MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) came close to a weekend Football League treble so can he hit the jackpot in Tuesday night’s action?
Watford v Fulham | Tuesday 19.45
Just five points separates the top six in the Championship and Watford have a fantastic chance of squeezing themselves even closer to the second tier summit on Tuesday night. The Hornets were the only top-six side to bag a Saturday win when coming from 2-0 behind to beat Leeds at Elland Road to make it 11 victories from their past 15 league outings.
It’s an impressive run of form from Slavisa Jokanovic’s charges that started back on the 5th December with a 5-0 thumping away to Tuesday’s opponents Fulham. The Hornets have since smashed three or more goals on a further six occasions and retain a fearsome record at Vicarage Road when entertaining the division’s lesser lights. When hosting teams in 11th and below Watford boast a W9-D1-L1 return, netting 33 goals!
Matej Vydra was back amongst the goals at the weekend with in-form Odion Ighalo missing with a hamstring injury. And Jokanovic will have been pleased to see his skipper Troy Deeney leading the line superbly well to take the Man of the Match award. With three class forwards to pick from, it’s unsurprising to see the Hornets ranking top of the scoring charts (averaging over two goals-per-game).
Fulham picked up just a third win in 12 on Saturday as they defeated league leaders Derby 2-0. The Cottagers were full value for their victory but it was an abnormally rotten display from the Rams who didn’t even have a shot-on-target until the 69th minute. The Londoners are a different kettle of fish away from the Cottage and I can’t see Kit Symons’ side surviving a trip to Hertfordshire.
Fulham’s woeful away record is nothing new and despite dropping down a division, the Cottagers have been beaten in 11/17 (65%) Championship matches on the road. But look at their results away to top-half teams and it reads a horrendous W0-D0-L8, leaking at least twice in all eight losses. Watford are 4/5 with William Hill and I’m happy to get involved with those quotes. The top-scoring side should brush aside the league’s second worst defensive outfit and keep their promotion charge on track.
Port Vale v Oldham Athletic | Tuesday 19.45
Two of the least glamorous Football League teams lock horns on Tuesday in League One but there’s plenty of glitz in my eyes on seeing the price of Port Vale. I’ll be diving knee-deep into the 13/8 from Bet365 for a home win and I’ll tell you for why…
Vale have posted three successive wins ‘to nil’ to propel themselves to within three-points of the play-offs. Saturday’s 1-0 success at Notts County had boss Robert Page purring; a side that had managed to keep just two clean sheets in 30 has finally got the hang of that defending lark and recent loan signing (and giant) Ryan Innis has been colossal at centre-half.
I’ve always been a fan of backing the Valiants on their home turf at decent prices. The Staffordshire club are always an attractive proposition as their Vale Park form is always competitive. This season, the hosts have returned a 50% win ratio in front of their home fans winning 8/16. It’s even more impressive when looking at their results at home in their last 12 (W8-D2-L2).
Opponents Oldham hit the top-six just a fortnight ago but with uncertainty over their manager’s position and a nosebleed at hitting the dizzy heights of the play-offs, the Latics have suffered an alarming drop-off in form.
Three defeats on the bounce without scoring (against Colchester, Leyton Orient and Preston) have seen the visitors plummet back into mid-table obscurity while boss Lee Johnson decided to take up the offer from Barnsley last week. Caretaker Andy Holden didn’t seem to have the answers for Saturday’s 4-0 walloping at home to North End and even suggested his team ‘didn’t believe they could win’. A worrying sign.
Oldham’s longer-term form hasn’t been hit-and-miss since December (W4-D1-L8), failing to score in six of those 13 fixtures and so it would be foolish not to take an interest in Port Vale at a hunky 13/8.
Northampton Town v Portsmouth | Tuesday 19.45
Northampton boss Chris Wilder has been nominated for February’s Manager of the Month award after guiding the Cobblers to an impressive 10-point haul from 15 available to continue their dynamic start to 2015.
On Saturday Wilder’s charges became the first visiting side to win away at Shrewsbury this season and that victory was all the more satisfying as both John-Joe O’Toole and Marc Richards were missing.
Richards is expected to return on Tuesday night to partner teenager Ivan Toney in attack as the hosts bid to keep their play-off charge on track. Northampton are now just six points off the top-seven but face a Portsmouth side also enjoying a decent run of results.
Pompey are just three points behind their hosts having strung together a seven-match unbeaten streak (W4-D3). On Saturday they were held 0-0 at home to Oxford as visiting keeper Ryan Clarke held firm despite an onslaught from Andy Awford’s men. Goals had been an issue for the side from the Solent but the signing of Matt Tubbs and the form of Jed Wallace has certainly boosted their output.
I’m looking to back Both Teams To Score at 5/6 (BetVictor) when the two teams go head-to-head. The Cobblers have drawn a blank just once in their previous 14 matches with 16 fixtures at Sixfields producing a huge 51 goals (3.19 goals-per-game).
Portsmouth had netted nine goals in four days before being held by Oxford and despite the low-scoring nature of their road games, five of their last nine away from Fratton Park have all banked in the BTTS column.
Watford v Fulham – Watford to win (4/5 William Hill)
Port Vale v Oldham Athletic – Port Vale to win (13/8 Bet365)
Northampton Town v Portsmouth – Both Teams To Score (5/6 BetVictor)
What’s your best Football League treble this midweek? Do you disagree with Mark’s selections?
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