Leeds United will look to add to their seven-game unbeaten run on Saturday when they welcome Birmingham City to Elland Road, with a move into the play-off spots a possibility with a win.
The Whites have enjoyed a relatively consistent first few months to their Championship campaign, with the back-to-back defeats against Cardiff City and Hull City in September the only real blip on an otherwise impressive set of results.
Since that loss at home to their Yorkshire rivals, Leeds have not been beaten in any competition, but their run has hit a slight bump recently.
Neil Warnock’s side have drawn three out of their last four games, each of these stalemates coming against a side in the bottom half of the table. In midweek it was 18th-placed Charlton Athletic who managed to hold Leeds to a draw and just days before that, they could only do enough to gain a point against Sheffield Wednesday, who occupy a spot in the relegation zone.
It is likely to be with trepidation, then, that Leeds enter Saturday’s game against another struggling side in Birmingham, who themselves are only just outside the relegation zone in 20th position.
The Blues have endured a nightmare first few months under the stewardship of Lee Clark, having recorded just three wins from 12 games, and they are yet to win in October, with the past four games reaping just two points.
It was always going to be hard for Clark to replace the successful Chris Hughton when he departed for Norwich City, but with the first-team squad pretty much unchanged, City were once again expected to challenge for promotion.
There is still, of course, a long way to go in the Championship season and Reading’s amazing ride from bottom to top last season will be the example sides like Birmingham will be looking to follow from now on in.
Despite the recent run without a win, the positive for Birmingham heading into this game is that their last two fixtures have been drawn, just like Leeds, which suggests that despite their varying league positions, there currently is not much to choose between the two teams form-wise.
Bwin is currently offering 23/10 on both sides making it three consecutive draws, while the 3way football betting market has a Leeds victory priced at evens and an away win at 13/5.
Punters registering with bwin today can claim a free £20 bet and placing that on Leeds and Birmingham to draw would return £66 if the spoils are indeed shared on Saturday afternoon.
In last season’s corresponding fixture, City romped to a 4-1 win thanks to four goals from giant Serbian striker Nikola Zigic and while it would be startling to see a repeat scoreline this weekend, the formbook suggests that those in attendance are guaranteed goals as neither side have been involved in a 0-0 draw this season.
The chances of both sides scoring at 53/100 is also high, with Leeds having scored in every game and Birmingham only failing to find the net once on their travels.
If you are looking for an outside bet to place on this match then try odds of 18/5 on there being five or more goals in the game, as there have been exactly five strikes notched in each of the two previous meetings between the sides at Elland Road.
But the preference here is for two evenly-matched teams with a propensity for draws in recent weeks to once again have to settle for a point apiece.