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Portsmouth's playoff hopes could be boosted at Bristol Rovers

Portsmouth fans should be cheering in the new year
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Bristol Rovers v Portsmouth
Seven wins in nine games have lifted Portsmouth into the Sky Bet League One playoff places for the first time this season and Kenny Jackett's side can kick on by beating Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Portsmouth started the season as 3-1 third favourites in the promotion betting but took a while to get used to playing at a higher level.

At the start of November they were in the bottom half but they have been piling up the points over the last two months and were convincing 3-1 winners at home to Northampton on Saturday.

Portsmouth are looking at the top six as a minimum requirement while third-tier survival is the main aim for 16th-placed Rovers, who are five points above the drop zone.

Rovers manager Darrell Clarke is targeting three January signings to give his squad some impetus and help them to turn the corner after a poor finish to 2017 with three wins in their last 16 matches.

Portsmouth are the likelier winners but will have to adjust to a poor pitch, so it may be sensible to back them with the draw no bet.

Recommendation
Portsmouth draw no bet
2pts 10-11 Betfair

Sky Bet League One standings

Bet on these games at Soccerbase.com


Sunderland v Barnsley
Injury-ravaged Sunderland pulled off a classic smash-and-grab raid when winning 1-0 at Nottingham Forest on Saturday but they may struggle to justify favouritism against fellow strugglers Barnsley at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats defended for the majority of the match against Forest and won despite losing the shot count 22 to one.

They succeeded thanks to a combination of good defending and poor Forest finishing, gaining a precious three points which lifted them out of the drop zone.

Sunderland's next aim is to pick up back-to-back league wins, a feat which they failed to achieve throughout 2017,  but they are handicapped by an ongoing injury crisis.

Lynden Gooch sustained a hamstring strain against Forest and joins Lewis Grabban, Lamine Kone, Lee Cattermole, Jack Rodwell, Didier Ndong, Jonny Williams and Duncan Watmore in a packed treatment room.

It leaves Sunderland manager Chris Coleman with little room for manoeuvre and there are sure to be some tired legs after the team worked so hard for the victory on Saturday.

Barnsley's squad looks in a healthier state and confidence should be high after Ethan Pinnock's injury-time header rescued a well-deserved 1-1 draw at home to Reading on Saturday.

Paul Heckingbottom's side haven't won in ten but they are still playing some decent football and can grab at least a point from their trip to Wearside.

Recommendation
Barnsley or draw double chance
2pts 8-11 Betfair

Sky Bet Championship standings

Bet on these games at Soccerbase.com


Oxford v MK Dons
Oxford's League One playoff hopes have taken a few hits in recent weeks but they can pick up a first win in five games by beating MK Dons at the Kassam Stadium.

Confidence in the Oxford camp has been low since the 7-0 loss at home to Wigan before Christmas.

They need a victory to rediscover the feelgood factor and have a great chance against the Dons, who played with nine men for the entire second half of Saturday's 1-0 victory at home to Peterborough.

It was a remarkable result in the circumstances but the swift turnaround could be a major problem for the Dons, who are without suspended pair Joe Walsh and Osman Sow. 

Recommendation
Oxford
1pt 13-8 Betfair

Sky Bet League One standings

Bet on these games at Soccerbase.com


Accrington v Morecambe
Morecambe have spent the weekend basking in the afterglow of a stunning 4-3 success at home to Yeovil and can build on it by taking a least a point at Accrington.

The Shrimps scored four goals in the last 20 minutes against Yeovil to end a three-game losing streak.

Accrington had lost five games in a row before Saturday's 3-0 success at Grimsby but may not hit the same heights just two days later.

Recommendation
Morecambe or draw double chance
1pt 11-10 Betfair

Sky Bet League Two standings

Bet on these games at Soccerbase.com


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The Dons played with nine men for the entire second half of Saturday's 1-0 victory at home to Peterborough
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