HAVING delivered a full house of Football League winners on Saturday, Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) is back in action with three more picks from Tuesday’s busy card.
Nottingham Forest v Charlton | Tuesday 19.45
I’ve nothing against Nottingham Forest – their success or failure has no impact on my day-to-day being – but I’m all too eager to oppose Dougie Freedman’s side when I think they’re being overrated. And that’s actually happening a little too often.
Forest recorded seven wins from their first 10 under the Scot’s tutelage but they were hardly dominating teams. So it was no surprise to see the side tail their season off without a victory in eight. Sure, six of those eight opponents eventually finished in the top-nine and that winless streak was below par – just like their winning run wasn’t a fair reflection.
What I’m getting at is, the Tricky Trees are a decent team when on their game. But they’re still missing key components and I’ll still need convincing that Dougie’s cut out to progress the club. I was a big fan following his spell at Crystal Palace but Bolton fans derided Freedman for his lack of tactical acumen and poor signings.
Due to a transfer embargo, Forest’s signings have been limited (probably a good thing if the above is to be believed). Club captain Chris Cohen remains sidelined as well as creative fulcrum Andy Reid and goalscorer Britt Assombalonga, who bagged 15 in 29 before injury. Meanwhile, Henri Lansbury’s head has been turned by Burnley, leaving Michail Antonio to shoulder the burden with young Tyler Walker and Jamie Ward in the attacking stakes.
It’s still a capable forward line but they’ve been far from devastating in their opening three fixtures. Brighton were the better team in the season opener, Walsall stuck four past the Trees at the City Ground in the cup and they were vulnerable against relegation favourites Rotherham at home on Saturday too.
Defensively they’re unconvincing – I’m not and have never been a fan of Matt Mills – and since chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi arrived on the scene, Forest have gone from eighth, to 11th and to 14th. Further regression wouldn’t be a huge surprise ; that might all sound harsh but it’s just my opinion. They’re odds-on to beat Charlton in places and I had to laugh.
The Addicks overcame my own QPR in their season curtain-raiser. Guy Luzon’s men overcame an early flurry of Rangers pressure before comfortably seeing the game out as 2-0 winners. Charlton went on to put four past Dagenham in the League Cup and picked up a point at pre-season title favourites Derby on Saturday.
Luzon’s troops held the lead against the Rams and had chances to win the game after being pegged back by their hosts. The stats say Derby dominated but half of their 20+ efforts came from outside the box and only five were on target. The Addicks boss enthused about his team’s determined defensive play and organisation.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jordan Cousins are classy operators from midfield, Tony Watt continues to prove his worth as a weapon going forward whilst Simon Makienok appears a useful addition despite lack of a finishing touch on Saturday. These Londoners are no mugs.
Charlton can get something from the City Ground, I’m sure of it. They’re underrated by the bookies again and I want them onside. BetVictor are allowing us to back them at 7/8 off a +0.50 Asian Handicap start – that’s the same as a Double Chance bet, only at a better price. Should the visitors avoid defeat, we’ll have ourselves a winner.
Blackpool v Burton | Tuesday 19.45
Sorry to sound like a broken record but until Blackpool fix up and look sharp, I’m going to be against them. Neil McDonald has begged home supporters to rally behind the side and give them the support they require but the atmosphere around Bloomfield Road remains toxic and that should only aid opposition teams.
The Seasiders were beaten 2-0 at home by Rochdale on Saturday, as we predicted. McDonald claimed the hosts created plenty but with only two efforts on target and defensive uncertainty, it’s hard to see where the Tangerines are going to get their first three points from.
Blackpool had to wait 40 minutes until their first chance against Dale and their inexperienced side are unlikely to be given too many favours from a battling and streetwise Brewers team on Tuesday.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s troopers should have taken a point from their trip to Barnsley at the weekend but poor finishing from on-loan Mark Duffy and Nasser El Khayati cost them dearl and ex-Dortmund reserve Timmy Thiele’s late piledriver hit the bar. Burton dominated possession (61%) and restricted Barnsley to just three shots.
Albion will be tough to breakdown this season and if they can start taking the glut of opportunities that are being created, they should be more than comfortable this season. The League Two champions will fancy their chances this midweek and at 4/5 (Coral) are solid Draw No Bet material.
York v Yeovil | Tuesday 19.45
I highlighted Yeovil’s selection problems ahead of their weekend defeat to Bristol Rovers and although the result suggested the Glovers were unlucky, further inspection shows they were outclassed from the first whistle. Rovers boasted 68% of the ball and out-shot their hosts 17-4 with Yeovil stopper Artur Krysiak wining the Man of the Match award.
Boss Paul Sturrock has pleaded for patience as he looks to rebuild and consolidate the Huish Park club following back-to-back relegations. But those injury problems show no sign of ending soon and now Matty Dolan will be missing in midweek having been sent off on Saturday.
The Scot in charge of the Glovers bemoaned his lack of available fit bodies with a youthful squad having to cope with many players out of position. It certainly doesn’t bode well for their trip north to face York on Tuesday night and I’ll happily oppose the visitors who’ve already lost their first three fixtures.
York are 11/10 (Betfred) to oblige and although pointless after their opening two league outings, they’ve been far from second best. On Saturday the Minsterman put Hartlepool under fierce first-half pressure but failed to make the breakthrough, eventually losing out 2-1 to a late goal.
Russ Wilcox’s men had hit the bar and seen two efforts cleared off the line against Pools and the York boss was gutted with the result, even suggesting the first 45 minutes was the best the side had played since he arrived.
Last midweek’s Capital One Cup success over Bradford proved what’s possible and with an ambition to play fast, attractive football, I fancy the Minsterman to add more misery to Yeovil’s 2015/16 campaign.
Nottingham Forest v Charlton – Charlton double chance (7/8 BetVictor)
Blackpool v Burton – Burton draw no bet (4/5 Coral)
York v Yeovil – York to win (11/10 Betfred)
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