Preston poised to pounce at Wigan
Nick Hext is backing Preston and Cardiff as two of his top tips for Saturday's action in the Sky Bet EFL.
Sky Bet Championship
I'm really surprised that Preston can be backed at over 2/1 to win at Wigan on Saturday. North End have only lost one of their last seven games and won 2-1 at home to Birmingham in midweek to climb up to 10th. That is a fantastic achievement for a club many, including myself, expected to struggle. Wigan are in a real battle to avoid a return to Sky Bet League One at the first time of asking and the decision to appoint Manchester United youth coach Warren Joyce as manager continues to look odd to me. The Latics won 1-0 at Wolves in midweek but they have the Championship's worst home record and I just can't be having them as favourites to get the better of in-form North End.
Cardiff are big odds-on favourites to get the better of Rotherham with home advantage against the Sky Bet Championship's bottom club. The Millers are doomed to relegation to League One and they've only claimed one win in their last 10 games. I don't expect anything other than a Cardiff victory in this match and I like the Bluebirds at 29/10 to win to nil. Cardiff claimed a sensational 4-3 success at Derby in midweek but that was a deviation away from their normal approach as all of the previous three wins for Neil Warnock's men came without conceding a goal. Rotherham have failed to net in four of their previous six outings so the price is right for a home win and a clean sheet to go with it.
Sky Bet League One
Bolton boss Phil Parkinson's return to former club Bradford is making plenty of headlines in Sky Bet League One this weekend. Parkinson enjoyed a very successful spell in charge of the Bantams before leaving for Bolton in the summer and I reckon his current employers are better equipped for the promotion run-in. The Trotters can be backed at 3/1 to get the three points at the Northern Commercials Stadium and that's a price I'm keen on. Bolton are out to claim a third win in a row and they can take advantage of a recent bad run for Bradford, who haven't won in four matches.
Paul Hurst is deserving of plenty of praise for the job he's done at Shrewsbury since taking charge at the end of November. The former Grimsby boss has lifted the Shrews from the foot of the table to four points outside of the relegation zone in 18th. Shrewsbury's six-match unbeaten run ended in midweek with a 2-1 defeat at Peterborough but I'm still really surprised they are as big as 17/10 to win at home to AFC Wimbledon. The Dons are winless in five matches so it really is a simple call to back the Shrews.
Sky Bet League Two
I'm again going to oppose Cheltenham after successfully backing Notts County to get the better of the Robins last weekend. Gary Johnson's men are considered big favourites to win at home to Yeovil on Saturday but I fancy the away side to claim victory in this tussle. The Glovers have claimed back-to-back draws but they are still the better side in this contest and I'm keen to take a slice of the 11/5 for Darren Way's men to get the three points.
The big game towards the foot of the Sky Bet League Two table sees second-bottom Leyton Orient take on Notts County, who sit two places and just one point higher in the survival scrap. Orient claimed a 3-2 win at promotion contenders Plymouth in midweek and County were celebrating as two injury-time goals secured a 2-2 draw against Exeter. Both sides are therefore in good spirits heading into this contest and I reckon the points will be shared. Orient have lost three home games on the bounce so a draw will represent progress and keep things tight at the bottom.