Malcolm Couzens – AMA
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Cardiff boss Steve Morison is eyeing back-to-back wins to start the season
Malcolm Couzens – AMA
Free football tips, best bets and expert accumulator advice for Saturday’s EFL matches.
When to bet
Cardiff draw no bet v Reading 3pm
2pt Evs general
Portsmouth to beat Lincoln 3pm
2pts 4-5 Boyle Sports, Betfred
AFC Wimbledon draw no bet v Hartlepool 3pm
2pts 20-21 BoyleSports
Reading v Cardiff
Paul Ince insists it is going to take time until Reading supporters see their team at full strength which makes the Royals worth opposing in their first Championship home game of the season against Cardiff.
A transfer embargo hindering recruitment is one thing but Ince’s job has been made harder by a number of influential first-team members being forced to start the campaign on the sidelines.
The absence of star striker Lucas Joao looks most costly but Scott Dann, Sam Hutchinson, Femi Azeez, George Puscas, Dejan Tetek and Liam Moore are also on the treatment table, leaving experienced personnel thin on the ground.
Shane Long was the only senior outfield player on the bench during last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Blackpool, so the Royals may be a team to take on in the coming weeks.
With that in mind, Cardiff are a big price to strike at the Madejski Stadium, especially following their 1-0 win at home to pre-season title favorites Norwich.
The Bluebirds restricted Norwich to just one shot on target, as Romaine Sawyers and former Royal Andy Rinomhota were among many to shine on their debut.
Eight of Steve Morison’s starting 11 against the Canaries were debutants but they hit the ground running and can follow up in Berkshire.
Portsmouth v Lincoln
A dogged second-half display saw Portsmouth kickstart the new League One campaign with a thrilling 3-3 draw at Sheffield Wednesday and they should be targeting maximum points at home to Lincoln.
Pompey were only good enough for tenth in the third tier last season but few finished stronger at home, where they won eight and drew two of their final ten matches.
That run of form featured victories over promoted pair Rotherham and Wigan while they also claimed a 3-2 victory over visiting Lincoln in April.
And Danny Cowley’s side should be too good for the Imps again at their Fratton Park fortress, where they also claimed the scalps of Sunderland, Bolton and Oxford last season.
Lincoln were held to a 1-1 draw at home to promoted Exeter in their opener and were beaten on seven of their final ten away trips last season.
Hartlepool v AFC Wimbledon
Paul Hartley was forced to watch on as his hapless Hartlepool side were brushed aside 4-0 at Walsall last Saturday and more misery may follow at home to AFC Wimbledon.
There has been plenty of change at Hartlepool over the summer, with former Cove Rangers boss Hartley bringing in 15 new recruits including six unproven EFL performers from Scotland.
And it had the opposite effect at Walsall, who could have won even more cosily given they dominated the shot stats 21 to four, suggesting time may be needed for Hartley to implement his plans.
That doesn’t bode well for the visit of AFC Wimbledon, who can now express themselves having lifted a huge weight off their shoulders with last Saturday’s 2-0 win at home to Gillingham.
The Wombles had finished last season’s League One campaign without a win in 27 – a run stretching back to December – so may be able to operate more freely at Victoria Park.
Wimbledon have lost some of their star names following last season’s relegation but have managed to keep hold of Ayoub Assal and have injected a lot of experience into their backline with the signings of Chris Gunter and Alex Pearce.
Burnley 3-4, peterborough 4-7, portsmouth 8-11, Mansfield 17-20. £1 acca returns £8.79 with Hill & Betfred
Andreas Weimann Bristol City v Sunderland
at 6-1 bet365
Andreas Weimann fired home 22 goals for Bristol City in the Championship last season and continued where he left off by opening the scoring in defeat at Hull last Saturday. This fixture looks full of goals and the prolific Austrian may strike the opening blow.
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FIRST PUBLISHED 4:45PM, AUG 5 2022