The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (17th & 18th December 2022)

The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (17th & 18th December 2022)

Let’s be honest, last Saturday didn’t go according to plan. A number of EFL matches were postponed, quite a few of the games that went ahead didn’t exactly capture the imagination and England lost to France. Nevertheless, it was good to have the Championship back. This weekend, quite a few more EFL fixtures have been postponed; however, we’re hoping for a bit more quality in the remaining games and England can’t lose to France, so that’s good!

In the Championship, Vincent Kompany’s high-flying Burnley welcome Michael Carrick’s in-form Middlesbrough to Turf Moor, Sheffield United travel to Wigan on Monday night and Neil Critchley’s first game as QPR boss is a daunting trip to Deepdale to take on Preston North End.

In League One, leaders Ipswich Town face Wycombe Wanderers, Plymouth Argyle welcome one of their old gaffers back to Home Park when they take on Derek Adams’ Morecambe and Sheffield Wednesday host Oxford United.

At present, only four games in League Two have survived the big freeze. Leyton Orient will be looking to extend their lead at the top when they do battle with Sutton United.

Here are our picks ahead of this weekend’s EFL fixtures:

TNP says: West Brom’s 2-1 win at Sunderland was their fourth win in a row and we can see them making it five on the bounce this weekend. With key personnel fit and firing, the Baggies look good going forward and we think they’ll have too much for a Rotherham side who have struggled of late. We also fancy Watford to beat Huddersfield. The Hornets were disappointing in their goalless draw with Hull last weekend, but we would be surprised if they didn’t find a way to beat a rather poor Huddersfield side.

If you’re looking for a bit more value then we would recommend backing Bristol Rovers to beat Charlton and MK Dons to beat Portsmouth. Quite simply, Charlton are a bit of a mess right now and Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers have performed well in recent weeks against tough opposition. After parting company with Liam Manning last weekend, MK Dons have the look and feel of a team who are set for a change in fortunes. As Liam Sweeting alluded to in his interview, performances have improved and, despite being one of the division’s ‘big-hitters’, Portsmouth haven’t won a league game since 22nd October.

Ched Evans was in fine form last weekend as Preston put Blackburn to the sword. Evans has scored five goals in his last three games and we’re backing him to add to that when North End face Neil Critchley’s QPR. Many EFL fans will not be familiar with Eoin Toal but, at the age of 23, the big Bolton defender is certainly one to keep an eye on. We’re tipping the Northern Irishman to score against Exeter on Saturday.

There are two or three games this weekend that scream under 2.5 goals, but we’ve gone for Lincoln’s trip to Cheltenham. Wade Elliott’s Robins have scored four goals and conceded just two goals in their last six league games, while Mark Kennedy’s Imps are also a very low-margin team. As for our overs bet, we’ve gone back in time and picked a game involving Bristol City. Nigel Pearson’s side haven’t been quite as goal-crazy this season, but they scored three goals at Rotherham last weekend and they’re still in the Championship’s top six for goals scored and goals conceded. Meanwhile, their visitors, Stoke City, have either scored or conceded two goals in their last four league games.

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 – Alex Taylor)