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Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce

Nick Hext is backing Aston Villa for derby delight in Sunday's Sky Bet Championship clash against rivals Birmingham.

Sunday's TV game

Aston Villa to beat Birmingham and both teams to score, Sky Bet Championship (Sunday, 1200 GMT, Sky Sports Football)

Things are going very well for Aston Villa as they search for a seventh Sky Bet Championship win in a row when they face local rivals Birmingham. Villa are pushing Derby for the second automatic promotion place and I reckon another victory is on the way for Steve Bruce's men. Birmingham have improved since 2018 started but they remain a long way short of Villa's quality. Villa have won their last couple of home games without keeping a clean sheet and a win for the hosts and both teams to score looks the best way of finding value from this derby encounter.

Friday's TV game

Millwall to draw against Cardiff, Sky Bet Championship (Friday, 1945 GMT, Sky Sports Football)

Millwall's clash against Cardiff gets the latest round of Sky Bet EFL matches started. I reckon it will be a close contest between the mid-table Lions and promotion-chasing Bluebirds so the draw gets my vote. Millwall have drawn their last two matches at The Den and manager Neil Harris will be eager for his side to get back on track after Tuesday night's disappointing 1-0 defeat at Rochdale in the FA Cup. Cardiff claimed an impressive 4-1 victory at Leeds last weekend but this is a trickier test and I don't think boss Neil Warnock will be too disappointed to return to Wales with a point.

Saturday's TV game

Draw/Leeds in Double Chance market v Sheffield United, Sky Bet Championship (Saturday, 1230 GMT, Sky Sports Football)

There has been a change of manager for Leeds this week ahead of Saturday lunchtime's short trip south for a Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United. Paul Heckingbottom has left Barnsley to replace Thomas Christiansen and I reckon he can start with a positive result at Bramall Lane. Leeds are without a win in their last seven matches but they remain a decent side and are more than capable of causing problems for the Blades, who have fallen back from their fantastic start to the season with only three wins in their last 15 games. Odds-against for Leeds to win or the draw in the Double Chance market makes plenty of appeal as I simply don't agree with the bookies having Sheffield United as such big favourites.

Sky Bet League One selection

Draw/Bury v Bradford in Double Chance market v Bradford, Sky Bet League One (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

Bury remain bottom of the Sky Bet League One table but they are worth supporting to leave Bradford with at least a point on Saturday. The Shakers are nine points adrift of safety but they've embarked on a three-match unbeaten run, including wins against AFC Wimbledon and Oxford. Bradford parted company with manager Stuart McCall earlier this week after six defeats in a row and it's impossible to show any faith in the Bantams as odds-on favourites. Bury are pushing even-money along with the draw in the Double Chance market and that is worth a look given the recent performances of both teams.

Sky Bet League Two selection

Crawley to beat Grimsby, Sky Bet League Two (Saturday 1500 GMT)

Crawley make plenty of appeal at 27/20 to win at home to out-of-form Grimsby on Saturday afternoon. The Red Devils have won six of their last seven and are going for a fourth win in a row at home. That puts them in much better spirits than the Mariners, who are winless in 11 matches. Harry Kewell is getting Crawley to push for the play-offs and that's a more than decent effort as the West Sussex club were expected to struggle this season. The price is right for the Red Devils to win again.

Recommended bet

2pts Draw/Leeds in Double Chance market v Sheffield United at 21/20

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Posted at 0825 GMT on 08/02/17.

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Most Read Football

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package1

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each game.

Jose Mourinho2

Mourinho aiming for top job

Jose Mourinho insists he is still in the market for a top level job in football, as he defended his time at Manchester United due to what was going on behind the scenes.

The latest done deals and transfer rumours with Sporting Life
3

The Transfer Market: Live

Keep up with all the latest transfer news reports and rumours along with the details of all the done deals and latest betting odds.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages4

Paper Talk: Wan-Bissaka battle

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is attracting interest from top Premier League clubs and Man City to be priced out of race for Dutch star, according to the back pages.

Paul Pogba celebrates5

Pogba sets United challenge

Paul Pogba says Manchester United need to continue their perfect record under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to prove that they are a back to being a major force in the Premier League.

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Saturday's Premier League tips

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