The Preview: Predicting wins for Pompey and Leeds

    After QPR’s first defeat and only a draw for Swansea, the opportunity is there for other sides to close in on the lead pack.

    Barnsley v Sheffield United


    An all-Yorkshire clash, struggling visitors up against in-form hosts.

    Check out . . .  the creative Irishman

    Andy Reid is a player of obvious ability who never seems to have achieved quite as much as he should have. Nevertheless he has impressed since arriving on loan and will again be expected to provide inspiration.

    The Game

    Home advantage and a greater ability to turn possession into goals should see Barnsley home.

    BARNSLEY WIN

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    Bristol City v Derby County

    The new form team take on the old form team. City have turned their season around while Derby’s impressive charge has slipped in recent weeks.

    Check out . . . the Spurs’ Starlet

    Danny Rose famously began his Tottenham career with a wonder volley against Arsenal. At Ashton Gate, he has been quietly building up his reputation.

    The Game

    Will be a good game between two sides for whom things are coming together. Lively draw.

    DRAW

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    Burnley v Leeds

    Both are in decent form, this is a big game.

    Check out . . . the super-stopper

    Lee Grant had for a long-time impressed those who saw him with Sheffield Wednesday. The fact that he has dumped the popular Brian Jensen out of the first team is testament to his impressive ability.

    The Game

    Leeds have a swagger about them of late and they will win this one.

    LEEDS WIN

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    Crystal Palace v Hull

    Two strugglers who have both had cause for optimism in recent weeks.

    Check out . . . the Slovenian scorer

    Robert Koren found himself without a club in the summer. Hull have been rewarded for taking him on; his five goals have been priceless in a side with no successful strikers.

    The Game

    Both these sides are regaining confidence. Hull’s continuing struggles in front of goal mean Palace should shade it.

    PALACE WIN

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    Leicester v Doncaster

    Two mid-table sides from the Midlands, both hoping to force themselves into the play-off picture.

    Check out . . . a blast from the past

    Sven’s decision to bring in Darius Vassell was one of the more intriguing buys of the season. He’s never been prolific and is yet to score for the Foxes. He has, however, been fairly effective.

    The Game

    Very little in this one but probably safest to go with the home side.

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    Middlesbrough v Cardiff

    A team that thought they would be challenging for the title against a team who actually are. Neither, however, are going well and are both in need of a result.

    Check out . . . Jay Bothroyd’s replacement

    With Jay Bothroyd having been so strong for Cardiff, the pressure is on Andy Keogh to deliver.

    The Game

    I’ve been expecting a Cardiff backlash for a while. Didn’t come against Preston, maybe at the Riverside.

    CARDIFF WIN

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    Norwich v Portsmouth

    The Canaries look good enough to join the title race. They host a Pompey side who are erratic but can be very dangerous. Ask Swansea.

    Check out . . . the man in demand

    More and more people question whether Pompey will be able to hang onto the excellent Liam Lawrence come the New Year. Expect him to continue to impress

    The Game

    Pompey have pulled out good performances against good sides. They might just be the team to upset Norwich’s surge.

    POMPEY WIN