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Friday, 19 October, 2018

Wigan have the qualifications to succeed at Oxford

The man with his finger on the EFL pulse

Michael Jacobs celebrates a Wigan goal
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Oxford v Wigan
The busy Christmas period gives an advantage to teams with the deeper squads and should work in the favour of Sky Bet League One leaders Wigan, who look solid odds-on favourites to beat Oxford at the Kassam Stadium.

Winning promotion is all about consistency and Wigan are having few off-days.

The Latics' longest winless runs in the league this season have lasted just two games and they head to Oxford in search of a fifth successive league victory.

Paul Cook's men are the top scorers in the division with 42 goals but they are not overly reliant on a single player.

Sky Bet League One standings

Nick Powell leads Wigan's scoring charts with nine league goals, attacking midfielder Michael Jacobs has chipped in with six and Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg has notched four goals in his last five games.

Confidence is flowing through the side and Wigan were in a ruthless mood last weekend, scoring four second-half goals in a 4-0 success at Wimbledon.

However, their advantage over second-placed Shrewsbury is only four points and Wigan know a successful end to the year is needed to keep up the pressure on their promotion rivals.

Oxford's next few games may decide whether they are going to push for the playoffs or slide into mid-table.

They are on a four-game unbeaten run but were on the back foot for the majority of last Saturday's 0-0 draw at Rochdale and will have to play a lot better if they are going to live with the Latics.

Recommendation
Wigan
2pts 10-11 bet365, Betfair, Betway

Rotherham v MK Dons
Poor home results have having a negative impact on Rotherham's playoff push and the Millers' winless run at the New York Stadium could reach five games with a failure to beat 17th-placed MK Dons.

Rotherham showed some spirit last weekend by grabbing an injury-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw at home to Plymouth, having played most of the second half with ten men.

Centre-back Richard Wood was dismissed for two bookable offences and must serve a suspension alongside top scorer Kieffer Moore, who completes a three-game ban.

Losing two key players is tough for Rotherham manager Paul Warne, who has presided over just one victory in nine games.

And while Rotherham look weaker than normal, MK Dons are getting stronger with influential centre-forward Osman Sow getting closer to full fitness.

Sow lasted almost an hour of MK Dons' 2-2 draw at Scunthorpe last Saturday and should be better for the experience.

The big Swede will be a threat and so will ex-Arsenal attacker Chuks Aneke, who has provided five goals and five assists in his last 11 games.

Recommendation
MK Dons or draw double chance
2pts 17-20 bet365, Betway


Leeds v Hull
Leeds's promotion hopes have been rekindled by three wins and a draw from the last four games and they can guarantee spending Christmas Day in the top six of the Sky Bet Championship by beating Hull at Elland Road.

Thomas Christiansen's side are up to seventh and know three points would move them above either fifth-placed Aston Villa or sixth-placed Sheffield United, who do battle at Villa Park.

Sky Bet Championship standings

Attacking options have been stretched with Caleb Ekuban and Pierre-Michel Lasogga suffering injuries but Kemar Roofe played in a more advanced role at QPR and bagged a hat-trick in a 3-1 win.

Goals shouldn't be a problem and Leeds look solid at the back after conceding just twice in their last four games.

They should pile on the misery for sixth-bottom Hull, who have recorded just one away win in 2017.

Recommendation
Leeds
2pts 19-20 general


Plymouth v Oldham
Oldham are playing some of the most attractive football in League One but they are not totally out of the relegation reckoning and could be dragged closer to the bottom by a defeat at Plymouth.

At their best Richie Wellens' Oldham are a joy to watch, as they showed when winning 5-1 at home to Northampton a fortnight ago.

But they haven't been travelling well and have not won an away league game since a 2-1 success at Portsmouth in September.

Third-bottom Plymouth are playing a much more cautious style of football as they battle to climb away from trouble.

However, they have lost just two of their last ten league games and look overpriced with the draw no bet.

Recommendation
Plymouth draw no bet
1pt 11-8 Betfred, BoyleSports


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