Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

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The Independent Online

Royals to pip Scottish Boro

I once stood with a Notts County-supporting friend at an early season game and, as the visiting team's third goal rolled in, he joked 'that's eased our promotion fears for another year'.

It was no laughing matter for Norwich City fans when the Canaries lost their first game last season 7-1 at home – yet they went on to be League One champions. That four-letter word 'hope' will abound in every club today.

In the Championship, Gordon Strachan has found a way to get Rangers and Celtic into the English league by importing their players to favourites Middlesbrough. But I fancy Reading, who staged a revival under new manager Brian McDermott in the second half of their season – they even shed their 'home hoodoo' by winning nine of their last ten games at the Madejski; £10 win at 12-1, generally.

In League One, Southampton finished just outside the play-off places, thanks to a 10-point deduction for previously going into administration. With money behind them now, and a smart coach in Alan Pardew, Saints can return to prominence; £10 win at 12-5, generally.

The League Two title can go to Rotherham, who lost in the play-off final but who have held onto top scorer Adam Le Fondre; £10 win at 12-1 (Victor Chandler).

The final major of the golf season, the US PGA Championship, begins at Whistling Straits next Thursday. The course, on the shores of Lake Michigan, has the characteristics of a links – so £5 each-way goes on Rory McIlroy (20-1), Paul Casey (40-1), and Graeme McDowell (50-1) – all at Stan James. Prices may vary due to the ongoing Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.