Free bets posts, news and previews on the English Championship League.

Geoff Peters: QPR v Leicester preview

December 20th, 2013 by Geoff Peters

qpr vs leicester previewThe pick of this weekend’s fixtures in The Championship is the top of the table clash between Queens Park Rangers and Leicester City at Loftus Road. Both sides have won 12 of their 20 league games and leaders QPR have a three point lead over the Foxes, who sit third, a point shy of Burnley who they drew with last Saturday.

QPR have taken 14 points from the past seven games, seven points either side of a 2-1 loss at Doncaster. Leicester, meanwhile, have been inconsistent in their previous six outings, gathering just seven points out of a possible 18.

Only Derby (42) have scored more than Leicester (32) but the Foxes have shipped slightly more than a goal a game, in contrast to their frugal defensive record at the same point a year ago.

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The Championship is Yeovil’s Premier League

November 21st, 2013 by Geoff Peters

yeovil town in the championshipFootball history is littered with fairytales and the rise of Yeovil Town into the second tier of English football is one which few fans would’ve expected just a decade ago.

Promoted from the Isthmian League into the Conference in 1997, the small Somerset club have constantly exceeded expectations and now find themselves in their highest ever position.

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Can Burnley sustain their promotion challenge?

October 31st, 2013 by Geoff Peters

sean dyche and burnley championship promotion pushWith just over of a quarter of the season gone, few would’ve expected to see Burnley at the Championship summit. Indeed, when they sold free-scoring Charlie Austin to QPR on the eve of the new campaign, the likelihood of Sean Dyche’s side starting so well looked an even longer shot.

They were around 4/1 to get relegated; that has now lengthened to 500/1. Promotion odds have been cut from 14/1 to a best price of 2/1 from BetVictor and if you fancy them to maintain this impressive form and win the title, they’re 13/2 from Bwin to do just that. Hands up who took a punt at 50/1 on that before a ball was kicked?

Much credit has to go to Dyche and his methodical organisation. He took each player to one side in the summer and told them exactly what was expected. “The demands were laid out openly. It was about mentality, fitness levels, how we were going to play as a team and how each individual was going to contribute,” he says. “I made it clear I wanted my players to be pushing themselves every week.”

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The rise and rise of Eddie Howe and Bournemouth

October 17th, 2013 by Geoff Peters

eddie howe bournemouth managerOf the three sides promoted from League One last season, Bournemouth have adapted best to life in the Championship. They find themselves sitting in eighth place, four points behind the play offs, with virtually a quarter of the campaign gone.

It represents incredible progress for the club, who re-appointed Eddie Howe as manager a year ago this week.

Bournemouth’s rise under Howe during the two spells is something of a fairytale. He first took charge in January 2009 and at 31 was the youngest manager in the Football League. The Cherries, who began the season with a 17 point deduction, were deep in trouble when Howe replaced Jimmy Quinn and they appeared to be sliding out of the league.

Not only did he keep them up, he went on to lead them to second place the following season (while under a transfer embargo) before leaving in January 2011 with the side handily placed for back-to-back promotions. A record of 51 victories from 102 games – a very healthy 50% win ratio – understandably attracted a number of clubs, among them Southampton, Peterborough, Crystal Palace and Charlton.

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Championship Talk: McClaren looks to build on Clough’s good work

October 4th, 2013 by Geoff Peters

steve mclaren derby county bossIt’s hard not to feel a pang a sympathy for Nigel Clough following his departure from Derby County. When it was announced on Saturday night that a Championship manager had lost his job, few would have expected that person to be Clough.

It came a fortnight after they won 5-1 at Millwall; their away form had been pretty good but losing three times in a week – to Reading, Leicester (in the Cup) and then Forest, three of the Championship’s big-hitters – appeared to tip the Rams’ board over the edge.

Appointed in January 2009. Clough inherited a squad that required major surgery and the wage bill needed slashing dramatically. He did both and subsequently brought through players from the youth set up – the much-coveted Will Hughes being the pick of the bunch.

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Blackpool and West Ham Championship Play-Off Preview

May 18th, 2012 by Paul Wilson

It’s billed as the ‘richest game in football’, a potential £40+ million awaits the victors of this years Championship Play-Off between Blackpool and West Ham

Both clubs are looking to bounce straight back up to the Premier League after being relegated in the 2011 season.

Bookies have prompted for West Ham as favourites to win the match, taking into consideration the Hammers finished the league in a higher position plus soundly beat Blackpool twice this season home and away (4-0, 4-1).

Sam Allardyce has no real injury worries to contend with, and will have a full strength squad to pick his starting eleven from. Perhaps the biggest criticism of the Hammers this season is their change of style – gone is their attacking flair which West Ham teams have been reknowned for throughout the years – in its place is a more patient build-up play – it might not win big Sam a host of admirers in the stands but it has ensured the East London club a 3rd place finish and one last crack at gaining promotion through the play-offs.

Blackpool should never have went down last season, but they did, and to their credit, Ian Holloway has picked his honest team up off the ground and got them playing again. They finished the league run-in losing just once in their last 11 games (falling to Reading away) and the Seasiders overcame a confident Birmingham in the play-offs.

Seasoned professionals pepper the Blackpool team alongside the youthful pairing of Tom Ince (son of Paul) and Matty Phillips (who has grabbed 12 goals this season and a call-up to the Scotland squad to play the USA next week).

Prediction : I’m going to go against the grain here, preferring Blackpool to once again seal the deal and take the Seasiders up to the Premier League (Best bet of 7/5 from Sportingbet for Blackpool to win promotion).

Correct Score : Blackpool 2 West Ham 1 (Best bet of 12/1 from Paddy Power for Blackpool to beat West Ham 2-1.)

First Goalscorer : I’m going for West Ham to score first and that Ricardo Vaz Te will grab the Hammers goal (Best bet of 6/1 from Boyle Sports for Vaz Te to find the back of the net first in the game).

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