FOOTBALL BETTING: Live On Sky Sports 1: Mon 19:45
Promotion chasing Colchester (4/5) host struggling Brighton (7/2) in League One tonight. William Hill‘s Stuart Dalgleish previews.
Gus Poyet has got his team on a fairly solid run of form for a team in the bottom half of the table, and they come into this game with Colchester on the back of two straight wins, one of them against top three side Charlton Athletic.
The strange thing is for Albion though, they perform much better away from home than at the Withdean having picked up points at Millwall, Southampton and Leeds amongst other teams, they should really have beaten the Whites as well having been on top before conceding a 95th minute equaliser.
It must really frustrate the Seagulls boss, because if their home form was any good they would be well clear of the relegation zone by now and could be thinking of a surge at the play-offs, as it is they still have a lot of work to do before they can secure their League 1 status for another season.
Their finish to the season after this game isn’t too bad though so they should be confident of surviving, but they will have to try do it without their goalkeeper Michel Kuipers after he broke a finger in training; he had been on the subs bench for the last three games anyway but before that was a regular between the Albion’s sticks.
Peter Brezovan has been donning the gloves for those last few games and will have his work cut out trying to stop a team which scored ten goals in six league fixtures during February.
The U’s have only lost one of those six fixtures, last time out against Bristol Rovers, but haven’t been playing with quite the same swagger which they were enjoying towards the end of 2009 where they lost just one of their final ten matches.
They are still in a strong position and will at the very least get a play-off place I would’ve thought, but their first two games of the year when they got hammered 7-0 by Preston North End in the cup and 5-0 at the Community Stadium by Norwich City can’t have helped their confidence.
It’s shown in recent weeks as they have had to be thankful to their keeper Ben Williams, who’s kept them in quite a few games with some fantastic saves, it’s a credit to Aidy Boothroyd that his team are grinding out results while not at their peak at this crunch stage of the season.
This could well be a tough game to try grind out another home win, as the Albion are likely to try pack the midfield out and frustrate their opponents with a 4-5-1 formation, Glenn Murray (7/1 first goal) the probable loan striker as Adam Virgo is still suspended following his red card at Leeds, Nicky Forster (7/1) is knocking on the door after bagging a hat-trick for the reserves last week.
Poyet has good options in midfield too after bringing in a couple of players on loan; Kazenga Lua-Lua (10/1 first goal) from Newcastle United, who is close to signing on till the end of the season and Diego Arismendi (14/1) from Stoke City who could be in line to make his debut in Essex.
Colchester will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at Bristol Rovers and are expected to the name the same starting XI, with Clive Platt (5/1 first goal) wearing the armband in the absence of Magnus Okounghae, Kayode Odejayi (4/1) will hope to change his managers mind though after scoring three in his last five matches.
Anthony Wordsworth (7/1) scored two the last time United played on Sky and he also has three goals from his last five outings so could be worth a shout for the opening goal, he’s 2/1 to get on the scoresheet at any point of the game.
It’s a tough game to call this one, Colchester (4/5) have an excellent home record but Brighton (7/2) are a danger on the road, the draw could be the best bet at 5/2 but I’d also consider Brighton in the Draw No Bet market at a tempting 2/1.
Under 2.5 goals looks good at 7/10 and if you’re even braver you could look at Under 1.5 at 9/4.