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Improving Leeds set to silence Canaries

Leeds dumped Norwich out of the EFL Cup in October
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Norwich v Leeds
Leeds have had five successive bottom-half finishes but they are emerging as playoff contenders in the Sky Bet Championship and can deny Norwich victory at Carrow Road.

Five weeks into the season Leeds were in the relegation zone and manager Garry Monk was coming under pressure.

However, they have responded by collecting 19 points from their last nine games and are only one point outside the top six.

Striker Chris Wood has been at the forefront of the revival, banging in seven goals in 15 league appearances, but Leeds also look strong defensively and haven’t conceded more than once in a league match since a 3-1 loss at Nottingham Forest in August.

They are progressing nicely and Norwich are going through a sticky patch, having taken one point from their last three games.

Their performances have deteriorated since key midfielder Jonny Howson’s ankle injury last month and the Canaries will be even weaker in the centre of the park today with Alex Tettey serving a one-game suspension.

The balance of the side hasn’t looked quite right in recent losses at home to Preston (1-0) and away to Brighton (5-0) and they are opposable at odds-on to defeat one of the division’s form teams.

Recommendation
Leeds or draw double chance
2pts Evs Betway, Coral, Paddy Power



Rotherham v Preston
The concession of late goals has cost Rotherham in their last two Championship matches – a 1-0 loss at home to Reading and a 2-2 draw at Ipswich – but the Millers look a more competitive side under new manager Kenny Jackett and have every chance of toppling mid-table Preston at the New York Stadium.

Survival looks a tall order for Rotherham, who are eight points adrift of safety and 1-6 for a bottom-three finish.

However, they were only two points better off at the same stage of last season, ending up nine points above the drop zone.

The key to their recovery was the appointment of Neil Warnock – an experienced Championship manager – and there are signs that the arrival of Jackett (another second-tier expert) has had a positive impact.

An improvement in home results is crucial and they will feel that today’s match is winnable.

Preston have lost back-to-back matches against Newcastle (6-0 in the EFL Cup and 2-1 in the league) and are short in midfield with Ben Pearson and Alan Browne suspended and John Welsh injured.

Recommendation
Rotherham +0.25 on Asian handicap
2pts 9-10 bet365, 188Bet

AFC Wimbledon striker Dom Poleon
Bury v AFC Wimbledon
Confidence in the Bury camp must be desperately low after a seven-game losing sequence and that run may continue with a defeat at home to AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup first round.

Bury’s dismal run included a 2-1 league defeat at home to Wimbledon and their chances of reversing the result are hampered by a suspension to key midfielder Danny Mayor.

Wimbledon dropped out of the Sky Bet League One playoff spots after a 2-1 defeat to high-flying Bradford last Saturday but are having a great season and are worth a bet at Gigg Lane at 11-10 with the draw no bet.

Recommendation
AFC Wimbledon draw no bet
1pt 11-10 Paddy Power

Crawley v Bristol Rovers Midday
Bristol Rovers are establishing themselves as contenders in the League One promotion race but they are also keen to impress in cup competitions and look solid favourites to win at Crawley.

The Pirates had a brief but impressive run in the EFL Cup, knocking out Championship side Cardiff and losing 3-2 at Chelsea.They shouldn’t fear an upset at League Two Crawley, who haven’t won any of their last four matches.

Recommendation
Bristol Rovers
2pts 10-11 Hills

Oldham v Doncaster
Oldham are in the bottom four in League One but can escape the mental strain of their survival battle by beating League Two Doncaster in the FA Cup.

The Latics have won three of their last six matches in all competitions and look tasty 13-8 shots to overcome defensively suspect Donny, who have conceded two or more goals in six of their last eight fixtures.

Recommendation
Oldham
1pt 17-10 Hills

Bet on Saturday's matches at Soccerbase.com

Leeds have had five successive bottom-half finishes but they are emerging as playoff contenders
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