Crystal Palace are edging closer to Championship safety and it’s thanks almost entirely to their home form given that they have the worst away record in the division. In the Eagles’ defence, they have also shown their fighting spirit on the road lately, albeit without reward, a penalty and a resultant red card condemning them to a narrow defeat at leaders QPR last time out but it’s largely at Selhurst Park, where they are unbeaten in eleven, that Dougie Freedman’s battlers do their best work.
Palace have to be fancied then, at 29/20 with William Hill, to boost their survival hopes by sending Derby home empty-handed. The Rams may have seen off Swansea last weekend but that was only their third win in 19 attempts across a dismal run that has seen them slip dangerously close to the trouble at the bottom and up against a team as resilient on home soil as the Eagles, Nigel Clough’s troops are easy to oppose.
Towards the top, Cardiff have taken just one point from three games against teams in the bottom half of the table and the Bluebirds could see their promotion hopes dented further at the New Den where they face a solid-looking Millwall.
The Lions have won ten times at home this season, a record bettered only by QPR and Swansea and their last couple of matches have seen them turn over the league leaders 2-0 before hammering in-form Burnley 3-0 up at Turf Moor. Those two victories represent a real turnaround after a poor spell and it’s easy to see Kenny Jackett’s men keeping up the good work in this one, a result Sportingbet price at 7/5.
It’s been a tremendous season for Watford striker Danny Graham, who has struck 21 league goals already this season and with five in his last five, the Hornets striker could be a man to follow this weekend. Graham comes up against Middlesbrough, the club where he started his career and the one that released him in 2007, so he would love to prove a point at the Riverside and the fact that Boro had shipped 16 goals in six games prior to Saturday’s bore draw at Portsmouth, suggests the Watford man will at least have a couple of opportunities to find the net.
Graham also knows how to score against the hosts, having bagged a brace when the sides met at Vicarage Road and he looks huge at 21/10 (Paddy Power) to strike at some point.