MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) is backing two home sides to win in style on Wednesday night.
Birmingham City v Blackpool | Wednesday 19.45
Birmingham snapped their longest winless streak in five years on Saturday by beating Brentford 1-0 at St Andrews. Stephen Gleeson saw red and will now miss Wednesday’s home meeting with Blackpool but there were plenty of positives in their weekend win to believe a comfortable victory should be on the cards.
Boss Gary Rowett was chuffed with his team’s performance; Paul Caddis was a regular threat bombing down the right-hand side and Clayton Donaldson was causing plenty of problems for his old club. Starlet Demarai Gray had opportunities to double the blues advantage but the second city club were just delighted to return to winning ways when the final whistle went.
Loan signing Robert Tesche will slot straight into Gleeson’s place and I’d be confident about backing the home side off a -1 Asian Handicap start with BetVictor offering 68/67. Taking this bet means we’ll get our cash back should Birmingham only win by a one-goal margin but have ourselves a winner should the Blues beat the Tangerines by two or more.
Home form has improved dramatically under Rowett’s watch (W5-D3-L2) with five points collected from fixtures against top-six outfits Bees, Middlesbrough and Norwich in their previous four matches on home soil. As long as Gray and Donaldson can find their shooting boots, I can’t see us losing our money with this bet.
Visiting boss Lee Clark returns to St Andrews for the first time since his sacking and his Blackpool side are now 15 points from safety. Their weekend defeat at home to Wigan almost certainly put the seal on their relegation from the second tier and represented one of their worst displays in years. Worryingly, that loss came on the back of their midweek walloping at Brentford where Mark Warbuton’s men ran riot, racking up over 40 shots against the Tangerines.
Blackpool are winless on the road and have been beaten in 11/17 games away from Bloomfield Road this season (and in 22/33 further back). Eight of their losses in 2014/15 have been by a two-goal margin or more and it would take a brave man to bet against another pasting on Wednesday.
Norwich City v Wigan Athletic | Wednesday 19.45
There looks to be no stopping Norwich’s surge towards a Premier League return. Their 2-0 win over rivals Ipswich was their sixth successive victory and has the Canaries nestled just three points off the top-of-the-table before Tuesday’s Championship fixtures.
The Norfolk side have suffered just one defeat under Alex Neil’s tutelage (W8-D1-L1) and I’m backing the home side to make it seventh heaven when lowly Wigan make the journey down. BetVictor have made Norwich -1 on the same Asian Handicap bet an even-money chance and again, that’s too good to miss.
The Canaries have scored at least twice in each of those aforementioned wins as they continue their best run of form in five years. And their record at Carrow Road (W9-D5-L3) only gives me more confidence that Neil’s men will bag us a winner.
Wigan gave themselves a lifeline with a richly deserved 3-1 success at Blackpool on Saturday but they remain mired in a relegation struggle. Thirteen defeats in 19 can’t be ignored, nor can their 10 losses in 17 when playing away. Malky Mackay’s men have been suffering with a severe injury crisis of late and I’d be surprised if they can contain a rampant Norwich side.
And Tuesday the club announced Dave Whelan had stepped down from his position as chairman following 20 years of service and it looks from the outside that Athletic are sleep-walking their way back down the English football pyramid.
Birmingham City v Blackpool – Birmingham City -1 Asian Handicap (68/67 BetVictor)
Norwich City v Wigan Athletic – Norwich City -1 Asian Handicap (1/1 BetVictor)
Could either of the basement battlers spring a Wednesday surprise? Do you disagree with Mark’s picks?
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