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Monday, 19 November, 2018

Preston set to take closer order in the promotion race

Chesterfield can climb off the bottom by beating Barnet

Preston are bolstered by Daniel Johnson's return from suspension
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Kick-offs 3pm Saturday

Burton v Preston
Preston are eyeing up a push towards the Sky Bet Championship playoff positions over the Christmas period and can take closer order in the promotion race by beating rock-bottom Burton at the Pirelli Stadium.

All games in the second tier have an element of unpredictability but Preston have been solid against the lesser teams and haven't tasted defeat against any of the bottom-half clubs.

North End had a rough spell between mid-October and early November when injuries piled up and they lost four games in succession.

But either side of that period they have been consistent and they head to Burton high on confidence after putting together a four-game unbeaten run.

The injury crisis has abated and captain Tom Clarke made his first start of the season as Preston posted a 1-0 success at home to QPR last Saturday.

Preston have an even stronger squad this weekend with key midfielder Daniel Johnson returning from suspension and they should have enough to cope with the Brewers, who have lost six home games in a row.

Burton are the second-lowest scorers in the division with 12 goals in 20 games and must add more firepower in January to give themselves a realistic chance of staying up.

Recommendation
Preston
2pts 11-10 Betfred

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com 

QPR v Leeds
Leeds are another promotion-chasing side recovering from an autumn slump and they can make it three games unbeaten with a victory over injury-hit QPR at Loftus Road.

The Yorkshire giants lost six games out of seven before the November international break but have responded by taking seven points from their last four matches.

Leeds acquitted themselves well in a 1-1 draw at home to high-flying Aston Villa last Friday and have the chance to pile up the points in the coming weeks.

All of Leeds's next six games are against bottom-half teams and they have a great chance against QPR, who have taken one point from their last five games and are beset by injuries and suspensions.

QPR defenders Nedum Onouha and Grant Hall lasted 60 minutes of a practice match in midweek and might make the squad but defensive trio Darnell Furlong, Steven Caulker and Joel Lynch remain sidelined while centre-back Alex Baptiste and attacker Jamie Mackie are banned after red cards in the 1-0 loss at Preston last Saturday.

Ian Holloway's side always play with plenty of spirit but QPR may lack the quality and cohesion to get a result against strong opponents.

Recommendation
Leeds draw no bet
2pts 10-11 Hills

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com 

Hull v Brentford
Some big clubs are getting dragged into the Championship relegation battle including 20th-placed Hull, who have turned to Nigel Adkins to steer them away from the danger zone.

After being appointed as successor to Leonid Slutsky, Adkins spoke of wanting to see Hull competing at the top of the division.

However, it looks like being a long-term process because he has inherited an ordinary squad which will need strengthening just to make sure of second-tier survival.

The scale of the task could become apparent with the visit of mid-table Brentford - one of the better-run Championship clubs - who have their sights set on the playoffs.

Brentford got off to a dreadful start with no wins in eight league games but manager Dean Smith always said they were playing better than the results suggested.

His early-season assessment has been vindicated with Brentford losing just  one of their last 12 games.

The Londoners still have plenty of time to close in on the top six and are value odds-against favourites for a win on Humberside.

Recommendation
Brentford
1pt 13-10 general

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com 

Chesterfield v Barnet
Chesterfield have been stuck at the foot of Sky Bet League Two for two months but they can climb off the bottom by beating 23rd-placed Barnet.

The Spireites have improved since appointing Jack Lester as their manager in September and they are not playing like relegation fodder.

They are unbeaten in their last five league matches and look value to topple the Bees, who have lost four of their last five league fixtures.

Recommendation
Chesterfield
1pt 13-10 Betway, BoyleSports, Coral

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com


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Hull's ordinary squad will need strengthening just to make sure of survival
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