Blackburn v MK Dons

If you can’t beat em, join em. That seems to be Karl Robinson’s new philosophy, after years of insisting he would never change the old one. With their Championship status in the balance, MK Dons have compromised their obsession with possession in pursuit of results, now doing what most other Championship teams do: sit off the opposition, looking to hit them on the counter.

The 5-0 home defeat to Burnley appeared to be the moment when the penny dropped, when the majority of the ball did them no favours at all. Since then, the Dons have beaten Reading and Derby (both 1-0) are were a whisker away from doing likewise to Middlesbrough, while picking up two other creditable draws against Cardiff and Huddersfield.

Across those five matches, the Dons have had the ball less than 44 per cent of the time. So a trip to Blackburn could be made to measure because the onus will be on Paul Lambert’s men to make the running and erase the memory of last weekend’s humbling 5-1 home defeat to West Ham. The 5/1 about the away win is well worth snapping up.
MK Dons to beat Blackburn - 1pt @ 5/1

Blackpool v Bradford

Blackpool’s season has turned into a bit of a rollercoaster, with patches of decent form punctuated by demoralising losing runs, but in the midst of those wildly fluctuating fortunes is an adequate League One team and the Seasiders shouldn’t be 14/5 for the visit of Bradford.

It’s only a month ago that Neil McDonald’s men beat high-flying Gillingham at Bloomfield Road, that result coming on the back of draws with Walsall and Sheffield United, while Wigan were also conquered back in December, so this isn’t a question of whether Pool are capable. They clearly are.

The Bantams are currently ninth, four points off the play-offs, which is some way short of their pre-season expectations and their +3 goals difference is arguably the most damning statistic. The top six are all in double-figures, while sixth-placed Coventry boast +22.
Blackpool to beat Bradford - 1pt @ 14/5

Coventry v Fleetwood

This time last year, Steven Pressley was handed his P45 by Coventry, having flattered to deceive for much of an 11-month tenure. Now he returns to the Ricoh Arena for the first time as Fleetwood boss, and though the story of unfulfilled expectations in his latest job is much the same, the Cod Army look a decent price to settle a score for their gaffer at 16/5.

Pressley’s first game in charge of the Lancashire club was against the Sky Blues back in October but he was hardly in a position to make a point then, having taken only two training sessions. However, a 55 per cent shot ratio in 19 subsequent outings (compared to 49 per cent in the opening 12 games) shows some sign of progress being made.

The relationship between performance data and results is a mystery, though. An average of 1.16 points per game is way short of the standard conversion, so it’s fair to say there’s plenty of scope for that imbalance to be correct in due course and Coventry are probably ideal opposition in that respect. They too tend to dominate games but never acquire points at nearly the same rate.
Fleetwood to beat Coventry - 1pt @ 16/5