’s clicked and The Cherries have racked up three victories on the bounce, scoring eight in the process.
They’re flying at the moment and make the trip north to face struggling Rotherham who have one win and four losses in their last five. Bournemouth are second in the league with 26 points from seven wins, five draws and one loss.
The Millers are down in 19th after recording three wins, three draws and seven defeats giving them 12 points. Everything considered, anything other than a Bournemouth Win would be a surprise here.
The EFL’s second-longest serving manager Gareth Ainsworth takes his side to face recently-managerless Derby who will be in the hands of a four-strong caretaker team led by Wayne Rooney. The Rams, under the recently-departed Phillip Cocu, have been shocking this year while Wycombe have slowly been improving after a poor start.
Wycombe know exactly what they’re about, and while defensive solidarity and maximising set pieces may not be pretty, it might just keep them in the division come May. How Derby will approach this game under their cooperative management remains to be seen, but you can be sure they will not want to lose this one after a 3-0 mauling to Middlesbrough in the week.
Scoring goals has been a huge issue for both sides this season and they’ve managed a poultry 11 goals in 26 games between them. The goals have been flying in at the other end (39 in total) but both sides will be desperate not to lose. Expect a tight, nervy contest with Under 2.5 Goals.
Tips for Saturday’s Championship games
*All prices correct at time of publication and they’re always bang on with our clever betting widgets
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