Saturday Select #31

All the divisions of domestic English football are taking their final forms. Many teams are battling it out for promotion, playoffs or relegation survival. Our regular weekend tips and review features another set of key fixtures from the Premier League down to the Conference Premier. Do you agree with these picks? Find out which games we have selected this week…

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Bournemouth v Sheffield Wednesday

Nearly everyone expected little Bournemouth to fall off the pace a long time ago but Eddie Howe’s gifted young side have defied the odds and are still going strong as they lead the promotion race in the Championship. They sit top of the league but are only clear by the finest of margins; a single point separates them from the chasers.

If the players or manager are feeling the pressure they are sure doing a good job of not showing it. Bournemouth have won 7 of their last 10 matches and are also unbeaten in their last 10. The Cherries won the earlier meeting this season 2-0 at Hillsborough in November.

Sheffield Wednesday have been in decent form of late having lost only one of their last five games. Last time out they beat playoff chasing Brentford by a goal to nil so they are still alive and kicking despite seemingly having nothing to play for. However against the likes of Wolves and Norwich, they were well beaten and on Saturday they face the team that has scored the most goals in the division who will be hungry for all three points.

Watford v Birmingham

Watford love to score goals at home. Creative attacker Fernando Forestieri returns after a month out with a knee injury and he will only add more depth to their attacking riches. The likes of Deeney and Ighalo are firing on all cylinders at the moment meaning that the Hornets have plenty of sting in the final third. The pair have bagged 20 goals each so far this season.

Watford are unbeaten in the last three meetings at Vicarage Road, winning the last two. They currently sit third in the table and are just 1 point off league leaders Bournemouth in what is looking like a 4 horse race for the title as well as an automatic promotion spot. They have every incentive to win this game.

Birmingham on the other hand are sitting comfortable in a mid-table position and have nothing to play for. Although they have generally been in reasonable form of late which bodes well for boss Gary Rowett next season, The Blues have not won any of their last eight away games in all competitions, losing four of them.

Shrewsbury v York

Shrewsbury’s home record can only be described as imperious this season. They have only once been beaten at the New Meadow in 21 matches having won 16 of them.

Shrewsbury Town welcome back key central midfielder Ryan Woods who has been a pivotal cog in the engine room this season, as well as defender Connor Goldson. They are back from suspension as the Shrews bid to edge over the finishing line in their promotion push from League Two. They are sat in second place in the table just two points off leaders Burton Albion after losing to Bury last time out. That loss against the form side of the division brought an end to a 6 game winning streak.

Micky Mellon’s men will therefore in theory be eager to bounce straight back against a York City side who are languishing down in 18th position but have nothing to play for as they are free of any relegation worries having achieved safety already.

Dover v Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers have momentum. They are free scoring at the moment having netted 10 goals in their last three games whilst conceding just one solitary goal in reply. They are on an incredible unbeaten streak in the League. They have not been beaten in their last 27 league matches.

Rovers are just one point behind league leaders Barnet with just 2 fixtures left to play and will need to apply the pressure at every opportunity. Barnet should have enough to overcome a Kidderminster side with nothing to play for so it could come down to the last game of the season.

Every point is vitally crucial from here on in but Rovers will need to be ready to pounce should Barnet slip up. They face a Dover side who again have little at stake.

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