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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Birmingham can stay up by frustrating flying Fulham

Best bets for the final day

Birmingham celebrate their 1-0 win over Ipswich
1 of 1

All kick-offs 12.30pm Sunday

Birmingham v Fulham
Birmingham stayed up on the final day of last season by winning 1-0 at Bristol City and they can guarantee at least another year in the Sky Bet Championship by avoiding defeat against promotion-chasing Fulham.

Events at St Andrew's might have no bearing on the promotion and relegation issues.

Fulham will finish third as long as Cardiff justify long odds-on status at home to Reading and Birmingham will survive as long as at least two of the teams below them (Barnsley, Burton and Bolton) fail to win their respective games against Derby, Preston and Nottingham Forest.

However, there is sure to be tension in the air among a large crowd, most of whom will be desperate to see Birmingham stay up.

Birmingham's advantage over Fulham is that their fate is in their own hands.

A draw will see them over the line but Fulham might have to react to events in Cardiff because in the event of a shock victory for Reading, a point would be enough to see the Cottagers rise to second.

Birmingham and Fulham would be better served by focusing on the task at hand because it promises to be a tight match.

Fulham's 23-match unbeaten run has taken them to the brink of the Premier League, yet they were far from convincing 2-1 winners at home to basement boys Sunderland last Friday.

The nerves seemed to get to Slavisa Jokanovic's side, who got the rub of the green when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed home the winning goal despite appearing to be offside.

Birmingham missed the chance to secure their survival when throwing away a 1-0 lead to lose 3-1 at QPR.

However, Garry Monk's team have been doing much better in home games, taking ten points from the last four, and they can frustrate Fulham, who may have to settle for the playoffs.

Birmingham or draw double chance
2pts 19-16 188Bet

Sky Bet Championship standings

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Leeds v QPR
Paul Heckingbottom has had to deal with speculation over his future as Leeds manager but can give himself the best chance of keeping the job by leading the Whites to victory over QPR at Elland Road.

One point separates 14th-placed Leeds from 15th-placed QPR in the Sky Bet Championship table but expectations are higher at the Yorkshire club.

A top-six finish was the aim for Leeds but they have fallen well short and seemingly gone backwards under Heckingbottom, who has presided over three wins, four draws and eight defeats.

However, they played reasonably well in a 2-1 loss at Norwich last Saturday, registering 15 shots, and looked more solid at the back with centre-back Liam Cooper making his first start in eight weeks.

The back four could be further strengthened with first-choice right-back Luke Ayling in contention to play for the first time this year and a more solid Leeds are odds-against value to defeat a young QPR side with a poor away record.

Ian Holloway's team have taken just 15 points on their travels this season, the third-lowest total in the division, and may suffer another away defeat.

2pts 5-4 Hills

Sky Bet Championship standings

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Garry Monk's team have been doing much better in home games, taking ten points from the last four
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