IT always looked an excellent time to be playing FA Cup semi-finalists Millwall and so it proved as Sheffield Wednesday took a massive step towards safety with a win in the Lion’s Den on Tuesday.
It moved the Owls up to 14th in the table and six points from the drop zone; BetVictor have eased them to 20/1 to be relegated and one win from their final five fixtures would almost guarantee survival. Wednesday fans can start to breathe more easily and the clash at Leeds on Saturday would be a great place to secure their Championship status.
Leeds have dispensed with Neil Warnock’s services and are looking over their shoulder at relegation themselves. A point worse off than Wednesday they are five clear of the bottom three but have lost four straight, last tasting victory eight games ago.
Leeds who are 16/1 at betvictor.com for the drop are uneasy favourites at 7/5 for Saturday with Wednesday 85/40 and the draw 23/10; a stalemate might suit both Clubs but bragging rights insist this will be no tactical draw.
Owls defender Miguel Llera scored at the Den to move to six league goals for the campaign.
He is two behind leader Michail Antonio and 6/1 to win the Club’s Golden Boot award. He can be backed at 20/1 to score first or last this weekend and is 7/1 to net at anytime.
Barnsley left it even later than their neighbours before grabbing an equaliser seven minutes into stoppage time at Cardiff. Defender Stephen Foster was the hero which allowed the Tykes to move up to 19th.
They return to Oakwell this Saturday to face a Charlton side almost safe after victory over Leeds last weekend; the Reds have been strong at home recently with three consecutive wins over high flying Brighton, Watford and Leicester.
With that in mind the 6/5 quote for a home win looks fair value with the visitors 5/2 and the draw 12/ 5.
The Tykes remain 2/1 for the drop.
It was hardly a Ruby Tuesday for our Clubs in League one with both suffering surprise home defeats to damper promotion hopes.
Doncaster Rovers were looking for a quick treble of wins at the Keepmoat after victories over Swindon and Tranmere and three points over lowly Carlisle would have opened a five point gap over Bournemouth.
The Cumbrians’ had other ideas and returned north with maximum points to secure their own League One status for another season.
Rovers are still slight title favourites at 6/5 just ahead of Bournemouth outfit who are 5/4. Wins in their last three games would secure the crown. There could be a party atmosphere at Gresty Road on Saturday when Sunday’s JPT will be on display; Crewe did beat Rovers on the way to Wembley but Donny are favourites at 6/5 to gain revenge with the hosts 13/5 and the draw 12/5.
Despite hitting the woodwork twice Sheffield United were made to pay for defensive errors and went down to Crawley and they are back at the Lane for the visit of Swindon who are also fighting to maintain a promotion challenge.
United are now six points adrift of an automatic promotion spot, albeit with two games in hand, but title odds have grown to 10/1 and promotion at 11/10 looks more realistic.
The Blades are 6/4 with Swindon 21/10 and a draw 23/10; I fancy United to get back to winning ways.
It was certainly a busy Tuesday for our region and down in League Two Rotherham United took a giant stride towards a top seven finish when putting fading promotion rivals Exeter to the sword 4-1 at the New York Stadium. This opened up a four-point gap between the sides and the Millers still have a game in hand. Barring a disaster that should mean playoff football at worst but automatic hopes remain with only three points separating the four clubs chasing the coveted third place position.
Rotherham entertain a Fleetwood side on Saturday who still have a slight chance of making the top seven. They are sure to be popular at 20/21 to maintain the pressure on the clubs above them and I expect this price to shorten before kick off.
Chesterfield maintained their outside shot at a top seven finish, too, when beating relegation threatened Barnet 2-0 at Underhill. They have four points to make up on Bradford after the Bantams won 4-1 in midweek and only four game left to do so.
They entertain the Yorkshire side at the Proact Stadium next and victory would make those final three games most interesting.
Bradford are very well supported and a bumper crowd should be in attendance to witness this fascinating affair. The Spireites are 29/20 to claim the points with Bradford 2/1 and the draw 12/5. Only a win keeps the dream alive so fingers crossed they achieve that and keep their season going.