Bent The Best Bet In Relegation Battle FixtureStats
Brighton v Millwall
Two Championship relegation battlers, Brighton and Millwall, face each other at the Amex on Friday night.
Just one win in 16 Championship fixtures has seen Brighton slip into the Championship relegation zone and the Brighton & Hove Albion board called a crisis meeting this week to discuss manager Sami Hyppia’s future. Although at the time of writing the Finn still remains in charge at The Amex, another defeat here against fellow relegation strugglers could be the final straw for chairman Tony Bloom.
The Seagulls were recently bolstered by the loan signing of former Aston Villa, Tottenham and Sunderland striker Darren Bent. The 30-year-old scored on debut against Fulham but couldn’t add to that tally against Derby last weekend. A natural-born finisher at this level could prove to be a real asset and Bent may well make the difference between survival and relegation. Time will tell.
Millwall’s form reads only marginally better with just one win to their name in their last 15 Championship fixtures. The 2-2 draw against high-flying Bournemouth a couple of weeks ago was encouraging, but then last Saturday’s 5-1 loss at home to Middlesbrough brought any hopes of a revival crashing back to earth.
Ricardo Fuller and Lee Gregory are the club’s joint-top scorers with just three goals, but the joint-worst defensive record in the division is the biggest problem that manager Ian Holloway must address. The Lions also haven’t won away from home since the second day of the season.
Kazenga LuaLua has been ruled out for several weeks with a knee injury, while two of Brighton’s seven loanees – Darren Bent, Greg Halford, Joao Teixeira, Ali Al Habsi, Elliott Bennett, Gary Gardner and Joe Bennett – must be left out of the matchday squad due to league regulations.
Millwall midfielder Nicky Bailey remains sidelined after suffering an injury setback at the end of last month, while Lee Martin should come back into contention after only narrowly missing out on last weekend’s matchday squad.
This fixture last season ended in a 1-1 draw with Leandro Ulloa getting a late equaliser after the Lions were reduced to 10 men. The subsequent game at the New Den saw Brighton win 1-0 and extend their unbeaten run against Millwall to six matches – although four of those have been draws.
Odds of 20/21 on a team that have won only one of their last 16 league games look to be on the short side. But then again, they’re up against a side that have themselves only won one in 15. There can’t be too much confidence behind backing any outcome here, but the draw at odds of 23/10 is maybe the sensible play.
A play on the goals markets where Over 2.5 is priced at odds of 11/10 can be approached with a little more confidence though. Neither side are able to keep many clean sheets at present and both will see this as an opportunity to earn a much-needed three points, so are likely to play with an attacking mindset. Darren Bent at 4/1 to score first and 23/20 to score anytime is the standout bet in the goalscorer markets.