Although the Champions League is on tonight, I’ve decided to switch my attention to domestic football. The race for promotion to the Premier League is hotting up and the matches in the English Championship are becoming more and more interesting. I’ve put together these English Championship tips, predictions and analysis for you.
Championship tips: Reading v Newcastle United betting preview
The Newcastle United promotion juggernaut rolls on to the Madejski on Tuesday night as Rafa Benitez’ men look to extend their five-point lead at the top of the table. They’ve been in fine form in the Championship having not lost a game in the league since January 2 and their recent victories over Brighton and Huddersfield Town show they are in fine form.
They travel to another promotion contender in Reading, where Jaap Stam has built a team capable of challenging the top end of the division. Reading has not been a happy hunting ground for the Magpies, with Newcastle United only ever winning away at Reading twice in all their meetings. This will be additionally tricky for them as Reading have won 12 out of 19 at home this season.
Key match-ups for me are in midfield. Reading beat Wolves at the weekend but looked weak in the middle and against the class of Newcastle men Matt Ritchie and Jack Colback they will struggle with that level of performance. However both Ritchie and Colback are one yellow card away from suspension so it is possible that will be on their mind also.
I can only see a Newcastle victory here. While Reading isn’t a happy hunting ground the Magpies have looked dominant in recent weeks and in Dwight Gayle they’ve got the best striker in the division.
Championship tips: Birmingham City v Wigan Athletic betting preview
Since being appointed Gianfranco Zola has struggled at Birmingham City. The appointment wasn’t a popular one in the first place, as it followed the sacking of popular manager Gary Rowett and the continued failure of Blues under Zola has left some fans scratching their heads as to why change was made.
Wigan Athletic is a must-win game for Zola. The Latics languish in 23rd place, six places behind Birmingham City having taken 31 points from their 35 games so far. If Blues are to haul themselves away from any relegation danger they need a positive result – which means tightening up a defence which contributed to the second worst goal difference in the division.
Wigan will be without the suspended Sam Morsy while fellow midfielder Shaun McDonald could also be out with injury. Manager Warren Joyce should be back in the dugout for Wigan however following minor surgery.
I’m going to admit my bias here – I’m a Birmingham City fan – but I have a feeling that this should be a home victory. There has to be changes in the Blues defence – if Michael Morrison isn’t fit then Krystian Bielik should come in for Josh Dacres-Cogley; however the threat going forward is there and with luck Blues will score the goals needed.
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