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Ipswich lack attacking punch to hurt classy Cottagers

Fulham striker Chris Martin (right) is a goal threat for the Cottagers
1 of 1

Ipswich v Fulham
Fulham have become the great entertainers of the Sky Bet Championship and their superior firepower could see them past Ipswich at Portman Road.

The Cottagers have scored 13 times in their last four matches but have won only two of those matches – against Reading and Rotherham – with a 4-4 thriller at Wolves and last week's 2-2 draw with Derby frustrating Slavisa Jokanovic’s men.

Chris Martin, Floyd Ayite and Stefan Johansen are all scoring goals and there is a lot of creativity in the squad.

Only Newcastle and Brighton have a superior goal difference to Fulham's plus ten in the second division and the Whites, who are ninth, could be a playoff team by the end of the season.

They have already beaten Newcastle at home and thumped third-placed Reading and fourth-placed Huddersfield (both 5-0) and Fulham’s away record is the fourth-best in the Championship.

Unfortunately, key defender Tomas Kalas will miss the Christmas period and Fulham's win percentage drops from 44 per cent to 22 per cent in the nine games the influential Chelsea loanee has sat out.

However, Ipswich have scored only 22 goals this term, failing to notch ten times and may lack the goalscoring prowess to take advantage of Kalas's absence.

Mick McCarthy's men appear destined for a mid-table campaign and unless there is significant funds made available that is unlikely to change in future years.

Jonny Williams, Teddy Bishop, Tommy Smith, Paul Digby, Luke Hyam and Giles Coke are all sidelined and that will hopefully compensate for Fulham having to make do without Kalas.

Recommendation
Fulham
1pt 6-4 Hills

Stevenage Cambridge
There has been a fair amount of support for Cambridge to win this game and there is still just about enough juice to get involved for the trip to Stevenage.

Both teams have been upwardly mobile in the Sky Bet League Two standings but Cambridge look far more likely to sustain that level of form having recovered from a truly shocking start to the season.

Shaun Derry was a man under severe pressure as United were chinned at home by Morecambe in September and reports suggested he needed to win at Newport the following week.

He did just that and since the Morecambe reverse, Cambridge have moved from 24th to seventh, collecting 28 points from 13 games.

The last four league matches have all finished in wins and all areas of the side are in good shape.

Leon Legge and Mark Roberts are keeping it solid at the back, while Luke Berry has scored 13 goals in 26 matches, including four against Coventry in the FA Cup. The robust Uche Ikpeazu has also made a massive impact.

Ikpeazu made his first start in early October and in total has made 11 starts. During that period Cambridge have won eight, drawn two and lost just once (1-0 against Portsmouth).

Stevenage seem to save their best work for away encounters but at home they have not kept a clean sheet with 19 goals conceded this season.

Recommendation
Cambridge draw no bet
1pt 10-11 Betfred, Hills

Yeovil Exeter
Paul Tisdale seems to be one of the more honest managers in his assessment of matches so it is worth listening to him before the derby with Yeovil.

"We've got the makings of a good team," he told the Exeter Express & Echo. "We've had our problems with injuries – we still have a few – but the team's getting stronger all the time. We fancy our chances to push for more results over the next few games."

Exeter were indeed ravaged by injuries earlier in the campaign but they are going along nicely now with ten points from the last four matches and only one goal conceded.

Tisdale's team have also won seven of 11 away games this term.

Recommendation
Exeter draw no bet
1pt 11-10 general

Bet on Monday's matches at Soccerbase.com


Langdon's plays of the day
BANKER
Millwall 8-11
It has been a poor season for 14th-placed Millwall but Neil Harris finally has his front two of Lee Gregory and Steve Morison back from injury. The Lions duo were reunited in Wednesday's win over Charlton and Millwall have won four of their last five matches with the pair in the starting 11. 

BLOWOUT
Cheltenham 11-10
The Robins have won four league games all season so are not the kind of side to lump on, even at home to Barnet.

ACCUMULATOR
Man Utd 1-4, Man City 1-3, Millwall 7-10, Sheff Utd 4-9 Hills

BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Games at Watford 4-5, Leicester 8-11, Barnsley 4-6 188Bet

HOTSHOT
M Alonso 20-1 Hills, Paddy Power
Somebody will have to take on the goalscoring burden in the absence of Diego Costa and the Chelsea left wing-back looks overpriced to notch. Only Costa, Eden Hazard and Willian average more shots and Alonso scored against Everton.


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

It’s hard to feel overly sorry for Alan Pardew.

He does not appear to be the most humble of gaffers and will trouser a fair amount in compensation but did Pardew deserve the Crystal Palace sack?

Palace reached the FA Cup final in May and a lot of their statistics from this season suggested a team just below mid-table. Their goal difference of minus four is another indicator of that too, so maybe Pardew is a little unlucky to find himself out of work.

Expectations seemed to rise in the summer with £50m of talent arriving, mainly in Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend, but around £40m worth left. A net spend of £10m in the Premier League era is nothing.

As a sensible relatively young Selhurst regular said to me in the office the other week when I quizzed him on Pardew said: "We are Crystal Palace, we've nearly always struggled in the Premier League and we probably always will. Finishing tenth and reaching the cup final in the last couple of years are like the glory days for me."

I don't feel sorry for Pards but maybe I should.

Ipswich have scored only 22 goals this term, failing to notch ten times and may lack the goalscoring prowess to take advantage of Kalas's absence
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