League One weekend betting preview: Addicks all the way

 

The wobble - if you could call it that - has passed, and now it's difficult to envisage anybody stopping Charlton on their march to the League One title, so let's take odds of 8/5 about the leaders prevailing at misfiring Bournemouth on Saturday.

Draws against Bury, Tranmere and Rochdale last month suggested that Chris Powell's men were struggling to keep everything in order but something more alarming had to follow before we could class it as an outbreak of the jitters.

Instead, the Addicks have since breezed through a couple of thankless fixtures with aplomb, becoming the first team to land a handicap against Stevenage since September before sticking four goals past a much-improved Chesterfield in midweek.

Now it's clearly a case of when rather than if Charlton will complete the formality of a return to the Championship and with the bigger picture taking on a much more relaxed complexion, we should expect the Londoners to make a spirited dash for the line.

The Addicks have been outstanding on the road this season, winning 13 out of 17, and you suspect Bournemouth would have to pluck a stellar performance out of nowhere to upset those figures because they haven't been firing on all cylinders of late.

Hopes were high that Lee Bradbury's men might finish the season with a flourish following Russian investment and a late window spree coming on the back of a mid-season burst of eight wins in 12 league outings.

However, the foreign investment has merely cranked up the pressure around Dean Court, performances have dipped and the public antics of chairman Eddie Mitchell are bringing the sort of unwanted attention that is hardly going to restore a sense of composure.

We shouldn't read too much into idle speculation about the owner's wife giving a half-time team-talk during the 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth but we can stare at three defeats on the bounce and rightfully ask the question of whether that's the sort of form you want to be taking into a game against such formidable opposition.

Meanwhile, Graham Westley hasn't made too many friends in his first few weeks at Deepdale but we shouldn't let that deter us from picking up the thread of what he does best and backing Preston to keep a clean sheet against Colchester at 7/2.

The Lilywhites have mustered just five points from six matches since Westley picked up the reins from Graham Alexander but they've managed three clean sheets during that sequence and the U's don't possess nearly enough guile to cut through a stubborn rearguard action if the visitors get them a foothold.

Scunthorpe, Chesterfield and Rochdale have all frustrated John Ward's men in recent weeks with Steven Gillespie the only man to have netted for the Essex outfit at the Weston Homes since the turn of the year. If North End can keep him quiet, then the shut-out might well be a formality.

Recommended bets:

2pts Charlton to beat Bournemouth at 13/8 (Bet Victor)

2pts Preston to keep a clean sheet against Colchester at 7/2 (Bet Victor)

For more betting news and views, please visit Bestofthebets.com. You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own