Liking the look of Leeds
Craig Chisnall previews Boxing Day's action in the Sky Bet Leagues and is keen on Leeds to beat Blackpool.
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They have barely been given a mention in the promotion shake-up so far this term but I'm really starting to like the look of Leeds' chances and will be investing in them on Boxing Day.
While Burnley, QPR, Leicester and now Derby have captured the majority of the headlines, Brian McDermott's men have now quietly climbed up to fifth.
- 1pt Leeds to beat Blackpool at 15/8 (BetVictor) - I sense Leeds are coming together while Pool are plummeting, this is a huge price to ignore.
- 2pts Brentford to beat Swindon at evens (BetVictor, Hills) - The Bees have barely noticed a change in manager and can make it 10 wins in 11.
- 1pt Cheltenham to beat Exeter at 21/20 (General) - After a slow start the Robins are going along nicely and within touching distance of the top seven.
Ahead of the trip to woefully out-of-form Blackpool, Leeds are unbeaten in four, have kept clean sheets in three of those games and won 3-0 at Doncaster in their last game on the road.
McDermott, who I always thought was an astute appointment, has gone about his business at Elland Road with the minimum of fuss since arriving in April.
They are now a lot more solid at the back and he's getting the best out of leading scorer Ross McCormack.
His Reading teams also came strong in the second half of the season and a bumper festive season would surely see his board loosen the purse strings for a push at the top two.
With Blackpool badly hit by their recent spate of red cards their impressive start has been followed by four straight defeats. Get on the away win at 15/8 with BetVictor.
In League One, Brentford are the form team in the country - you wouldn't have thought they had just lost a talismanic manager for one with virtually no experience in the dugout.
But following Uwe Rosler's departure to Wigan and the promotion of sporting director Mark Warburton to boss they've just carried on their stunning form.
A last-gasp win over Oldham in Warburton's first game was followed by a hugely impressive 3-0 thumping of fellow promotion-hopefuls Preston on Saturday.
After a slow start the Bees, my title tip back in August, have now won nine of their last ten, kept three clean sheets on the trot and are now just a point off the top with Leyton Orient and Wolves both having a wobble of late.
I'm amazed they are offered at evens by BetVictor and William Hill with Swindon having won just twice on the road compared to their eight at home, so I'd pile into that.
In League Two, another team who struggled at the start but are coming good are Cheltenham.
Mark Yates' Robins seemed to have a hangover from their play-off semi-final defeat to Northampton last term as they won just two of their first ten games.
But since then they have got themselves back on track and Saturday's superb 2-0 win at high-flyers Fleetwood will have given them a renewed belief they can have a say at the right end once again.
That made it 10 games unbeaten for Town to lift them to within four points of the play-off places.
A recent squad revamp seems to have worked a treat. Connor Goldson arrived in defence along with winger Tony Ajala and striker Kema Roofe to give them much more competition for places.
Such has been their improvement they are now a place better off than 12th placed Exeter, who they take on at Whaddon Road.
The Grecians have won just once in nine and I like the look of the 21/20 on Cheltenham across the board.