Things have gone for bad to worse for Sheffield United, whose demoralising defeat at home to Derby leaves them six points adrift of safety and without a win in 13 league matches.
This week the Blades make the trip to Portsmouth looking to snap the hosts’ five-match winning streak and, as Pompey haven’t even conceded a goal in that quintet of victories, it’s perhaps not surprising to see the hosts installed as odds-on favourites at 10/11 with William Hill.
A much-needed United success is quoted at 4/1 by Coral while Victor Chandler offer a draw at 13/5 and Stan James post 10/1 against a goalless affair, although as the campaign enters the final straight, there’s a sense that stalemates are no longer enough.
Optimists will recall that the Blades grabbed the only goal of the game when the pair met at Bramall Lane and Micky Adams’ side are 10/1 with Betfred to repeat the feat in this one. Less specifically, a victory by a one-goal margin is rated by Paddy Power at 5/1 and Ladbrokes offer 9/1 for Sheffield United to come out on top despite going in on level terms at the break.
As underdogs, Adams’ troops are handed a goal start in the handicaps at odds of 5/6 with bet365, a wager that would require the Blades to avoid defeat, meanwhile in 888Sport’s ‘Draw No Bet’ market, United are chalked up at 12/5.
Sheffield Wednesday steadied the ship with a 1-0 win at Carlisle last weekend and they have to be fancied at 8/11 (Totesport) to make it back-to back wins as they entertain troubled Plymouth.
On the brink of administration, the Pilgrims had lost six on the spin before they beat Colchester last Saturday and the Owls are 8.0 (7/1) to inflict more misery on Peter Reid’s men by beating them 2-0 at Hillsborough. Betfred offer 6/4 for Gary Megson’s men to lead at the end of each half and the same price is available, this time with Partybets, for a Wednesday success by at least two clear goals.
Barnsley head to Pride Park, where they are overpriced at 11/4 (Victor Chandler) to do what Doncaster did on Tuesday and collect three points at the expense of struggling Derby County. Rovers meanwhile face what on paper looks like a tougher assignment at Leeds. Totesport price Sean O’Driscoll’s team at 9/2 to come out on top and Betfred make Doncaster 3/1 to earn a creditable share of the spoils.
In League Two, leaders Chesterfield are 11/8 with William Hill to follow up the midweek victory against second-placed Wycombe by beating Cheltenham and 888Sport price Rotherham at 8/11 to get the better of Barnet.
n Odds supplied by