EFL WEEKEND: It’s full steam ahead in the EFL this weekend after some more midweek action. We preview four games below, alongside some of our recommended BETDAQ bets.


CHAMPIONSHIP

Preston North End v Blackburn Rovers – Saturday 17:30

Preston suffered back-to-back away defeats against Millwall and Swansea to sober their push for a first top flight appearance in over 60 years. The Lilywhites had tiptoed their way into the final play-off place prior to that surprising 4-2 loss to Swansea in midweek, though they will be hopeful that a return to Deepdale may spark their league form into life having won four out of their last five games in front of their own fans.

Blackburn make up the other half of what should be a fiercely contested Lancashire Derby, with Rovers currently two points above their hosts on Saturday in the Championship table, though their form of late seems to have worryingly declined. Dahl Tomasson’s side looked like they could challenge for an automatic promotion place at the beginning of the season, but now find themselves clinging on to sixth spot following a run of just one win in seven league fixtures.

Blackburn are on a damaging run of just one victory in nine games away from home, and will be scarred from their 4-1 drubbing at the reverse fixture at Ewood Park, so we’re backing Preston at 2.66 to leapfrog their rivals in the table.

Preston North End v Blackburn Rovers markets

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Bristol City v Rotherham United – Saturday 15:00

Consecutive away defeats to Watford and Sheffield United mean Bristol City can no longer mathematically finish in the play-off places, so all that is realistically left for the Robins is to finish as well as they possibly can. Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss at Bramall Lane may suggest that Nigel Pearson’s side are somewhat running out of gas – winning just one of their last seven league games – but they remain unbeaten in eight fixtures in front of their home fans and will fancy themselves against Saturday’s opposition.

That opposition takes the form of relegation-threatened Rotherham United, who commendably held already-promoted Burnley to a 2-2 draw in midweek as they look to detach themselves from their yo-yo relationship with the Championship and League One. Just one defeat across their last five games highlights their battling spirit, but the close nature of the relegation scrap this year means a defeat here could see them end the weekend level on points with some sides in the drop zone.

The retrospective home and away record of each side could tell a story here, with Bristol drawing their last two games at Ashton Gate and Rotherham sharing the spoils in five of their last seven fixtures on the road. As such, we’re backing the draw at 3.7.

Bristol City vs Rotherham United markets


LEAGUE ONE

Barnsley v Oxford United – Saturday 15:00

Barnsley’s 0-0 draw away at Lincoln on Tuesday may signal the end of their automatic promotion hopes, with Ipswich Town and Plymouth Argyle pulling six and seven points clear respectively after both picking up midweek victories. With the Tykes 10 points ahead of Derby County in seventh place with four games to play, only a dramatic capitulation would prevent the Yorkshire outfit from competing in this year’s play-off matches, though they will want to finish on a high note to provide some momentum for those all-important fixtures.

Oxford remain winless since January and are being seriously touted for the drop, although Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Portsmouth at least pulled them one point clear of the relegation zone, having played a game less than the likes of Morecombe and MK Dons. Perhaps the most concerning aspect to the U’s current form is their inability to score – finding the net just twice in their five league games so far in April – so chances are that they’ll find it tough going on Saturday against the division’s fourth strongest defence.

This looks a complete mismatch on paper but Barnsley are arguably a tad overvalued here at 1.75. We’re not going to turn our noses up at Michael Duff’s side at that price against this calibre of opposition, so we’re backing the hosts to add to their eight-game winning run at home.

Barnsley vs Oxford United markets


LEAGUE TWO

Barrow v Carlisle United – Saturday 15:00

Having only narrowly avoided relegation in their second Championship season last year, the fact Barrow are even in the reckoning for a potential play-off finish speaks volumes of the job Pete Wilde has done in his first season in charge of the club. A draw and a defeat in their last two outings has somewhat subdued a top seven finish, with the Bluebirds seven points off Salford City with three games to play.

Carlisle’s wretched run of one win in eight has surrendered what was at one point a near-certain automatic promotion, with Tuesday’s late 2-2 draw with fellow promotion hopefuls Stockport their third draw on the bounce. That sequence of results has seen the Blues slide down to fifth in the table, and they’ll have to be wary that they’re now in touching distance of an in-form Mansfield Town outside the play-off places as the season approaches its climax.

Carlisle are the slight favourites with the bookies for this one and will start the weekend 10 points above their hosts, but we like the look of Barrow here. The Cumbrians have won their last three games at home, whilst Carlisle haven’t even scored on their travels in four fixtures, so we’re backing the Bluebirds at 3.05 to continue their end of season push.

Barrow v Carlisle United markets


DAQMAN Tues: Kempton NAP
DAQSTATS Tues: Killarney NAP
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