Derby vs Sheff Wednesday | Saturday 8th May 2021, 12:30 | Sky Sports
A massive game in the championship with one of these two sides being relegated and how these two clubs find themselves in this position is probably worth an article on its own. Both have had off field issues and Derby have spent most of the season trying to find someone to buy the club, whilst Wednesday have had three managers and a points deduction.
For the Rams, the season started poorly with one win in their opening 10 games which saw Dutch boss Philip Cocu sacked in November to be replaced, after a period in caretaker charge, by Wayne Rooney. He did turn thing around briefly as they won five of his first seven games in permanent charge through January and February – though, damagingly, both of their losses in that time were to relegation rivals Rotherham – and in late February they beat Huddersfield to move eight points clear of the bottom three.
That’s where the good news stops. Since then, they have won just one of their 14 games and go into Saturday's must-not-lose clash with the Owls on the back of six successive defeats. They managed to turn victory into defeat last weekend when they went from 1-0 up to 2-1 down inside 10 minutes at Swansea.
Rooney’s side know that if they beat Sheffield Wednesday then that will be enough for them to survive the drop down to League One. However, anything less than that would leave them vulnerable to what Rotherham can manage to do at Cardiff City. It is therefore going to be a very nervous afternoon for all connected with all three clubs.
The game at Rotherham will be key in this match and I am sure the players will know what is going on there as if Rotherham go ahead in the match, it will be very interesting as Derby and Sheffield Wednesday then both know they are going to have to win. Its going to be great watching and not being involved!
The Owls started the season with a 12-point deduction, later reduced to six after a successful appeal and it looks like that will be what sends them down. What happened to not punishing the fans?
After moving off the bottom of the table in early November, Garry Monk was then sacked and replaced with Tony Pulis, which didn’t have the desired impact with a single win from 10 matches before he was also sacked just after Christmas with the Owls in 23rd position, three points adrift of safety.
Caretaker manager Neil Thompson managed to get them out of the bottom three and to a season-high 20th place in early January, before Darren Moore became their third manager of the season. He lost his first three matches and then missed a couple of games after testing positive for Covid-19 before having to step away for an extended period after contracting pneumonia. Since Moore becoming manager, they have a record of W2-D2-L4
These are two sides in awful form and almost both deserve to be relegated. However, one of these sides has to go and at some point in the match it will go crazy. Derby only need a draw, should Rotherham not pick up a victory, but should they win then whoever wins in this match will survive. I am expecting an edgy game to begin with but then keepers up for corners, all out attacks, players losing focus as they struggle to deal with the situation and then to top this off, we have Mike Dean in charge.
I can’t see Mike Dean not wanting to be heavily involved in such a massive match, live on sky and which will determine the future of these two clubs. This season domestically Dean has handed out an average of 4.5 cards with both sides collecting at least one each in 19 of his 22 games and two or more each in 10. Whist this is his first championship game of the season, in the Premier League only Paul Tierney has handed out more yellow cards and now referee has handed out more red cards.
Given the importance of the match I am happy to take William Hills even money shot for both teams to collect 1.5+ cards each. This was even money with Skybet on Thursday night but is already as low as 4/6
Exeter vs Barrow | Saturday 8th May 2021, 15:00
Exeter know actually what they need to do to have any chance of making the play offs. They sit 8th just one point behind Forest Green and whilst a draw may be enough it will require some very odd results in games involving Salford and Forest Green. They need to win, and they know it.
Exeter gave themselves hope of snatching a play-off place on the final day by securing a dramatic injury-time win at Bolton Wanderers last weekend and I think this late winner will give them confidence going into this weekend.
The Grecians’ 2-1 dramatic win means that they can still nudge into the top seven if they get a result against Barrow – though they will also need a favour or two in games elsewhere.
Whilst they have a few players rated as doubtful for the game, I think they will be fit and ready to face Barrow. When welcoming bottom half sides, City have a record of W6-D3-L3 keeping clean sheets just three of them so they will probably need to score a couple to win the match. However, for Barrow its job done as they have stayed up with a few games to spare and I am not sure how “up for it” they will be for this game.
With Matt Jay they have one of the best strikers in the league and he has hit 17 goals this season, but with players supporting him such as Bowman with 14 goals, Randall with eight and Taylor with six, they have goals from a range of different sources.
It’s a 5-hour journey down to Exeter and this is a Barrow side that see only Colchester collect fewer away points with W6-D2-L14 and against top half its W2-D1-L8 failing to score in six, conceding 1.5+ in just three, so I am not expecting a high scoring match. Barrow have managed a very respectable away xGA with 1.26 with 1.18 conceded, which again suggests a low scoring game.
Yet Exeter sit 6th in the home table on points per game and only Oldham have scored more goals whilst just four sides have conceded more than Barrow. The hosts are seeing an xG of 1.74 at home with 1.68 goals scored, so I see no reason why the hosts won’t be able to take the game to Barrow and as I have already said the visitors have nothing to play.
I really wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few goals in this match. When facing sides in the bottom four this season, Exeter have won 3-2, 3-1 and 6-1, so I am happy to take Exeter to win and over 1.5 match goals at 23/20 at Betway and Betfred.
Morecambe vs Bradford | Saturday 8th May 2021, 15:00
I am going back to Morecambe for my last bet of Saturday and taking them to score 1.5+ goals.
The Shrimps secured a play-off spot with their 2-0 victory over Walsall last weekend. However, defeats for Bolton and Cambridge mean they still have a chance of sealing a top three spot in League Two. All Morecambe can do now is get a positive result against Bradford City at the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday – and then hope the other matches go their way.
The talk within the community is what a huge opportunity it is not just for the Football club but the town itself with promotion helping businesses with more people coming for football – more beer sold in the pubs on match days, more hotel beds, more takings for shop and restaurant owners alike. This is big for the town. I can’t see the players or the club letting everyone down here and not winning the game.
Their recent results have been good with four wins from their last five games, the only defeat coming to Bolton. They have found the net at least twice in all of their recent four wins, whilst their home form over the season has been strong with W12-D5-L5, with all five defeats coming to side around them in 7th and above. Their record against side 9th and below is W11-D5-L0 scoring 1.5+ in nine.
Bradford have been woefully inconsistent over the season. They won one from 10 games back in October through to December, then went on a great run winning 10 of 13 games as they climb the table and at one point looked in with a shout of the play offs. However, since early March it’s been W3-D4-L8 and now winless in six with five defeats, failing to score in four of the last six games. Its looks like the summer can’t come sooner enough.
Morecambe manager, Derek Adams said this week, “We’ve been given an opportunity that we can finish second or third, I think that we’re going to have to go out for the win on Saturday because you just never know what might happen with Cambridge playing Grimsby and Crawley against Bolton. It’s really important that we try and do our job – and then see what happens and where it takes us.”
And he is right. They have to go and win the game and then wait. Failing to win and then watch the other sides fail to get the points they need would be awful.
Morecambe welcome back leading scorer Carlos Mendes Gomes who has 15 goals this season and is rumoured to be heading to Scotland to play for Rangers as well as interesting a number of Championship clubs.
Bradford look to be waiting for the summer, whist Adams and Morecambe know what they need to do, and I expect them to do so. Morecambe 1.5+ goals at 6/7 with Redzone
Derby vs Sheff Wednesday – Both Teams Over 1.5 Cards (1/1 William Hill)
Exeter vs Barrow – Exeter win & Over 1.5 Goals (23/20 Betway)
Morecambe vs Bradford – Morecambe to score Over 1.5 Goals (6/7 Red Zone)