Teams can afford several defeats during the course of a season and still achieve promotion thanks to the competitiveness of the division, although West Ham and Southampton demonstrated last term that a good start is imperative, even if Reading came from mid-table to win the title.
Blackburn Rovers v Leicester City 15:00
There were just 13,000 supporters at Ewood Park on Wednesday night as Rovers beat Hull 1-0 and we should expect a similar turn-out for the visit of the Foxes, with Steve Kean remaining an unpopular manager in the Blackburn hotseat.
Even so, four points from two matches represents a solid start and you can back the Lancashire side at 6/4 (William Hill free bets) to claim another victory on Saturday afternoon which would keep them in the top six of the table.
Colin Kazim-Richards has been the scorer of the Rovers goals to date, although the Turkish international sustained an injury against the Tigers which will intensify the club’s hunt for a forward and it will be interesting to see whether Jordan Rhodes arrives from Huddersfield.
David Goodwillie could get an opportunity to demonstrate his worth, although Leicester will be hoping to bounce back from Tuesday’s defeat at Charlton which saw City create more than enough chances to win the match.
Nigel Pearson will have been heartened to see his team play reasonably well and some defensive tightening could see them return to the east Midlands with at least a point from this contest, while bet365 offer 21/10 that they manage all three.
Wolves v Derby 15:00
Wolverhampton Wanderers were one of the easier winners during the week, with Ståle Solbakken’s team cruising to a 3-1 win over Barnsley and suggesting that the departure of Steven Fletcher won’t be a problem in the striking department.
However, Matt Jarvis has also left for West Ham and it will be interesting to see if the manager recruits new players after the above pair and Michael Kightly joined Premier League clubs.
Coral offer a best price 4/5 about Wolves winning this Midlands derby on Saturday, with some firms going a lot shorter about a second consecutive win at Molineux although Derby did hold firm for much of Tuesday’s match at Bolton before succumbing to Kevin Davies’ late strike.
Nigel Clough was dismayed to see County lose a 2-0 lead at home to Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day of the season and it could be a season of struggle for the Rams unless they improve defensively, with a crazy 5-5 draw with Scunthorpe in the League Cup illustrating that they look frail in that department.
Even so, the Championship throws up unexpected results on a regular basis and odds of 9/2 about an away victory is probably a touch too big, with Nathan Tyson and Theo Robinson likely to cause a few problems for the home team.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is the sharp shooter for Wolves when it comes to the Championship and the barrel-chested forward is a 6/1 chance to score the first goal of this game.
Watford v Birmingham City 17:20
There has been late drama in all three of Watford’s games to date so probably worth tuning in to the entirety of Saturday evening’s match at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets needed an extra-time winner to beat Wycombe in the League Cup before a late comeback saw them claim the points at Crystal Palace before Ipswich gave them a taste of their own medicine on Tuesday.
Gianfranco Zola’s team are 17/10 to beat a Birmingham side looking for their first win, so perhaps it’s a good time to be playing Lee Clark’s team who lost 3-2 at Sheffield Wednesday during the week.
Jack Butland was at fault for two of Wednesday’s goals although the young England keeper is tipped for great things and a look at the City line-up suggests they could have too much for Watford if they play to their potential.