MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) has delivered six profitable weekends from eight in the Football League this season. Can he continue his hot-streak on Tuesday night?
Huddersfield v Rotherham | Tuesday 19.45
Huddersfield saw their grip on top spot in the Championship come to an end on Saturday as they fell to a 1-0 reverse at Reading, their second successive away Championship defeat.
But don’t let that put you off backing the Terriers to gegenpress their way to another three points when returning to the John Smith’s Stadium this midweek with struggling Rotherham arriving in town.
David Wagner will be without suspended skipper Mark Hudson, Chris Lowe and Saturday’s red card villain Rajiv van la Parra but the German boss is adamant his squad is strong enough to cope. Martin Cranie and 20-year-old Tareiq Holmes-Dennis are both in line to plug defensive gaps.
With summer signing Christopher Schindle excellent at centre-half, Aaron Mooy pulling the strings in midfield an on-loan Chelsea man Kasey Palmer impressing further forward, there’s still enough confidence and quality to trust the hosts here.
Huddersfield boast a 100% win ratio from their four home games this term and whilst I have to admit I’m a little unsure Wagner’s revolutionary style can cope over a 46-game season, I do believe they can enhance their already strong stats with a winning performance.
The Terriers have picked up an average of 1.50 points-per-game as hosts under Wagner (W9-D3-L8), scoring at least twice in 9/20 (45%) at the John Smith’s as well as in 16/40 (40%) of their overall Championship matches under the German’s charge.
Town have notched in 16 of those 20 home outings but kept just four clean sheets in the same sample so I’m happy to chuck in an Over 1.5 Goals angle into the equation and back Huddersfield to win and Over 1.5 Goals at 17/20 (BetStars).
Rotherham put in an improved display at Cardiff on Saturday but still ended up on the losing side. With a defence haemorrhaging goals and a heinous away record, it’s quite easy to oppose Alan Stubbs’ troops.
The Millers have lost all four road trips under the ex-Everton ace by an aggregate of 2-14. Since the start of last season, the South Yorkshire outfit have suffered 18/27 (67%) losses on their travels and leaked at least twice on 16 (59%) occasions.
Stubbs will welcome back Tom Adeyemi to the fray but Kirk Broadfoot’s continued absence is a major blow and the expansive passing game the Millers boss is trying to implement just isn’t coming to fruition right now with Rotherham their own worst enemy nine games into the season.
The guests are facing an average of over 19 shots per-game this term and combined with their abysmal shot ratio (34%) make the Millers easily the worst performing side in the second-tier this season and I just can’t see them passing their latest examination on Tuesday.
Chesterfield v Gillingham | Tuesday 19.45
Stuart Nelson’s last-gasp save ensured Gillingham’s good work against Coventry wasn’t undone in the final seconds on Saturday as the Kent club came from behind to win for the fifth time this season.
Justin Edinburgh’s men ended a run of W0-D1-L2 to move within four points of table-topping Scunthorpe with his assistant David Kerslake suggesting the side are now on course to making waves in League 1 once more having tailed off 2015/16 disappointingly.
Nevertheless, the Gills are still averaging an excellent 1.53 points-per-game from the 72 matches Edinburgh’s taken charge of. But whilst Edinburgh’s teams have been renowned for being difficult to break down, the current crop are struggling to keep the goals out.
A goal from powder-puff Coventry on Saturday ensured Gillingham are yet to keep their sheets clean in 2015/16 and considering the guests have managed just seven (19%) shutouts in 36 road trips under Edinburgh, it looks unlikely to change this midweek.
Going forward the Kent raiders always offer a threat and with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas fit enough to start at the Proact, you’d fancy the visitors to play their part in a potentially goal-laden game.
A huge 25/36 (69%) of Gillingham’s away days under Edinburgh have featured Over 2.5 Goals winners with the same figure proving profitable for Both Teams To Score backers, as the visitors have notched in all bar seven (19%) matches and netting twice or more in 16 (44%).
We covered Chesterfield in our most recent column, opposing the Spireites at Bury. Danny Wilson’s men put in a brave display but were undone by a late winner from the Shakers and will be keen to return home on Tuesday.
At the Proact, Chesterfield have W7-D4-L5 under Wilson and with Ched Evans fit enough to return plus the form of strikers Connor Wilkinson and Kristian Dennis and wanted midfield man Jay O’Shea, the hosts will present plenty of attacking threat.
Only one of the Spireites’ 15 efforts at Bury landed on-target but only Peterborough have fired in more shots this season, showcasing their offensive approach. However, just three League One clubs have faced more attempts as they’ve recorded just two clean sheets this term.
Wilson’s charges have seen Over 2.5 Goals in 10/16 (63%) of their Proact Stadium showdowns with 11 (69%) featuring goals for both sides. Chuck in the fact that, 7/9 matches when welcoming top-half opposition have produced at least goals – 5/8 of those clashes saw Over 3.5 Goals collect – and I think you’ll agree, goals look a decent bet here.
Collectively, the two clubs have kept just 2/18 (11%) clean sheets this season and seen BTTS bank in 15/18 (83%) outings. That’s why I’m backing the even-money on offer from Coral for Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score.
Grimsby v Newport | Tuesday 19.45
Newport’s 2-1 defeat to Cambridge on Saturday saw the Exiles booed off the pitch at their Rodney Parade home with manager Warren Feeney facing increased calls for his head.
The no-nonsense Northern Irishman is not a fan of social media and it’s just as well with a growing number of Newport supporters demanding his immediate dismissal or resignation on various platforms.
The reverse means the Welsh club have won just once in 21 games stretching back to March and a remarkably awful record of just five home triumphs since Justin Edinburgh left the club in February 2015.
Feeney signed 16 players in the summer but early signs suggest the Ulsterman is struggling to put the County puzzle together following a W1-D3-L4 return and average of 1.75 goals-per-game conceded.
In six of Newport’s eight league matches Tuesday’s visitors have shipped at least two goals whilst only seven clubs are averaging more shots against than the Exiles this season.
In 15 away days under Feeney, County have lost on eight (53%) occasions whilst the club have also been beaten in four of their last five trips to promoted teams; a visit to Cleethorpes next promises to be another tough assignment for the under-fire boss.
Man of the moment Omar Bogle won and scored a penalty for Grimsby to see off Mansfield 1-0 at Field Mill on Saturday, growing his goal tally to eight. And the Mariners are looking like a confident bunch since returning to the Football League, especially when pushing forward.
Town have plundered 16 goals (1.77 goals-per-game) across their opening nine encounters, firing a solitary blank in the process. Only Blackpool and Portsmouth have fired in more shots than Paul Hurst’s men and their 56.17% shot ratio makes Grimsby the fifth most dominant side so far this season in League Two.
On Saturday Danny Collins came in and make a significant difference to the Mariners defence as they kept a clean sheet for the first time since the opening day but back at Blundell Park I’d expect the hosts to return to their swashbuckling ways.
Grimsby have scored two or more goals on five (55%) occasions this season and I like the look of the 5/6 (Coral) for the Cleethorpes club to repeat the feat on Tuesday.