Saturday 25th February 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Bristol City take on entertaining Blackpool at Ashton Gate on Saturday with both sides looking for all three points to get their seasons back on track; City are just six points above the drop zone and require that nine point buffer to relieve some of their relegation tensions, while Blackpool will be keen to get their play-off ambitions back on track following a 1-4 home loss to West Ham in the week.
Firstly, looking at Bristol City and it seems an age ago since they surprised Southampton at St Marys Stadium with a 1-0 away win which rudely interrupted the Saints’ title ambitions. The Robins then duly followed up that unlikely win with back-to-back home wins over relegation rivals Millwall and Doncaster Rovers respectively, but things have gone rapidly downhill since.
Winless in their last five, Bristol City have taken just one point out of a possible fifteen which was a 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace, but have suffered four straight losses at the hands of Reading, Leeds United, Hull City and Peterborough.
Their home record stands at 4-4-7 14/20, and their previous form which saw them beat Burnley and Southampton in successive home matches back in November has seemingly deserted them when you take into account their results against top half teams at home since then; losses to Middlesbrough and Leeds and only drawing to Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest.
Blackpool themselves suffered a reality check in the week when they went down 1-4 at home to West Ham which halted a seven match unbeaten run that had seen the Seasiders take up residence in the top six. But that loss and Middlesbrough’s win at Millwall means that Ian Holloway’s team now need the three points to claw their way back into play-off reckoning.
Of course, with their style of play they stand every chance of doing just that at a shaky Bristol City, and even though they are more than likely to concede due to their approach, I’m confident that they’ll outscore Bristol in this one.
Their away form stands at 5-6-5 27/27, and they have put in some good performances recently on the road with draws at Southampton and form side Ipswich Town along with wins at Barnsley, Cardiff City and Doncaster Rovers (all by a 3-1 scoreline), with their defeat at Birmingham the only blemish in recent times.
With attacking personnel such as Kevin Phillips, Matthew Phillips, Lomana Lua Lua and former West Brom’s Roman Bednar, I believe Blackpool have the necessary firepower to take the points at The Gate despite Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s likely absence. I’ll take them with the round ball for insurance but expect a 2-1 away win here.
Main Pick: Blackpool AH0 @ 1.75 Pinnacle
Value Pick: Blackpool straight win @ 2.45 Pinnacle