Monday, 12 November 2007

Weekend Championship Review

Still winless against Mr Power but better luck with my Championship predictions this weekend.
Charlton and Ipswich held up for me but Watford and Pompey failed narrowly to convert wins and Stoke let me down by losing at home to Sheffield United (I'll have to wait a fortnight now to resume my battle with the bookie). On the Championship front, I managed a creditable 7 correct results with two correct scores and an additional 2 games were within a goal of correct scores. I also tipped Coventry to beat Albion this evening, so here's hoping....

Manager of the Month?

Having three straight wins so far in November and the international break this coming weekend, Pards must be favourite for the November bubbly (do Coca-Cola still allow Champagne to be presented?). A win at home against Sheffield United on Tuesday 27th might be good enough on it's own, but added to any result at Deepdale would almost guarantee it.

If he does win it, we just have to hope that we don't get struck by the curse in December, although that's hard to see with three winnable home games (Burnley, Ipswich - poor away - and Hull) and aways at Cardiff and Norwich which we shouldn't expect to lose. The West Brom game at the Hawthorns is arguably the only anticipated loss before Christmas. The Cities of Cardiff and Hull will also give us our first opportunities of doubles, something you need to be racking up if you want an automatic promotion spot.

Looking ahead...

So, assuming we profit between now and New Year, what do our prospects look like for the second half of the campaign? Apart from Watford home and away, January and February look ok at the moment. I can see us getting a good return from home games against Colchester, Blackpool, Stoke and Palace. Away, we have to fancy our chances at Scunthorpe, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool. Assuming we get parity from Watford, I can see us still being in the hunt for March and April, and that's where I can see the danger.....

Following the Watford home game on Feb 16th, we entertain another five of the current top eight at the Valley. Wins against Bristol City, West Brom, Wolves, Southampton and Coventry will be big results as I believe most of them will be six-pointers. These could be the key games in determining promotion as our away matches look likely to be largely at mid-table or lower sides, Sheffield United, Burnley, (Ipswich excepted), Plymouth, QPR and Barnsley.

If we maintain current form you'd have to settle for an early exit from the F A Cup (to a Premier side please) just in the hope that it prevents possible injuries and keeps our players fresher for league battle. I suspect we have little to fear on this front as "Cup run" and "Charlton" haven't been an item really for 60 years.

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