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Brentford look a solid bet at home to Wigan

Preston could struggle against Reading

Brentford goalkeeper Daniel Bentley celebrates the Bees' win over Aston Villa
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Brentford v Wigan
Some big clubs are among the early front-runners in the Sky Bet Championship but Brentford are determined to get involved and the Bees can cement their top-six position with a home win against Wigan at Griffin Park.

Over the last few years Brentford have carved out a reputation for playing attractive, attack-minded football but they are also producing some good results despite a tough early schedule.

Three of their first six games were against teams with promotion ambitions and they have coped admirably, drawing 1-1 at Stoke and 2-2 at Aston Villa before winning 2-1 at home to Nottingham Forest.

The Forest success was achieved without key striker Neal Maupay, who was completing a three-game ban. Maupay bagged four goals in four matches before that and his likely return alongside Ollie Watkins is a huge boost.

Their partnership looks as potent as anything in the Championship and they may be too hot for Wigan to handle.

Wigan have settled down nicely since winning promotion and they are only two points below the Bees.

But their last two performances – a 1-0 loss at QPR and an ugly 1-0 success at home to Rotherham – are indicators that they may struggle to maintain a presence in the promotion race.

Staying up looks well within Wigan's capabilities but they have lost on three of four road trips this season and another defeat looks likely.

Recommendation
Brentford
2pts 5-6 Betfred, Hills

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Preston v Reading
Reading have spent an uncomfortable two weeks at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table but they can come out fighting at Preston and take at least a point back to Berkshire.

The pressure is on Reading manager Paul Clement, whose league record in charge of two wins, four draws and eight defeats does not look pretty.

But Clement is a highly respected coach and two weeks on the training field have given him a chance to rectify some of the problems.

Reading supporters have become disenchanted by the club's swift decline since they lost the 2017 playoff final to Huddersfield in a shootout.

Given the glum atmosphere at the Madejski Stadium, it is perhaps no surprise to see Reading performing better on their travels.

The Royals secured draws at Blackburn (2-2) and Aston Villa (1-1) on their last two road trips and those efforts suggest they have a good chance of holding their own at Deepdale.

Last season Preston missed out on the top six by two points and they had high hopes of mounting another playoff push.

But injuries to key attackers Sean Maguire and Billy Bodin have given manager Alex Neil a major headache and it may take time for him to come up with a solution.

North End haven't won since a 1-0 success at home to QPR on the first weekend of the season and they are crying out to be opposed at odds-on to beat Reading.

Recommendation
Reading or draw double chance
2pts 28-29 188Bet

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Notts County v Stevenage
Sky Bet League Two strugglers Notts County probably hit rock bottom with their 5-1 loss at Exeter last Saturday and they can begin the recovery by beating Stevenage at Meadow Lane.

It has been an abysmal start to the season for the Magpies, who have taken one point from a possible 21 despite spending big this summer.

Last season County played a direct, effective brand of football. This season they switched to a more passing style but the adjustment was a painful process and contributed to the dismissal of manager Kevin Nolan last month.

New manager Harry Kewell has come in with a brief to maintain the style but improve results and he couldn't have got off to a much worse start.

However, he did a good job on a lesser budget at Crawley and it might not take him long to lift his new club off the floor - he escaped a touchline ban for this match after being sent off in his first game.

Improving the worst defence in the league is an obvious priority and the recent arrival of experienced centre-back Elliot Ward should help.

County look in better shape offensively and they can cause problems for 11th-placed Stevenage, who may be slightly flattered by their top-half position.

Stevenage went three league games without scoring before a scrappy 1-0 success at home to Macclesfield last week. They lost 2-0 at Yeovil in their last away game and another reverse looks likely.

Recommendation
Notts County
2pts 29-20 bet365

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Colchester v Cambridge Utd
Colchester are the joint-top scorers in Sky Bet League Two – alongside leaders Lincoln – and their exciting attack should give them the edge over lowly Cambridge.

Summer signing Luke Norris and attacking midfielder Sammie Szmodics are major goal threats for Colchester and their defence will benefit from the return of Luke Prosser after a one-match ban.

A promotion push looks on the cards for Colchester but a battle against the drop is more likely for Cambridge, who have lost three of their last four league games.

Recommendation
Colchester
1pt 21-20 general

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


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North End haven't won since a 1-0 success at home to QPR on the first weekend of the season
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