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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Sharp Blades could profit from any Norwich weariness

Swindon value to topple promotion rivals Coventry

Sheffield United have had a week to prepare for their game at Carrow Road
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3pm Saturday

Norwich Sheffield United
Norwich gave Chelsea a major scare by taking them to penalties in an FA Cup third-round replay at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday but their hopes of playing the elite clubs on a more regular basis could take a knock with a loss to sixth-placed Sheffield United at Carrow Road.

It has been an encouraging start to the year for Norwich, who have won back-to-back league games and are just six points adrift of the playoffs.

For for first time in a while Canaries fans are starting to wonder whether a promotion challenge might be possible but if those hopes are to be realised Norwich will need to start beating the top sides more regularly.

Only two of their ten league wins have come against teams in the top eight, although one of those was a 1-0 success over Chris Wilder's United at Bramall Lane.

Norwich have been growing in confidence but their energy is likely to be low after such a testing 120 minutes in midweek and that is far from ideal as they prepare to take on one of the fittest teams in the division.

Wilder encourages United to play at a high tempo and more often than not his players deliver.

The Blades have had a full seven days to prepare after drawing 0-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday last Friday and should be ready to produce a big performance.

Sheffield United draw no bet
3pts Evs Paddy Power

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Sunderland Hull
Time is running out for Sunderland to build a squad capable of getting out of the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone and their misery is set to continue with a loss to fellow strugglers Hull at the Stadium of Light.

There are a lot of similarities between the clubs, who are finding it difficult to recover from the recent loss of top-flight status.

Statistically it is hard to have much confidence in either.

Sunderland have posted just one home victory in the last 13 months, while Hull's away record of one league win in 17 months is even worse.

The teams are also getting used to new managers and for the time being Sunderland's Chris Coleman and Hull's Nigel Adkins are struggling to turn things around.

However, Adkins has been positive about the players at his disposal and senses he has enough quality to steer clear of trouble.

Hull were 1-0 winners at Sky Bet League One highflyers Blackburn in the FA Cup third round a fortnight ago and had the better of last Saturday's 0-0 draw at home to Reading.

They are playing much better football than injury-ravaged Sunderland and look great value to bag the points this weekend.

2pts 29-20 Betfair

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Coventry Swindon

Swindon have the best away record in Sky Bet League Two with nine wins from 12 and look overpriced to topple promotion rivals Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.

The markets favour Coventry, who are on the same points as Swindon having played a game more.

The Sky Blues play good football and dominate a lot of their matches but they have lacked a reliable goalscorer and their manager Mark Robins admits that a new centre-forward is at the top of his shopping list.

Last Saturday was typically frustrating for Coventry, who lost 1-0 at Exeter having won the shot count 20 to eight.

While Coventry's playing personnel remains the same, there is scope for more hard-luck stories and Swindon can be the latest team to take advantage by notching a fourth straight win.

Swindon draw no bet
2pts 17-10 Betfair

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Forest Green v Cambridge
Forest Green have looked a much better team since an early January spending spree and can make it back-to-back home wins by beating Cambridge in Nailsworth.

Poor defending has been a major issue for Rovers but they have conceded one goal in two games since highly-rated defender Gavin Gunning was snapped up from Port Vale.

Reuben Reid, recruited from Exeter, has bolstered the attack and Rovers look ready to hold their own in the division.

Home wins will be crucial to Forest Green's survival hopes and they have a great chance against mid-table Cambridge, who have won two of 13 league games on the road.

Forest Green
2pts 11-5 bet365, Hills

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Home wins will be crucial to Forest Green's survival hopes and they have a great chance against mid-table Cambridge
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