Leeds a bolt-on bet

  • By: Craig Chisnall
  • Last Updated: March 7 2014, 8:15 GMT

Leeds are among Craig Chisnall's selections for this weekend's action in the Sky Bet Football League.

Connor Wickham: On loan at Leeds
Connor Wickham: On loan at Leeds

It has been quite a 2014 on and off the pitch for Leeds so far but I'm putting my faith in them to give their play-off push a major boost by seeing off Bolton.

Even by Leeds' recent history the long-running saga over Massimo Cellino's proposed takeover has been turbulent to say the least.

The Italian's arrival started with boss Brian McDermott being sacked and quickly reinstated after a huge outcry from fans.

If anything that affair has united the fans behind McDermott and with the quality they have in their squad they should be pushing for the top six.

McDermott's successful Reading teams always ended the season strongly and the arrival of striker Connor Wickham has given the Whites a spark in attack.

He impressed on his debut in the 1-1 draw at QPR last weekend and seems to have struck up a good understanding with star man Ross McCormack already. If those two can fire in the coming months the top six will be well within their grasp.

Bolton have finally improved in recent weeks with successive wins over Millwall and Blackburn but Leeds have won seven times at home this term and the 7/5 looks attractive.

In League One I've always thought Preston would challenge the top two this term and their recent run is backing that up.

Boss Simon Grayson knows exactly what it takes to get out of the third tier having achieved promotion with Blackpool, Leeds and Huddersfield and is confident he can add to that list.

They remain fourth but have closed the gap on Brentford and Leyton Orient in the race for second on the back of a nine-match unbeaten run.

A win at home to Walsall last weekend was their seventh at Deepdale but their best form has come on the road.

They've won 10 times away and conceded just 13 goals in their 17 matches and will head to Oldham in great shape.

Latics' rookie boss Lee Johnson must be pulling his hair out at his side's inconsistency and they've hardly made Boundary Park a fortress with six defeats already.

North End are on offer at 11/8 and that's too good to ignore.

It would have seemed inconceivable to Portsmouth fans they would be fighting for their league status when they won the FA Cup in 2008.

But that's exactly what they've been doing of late and new boss Richie Barker deserves great credit for stopping the rot.

Pompey's fall from grace in recent years has been well documented and that looked to be continuing this term.

But a run of one defeat in five has put breathing distance between them and the bottom two with Barker's glut of new signings in January, including former England full-back Nicky Shorey, now settling in nicely.

They were more than good value for their point at leaders Chesterfield on Monday night and a similar performance at home to Cheltenham this weekend will surely result in victory.

The Robins have been a shadow of the side that reached the play-offs in the last two seasons and they can't seem to string a run of results together.

That makes the 6/4 on Pompey great value and I will be going with them.

  • Posted at 2155 GMT on 05/03/2014.

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