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Dan Childs: Saturday EFL football tips, betting previews & odds

Best bets in Sky Bet Championship, League One & League Two

An injury to Tom Pope hasn't stopped Port Vale
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Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn

Sheffield Wednesday are going under the radar in the race for promotion to the Premier League - they are 100-1 to go up - but they can put themselves in a fantastic position before the international break by beating Blackburn at Hillsborough.

There aren't many teams who are almost certain of their status for next season but 16th-placed Blackburn are one of them and some of their players may be allowing their standards to slip.

Rovers had lost six matches out of seven before a 3-0 success at home to Wigan on Tuesday which lifted them 11 points clear of the drop zone.

For much of the season they had been eyeing up the playoffs but a dismal February put paid to their promotion hopes and it may be tricky for Tony Mowbray to motivate the players in the final nine games.

Mowbray also has selection problems with his best central defenders, Darragh Lenihan and Charlie Mulgrew, ruled out through injury.

A makeshift Rovers defence kept a clean sheet against Wigan but they are far more likely to be exposed by Wednesday, who are unbeaten in ten league games.

The Owls are without injured forwards Lucas Joao, Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri but their manager Steve Bruce can still choose from three decent centre-forwards – Steven Fletcher, Sam Winnall and Atdhe Nuhiu – and is likely to come up with winning formula.

Recommendation
Sheffield Wednesday
2pts 21-20 bet365

Oxford v Bradford

Bradford are another Yorkshire team benefiting from a change of manager and they look excellent value to avoid defeat against their fellow Sky Bet League One strugglers Oxford.

Gary Bowyer was appointed by Bradford earlier this month on a contract until the end of the season and has overseen an immediate improvement in performances.

Bradford were 3-0 winners at home to Peterborough last Saturday and gave an excellent account of themselves in Tuesday's 1-0 loss at home to leaders Luton.

They are second from bottom and remain in a heap of trouble, but so are many of their rivals.

Eight points cover 12 teams in the bottom half of League One and there are sure to be twists and turns during the next seven weeks.


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However, Bradford's confidence is on the up and their recent improvement makes them dangerous opponents for fourth-bottom Oxford, who lost the first four games of the season and have never been higher than 18th.

Karl Robinson's side were fortunate to escape from a 0-0 draw at Rochdale on Tuesday but they might not be as lucky this weekend.

Recommendation
Bradford or draw double chance
3pts 5-6 bet365, Betway

Swindon v Port Vale

Sky Bet League Two strugglers Port Vale are playing with a lot more purpose since appointing John Askey in February and their recent move away from the drop zone can continue with a point or three at Swindon.

The fourth division is tight and there are only ten points between 12th-placed Swindon and 21st-placed Vale.

Vale still have a bit or work to do to secure their EFL status but recent wins at home Mansfield (2-1) and Yeovil (3-0) have lifted them eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Askey has focused a lot on improving the players' fitness levels and his work is bearing fruit.

Even an injury to top scorer Tom Pope hasn't stopped them from getting results and they will be confident of matching the Robins, whose playoffs hopes are fading.

Swindon were not at the races in a 2-0 loss at Stevenage on Tuesday and look worth taking on.

Recommendation
Port Vale or draw double chance
3pts 8-11 general

Grimsby v Northampton

Northampton have been looking nervously over their shoulders for most of the season but a four-match winning streak has lifted them to within six points of the League Two playoffs and they could make it five against Grimsby at Blundell Park.

Cobblers boss Keith Curle is a thoughtful, methodical manager and it has taken time for the players to understand his methods.

However, Northampton have improved steadily and look far more organised than they were earlier in the campaign.

Reaching the top seven will still be tough but Northampton can afford to take a few risks and they are playing Grimsby at a good time.

Just four points separate the teams but Grimsby have lost three matches in a row and look there for the taking.

Recommendation
Northampton draw no bet
3pts 3-4 BoyleSports

Yeovil v Macclesfield

Macclesfield are going to need plenty of victories to pull off a great escape in League Two but they can make a start by beating fellow strugglers Yeovil at Huish Park.

Sol Campbell's Silkmen benefited from a free week as Tuesday's home clash with Exeter was postponed and they may be fresher than Yeovil, who were brushed aside 3-0 at Port Vale on Tuesday.

Recommendation
Macclesfield +0.25 on Asian handicap
3pts 11-13 188Bet


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Eight points cover 12 teams in the bottom half of League One
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