The extended Championship weekend continues on Sunday afternoon when two sides having excellent campaigns meet down at The Valley where Charlton Athletic host Preston North End in what should be an entertaining encounter.
Charlton were considered to be relegation favourites before the season begun but a win here will take them up to fifth while Preston will lead the league overnight if they come away from the capital with all three points.
The Addicks have surprised a lot of judges so far this season. Their form and start to the campaign would have been pretty incredible at the best of times but when you think they are missing a whole host of players and have done for a lot of the season so far, their start is all the more incredible. They have taken the momentum built up from winning promotion last season and look to be enjoying pitting their wits against supposed bigger and better sides.
There is a feeling that Charlton might just be beginning to feel the pinch with just one win in their last five matches but the other four games have been against West Brom, Fulham, Swansea City and Bristol City, all of whom could occupy the top six positions when the season is done. Lee Bowyer’s men are generally strong at home and you just know they will take the game to Preston throughout this match.
Preston North End
It has been a really good start to the season for Preston North End as well but they head into this match with a bit of off field speculation potentially a distraction, with news breaking on Saturday that Stoke City were denied permission to speak to manager Alex Neil. The Scot will have to work hard to make sure the minds of his players are firmly on this match and not what may or may not happen regarding his future.
While Preston are going very well this season their results are skewed a little in that they are brilliant at home but their away record is not so good. They only have one win on their travels and that came at Birmingham which isn’t the biggest form guide going. They have lost at Reading and Millwall and drawn at Middlesbrough, all of which are pretty ordinary results for a side who could go top of the table with a win here.
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer has confirmed that this match will be too soon for leading striker Lyle Taylor which makes the return of Jonathan Leko all the more important. Jonny Williams and Jake Forster-Caskey are both out.
Preston are hoping to have defender Ben Davies back after he has recovered from a knock but captain Tom Clarke and forward Lewis Mount are among those who will miss out for the Deepdale outfit.
I’m going to take Charlton Athletic here. Even in a tough run of fixtures which they might not have got much from, they have been competitive throughout and I’ve got to think this is an ease in their schedule. I’m not suggesting this will be an easy match for the home side but you have to think there is little reason why Charlton should be such huge outsiders with Preston’s away record.
I can’t get away from Preston’s away record and actually if you really dig deep into their home performances they were 2-0 down to Blackburn last week before producing a great escape and were second best against Leeds for much of the night in a 1-1 draw with them. It is harder to pick holes in the Charlton form so with a quarter ball start the home side are the pick for me here.
Back Charlton Athletic (+0.25AH) to beat Preston North End for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Betfred