A sad weekend for football with both Dave Jones and David Flitcroft losing their jobs at Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley. Both clubs produced sparkling performances to stun Brighton and Leicester on Tuesday, despite being managerless.
With Wednesday up for sale a safe pair of hands in the interim could be ideal and despite his allegiances across to Sheffield’s ‘other’ club Neil Warnock has been then man backed into the 5/4 favourite with BetVictor. Rotherham manager Steve Evans looked his main rival at 11/4, Stuart Pearce 5/1 and double figures the rest but it would be quite a switch for a man who spent eight seasons at Bramall Lane.
As mentioned, Wednesday pulled off an almighty shock to come from behind and beat Leicester, a Connor Wickham brace ensuring the Owls’ second win of the season to keep tabs on those around them in the bottom half. Caretaker manager Stuart Gray looks set to again take charge for the visit of Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Forest manager Billy Davies under intense pressure seeing his side win just one of their last seven and held to a draw away at Millwall in the week. BetVictor make Wednesday 11/5 for a third win of the season, Forest 11/8 and the draw 12/5 however with Davies on the edge, (a fierce confrontation with a cameraman at the New Den) does this make Wednesday a backable price? Wednesday are 5/4 in the draw no bet market, the value in a Wednesday win and both teams to score double at 19/4.
In League One Sheffield United took a point from league leaders Leyton Orient however manager Nigel Clough was ultimately disappointed by not being able to take all three. He and his players had to settle for a share of the spoils, Conor Coady putting the Blades 1-0 up with 25 minutes to go, before Dean Cox saved Orient blushes equalising to send Orient back to the top of the table.
United are now three games unbeaten and look to have well and truly turned the corner; out of the relegation zone for the first time since September. The Blades travel to Cambridge, on Sunday at noon. United are 6/5 favourites to make it to the third round,
Conference leaders Cambridge 9/4 protecting their 100% home record at Abbey Stadium, 23/ 10 the draw.
Meanwhile, Barnsley caretaker Micky Mellon is at the head of the queue to take over at Oakwell. BetVictor make him the 4/5 favourite, Danny Wilson 2/1, Michael Appleton 6/1 and 16/1 the field. Barnsley travel to early pace-setters Burnley; the Clarets without a win in their last six.
They have drawn four of those six matches however and are still respected, BetVictor making them 13/20 favourites, Barnsley 19/4 and the draw 11/4, Tykes fans out there would surely settle for a point and the value looks to be Barnsley at 16/5 in the draw no bet market.
Doncaster rescued a point at St Andrew’s to end an eight game losing streak against Birmingham City, David Cotterill’s super strike equalising with twelve minutes to go.
Four points from six sees them move five points clear of the relegation zone, out to 2/1 for relegation with BetVictor and up to 15th Rovers next travel to Bolton, a side that have lost back-to-back games to Middlesbrough and Huddersfield 1-0; can Donny seal the hat-trick? Rovers look over-priced at 19/5 with
BetVictor, Bolton 5/6 and the draw 11/4, whilst a third 1-0 defeat for the Whites is a 14/1 chance in the correct score market.
Rotherham ended November unbeaten, winning five of their seven games, in a truly remarkable month for Evans and his players. As well as moving back into the play-off places in League One Rotherham remain fancied for the Johnstones Paint Trophy (5/1 third favourites with BetVictor) and have a fantastic chance of reaching the third round of the FA Cup, hosting Rochdale on Saturday.
The 4-1 defeat of Gillingham last week shows just how well the Millers are playing are the minute; Rotherham 3-0 up by the 35th should see them safely through to the third round, Rotherham 7/10, Rochdale 19/5 and the draw 3/1.
Chesterfield followed their goalless draw with Northampton with a 3-2 defeat at Newport County, losing valuable ground on the likes of Oxford, Fleetwood and Southend at the top of the table. After finishing November unbeaten with just the one goal conceded the loss will have come as a great disappointment for Paul Cook, fingers crossed the defeat doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the month.
The Spireites now have a very favourable run-in with four out of their next five fixtures on home soil at the Proact Stadium, starting with Southend in the second round of the FA Cup on Saturday. Whilst manager Ian Murray will have his sights firmly set on promotion to League One, the chairman will no doubt be eyeing up a possible third round tie with one of the big boys in the Premier League to help put a few quid in the company’s coffers.
Chesterfield are 21/20 favourites, Southend 5/2 and the draw 5/2 but we can assume the loss last week was just a one-off to a County side in very good form, unbeaten in their last seven and five clean sheets before two Chesterfield goals at Rodney Parade.