IRISHMAN Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) is hoping for a clean sweep of Football League winners to mark St Patrick’s Day. Has he found the best bets from Tuesday’s coupon?
Blackpool v Charlton Athletic | Tuesday 19.45
Blackpool boss Lee Clark has finally admitted his Tangerines are heading down and accepted it could be by a “massive margin”.
On Saturday, Clark’s team were destroyed 4-0 at Bournemouth in a match that the manager described as “soul-destroying”. It was their fifth consecutive loss and means Pools have now taken just two points from their last 27 on offer. The Seasiders are 18 points adrift of safety and could be relegated this weekend.
When visiting the table-toppers at the weekend, Blackpool failed to register a shot on target and it’s hard not to fancy Charlton’s chances on Tuesday night with Coral offering 6/5 on the away win. It looks as if the Tangerines have waved the white flag early with rebuilding for the 2015/16 season now well underway.
Clark claimed he was furious and “the most angry I’ve been” with his side at half-time on Saturday, bemoaning the mind-set of his players as they allowed Bournemouth to walk all over them at the Goldsands. Charlton won’t be quite as rampant but they’ve still shown enough chinks of quality to believe they can run out comfortable winners at Bloomfield Road.
A 3-1 home reverse to Blackburn on Saturday upset head coach Guy Luzon. The former Israeli international suggested his team “played without aggression” but Tony Watt and Igor Vetekele spurned two gilt-edged chances as the Addicks attempted to claw back the deficit at home to in-form Rovers.
Watt’s made a positive impact since his switch from Belgium and the Londoners make the journey with no new selection problems. You’d assume the Addicks won’t repeat the same defensive clangers in successive games and having won five of their last seven Championship fixtures, there’s an air of confidence around The Valley.
The visitors have lost just once on the road to bottom-half teams and should be professional enough to deal with the quagmire surface at Bloomfield Road and put calamity club Blackpool away. The hosts have returned W0-D2-L9 in their previous 11 battles against top-half teams and Charlton arrive sitting in the heady heights of 12th. Away win please.
Chesterfield v Gillingham | Tuesday 19.45
Don’t worry you, I’m not going to start trotting out any more eulogies on Gillingham – been there, done that. But I am going to get the Gills right on side for Tuesday night’s tussle at Chesterfield. The Kent club can be backed at 23/20 with a +0.50 Asian Handicap start at Bet365 (effectively the same bet as a Double Chance selection) and that’s just too good to turn down.
Don’t be too fooled by Saturday’s goalless draw at Bristol City. It looks and sounds like a fantastic result for Justin Edinburgh’s charges and yes, it is/was. But they were forced to defend for their lives for the majority of that match and were fortunate the Robins left their finishing boots at home.
Still, the transformation under Edinburgh continues and the Priestfield club have suffered just one reverse in 12 games since the former Spurs FA Cup winner rode into town. And yes, they remain unbeaten on their travels under the new man in charge, beating Swindon 3-0 at the County Ground in their previous excursion.
So enough flirting with the Gills, how about Chesterfield? Well Paul Cook’s side suffered a 3-2 home defeat to relegation-threatened Coventry on Saturday with the Spireites boss left raging about two costly defensive errors. It means the Derbyshire side have lost five of their last seven, leaving their play-off prospects on the ropes.
These two teams will be eyeing that final play-off position. Gillingham are six points adrift, Chesterfield are five. The two teams should in theory go hammer and tongue for victory but it’s the visitors who boast the guile, confidence, craft and battling spirit to grind out a result and so I’ll back them to avoid defeat at a hunky 23/20. Thanks Bet365.
Oldham Athletic v MK Dons | Tuesday 19.45
Karl Robinson was so convinced his MK Dons side should have had a penalty in their 1-1 weekend draw at Walsall, he brought his laptop to the post-match press conference to prove his team had been hard done by. What the Buckinghamshire team’s supremo failed to mention was, the Dons were second best and slightly fortunate to take a share of the spoils.
Still, having suffered five defeats in seven prior to their trip to the West Midlands, Robinson will have been happy to have avoided another defeat. With Dele Ali on the sidelines, David Martin and Dean Lewington’s returns from injury certainly bolstered the MK ranks on Saturday and the promotion-chasers look a decent prospect at 6/5 (Ladbrokes) to see off injury-ravaged Oldham in midweek.
The Latics had looked like making their own charge at the top-six just a matter of weeks ago but Lee Johnson’s departure to take the vacant Barnsley manager’s position, coupled with seven first-teamers on the treatment table has left interim boss Dean Holden short on options.
Brian Wilson returns from suspension, but Adam Lockwood will miss out following his weekend sending off. He’ll be joined by Amari Morgan-Smith, Jacob Mellis, George Elokobi, Joseph Mills, Liam Kelly, Dominic Poleon and James Wilson on the sidelines and the hosts just don’t have a squad that can cope with that many key absentees.
Athletic were convincingly beaten by Barnsley on home soil last time out and have now lost five of their last six outings. But even if their longer-term form doesn’t make for pretty reading; it’s 10 defeats in 16 League One matches and so I’ll back out-of-form MK Dons to bounce back by adding more misery on free-falling Oldham.
York City v Bury | Tuesday 19.45
My fourth and final selection from Tuesday’s card involves yet another away side. Bury cost me dear a fortnight ago as they suffered a surprise defeat at home to Oxford. The Shakers had bossed that game before Adam El-Abd’s sending off, just one of a number of decisions to leave manager David Flitcroft raging.
But the Bury boss was over the moon with his team’s display as they collected three points at Mansfield at the weekend. Flitcroft described the performance as “immaculately professional”, reserving special praise for on-loan debutant striker Tom Eaves. The addition of the Bolton forward will give the Shakers even more firepower as they bid for promotion.
It’s now five wins in six for Flitcroft’s charges as they close the gap on the top-three to just four points. With three consecutive away victories under their belts, a visit to misfiring York should give the Shakers ample opportunity to enhance their claims for an automatic promotion place.
With a defence that’s conceded just twice in seven games, I want to keep Bury right on side for Tuesday night’s game at Bootham Crescent. And it’s BetVictor’s hugely generous 4/6 on Bury with a +0.25 start in the Asian Handicap that’s got me all wide-eyed. Backing this selection means we’ll make money should Bury avoid defeat – we’ll pocket a full profit should the visitors win but still take half of that potential pay-out should the fixture end all square.
The hosts have won just twice in 18 home games this year and bagged just two victories home or away in this calendar year. Manager Russ Wilcox blamed the poor state of the pitch for his team’s terrible displays in front of their home supporters with Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Carlisle particularly painful to watch.
The Minstermen’s signing of Spurs youngster Shaquille Coulthirst should aid their relegation battle but they’ll need a huge improvement if they’re to improve on their pathetic total of just 12 goals at Bootham Crescent this term.
With Bury proving their defensive strength in recent weeks, it’s hard to imagine York turning the corner on Tuesday. I’ll side with high-flying Bury and collect a few quid should the Shakers avoid defeat. Nice!
Blackpool v Charlton Athletic – Charlton Athletic to win (6/5 Coral)
Chesterfield v Gillingham – Gillingham +0.50 Asian Handicap (23/20 Bet365)
Oldham Athletic v MK Dons – MK Dons to win (6/5 Ladbrokes)
York City v Bury – Bury +0.25 Asian Handicap (4/6 BetVictor)
What’s your best bet from the Football League coupon this midweek?
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