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Npower Championship, 1st Round Preview
Posted: 15 April 2020 09:46 AM  
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Joined  2020-04-15

The Npower Championship 2011/12 season kicks off on Friday night (Aug 05) at Hull, where Hull City welcomes Blackpool at the KC Stadium. This match will be covered live on Sky.

The Championship is going to be tough division this season, and there are few sides heavily preparing to find their way to the wealth of English Premier League. Heavy spending Leicester City are football betting sites’ favorite to win the league, but they will have big competition from relegated West Ham, there are ambitious Tractor Boys from Ipswich, Nottingham Forest, improving Middlesbrough, but also Blackpool, Leeds or Reading will fancy their chances and fight their way to promised land. Not in that particular order.
Hull City vs Blackpool, Aug 05 19.45

Hull City had strange season last term, and while their road record was one of the best in leagues, their pathetic home form was the reason why they finished the season in mid-table mediocrity. The Tigers boss Nigel Pearson will have to improve their performance at the KC if they are seriously challenge for the play off at the end, and while their fans can be optimistic for the start of this campaign, on the other hand the team and its manager are under pressure to deliver some decent result before parachute payments have dried up.

Blackpool were relegated from English Premier League at the end of last season, and everything would be fine with them if they managed to keep their talismanic skipper Charlie Adam. Without him and his big influence, I’m afraid they will be average side, and Ian Holloway will have to think of something very shrewd and clever to make a promotion push this season. Holloway have brought some quality in experienced Barry Fergusson, but I feel the squad will need some time to gel and that they could struggle in opening rounds of the season.

For this particular match, I think it’s the best idea to stay away from guessing the winner. There is probably some value in 2.38 offered for a home win by Betbubbles and William Hill, but I would rather go for Under 2.5 goals @1.88 (Dafabet and Pinnacle sports) if I had to.

Verdict: 1-1
Coventry City vs Leicester City, Aug 06 12.30

Coventry City are probably going to have another hard and long season, and this time they could be even closer to the League One football. They finished last season clear of relegation only because there were few really poor sides, but this season Championship looks much more competitive, and on the other hand Sky Blues will be without their most influential players – eight players including prolific scorer Marlon King have left the squad, and none of them have been replaced so far.

Leicester City are bookmakers’ favorites to win the league this season, and under former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, and plenty of big name signings, they are rightly made the favorites this term. Eriksson brought in some real quality in Matt Mills, Paul Konchesky, Michael Johnoson, David Nugent and Kasper Schmeichel, but I still think they need one big signing who will lead the forward line.

The first round of new season usually brings some unexpected and random results and this match is another no bet at these odds (Leicester are priced at evens, which looks way too low to make a bet). It is hard to believe that Coventry are capable of taking scalp from the expensive Foxes, but draw wouldn’t be a surprise at this stage.

Verdict 1-1
Brighton vs Doncaster, Aug 06 15.00

Brighton and Hove Albion walked through League One last season and they enter this campaign on high. Expectations at the club are high. Brighton moved to their new American Express Community Stadium with more than 22,000 seats, and with 18,000 season ticket holders, this season could be a new beginning for the club. They were spending in transfer window, and managed to get Craig Mackall-Smith, in club’s record transfer.

Anyway, Npower Championship is different beast, and mid-table finish will be probably something that every Brighton fan will take as good result.

Doncaster Rovers escaped relegation last season, and are again heavily tipped for a drop. But they are strange side, and on their day they can beat anyone at this level. Sean O’Driscoll seems to be a shrewd manager, and with Rovers’ habit to play best when they’re expected to struggle, they may once again make few surprising results and finish this season much better than they are expected.

Brighton will play their first competitive match at the new ground, and with packed standing they should be able to see off Doncaster Rovers and kick off the season with 3 points. They always were decent home side, and against one of the weakest travelers in Npower Championship last season, this looks like rare fixture where I’m quite confident of picking they winner – home win, 1.95 at bet3000 looks like decent price.

Verdict 2-1
Bristol City vs Ipswich Town, Aug 06 15.00

Bristol City fans are probably going to witness another season of mediocrity. Good news for them is that they still have star striker Nicky Maynard at the club, so their offensive line will look dangerous enough. Main problem is in defense though, and without decent reinforcements in that part of the squad, they could struggle defensively. They should have enough to avoid the relegation troubles, but that’s about it probably – mid table finish in best case for them.

Ipswich Town looked pretty ambitious in transfer market in pre season, and with few fantastic captures in Michael Chopra and Lee Bowyer they will have enough quality going forward, while bringing talented keeper David Stockdale on loan is another decent signing. The most notable departure is of course Connor Wickham’s move to Sunderland, but Paul Jewell will have decent squad to build on. Tractor Boys should finally have better season than in past 5-6 years, and could be involved in play offs at least.

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Posted: 13 May 2020 04:54 AM   [ # 1 ]  
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