Forest still solid

  • By: Craig Chisnall
  • Last Updated: December 27 2012, 17:05 GMT

Nottingham Forest should be backed this weekend, despite sacking boss Sean O'Driscoll on Boxing Day.

Forest can beat Palace despite losing their manager
Forest can beat Palace despite losing their manager

Not many things in football should surprise us these days but Nottingham Forest's decision to sack Sean O'Driscoll left me stunned on Boxing Day.

I've got a great deal of faith they will be in the top six at the end of the season, particularly after the manner of their stunning 4-2 win over Leeds.

Even with O'Driscoll's departure I'm convinced his players will be keen to prove a point for their former boss at home to Crystal Palace.

With on-loan Southampton striker Billy Sharp hitting top form at the right time they look a good 13/10 chance to see off the Eagles, who have gone off the boil of late.

For your value bet of the weekend in the Championship, Barnsley are well worth considering to beat Blackburn at Oakwell.

The two clubs are poles apart in terms of finances but Rovers are in a right mess at present with Henning Berg given the boot after just one win in 10 games. Managerless Rovers won't fancy the trip to South Yorkshire one bit.

The Tykes also seem to have turned a corner in recent weeks, winning at Millwall a week ago and also denied a shock success at Leicester by a last-gasp equaliser.

They are almost 2/1 to win on home turf and that looks generous to me on current form.

In League One, Swindon look the best price on the coupon to add to Colchester's woes by returning from Essex with all three points.

The U's are plummeting down the table having lost their last six and boss Joe Dunne, who only replaced John Ward earlier this season, is coming under increasing pressure.

And with the Robins actually better on the road this season than at the County Ground, six away wins before the turn of the year is a great return, they are a great price.

They hammered Tranmere 5-0 last Friday night and had the luxury of Boxing Day off with their scheduled trip to Leyton Orient falling victim to the weather.

Elsewhere, I fancy Bournemouth, Leyton Orient and Sheffield United to bring up a home treble with wins over Crawley, Walsall and Hartlepool respectively.

The Cherries, still unbeaten since Eddie Howe's return in the middle of October, and the Blades are both short odds-on prices with impressive home records to protect. But Orient are odds-against to see off strugglers Walsall and with the extra rest this would net a healthy return.

For my long shot in League One I believe Yeovil are worthy of investment on their second trip to the south coast in a week at Portsmouth.

The Glovers lost 3-0 at Bournemouth but Pompey won't provide the same test this time around having now not won in 10.

Gary Johnson's side have also won five times on their travels this term and at more than 2/1 they look a good price to pull off a sixth.

  • Preview posted at 1300 GMT on 27/12/2012.