The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (3rd & 4th September 2022)

The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (3rd & 4th September 2022)

Deadline Day has been and gone. The transfer window is shut. Everyone knows where they stand (for the next four months at least!) Now can we get back to the football, please?

In the Championship, Norwich City will be looking to make it five league wins in a row as they take on Coventry City, leaders Sheffield United travel to Hull City on Sunday and there’s a tasty-looking fixture on Monday night as Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough host Tony Mowbray’s Sunderland.

Here are our six picks from six games in the Championship:

TNP says: After a shaky start to the season, Norwich are in an excellent place right now. We believe that the Canaries will have too much for Coventry. Another team whose form has picked up is QPR. The Super Hoops have won their last two games; scoring three goals on both occasions. With Ilias Chair and Chris Willock looking incredibly sharp, we’re tipping Mick Beale’s side to come out on top against Swansea, who are 21st in the Championship and yet to win a home game this season.

A brace from Ross Stewart helped Sunderland’s new boss Tony Mowbray get off to a winning start on Wednesday night. We’re backing the ‘Loch Ness Drogba’ to score against one of Mowbray’s former clubs, Middlesbrough, on Monday night. Speaking of braces on Wednesday, Anel Ahmedhodžić scored twice for Sheffield United against Reading. Ahmedhodžić has enjoyed an excellent start to life with the Blades and we fancy him to get his name on the scoresheet against Hull.

Seven games into the season and Preston are still yet to concede in the second tier. Ryan Lowe’s side have only scored twice, which makes their opponents on Saturday, Birmingham, almost look free-scoring! The Blues have only scored four goals in their opening seven games, so we’re anticipating another low-scoring affair at Deepdale on Saturday. Luton’s game against Wigan looks like a another fixture that’s hardly screaming goals. The two sides have scored 11 league goals between them and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if this one was a one goal game either way.

In League One, leaders Portsmouth host fellow promotion contenders Peterborough United, Ipswich Town face a trip to Accrington Stanley and Sheffield Wednesday take on Barnsley.

Here are our six picks from six of this weekend’s fixtures in League One:

TNP says: Ipswich will have been disappointed to drop two points at home to Barnsley last weekend, but we can see Kieran McKenna’s side bouncing back with a win over Accrington. Liam Manning’s MK Dons were slow out of the blocks this season, but they’ve picked up seven points in their last three games. Next up, they face a tricky trip to St James Park to take on Exeter. Looking at the prices, we’re not convinced that the market reflects MK’s recent upturn in form.

Last weekend, we backed Aaron Collins to score anytime against Shrewsbury. Unfortunately for us, Collins registered an assist – not a goal. However, we’re going back to the well. We’re backing Aaron to score against Morecambe, who shipped four at home to MK Dons last weekend. Elsewhere, we fancy Cameron Brannagan to bag against a Burton side who have already conceded 18 goals in League One. Brannagan is a bit of a set piece specialist and, despite scoring twice against Cheltenham last Saturday, he’s currently the joint-fifth favourite to score in this one.

Port Vale’s game against Cheltenham has all of the makings of a tense and cagey affair. Both teams are currently in the bottom six and they’ve only scored nine goals between them in 12 league matches. If you want goals then Sheffield Wednesday v Barnsley might be the game for you. Wednesday are coming into this Yorkshire derby off the back of a 5-0 victory over Forest Green, while Barnsley secured a 2-2 draw against Kieran McKenna’s miserly Ipswich.

In League Two, leaders Leyton Orient welcome Tranmere Rovers to the Breyer Group Stadium, second place Barrow face a trip to Sixfields to take on Northampton Town and there’s a big game at the bottom as Colchester United meet Hartlepool United.

Here are our six picks from six League Two games:

TNP says: We’ve been really impressed by Neil Wood’s start to life in the Salford hotseat. The departure of Brandon Thomas-Asante is a blow, but we’re backing the Ammies to beat Kevin Betsy’s Crawley, who only have two points to show from their opening six games. Despite winning their last three league games, Doncaster are outsiders for their game against Mansfield on Saturday. The Stags have won all three of their home games, but they’ve lost all three of their away games.

We can see Carlisle’s Kristian Dennis adding to his impressive early season goal tally when lowly Rochdale come to Brunton Park on Saturday. If you’re looking for longer odds on a League Two goal scorer, then Stockport’s Ash Palmer might be one to consider. AFC Wimbledon have the highest (also known as the worst) set play xG against in the fourth tier and Palmer will be eager to get on the scoresheet after providing an assist for Antoni Sarcevic against Swindon.

Just like the Port Vale v Cheltenham game in League One, Colchester v Hartlepool looks a good bet to go under 2.5 goals. With only one league win between them, Col U have scored five goals in their first six games, while Hartlepool have scored four goals. Finally, we’re backing Northampton v Barrow to go over 2.5 goals. Barrow let us down on this bet last weekend, but both sides are usually good for a goal and, in Sam Hoskins and Ben Whitfield, two of League Two’s most creative and most potent attackers will be on show.

If you are placing a bet this weekend, please be gamble aware. Do not bet more than you can afford to lose and do not chase your losses. For more information, please head to the Be Gamble Aware website.

(Photo Creds – Ben Watts)