Go wild for Cherries

  • By: Craig Chisnall
  • Last Updated: January 17 2014, 7:03 GMT

Craig Chisnall previews this weekend's action in the Sky Bet Football League and he's backing Bournemouth to beat Watford.

Eddie Howe's Bournemouth are worth a bet
Eddie Howe's Bournemouth are worth a bet

It's a measure of Watford's woeful run of form that they head to Bournemouth this weekend only above the Cherries in the table on goal difference.

You would have got huge odds on that after the Hornets walloped Eddie Howe's Championship new-boys 6-1 on August 10.

That must seem a world away for the Vicarage Road faithful, who have since seen Gianfranco Zola depart as boss and little-known Italian Giuseppe Sannino take the reins.

Last year's beaten play-off finalists have now dropped to 15th in the table on the back of just one win in their last 13.

The Cherries looked to be in for a long, hard season after that hammering in Hertfordshire but Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Wigan aside they've really improved of late.

Howe has added some much-needed experience to their backline in the form of goalkeeper Lee Camp while the return of winger Matt Ritchie has been a big boost at the other end.

The defeat at Wigan ended a four game unbeaten run for the Cherries, who got back to winning ways on Tuesday by seeing Burton off 4-1 in the FA Cup to book a home tie with Liverpool, and I just can't see them being dragged back into trouble with the quality they have in their squad.

Record signing Tokelo Rantie has yet to find his feet and once he starts firing along with the likes of Ritchie, Lewis Grabban and Brett Pitman, Howe has quite a forward line.

At 7/4 on their own patch they are too big to ignore.

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In League 1 I like the look of Port Vale to continue their improving home record against struggling Oldham.

Micky Adams continues to do a mightily impressive job at Vale Park and despite a raft of injuries in recent weeks they are on the fringes of the top six.

Key to that rise up the table has been their home form and they have lost just once since October in the Potteries.

They warmed up for this weekend's clash with a gutsy 3-2 win in their cup replay with Plymouth, they were behind twice, and will now face Adams' former club Brighton in the fourth round so will go into the visit of Oldham full of confidence.

The Latics aren't great travellers either with eight defeats in their 14 games away from Boundary Park and have only won once in their last eight matches.

I'd snap up the 6/4 that is widely available on Vale while you can.

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The weather ruined Oxford's chance of extending their unbeaten League 2 away record last time out at Newport and I'm going with the U's again at Wycombe.

Chris Wilder's men have slipped to seventh after taking just one point from the last nine available but that's at home, where they have been a shadow of the side on their travels.

United have won six and drawn four away from home and it's those results that have helped them keep pace with the congested pack at the top of the table.

In those ten games they have bagged 20 goals and conceded just seven and will take a huge following down the M40 to Adams Park for this clash.

They also pushed Championship strugglers Charlton all the way in their FA Cup replay on Tuesday night as they drew 2-2 despite leading 2-0 at the break.

And a visit of a team with that record is the last thing the Chairboys need given their recent struggles.

After an encouraging start to the season Gareth Ainsworth's side have been sucked into trouble and go into the weekend just two points above the drop zone.

They've won just one of their last 12 in the league and haven't won at home since October. That makes the 9/5 on the U's look great value.

  • Posted at 1600 GMT on 15/01/2014.

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