Bolton v Preston
One statistic came to light this week that sums up the absurdity of their season more than any other: no team in the Championship has taken more shots from inside the 18-yard box than Neil Lennon’s men. Quite how you end up bottom of the table, ten points adrift of safety, while producing a nugget like that is a mystery.
True to form, though, the Whites dominated against Ipswich in midweek but could only draw 2-2 and there’s no shame in backing a team that dominates the opposition so often, no matter how bad the table makes them look. Preston have performed well in bursts this term but appear to have hit a glass ceiling in terms of their league position and head to the Macron winless in three.
Huddersfield v Burnley
The Clarets have avoided defeat since Boxing Day, winning ten of their 13 league matches during that spell, but they haven’t rotated much, using just 14 players over the past six weeks. That continuity might been the secret of their success up to this point, but a seventh league outings in 28 days could be a bridge too far if Town put them on the back foot from the first whistle.
David Wagner has several players coming back into contention and appears to be playing his hand accordingly with his team selection and tactics for the 3-1 midweek win over Reading geared with this follow-up fixture in mind. Compared to an east Lancashire derby and a five-goal thriller in London, the Terriers preparations have been rather sedate by comparison.
Swindon v Millwall
If performance data is anything to go by, Power has every reason to be excited. Williams’ influence has been progressive - first as assistant to Martin Ling, then as caretaker, then as interim boss until the end of the season - but there’s a stark contrast in the before and after, with the Robins’ shot ratio jumping from 41 per cent to 54 per cent and showing no signs of letting up.
Based on the past 16 matches, you could argue these two teams are the equal of each other, but that’s being kind to Millwall. The Robins have actually picked up an extra five points over that period and head into this clash on the back of four straight wins. The Lions might have more incentive but the price is a nonsense.