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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Surging Doncaster look too strong for struggling Bradford

The man with his finger on the EFL pulse backs Luton, Burton and Mansfield too

Ben Whiteman clebrates scoring for Doncaster against Luton
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EFL matches 3pm Saturday

Doncaster v Bradford

Doncaster sent out a strong message to the rest of Sky Bet League One with a 4-1 victory at fellow highflyers Walsall last Saturday and they look home banker material against Bradford this weekend.

Yorkshire derbies can be unpredictable affairs but Bradford's large travelling support are making the trip with hope rather than expectation.

The Bantams had been looking to the future by trying to assemble a young, hungry group of players but they need to focus on the tasks in front of them and face up to the threat of relegation.

They struggled in the second half of last season, taking just 15 points from their last 20 games, and the decline has continued with six defeats in eight league matches this term.

Bradford's board were quick to put the blame on manager Michael Collins, who was sacked after just six matches, but his replacement David Hopkin will not find it easy to turn the tide.

Hopkin's reign started with back-to-back defeats at Blackpool (3-2) and at home to Charlton (2-1) and his room for manoeuvre is restricted by an injury crisis which has ruled ten senior players out of the Doncaster clash.

The City squad have shown spirit in those two games but they are lacking quality and experience and their frailties could be exposed by Rovers.

Doncaster have risen to fifth despite facing three of the current top six teams.

They were the better side in draws at home leaders Portsmouth (0-0) and away to second-placed Peterborough (1-1) and are emerging as credible promotion challengers.

Manager Grant McCann has been urging his players to keep their feet on the ground but they have shown few weaknesses and should be too strong for Bradford.

3pts 8-11 general

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Blackpool v Luton

Luton have taken just one point from four Sky Bet League One away games but they have not playing too badly on the road and can claim a victory over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.

There was always going to be period of adjustment as Luton got used to a higher level of football and they struggled early, taking one point from their first three games.

However, Nathan Jones's side have taken ten points from the last five matches and were a shade unlucky on their last road trip, losing 2-1 at Doncaster despite winning the shot count 10-9.

The quality of Luton's football is recognised in the promotion betting with Jones's side fifth favourites at 4-1.

Blackpool are two points better off after eight games but are a best-priced 12-1 to go up.

The Seasiders have shrugged off ongoing ownership uncertainties by performing above expectations but they have played against just two of the top ten teams and may struggle against Luton, who look genuine promotion contenders.

Luton draw no bet
3pts 17-20 Hills

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Barnsley v Burton

Barnsley looked the most impressive team at the start of the Sky Bet League One season but their results and performances have regressed in recent weeks and they look opposable at odds-on to beat improving Burton at Oakwell.

Initially, Daniel Stendel's side were causing teams problems with their high pressing game but opposition managers have been adapting and working out ways to counter them.

Walsall changed their formation for their trip to Barnsley, going with one striker,  and came away with a deserved 1-1 draw.

Last weekend Coventry gave Barnsley a taste of their own medicine with an effective high-pressing style which contributed to a 1-0 success at the Ricoh Arena.

Barnsley are being effectively challenged for the first time this season and they may not have everything their own way against Burton, who are slowly readjusting to life in League One.

The Brewers were worthy 2-1 winners at home to Sunderland last Saturday and will fancy their chances of taking a least a point against the Tykes.

Burton +1 on Asian handicap
2pts 8-9 188Bet

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Cambridge Utd v Mansfield

Mansfield dropped into the bottom half of Sky Bet League Two after last Saturday's 2-1 loss at home to Exeter -  their first league loss of the season - but they are capable of climbing higher and can show their quality by beating Cambridge at the Abbey Stadium.

It has been a tough early fixture list for the Stags, who have played against four of the top five teams.

However, five of their next seven games are against bottom-half clubs and they can start with a victory over sixth-bottom Cambridge, who have lost four of their last five league fixtures.

2pts 7-5 general

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The quality of Luton's football is recognised in the promotion betting
E.W. Terms
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