Home Sports Football Championship Black Cats to add to Birmingham’s blues
Black Cats to add to Birmingham’s blues

Black Cats to add to Birmingham’s blues


After finally ending their 364-day wait for a home win by beating Fulham, Sunderland can triumph again at the Stadium of Light this weekend when hapless Birmingham City are the visitors.

Chris Coleman surprised many people when he left Wales to take on the daunting challenge on Wearside last month but he has revived a moribund club and they have taken seven points from their last four games, including a fine goalless draw at leaders Wolves.

Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Fulham lifted the Black Cats out of the relegation zone and they can go a long way to earning another three points by keeping a clean sheet, at odds of 7/5, against a Birmingham side that have scored only four goals in their 11 Championship fixtures away from St Andrew’s.

The Blues are 5/7 to be relegated after failing to win any of their last five games and are 8/1 to lose 2-0 on Saturday.

This weekend’s fixtures mark the halfway point in the Championship season and one of the big disappointments in the first half of the campaign has been the form of Norwich City who are currently 16th in the table.

Only two teams – Burton Albion and Birmingham – have scored fewer goals than the Canaries with Josh Murphy their top scorer with only seven.

On Friday draw specialists Brentford are the visitors to Carrow Road and it may be worth betting on a 1-1 draw at odds of 27/4.

Barnsley are now owned by a consortium that includes a Chinese billionaire and Billy Beane, who inspired the film Moneyball following his work with the Oakland A’s baseball team, after a takeover was completed this week.

The Tykes need a boost as they have failed to win any of their last seven matches and that sequence looks set to continue against a Fulham team that have only lost twice at Craven Cottage this season. A 2-1 win for the Cottagers is available at 31/4.

Cardiff City have been one of the over-achieving teams so far this season but they may have to settle for a point when they visit a Bolton Wanderers team that are starting to show signs of life after starting the campaign appallingly.

The Bluebirds are 23/4 to draw 1-1 while Cardiff to win and both teams to score can be backed at 16/5.

Only Wolves are currently ahead of Neil Warnock’s side in the table and Nuno Espirito Santo’s team are showing few signs of slipping up.

They are unbeaten in their last eight matches and seem certain to be playing in the Premier League next term.

Ipswich Town have only drawn two of their first 22 matches but Mick McCarthy’s team do not have the quality to trouble Wolves, who should ease to a routine victory with a 2-0 home win available at 21/4.

Derby County have won seven of their 11 home games and should be too strong for a Millwall team that appear to be on course for a mid-table finish.

The Lions do not concede many goals but have failed to win an away match this term so betting on Derby to keep a clean sheet may be worthwhile at 13/10 with a 1-0 victory for Gary Rowett’s side available at 11/2.

There are signs that Leeds United are back on track following a very sticky spell and now may be a good time to bet on them at 7/1 to secure promotion. They have taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer and are 10/11 to beat Hull City with Pontus Jansson available at 16/1 to score the first goal.

The Tigers beat Brentford 3-2 in Nigel Adkins’ first game in charge before performing admirably in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at second-placed Cardiff but look set to be second-best at Elland Road.

Sheffield United have been in freefall recently and have only taken one point from their last five games. That run looks set to continue at Aston Villa, although Steve Bruce’s team have stuttered themselves of late and have failed to win any of their last three matches.

Villa can win by a one-goal margin at odds of 5/2.

Nottingham Forest have incredibly not drawn any of their first 22 Championship fixtures but that sequence could come to an end on Saturday against a Preston team that have drawn eight matches to date.

Alex Neil’s team have surged into the top half of the table after taking 13 points from their last five fixtures but may have to settle for a point from a draw at Deepdale, available at 51/20.

QPR eased some of the pressure that had been on Ian Holloway by beating Birmingham 2-1 last weekend and Jack Robinson, who scored a brace against City, is 35/4 to score at any time at Loftus Road against Bristol City.

The third-placed Robins may struggle to recover from their exploits in the midweek Carabao Cup clash against Manchester United, so a QPR victory at 9/5 may be worth a punt.

Reading have picked up more points away from home than at their own Madejski Stadium but Jaap Stam’s team should be able to clinch only their fourth victory on their own pitch when they take on Burton Albion.

Nigel Clough’s side did seal a crucial 1-0 win in the relegation six-pointer at Bolton last weekend but may come back down to earth at Reading, who are available at 25/4 to win the match 2-0.

Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough were expected to challenge for promotion this season but inconsistency has blighted them both.

The Owls have failed to win any of their last six games and are 15th in the table while Boro have slipped to 10th after losing three of their last four fixtures.

A draw at 11/5 to seems the most likely option on Saturday at Hillsborough while Wednesday can be backed at 19/10 to keep a clean sheet in the encounter.

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Mark Race Having worked in the media for nearly 30 years, Mark knows his sport inside out and at all levels. An avid football fan, Mark also has serious knowledge of the tennis world and is quick to point out value bets in a number of other sports.