Football League: Back Wood to make flightless Robins pay

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FOOTBALL LEAGUE expert Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) returns with three more Tuesday fancies from.

Leeds v Bristol City | Tuesday 19:45

Leeds’ 2-0 reverse at home to Cardiff on Saturday was their third Championship reverse in five and the first time Garry Monk’s men have suffered back-to-back league losses since September.

But the Whites will be keen to get back on track this Tuesday evening when welcoming struggling Bristol City. Yorkshire’s finest have W17-D3-L7 when excluding the top-three with their Elland Road record reading W10-D2-L2 in the same sample.

Those 10 home triumphs have arrived in Leeds’ last 13 as hosts and although nine of their last 10 games at HQ have failed to feature more than two goals, Monk’s outfit should have plenty of opportunities to get amongst the goals here.

Central midfielder Liam Bridcutt is banned and with centre-back Pontus Jansson a doubt through illness, I’m going to swerve the Match Odds market and instead plump for a goalscorer bet with Chris Wood to big to ignore at 7/5 (32 Red).

The New Zealander has scored 21 goals in 34 appearances across all competitions in 2016/17, including a recent run of seven goals in nine games.

Viewing purely Championship matches, Wood has 18 goals in 2381 minutes at a rate of one every 132 minutes whilst also operating as the team’s nominated penalty taker.

Wood averaged over 2.50 shots per-game and has scored in 12 of 17 Elland Road games this term, remaining a major aerial threat from set-plays.

Visitors Bristol City arrive having inexplicable squandering a 3-0 lead at Derby on Saturday, a result that saw manager Lee Johnson chuck his toys out of the pram once more. One can only assume the negative reaction and result will only shrink half-empty glasses of morale and belief further.

The Robins have now shipped at least two goals in five of their past six road trips, in nine of their 15 away days all season and in eight of their past 11 (W1-D2-L8) games at any league venue.

Millwall v Port Vale | Tuesday 19:45

Ante-post punters that invested in Millwall will be pleased to see the Lions penetrating the top-six following their 1-0 weekend victory against Southend.

The Lions kept their third successive clean sheet, shutting out a sixth opposition side in seven, to climb into the top-six with their fifth win in an unbeaten stretch of nine League One outings.

The capital club’s mean streak has coincided with the return to fitness of a number of key personnel as well as the arrival of on-loan Reading centre-half Jake Cooper. Cooper’s partnership with Byron Webster has ensured Neil Harris’ troops are a tough nut to crack defensively.

I’m backing Millwall to continue their ascent with a positive result and backing the Lions to win and Over 1.5 Goals at 5/6 with BetStars. Since relegation the hosts have won 21/38 (55%) league games at The Den, scoring at least twice in exactly half of those encounters.

The Londoners have recorded 28/38 (74%) successful Over 1.5 Goals selections in that same sample and with Steve Morison and Fred Onyedinma leading the attack on Saturday, the Lions looked a force to be reckoned with.

Shaun Williams is likely to return and although Ben Thompson, Lee Gregory and Shaun Hutchinson are all doubts, I’d still expect Millwall to see off the league’s worst side with a minimum of fuss.

Reports suggested Port Vale played reasonably well in their 1-1 draw at Gillingham on Saturday but read between the lines at the Valiants were poor in possession and only impressive when attempting to shutdown the Gills.

Michael Brown remains in caretaker charge and lined his charges up in a 4-2-2-2. The Burslem club have opted for a defensive approach and that looks an unlikely ploy to stop a side as good as Millwall in the final third.

The visitors have W1-D5-L8 on their travels this term, scoring just nine goals. Vale haven’t scored from open play in over three-and-a-half hours and bagged only two triumphs since early October.

Port Vale have lost 11 of their 14 trips to top-six teams in recent times, including conceding 10 goals in three losses at the current top-six this term. The guests are posting a pathetic shots on-target ratio return of under 38% and that drops to 35.29% when playing away.

With only one away defeat arriving by the 1-0 correct score this season and only one of Millwall’s home victories following suit, I’m happy to add in the Over 1.5 Goals hurdle to the standard home win odds here.

Mansfield v Accrington | Tuesday 19:45

It was a frustratingly poor return for my Football League fancies on Saturday but Mansfield did the column proud with another impressive performance under Steve Evans to cement their place in the top-seven.

The Stags have now accrued 20 points from a possible 24 (W6-D2-L0) following that 4-0 thumping of Hartlepool and it’s hard to ignore their price at 11/10 (Betfair) to enhance that recent record against Accrington in midweek.

Benjamin Whiteman bagged a double against Pools and with Shaquile Coulthirst, Matt Green, Pat Hoban and Yoan Arquin also in tow, Mansfield are well stocked in final-third quality.

However, the Stags defence also deserves a mention. The weekend win made it three successive clean sheets for Evans’ men and six shutouts in those eight unbeaten outings – Malvind Benning, Krystian Pierce, Hayden White and Rhys Bennett have been solid as a rock at the back.

Since promotion king Evans turned up at Field Mill, Mansfield have W5-D2-L1 on home soil but it’s their record against bottom-half dwellers that really stands the test of time.

Looking back at results since the start of 2015/16, Town have W14-D3-L5 when welcoming bottom-half teams – a points per-game return of 2.05. Include away games and Mansfield have W26-D7-L8 against the league’s lesser lights – a points per-game average of 2.07.

I’m a huge fan of Accrington and their spikey manager John Coleman. And whilst the underlying performance data suggests Stanley won’t be suffering relegation this season, it’s difficult to ignore their lack of goals in recent weeks.

Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Portsmouth saw Accy go a goal down in 45 seconds and it meant the visitors failed to notch a goal for the eighth occasion in 13 fixtures. On their travels, Stanley have been silenced in six of their past seven.

The visitors’ only away triumph since the end of September came at Crewe when the Alex were in the midst of their crisis run and games at clubs in 14th and above have resulted in five losses from eight.

Best Bets

Leeds v Bristol City – Chris Wood to score at anytime (7/5 32 Red)

Millwall v Port Vale – Millwall to win and Over 1.5 Goals (5/6 BetStars)

Mansfield v Accrington – Mansfield to win (11/10 Betfair)

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After starting his career in newspaper journalism, Mark soon found his way into the online betting world, forging a career in content, social media and marketing production. With a huge passion for stats, the Football League and European football, Mark’s other interests include playing rugby, following his beloved QPR and travel.

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