It was dark on my walk to work this morning. That means three things: I’m on that health kick again for a fortnight, winter is coming and so are midweek Championship games with whacky results.
I love this time of year, but the teams slowly slipping down the table on Saturday evenings certainly won’t as they’re forced to quickly turnaround and perform inadequately twice a week now instead of just once every seven days.
Just having a quick look at some of the Tuesday fixtures: trips to Blackburn, Hull, Middlesbrough, Wigan and Stoke. Christmas is coming, alright.
Let’s grab ourselves a few quid anyway.
Middlesbrough v Preston North End: Sean Maguire to Score Anytime – 3/1
I watched Sean Maguire play most weeks for three years. He’s the complete package as a striker and a total difference-maker in games like this.
Far too often, teams can stop a primary route to goal for the opposition, but the young Kilkenny native is riding the crest of a wave at the moment and he appears untouchable in the Championship.
A crucial element to Preston’s unlikely quest back to the top flight, if anyone’s to score on a murky evening in the rain in the north-east, it’s likely him.
Remember the time everyone said he wasn’t good enough to play for Ireland because he played in Ireland?
Leeds v West Brom: West Brom (+1) – Evens
To Leeds’ credit, they’ve come out of the blocks like an Olympic sprinter again. It would have been easy for them to fold following last year’s antics and now having to watch Frank Lampard on Match of the Day every Saturday night.
But what people always overlook is that their great slide from top table to playoff dice roll isn’t always in one fell swoop.
There are games like this that go under the radar. They usually consist of two elements: being midweek – and being against a side in relative contention, where isn’t considered a bad result.
This has Leeds going one-nil up before being pegged back late written all over it – again.
Wigan v Birmingham: Birmingham to Win – 2/1
Prior to this Saturday, Birmingham’s season was going one way. There was little fight in this team when the chips were down. Perhaps that passion that was so evident under Rowett and Monk was gone.
But coming from two goals down to draw level at Derby (before they eventually fell to a 3-2 defeat) was a good sign. That means when they’re outclassed – as they usually tend to be – there’s more left in the tank.
These are the types of games that Birmingham don’t seem to lose. If they go away to a side they’re better than, they usually get the job done – because they’re the perfect counter-attacking team.
If you can’t be perfect, at least be good at something.
Stoke City v Huddersfield: Under 2.5 Goals – 6/10
My American friend went to Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield recently and said that Huddersfield are the worst footballing side he’d ever seen.
He has a season ticket at Sporting Kansas City, so that tells you all you need to know.
Stoke aren’t much better than Huddersfield mind you, so expect a drab affair in this one!
* All odds correct at time of posting.