MONDAY JANUARY 2ND
Three selections today and I am going to keep comments fairly brief.
I was interested in Plymouth Argyle, who did us a favour at Aldershot Town ( perhaps a little fortunately) on Saturday, but the combination of long trip over the weekend and poor asian quote, or at least one I am not keen on ( +0.25 ball 1.72), is enough to make me swerve this one, having said that, if there is some 1.90 + available to you off level ball against Torquay United, then that would be far more appealing.
In the EPL, we have done well recently with Blackburn Rovers and they will surely be looking to follow up their amazing win at Old Trafford, with three points on home soil, but we can still not trust them defensively, they have conceded two or more in eight of their last nine starts and the other was at Anfield, where they could have allowed any number if Liverpool had been more ruthless and goodness knows how many this number would have been if Chris Samba had not been available, I have lost count of the number of times he has made last ditch blocks recently. He is being chased by several of the very top clubs and there is always the concern that injury will be at the back of his mind today, with the transfer window now open. Stoke City have been a little better on their travels this season, but still lost 13 EPL starts on the road in 2011, however, they have a solid record here and Samba will be working overtime from long balls into the box, both will almost certainly score IMO and "over" at odds against is far too tempting for me to avoid. 1.5 units "Over" 2.5 goals 2.02 asian line.
Onto the Championship and the Yorkshire derby game between Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley , hosts are still bottom of the table, but recent performaces have been so much better than results might suggest and they could easily have got something from road trips to Burnley and Watford both of which they lost by three goals ! They are certainly stronger at the Keepmoat, as wins over Leicester city and Southampton indicate, they lose Goulon after his red card, but have a natural replacement in Stock returning from suspension.They are very strong in the centre of the pitch and with Barnsley missing the hugely influential Butterfield, Drinkwater and Addison, this gives them a huge advantage in midfield for this game. The visitors are coming off a huge 4-1 defeat of Leeds, but United are really struggling and the Tykes always up their game against them. Dean Saunders has brought some classy individuals into the Rovers squad, almost all proven at a much higher level and really used his many contacts in the game. They have reduced ticket prices today and are hoping for a big crowd to take them off the foot of the table.Doncaster Rovers -0.25 ball 2.21 asian line.
I have been monitoring Phil Parkinson at Bradford City, after being flavour of the month a couple of seasons back, Parky has slipped back down the managerial ladder and this is probably his last big club and City are a "big" club at this level, unless he has some success. He has gone back to basics and is looking to build a big strong team at City, much like his Colchester United team of giants, based around a huge defence. Slowly things have come together and they have won three straight, with a 7-1 goal difference, which included defeats of Southend and Shrewsbury, two of the better teams in the division. The only goal conceded in that sequence, came when they were three up and reduced to ten men on saturday, following David Syers dismissal, but they are appealing that and he is available today, they have also signed another big solid defender in Charlie Taylor from Leeds, who I understand is well thought of and poses a big offensive threat too, as a good crosser of the ball. He will get plenty of experience alongside players of the quality of Andrew Davies on loan from Stoke city, who is way too good for this level. I read this about City from a scepical source last week " This powerful no nonsense defensive unit with attitude is already having a beneficial impact on the rest of the team.There will be no lazy passengers playing in this team." that Parkinson has chosen to further strengthen his rearguard is eyecatching under those circumstances and they are a side to follow in early 2012. Hosts Rotherham are struggling and boss Andy Scott is not popular with supporters, personality wise Scott is a bit of a cold fish and fans simply do not warm to him, this does him few favours when things start to go wrong. They will be without keeper Conrad Logan today who has gone back to Leicester and his 35 yo replacement has not played in three months, two other key defenders are out ( Branston cannot play against his parent club) and I have to take the visitors, plus the draw. 1.5 units Bradford City +0.5 ball 1.97 asian line.