Weekend Preview: 22nd Apr

Our Easter selections took a bit of a hit with both failing to come in for us, although we had forewarned that making picks so far in advance of Easter Monday carried obvious risks and adjusted staking plans with that in mind.

Anyway, back to a full programme of fixtures this weekend as we head into the final few games of the season and what could be real make or break games for a number of teams; with promotions, relegation survival and play-off places still to play for.

Wolves to Win at Home against Blackburn

Wolves entered this season with new owners, looking as if it could be a strange season under new leadership and so it has proved.  They began the season with the leftfield choice of Walter Zenga as manager, lasting only until October before being replaced by Paul Lambert whose promising reputation had been hit by very disappointing spells at Villa and Blackburn.  There has however been some positive signs at Wolves, a good cup-run peaking with victory at Anfield and league form picking-up of late to sit safely in mid-table.  The owners will no doubt be looking for improvement next season, but foundations to push on have potentially been built and in Helder Costa, a £13 million buy, they have a match winner to build around if they can keep him.  Sitting safely in mid-table, the danger is Wolves have nothing to really play for but they recently won five on the bounce, before back-to-back defeats, and should be looking to finish the season strongly.

We’ve previously spoken of the woes of the opposition and there’s little need to reiterate what a shambles Blackburn are.  However, they picked-up a valuable away win against our selection of Forest on Good Friday and followed-up with a draw against Bristol City, leaving them just a point off the survival places.  With those four points they have given themselves a chance of survival and take some momentum into this game, but I’m against them for the same reasons as before; they are in the bottom three for good reason and have won just three games away from home all season.

There is the obvious danger that Wolves have little to actually play for but they look to be a decent price at odds against and should be good enough to beat a poor Blackburn team at Molineux, so let’s go with the form.

Blackpool to Win at Home against Cheltenham

Blackpool are another side who have been terribly run in recent years by less than salubrious owners, seeming to be in a state of managed decline since the high of reaching the Premier League.  They seem to have some stability this season and have a chance of some success, relatively speaking, as they sit in the play-off positions, only on goal difference though.  They will be looking to finish the season strongly to secure a play-off berth and will take confidence from beating top of the table Doncaster last time out.  Their home form is nothing to shout about but is decent enough and they do not concede many at home, which will stand them in good stead against a side who struggle for goals away from home.

Cheltenham have been in the relegation mix all season but look to have just about secured their league status after a recent upturn in form, sitting five points clear of the drop, effectively six when factoring goal difference, with just three games remaining.  The recent improvement in results will be a danger to Blackpool and is all the more impressive given that manager Gary Johnson is absent after heart surgery, but when looking closer you can see that recent results were all against sides in the bottom half of the table and it will be much tougher away from home to the Tangerines.  With just 21 goals away from home all season, just one more than the lowest scorers in the league, I think they’ll find it tough to get a result here.

The form of Blackpool hasn’t been great recently and Cheltenham have hit a relative purple patch, so this selection does come with risks attached, but with the Tangerines competing for a play-off position they will surely be throwing everything at games in search of victory.  Whilst The Robins’ lack of goals away from home mean that one goal could be enough for Blackpool to take the three points.

ADVICE:

Wolves – 1pt @ 6/5 (Paddy Power)

Wolves (6/5) & Blackpool (10/11) – 1pt Double @ 3.2 (Paddy Power)