Saturday Tip From Football Bets

1pt Reading to beat Crystal Palace in the Championship,

6/4 Betfred, PaddyPower, Stan James, Totesport and on Ladbrokes shop coupons (Saturday 21st March 5.20pm ko)

The Royals currently sit in third place in the Championship, four points away from an automatic promotion slot but with a game in hand. Like their promotion rivals Wolves and Birmingham, Reading have struggled for consistency since Christmas, winning one week then losing the next. However, I think they will finish strongly for several reasons.

Firstly, they have strengthened the squad with two excellent signings in the last couple of weeks. Dave Kitson, whose goals fired them to the Premiership a couple of seasons ago, has returned on loan from Stoke, whilst the source of many of those goals, winger Glenn Little, has also rejoined from Portsmouth. They’ve both had a couple of games to settle in now and Kitson scored the winner at Doncaster during the week (His 55th goal in 113 league starts for Reading). Reading played very well in that game and manager Steve Coppell was delighted with the performance.

Reading’s win at Doncaster was Steve Coppell’s 1000th game in management, and this incredible wealth of experience should also stand Reading in good stead for the run in. They have also retained much of the team that won promotion to the Premiership so emphatically the first time round. These players now have added Premiership experience and they have been here and done it before. The return of Kitson and Little should be the catalyst for a strong finish.

We opposed Crystal palace last weekend against Swansea and typically, Swansea lost at home for only the second time all season. A large part of the reason for opposing Palace last week was their position in a mid table comfort zone. Another reason was Warnock’s comments in the run up to that game:

“We need major surgery to take the club forward now – a new influx of fresh blood is vital. The fans need that as much as I do.”

“We’ve all watched and watched as we’ve blown hot and cold. You’ve got to be consistent and we’re so inconsistent.”

“I’m looking towards next season all the time at the moment. One of my teams shouldn’t lose a game when they are winning 2-0 and I’m going to make sure I get the right people in.”

Maybe these comments were designed to get a reaction from his players and there’s a chance it may have worked. However, Palace were then well beaten at Barnsley during the week and Warnock has again written off his team:

“To be honest, I’ve felt it’s been over for a number of weeks. If I’m honest, we just aren’t good enough.”

If Warnock is trying to get another reaction from his players then he is going a funny way about it. You can maybe use this trick once and get something from it, but to write your team off twice in two weeks is surely going to have a negative affect on the players mentality? Palace are now twelve points adrift of the play offs with just eight games remaining. They are actually closer to the relegation zone, without being in any real danger of going down. If I was a Palace player I would be quite irritated by my manager’s comments and would probably be talking to my agent about looking for another club. It is a classic case of the boy who cried Wolf!

Reading beat Palace 4-2 back in August and with the arrival of Kitson and Little, have more than enough quality and motivation, to complete the double.

Minimum price to take – 5/4

The Oracle

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