Burnley to thwart Preston, Derby can overcome Owls in Championship
Lee Gormley | April 21, 2016
The weekend kicks off with a double of live televised Championship clashes, with Preston North End first taking on second-placed Burnley on Friday at Deepdale, as the automatic promotion race heats up at this decisive stage.
Then, in Saturday’s early fixture, Derby County seek three points on home soil against Sheffield Wednesday at Pride Park, with just a single position separating these two sides in their battle for a play-off spot this season.
So read on for Coral’s preview of both Championship encounters, ahead of what is sure to be another fascinating weekend of second-tier action…
Preston North End v Burnley
- Friday, April 22nd
- Kick-off: 19:45 BST
- Deepdale, Preston
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Preston contest Burnley at Deepdale
Simon Grayson’s Preston currently sit in 10th position ahead of this Friday night Championship clash, while their opponents Burnley are just two points adrift of leaders Middlesbrough and three of the last four fixture meetings.
It was the hosts who triumphed in the reverse encounter though, earning a 2-0 victory on their travels to Turf Moor, but Burnley did succeed in their previous outing on this ground back in February 2011.
Having been so far unbeaten domestically since the turn of the New Year, Burnley are 9/4 with Coral to grab three points without conceding, while the hosts are 5/2 to end a run of four successive league matches without a win.
Gray poses threat to Preston
Clinical Clarets marksman Andre Gray will be the key threat to Preston in this latest encounter, having dispatched 24 goals so far this season, and he is 7/2 to open proceedings here after recently netting the winner over Birmingham City.
Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes can also cause problems for the hosts and they are 9/5 and 12/5 to strike anytime respectively, while former Manchester United defender Michael Keane is available at 13/2 for a goal of his own, after scoring a vital 90th-minute equaliser against Middlesbrough last time out.
For Grayson’s side, Joe Garner will look to reap havoc on the visiting rearguard and he is 11/5 to find the target, while former Leeds United frontman Jermaine Beckford is 13/5 to get on the scoresheet anytime.
The hosts have drawn their previous two consecutive outings and are 23/10 to hold their opponents to yet another stalemate, though they will be desperate for home supremacy after a run of four games without success in front of their own fans.
Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday
- Friday, April 23rd
- Kick-off: 12:30 BST
- Pride Park Stadium, Derby
- Live on Sky Sports 2
Rams face Owls in Saturday clash
Derby are currently within a play-off position in the table and will look to boost their hopes of staying there with victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Pride Park, so will be confident of doing so having not lost in this fixture since April 2006.
The Rams have won their last four games, including 4-0 and 4-1 thrashings of Hull City and Bolton Wanderers respectively, and they are 11/5 to take three points without leaking at the back this time around.
Sheffield Wednesday are without a triumph in three previous outings and enter proceedings in Derby as 3/1 outsiders to triumph on the road, while a third successive draw for the visitors is 12/5 occur.
Martin leads Derby dangers
Derby marksman Chris Martin is set to lead their line once again and the menacing attacker is 7/2 to open proceedings on home turf, while Tom Ince is 2/1 to find the target anytime this time out.
Experienced poacher Darren Bent is also a danger and the former Tottenham hitman 6/1 to bag the game’s last goal, with Nick Blackman 12/5 to get on the scoresheet.
For the travelling side, Fernando Forestieri is 21/10 to grab another goal anytime, with fellow forward Gary Hooper also a threat, with the former Celtic man 9/4 to dispatch.
Midfielder Lewis McGugan was on target last season in this fixture and is 9/2 to follow that up with another here, as the Championship promotion race reaches a decisive stage this weekend.