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Birmingham City to beat Nottingham Forest @ 11/20
Chris Hughton has done a marvellous job at Birmingham City in his usual understated, no-frills manner and he can keep the Blues’ promotion bid rolling on with another three points, this time at home to Nottingham Forest.
After juggling Europa League demands with such a small squad still coming to terms with relegation from the Premier League, it was perhaps unsurprising Birmingham struggled in the early season exchanges.
But Brum are now third and with automatic promotion in their sites. Only Reading have taken more points over the last six matches and Birmingham have won seven of their last ten – you have to go back to December 19th to find their last league defeat.
The Blues remain unbeaten at St Andrews (10-6-0) and will be confident of beating an out-of-sorts Forest. Steve Cotterill’s men have lost ten of their last 15 Championship games and are only out of the relegation places thanks to the points deduction imposed on Portsmouth.
Forest have lost nine of their 14 games on the road and even if both teams’ lack of goals means it might not be a classic, Birmingham can keep up the pressure on the top two by taking advantage of a Forest defence that has conceded 49 goals already this term.
Huddersfield Town to beat Exeter City @ 1/2
Huddersfield have been in the news over the ‘controversial’ sacking of Lee Clark last week but I think that the appointment of Simon Grayson is a fine one and I expect the former Leeds boss to get his reign off to a winning start at home to struggling Exeter City.
I put the word ‘controversial’ in speech marks because I feel that given his huge budget and the form of Jordan Rhodes, Clark, if failed is too harsh a word, did not excel at Huddersfield. Grayson has a proven track record in League One, winning promotion at Leeds and Blackpool, and given the players at his disposal I expect an upturn in results, starting against Exeter.
The Grecians are hovering just two places and two points above the relegation zone and the reason is their terrible away form. Exeter have lost ten of their 16 away fixtures this season, more than any side in the division, and only Rochdale have scored fewer than their 12 away goals. With promotion the brief from chairman Dean Hoyle, Grayson could not have asked for more accommodating opponents for his debut and at 1/2 should be trusted to pick up three points.
Swindon Town to beat Accrington Stanley @ 2/5
Swindon Town have come up on the rails to lead League Two and should be trusted to keep their fantastic run going with a win at home to mid-table Accrington Stanley.
Paolo Di Canio has seemingly got to grips with football in the bottom tier of the league ladder after an indifferent start and the Robins are now perched at the summit of League Two with a one point lead and two games in hand.
This has been the result of eight wins on the bounce and Swindon are the form team in English football. Early in the year Swindon were poor away from home but their form at the County Ground has been excellent all season. Swindon boast an 11-2-1 record at home and have kept an incredible ten clean sheets in 14 home league games.
They should have too much for an Accrington side coming to terms with the loss of long-term boss John Coleman, now at Rochdale. New man Paul Cook has overseen two defeats so far with an aggregate deficit of 6-0 and Stanley look set to struggle again.
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