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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Bradford still value to progress despite hefty gamble

New signings unlikely to keep Glovers in the cup

Charlie Wyke (right) has been in fine form for Bradford
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Yeovil v Bradford
FA Cup third round, 3pm Saturday

It's not always the most glamorous FA Cup ties that bring the best betting opportunities and punters are advised to head to Huish Park for a third-round wager on Bradford beating Yeovil.

With the absence of non-league teams in the third round Yeovil are the lowest-ranked club surviving in the competition, although that status may not last much longer given the personnel problems facing Glovers gaffer Darren Way.

Yeovil have signed four players in the last 24 hours - midfielder Lewis Wing from Middlesbrough, defender Corey Whelan from Liverpool, Barnsley midfielder Jared Bird and Southampton forward Marcus Barnes - and the scattergun approach was much needed with the Glovers at one stage this week reduced to a squad of 12 players, two of whom were goalkeepers.

Quite how much work Way can get into the new arrivals remains to be seen, but Connor Smith, Omar Sowunmi, James Bailey, Rhys Browne, Oscar Gobern and Daniel Alfei are all unavailable, while the borrowed quartet of Sid Nelson, Keston Davies, Matt Worthington and Olufela Olomola returned to their parent clubs.

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FA Cup tournament preview

Way was desperate to bring Olomola back from Southampton following a seven-goal stint and the disruption of the wholesale changes is unlikely to help the Sky Bet League Two club against their League One visitors.

Old-school Bantams boss Stuart McCall has spent this week talking of the importance of the FA Cup so he is unlikely to make many changes as City look to make it three wins on the spin following successes against Oxford and Fleetwood.

Powerful forward Charlie Wyke should be hopeful of adding to his 12 goals and Bradford's away record is worthy of respect as they have nine away league wins this season, including at top-six outfits Wigan, Shrewsbury and Portsmouth.

There has been a wholesale gamble on the Bantams but there is just enough juice left in bet365's 3-4.

1pt 3-4 bet365

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Doncaster v Rochdale
FA Cup third round, 3pm Saturday
Middlesbrough were going to be a confident selection at a shade of odds-on but they have been backed off the boards to beat a depleted Sunderland, while Watford have also been popular this week to overcome a Bristol City side with two eyes on their League Cup semi-final against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Doncaster have also been nibbled at for their home clash with Rochdale and following the money looks wise with Rovers fancied to book a spot in round four.

The league table suggests 11th-placed Donny are superior to 23rd-placed Rochdale and Darren Ferguson's men are also comfortably ahead in the usually influential shot stats department too.

Rochdale have taken two points from their last six matches, a run which includes a 2-0 defeat at Donny, and are struggling despite the wily presence of club legend manager Keith Hill.

1pt 11-10 Betfred

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Charlton v Oldham
Sky Bet League One, 3pm Saturday
Away from the FA Cup there looks to be a good opportunity for Charlton to snap a seven-game winless spell in Sky Bet League One against a depleted Oldham outfit.

There were excuses for Charlton's poor run with injuries biting and a difficult sequence of fixtures - the Addicks have faced trips to Scunthorpe, Blackburn and Wigan as well as Portsmouth at home.

They are clearly not playing well but Oldham lost key loanees Eoin Doyle, Jack Byrne and Kean Bryan this week.

Doyle is the club's top scorer with 14 goals in all competitions and playmaker Byrne, who scored seven times, ran the show in midfield.

Oldham have played 13 matches without one of Byrne or Doyle this season and lost ten of them, while some supporters believe Manchester City centre-back Bryan was even more influential.

All three missed the recent trip to Plymouth and Oldham lost 4-1. 

1pt 13-10 Hills

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Sky Bet League One standings

Plays of the day

Leicester 4-7
Claude Puel took Southampton to a cup final last season and he could have eyes on repeating the trick with Leicester, who should make their class count against third-tier Fleetwood.

Cardiff 8-13
Neil Warnock has said he will play his strongest Cardiff side against Mansfield but there is a caveat - the Bluebirds are rocked by injuries and have had a virus sweep through the camp.

Atletico Madrid 2-5, Middlesbrough 3-5, Leicester 4-7, Bradford 4-6 Sky Bet

Both teams to score
Games at Aston Villa 3-4, Wycombe 3-4, Oxford 3-4, Roma 3-4 bet365

Thought for the week

A few things that have annoyed me ...

Playing with only one day of rest There is no other top European league that would be so willingly stupid as to ask teams to do this. Every piece of sports science information says this is wrong yet the gluttony of English football seems to have no limits.

Attack v defence Maybe it was due to the sheer number of games over the festive period that this became so intolerable but count me out the next time a big-six team play a non big-six team. I understand why managers park the bus, but jeez it's dull. 

VAR debate Refereeing critics won't stop until VAR comes in and it will sort out the really obvious errors but so many of these debated calls are simply opinion rather than matters of fact so this search for the perfect game does not exist.

From watching plenty of Italian and German football this season I have found it stops the game too regularly, the beauty of celebrating a goal is taken away, players still crowd referees - except they now make a TV gesture to demand VAR - and those with theories of being hard-done-by still complain on a regular basis.

Match previews and tipping columns

Fleetwood v Leicester

Norwich v Chelsea

Didi Hamann

Dan Childs

Kevin Pullein

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Oldham lost key loanees Eoin Doyle, Jack Byrne and Kean Bryan this week
E.W. Terms
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