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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Home Wins on the Horizon - Gills, Tigers & Mackems Ahoy!

We're back with picks for Saturday after being let down by Brentford on Thursday night even as they dominated chances thanks to an offside Leyton Orient goal & Brentford's inability to find the back of the net. Hopefully things will run more smoothly here as we avoid League One altogether & instead preview matches from League Two, the Championship & Saturday's late Premier League kickoff.

Gillingham vs Bristol Rovers

 (Gillingham skipper Danny Kedwell has 5 goals (all competitions) already this season)

Down in League Two, top of the table Gillingham host Bristol Rovers at the Priestfield Stadium. Last weekend we tipped up Gillingham away at Barnet & they didn't let us down with a comfortable 3-1 victory. The Gills have 13 points from a possible 15 so far with their only blip being a 1-1 draw with Chesterfield. Skipper Danny Kedwell & striking partner Deon Burton are in good goalscoring form with six league goals between them & midfielder Myles Weston has also chipped in with a couple. After relegation from League One Bristol Rovers have made a poor start to the season with two defeats & two draws so far & needed an injury time equaliser from substitute Fabian Broghammer to savage a 2-2 draw against Aldershot Town last Saturday. They are yet to keep a clean sheet & have conceded eight goals in the process so free scoring Gillingham look a reasonable price at 13/16 to put a few goals past them & keep up their impressive start.

 Hull City vs Millwall

(Abdoulaye Faye - strong at the back & always a threat at set pieces)

Steve Bruce's Hull City are looking to continue their solid start to the season as they entertain Millwall at the KC Stadium. Bruce has made a number of good signings this summer most notably ex-Rangers striker Sone Aluko, centre half Adboulaye Faye & most recently Irish midfielder Stephen Quinn. All three players starred last weekend as they put Championship pre-season favourites Bolton Wanderers to the sword in a comfortable 3-1 victory. Again this season Hull have looked solid at the back with centre half partnership of Faye & Alex Bruce already registering two clean sheets & should be able to cope with the Millwall strike force of Darius Henderson & Andy Keogh. Millwall have made a reasonable start with two wins & two defeats so far but look vulnerable at the back having conceded nine goals in five games in all competitions. Hull can use their solid base to take advantage of the soft Millwall defence & grab all three points at the best price of 23/20 with Betvictor.

Sunderland v Liverpool

Finally we come to the Premier League & the battle of the Northern Irish managers as Martin O'Neill's well organised Sunderland side play host to Brendan Rodgers' underachieving Liverpool. Until Liverpool prove that they can score goals they are a side to be avoided against whoever they're playing, the signing of Fabio Borini for £10m convinced no one at the time & his composure in front of goal has been lacking, Luis Suarez meanwhile pulled his old trick of hitting the woodwork whilst on international duty for Uruguay & doesn't look like the natural predator he was in Holland.

(Sunderland's James McClean is one of the Premier League's brightest young talents)

Sunderland have only had the two Premier League games thanks to their game with Reading being cancelled but they've gained draws at Arsenal & Swansea & should be much happier at home. The signing of Steven Fletcher from Wolves raised a few eyebrows thanks to the fee paid but he's reached double figures in his past two seasons in the league & that's impressive considering he was playing for basically a poor side, he started off in impressive fashion with a brace against the Swans. We like Stephane Sessegnon a lot & the attacking midfielder brings the best out in the players around him, James McClean could be one to benefit here as he looks to prove a point after his Twitter outburst when left out of the starting lineup for Ireland. We basically agree that it was ludicrous he couldn't secure a starting berth for ROI but he shouldn't have spoken out, at odds of 11/2 to score anytime it's worth backing the young Irishman.

Liverpool certainly do have a solid core & are strong at the back with Agger & Skrtel & although Reina seems to be increasingly susceptible to handling errors he's still one of the league's best. Steven Gerrard remains a first choice pick for Liverpool seemingly regardless of his performance levels though & he'll be more tired than most after (nearly) playing two full games for England. At his best Gerrard is still capable of winning matches single handedly with his Roy of the Rovers style but nondescript performances are becoming more regular & if he has one here the Reds could be in trouble. Sunderland should be fresher than most teams & a high energy performance can see them make their odds look a steal, back the Mackems at 9/4 to get the win.

Gillingham to beat Bristol Rovers at 13/16 (Pinnacle)
Hull City to beat Millwall at 23/20 (BetVictor)
Sunderland to beat Liverpool at 9/4 (Various)
James McClean to score anytime at 11/2 (William Hill) in Sunderland v Liverpool game

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