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Monday, 19 November, 2018

Leeds set to get back on title track against Tractor Boys

The man with his finger on the EFL pulse

Leeds striker Kemar Roofe scored a hat-trick against Newport
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English Football League
3pm Saturday

Leeds v Ipswich
Leeds remained at the top of the Sky Bet Championship despite last Saturday's disappointing 1-0 loss at Millwall and look solid odds-on favourites to cement their position by beating Ipswich at Elland Road.

The defeat at Millwall could have been by a much heavier margin after the Lions dominated the game and won the shot count 20 to one.

It was a chastening experience for the league leaders, who never got to grips with Millwall's combative, direct style but there were mitigating factors with captain Liam Cooper absent through injury and fellow central defender Pontus Jansson failing to finish the game due to a minor muscle strain.

Both are expected to return against Ipswich but Leeds coped much better without them on Tuesday, coming through their League Cup third-round tie at Burnley 5-3 on penalties after the match finished 2-2 after extra-time.

Leeds had to ride their luck against the Clarets but the performance was a big improvement on their showing at the Den and came despite manager Thomas Christiansen making nine changes.

The Leeds gaffer admits he now has a selection headache, although he is likely to restore most of the players who have been serving him so well this season.

Ipswich are in for a hard time at a ground where Leeds have won four and drawn two of their matches this season.

The Tractor Boys have made a bright start, winning five league games, and could rise to first place this weekend if results go their way.

However, luck has often been on Ipswich's side. They have lost the shot count in all of their seven league matches and the aggregate shot totals for those games are 65 for and 138 against.

Town manager Mick McCarthy has said he is content with 'horrible' wins but, unless Ipswich can gain a greater foothold in their matches, their lofty league position is going to be unsustainable. 

4pts 8-13 general

Norwich v Bristol City
Bristol City deservedly won 2-0 at home to Stoke in the League Cup on Tuesday despite fielding an understrength side and their first-choice team should be backed to take at least a point from Norwich at Carrow Road.

Evidence of the strength of Bristol City's squad is mounting.

Manager Lee Johnson made nine changes when his side triumphed 3-2 at Watford in the League Cup second round and he switched nine players again for the success over Stoke.

Both Watford and Stoke selected strong teams to face the Robins but were undone by an underrated City team who could emerge as dark horses in the second-tier promotion race.

More football tipsters

Mark Langdon

Kevin Pullein

There is more expectation on Norwich to push for promotion but they have had a mixed start, winning three, drawing two and losing three, and were held to a 0-0 draw by Burton in their last home game.

Norwich are through to the last 16 of the League Cup after winning 3-1 away to a much-changed Brentford side on Tuesday.

But they are yet to prove their promotion credentials and rely heavily on the goals of Nelson Oliveira, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury.

Oliveira has netted four of Norwich's eight league goals this season and his likely absence will make a difficult task even tougher.

Bristol City or draw double chance
3pts 10-11 Betway

Rotherham v Oldham
Rotherham are emerging as serious players in the Sky Bet League One promotion race and can make it four wins out of five by defeating Oldham at the New York Stadium.

Last season was a disaster for the Millers, who collected just 23 points on their way to relegation from the Championship.

But the Millers' board bravely stuck by manager Paul Warne, handing him a permanent contract, and their faith is being repaid.

There was an initial hangover after relegation with three defeats in their first four league games but the turning point arrived earlier this month when Rotherham deservedly won 1-0 at Portsmouth in front of the Sky cameras.

Since then they have grown in confidence and belief, and they will not be too disheartened by last Saturday's 1-0 loss at Bradford after winning the shot count 20 to ten.

Warne's men have scored eight goals in their last two home games and look primed to hand out a heavy defeat to Oldham, who are propping up the table.

All of Oldham's four points have been picked up in the last three games but they will struggle to continue their recent improvement without their star striker, Preston loanee Eoin Doyle, who serves a one-game ban.

4pts 8-13 general

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Match previews

West Ham v Tottenham

Leicester v Liverpool

Man City v Crystal Palace

Newport v Grimsby
Three wins in four games have lifted Grimsby from 22nd to 13th in Sky Bet League Two and their rise could continue with a victory at Newport.

The Mariners were handicapped by indiscipline earlier in the campaign as they finished their opening four league games with ten men.

Grimsby's results have improved since the red cards have stopped and they have a strong chance of defeating a Newport side who performed poorly in a 2-1 loss at Morecambe last Saturday.

Grimsby draw no bet
2pts 8-5 Betfair

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Rotherham are emerging as serious players in the Sky Bet League One promotion race
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