Six teams, six goals, and hopefully a 9/2 winner. That’s our plan of action for Saturday afternoon; hopefully it will materialise as expected.
Our three chosen games are a mixture of FA Cup, Football League, and non-league encounters. And as long as all six teams score, we’ll be happy regardless of the respective outcomes.
Here are our selections.
Rotherham United v Oxford United
The third round of the FA Cup is always good for a few upsets, and League One side Oxford United could well be one of the beneficiaries as they head to Championship club Rotherham. Nevertheless, they will need to be wary of the home side’s ability.
It has been an awful campaign for the Millers, but they do tend to score. As far as their league form is concerned, they boast 15 goals in 12 games at the New York Stadium. Against a team from the division below, particularly one that’s conceded 17 in 13 league away games, Daniel Ward and co. should be expected to get the hosts on the scoreboard.
Rotherham’s main problem, however, has been conceding goals. They’ve leaked 19 at home, which should give the visitors every chance of finding the target for a fourth successive away game.
It would hardly be the biggest upset; after all, Oxford did beat Swansea at this stage last year and we can certainly see them scoring again here. However, the Championship side should score on home soil too. We’re backing both teams to score.
BTTS Yes @ 8/11 with Ladbrokes
Southend United v Sheffield United
The two SUFCs are right up there in terms of the League One form table while the visitors are actually top of the overall table. That should make for a great match at Roots Hall, and it’s one that should provide goals at both ends.
Sheffield United are now on a run of five straight league wins and will be extremely confident about giving their title bid another boost here. Perhaps more crucially for this selection, though, their last seven away games in all competitions have ended in BTTS winners while their overall league record on the road reads 25 scored and 16 conceded from just 12 matches.
Southend, meanwhile, boast one of the division’s best home records with a return of 21 goals and just two defeats this term. This will be one of their hardest tests of the campaign, though, and Phil Brown’s men will probably see their tally of 13 conceded rise too.
The hosts registered a memorable 3-0 win at Bramall Lane in the reverse game, and will be fancied to score once again. On this occasion, though, there’s a good chance that they’ll be joined on the scoreboard by the Blades.
BTTS Yes @ 5/6 with Ladbrokes
Braintree Town v Chester
Results haven’t been brilliant for Braintree Town at the Amlin Stadium this term, but things have improved in recent weeks and the Brains will be looking to register another important win against Chester on Saturday. However, they should be prepared for a tough test.
Hakan Hayrettin’s men may have lost at Dagenham on Monday night, but that was their first defeat in six league games. With the experience of Lee Barnard and Jack Midson to support Michael Cheek, the hosts can be optimistic about bouncing back to increase their tally of 13 goals in 12 home games – especially as Chester have leaked 17 on their travels.
The visitors have scored 14 on the road, though, and sit 12 points above their opponents. Jonathan McCarthy’s men can also take confidence from their reverse win over Braintree back in September. Even if they don’t win this one, the firepower of James Alabi and co. should be enough to get them on the scoreboard.
This is unlikely to be the afternoon’s highest scoring game, but there should be chances for both sides. Whatever the outcome, let’s just hope they both score at some stage.
BTTS Yes @ 8/11 with Ladbrokes
A £10 treble returns £54.80 with Ladbrokes