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Rupert Wyman 14th Nov 2008 - 13:01

McLeish to lift the Birmingham Blues

Alex McLeish's Birmingham side have amazingly not won in three matches, yet are still second in the table.

The Blues were many peoples' tip to bounce straight back to the Premier League following their relegation last term but their recent form has been less than impressive.

Birmingham's problem has been scoring goals. They have only managed 19 in the 16 league matches so far. As opposed to title rivals Wolves who have notched 37 in the same number of games.

It has almost been that McLeish has too many strikers with Marcus Bent, Cameron Jerome, James McFadden Garry O'Connor and Kevin Phillips all battling for playing time.

On Saturday Birmingham play struggling Charlton and the Addicks should be the perfect opponents for McLeish's side to get back up and running.

Charlton are without a win in seven matches and find themselves a solitary point above the relegation zone. Birmingham can be backed at 8/13 for the win, with an away victory available at 5/1 and the draw at 13/5.

Table toppers Wolves also face a struggling side in Southampton. But unlike Birmingham they are away at St. Mary's. Mick McCarthy's side are available at even money for the away win.

Third placed Reading travel to Bramall Lane to face promotion rivals Sheffield United. Going in to the match Reading are just one place and two points above Kevin Blackwell's side.

However, it is Reading who look to have the better team and but for a relatively poor away record so far would be closer to the top two.

The Royals' away form has been their Achilles heel. In eight matches they have won just two on the road. Last time out away from the Madjeski Steve Coppell's side thrashed Bristol City 4-1. Their other away win was an impressive 3-0 victory at Wolves.

Sheffield United have yet to lose at home in the Championship this season, but with Reading's attack this record could come under threat.

Reading are 7/4 to win with the draw at 11/5 and the home win at 8/5.

A £10 treble on the top three of Wolves, Birmingham and Reading all winning on Saturday will pay you returns of £88.85.


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