Midweek Championship Tips: Brentford to make it four consecutive away victories
There's a full set of midweek fixtures in the Championship and Jack Critchley believes that Brentford are good value to leave Ewood Park with all three points...
Brentford's play-off push to remain on track
Blackburn3.05 v Brentford 2.46; The Draw 3.40 Wednesday, 19:45
Despite a slow start to the campaign, Brentford find themselves on the fringes of the play-offs following a 1-0 victory against Reading at the weekend, winning five of their last six Championship games. They have been traditionally strong at Griffin Park over the last couple of years, although they have also become equally as effective on the road in recent weeks. They've won each of their last three matches outside of West London and have also notched exactly three goals in four of their last five away trips.
The Bees are a high-scoring outfit, although they have significantly improved their defensive performances in recent months. Thomas Frank's side have now kept successive clean sheets and have conceded just seven times in their last ten outings. Despite a tough start to life in the Championship, former Barnsley defender Ethan Pinnock has become a lynchpin at the back, and he has been singled out for praise by his manager this week for both his workrate and attitude in training.
At the other end of the field, Brentford possess one of the division's hottest properties in Ollie Watkins. Although comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo from his manager may be a little far fetched, the winger-turned-striker has now bagged 11 goals this season and has stepped up to help fill the void left by Neal Maupay. He's effective in the air and his hold-up play is exceptional. Frank suggested that the 23-year old would be happy to play in any position and would happily return to his role on the flank if the club opt to sign an out-and-out striker in the January transfer window.
With the likes of Rico Henry and Henrik Dalsgaard on top form coupled with the emergence of Jan Zamburek, the Bees are firing on all cylinders at this moment in time and they'll be feeling confident ahead of their trip to Ewood Park.
Blackburn edged past Barnsley on Saturday afternoon, although they were largely outplayed by their struggling opponents. It was far from a vintage performance by the Lancashire outfit and there were some reports on social media suggesting that sections of the home crowd began to turn on boss Tony Mowbray throughout the second half.
The Rovers boss has been fairly unlucky with injuries, although being outshot 16-9 by the side who are currently propping up the division was never likely to go down well with the home faithful. With the Tykes also hitting the woodwork, the game could have gone either way and with Brentford's quality going forward, the hosts are unlikely to get away with that kind of error-strewn performance twice in a row.
Brentford look potentially too good for their ailing hosts and the away side can be backed at a relatively attractive 2.46 on the Exchange. They're currently scoring for fun on the road and if they manage to bag the opener in this tie, the atmosphere at Ewood Park could turn rather sour.
Tuesday goal-fest at Kenilworth Road
Luton2.16 v Charlton 3.60; The Draw 3.80 Tuesday, 19:45
Luton suffered their fifth defeat in a row at the weekend and dropped into the relegation zone as a result. However, the Hatters put on a decent show in Bedfordshire and almost came away with a point against high-flying Leeds. Graeme Jones was full of admiration for his players after the game with goalkeeper James Shea being singled out for his impressive performance between the sticks.
As expected, Leeds dominated throughout the contest, commanding 75% possession and having 21 efforts on goal yet the hosts often looked a threat at the other end of the pitch. Izzy Brown was the standout player for last season's League One champions and the loanee always looked likely to create something. James Collins found the net with his only effort on goal while Kazenga Lua Lua offered something a bit different in the final quarter of an hour.
It's now back-to-back 2-1 home defeats for the Hatters and they will be desperate to bounce back on Tuesday night. They've kept just one clean sheet in front of their own fans all season, although they have managed to find the net in seven of their eight home matches since returning to the second tier. Although results haven't always gone their way, their matches haven't been lacking in entertainment and there's rarely been a dull moment at Kenilworth Road this season.
Charlton surrendered a two-goal lead against Cardiff on Saturday lunchtime and it could have been far worse for the Addicks had Junior Hoilett not fluffed his lines from the spot. The Londoners were rampant in the first period and found ample space in the centre of the park. Conor Gallagher and Erhun Oztumer linked up well throughout the game with Jonathon Leko's boundless energy providing a constant threat to the Bluebird's back-line.
Lyle Taylor is close to making his return to first-team action, although he may only be fit enough for a place on the bench on Tuesday night. Lee Bowyer was unable to name a full complement of subs at the weekend and he'll be hoping he has enough bodies to fill the bench ahead of this midweek contest.
Despite looking defensively sound throughout the first couple of months, Charlton have now failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last five outings and have shipped nine goals during that period. Luton will feel confident that they can find a way through and this should be another entertaining 90 minutes. Seven of Charlton's last eight Championship matches have featured three or more goals and with Over 2.5 Goals available at 1.82 on the Exchange, it looks well worth snapping up.
The Lions to inflict more misery on the Latics
Milwall 2.08 v Wigan 4.20; The Draw 3.50 Tuesday, 19:45
Gary Rowett has made a decent start to life in Bermondsey with the former Stoke boss guiding his new side to nine points from a possible 12 since taking over the reins at the Den. He was delighted to see his side clinch their first away victory of the campaign on Saturday afternoon and the home fans will now be feeling extremely confident ahead of this midweek clash with Wigan.
Goalscorer Jed Wallace produced a moment of magic from a set-piece and he will once again be key to his side's chances on Tuesday night. At home, the Lions are an increasingly solid proposition and QPR remain the only side to have left this stadium with maximum points so far. They've netted exactly two goals in each of their last four fixtures here and have conceded on just seven occasions.
Although they had to dig in and get men behind the ball on Saturday, they should be able to play with a little more freedom in this fixture and are likely to take the game to the visitors.
The Latics were left heartbroken by a last-gasp Mama Biram Diouf goal in the Potteries on Saturday afternoon. Paul Cook's men were heading for a hard-earned point against fellow strugglers Stoke, but failed to clear their lines in stoppage and were duly punished for their hesitant defending.
It's now just two wins in 32 matches for the travel-sick Lancastrians and a trip to the Den is rarely straightforward for any away side. The visitors have lost two of their last three games at this stadium and will need to offer more in the final third. Jamal Lowe looked lively against Stoke, although Joe Garner did appear isolated at times. The defensive partnership of Cheyenne Dunkley and Charlie Mulgrew look competent in the air and that is likely to force the Lions to keep it on the deck wherever possible.
The upwardly mobile hosts have beaten Charlton, Leeds and Stoke at this venue in recent weeks and they are likely to have too much for Wigan Athletic. The visitors have failed to score in five of their nine away games so far and their small contingent of travelling fans may have to wait a little while longer before seeing their side triumph away from the DW. Millwall are 2.08 to collect three points and make it four wins from five and that looks decent value.