Good Friday is one of my favourite times of the year.
Does it have anything to do with celebrating the Easter weekend with family? Of course not, look at all the Championship action!
This weekend always promises to be season-defining for many clubs with two rounds of games in a matter of days.
For some, this will be a Good Friday – for others, it will be quite a disappointing one.
Friday 12:30 – Luton v Nottingham Forest
Forest continue to put pressure on Bournemouth for a place in the top two and will need another result here.
When there were 10 games remaining for the Reds, Luton away looked to be the trickiest fixture aside from the mouth-watering contest against Bournemouth in their penultimate match.
However the Hatters are without a win in three, leading to nerves in Bedfordshire over their play-off place.
Steve Cooper’s boys will fancy their chances here – they’ve won 5 on the bounce and have been sweeping teams aside with ease.
I fancy this to be yet another notch in the belt for the Tricky Trees.
Ryan’s pick – Nottingham Forest to Win @ 29/20
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Friday 15:00 – Sheffield United v Reading
Reading’s fight to stay up is edging closer to being a mission accomplished.
They’re in a position now where they could lose all of their remaining games and feasibly still stay up.
Which is just as well because it’s difficult to see them getting anything at Bramall Lane.
It’s been a fortress for Sheffield United who are unbeaten there since the start of November and have won 8 of their last 12 games.
If it wasn’t for a goalkeeping masterclass by Bournemouth’s Mark Travers and some questionable refereeing, the Blades would have comfortably beaten the Cherries last weekend.
Paul Heckingbottom’s men have conceded just twice in 12 home games and I fancy a win with a clean sheet for them here.
Ryan’s pick – Sheffield United to Win to Zero @ 33/20
Friday 15:00 – Swansea v Barnsley
Swansea have managed to find form at the most meaningless time of the season.
It’s been a campaign of transition under Russell Martin and things look as if they’re clicking.
They could be a team to watch out for next season and will want to keep their momentum going at home to relegation-threatened Barnsley.
The Tykes have been woeful on their travels – losing 15 of their last 17 away games – and it’s difficult not to see it happening again here.
They’ve lost by more than 1 goal in each of their last 4 and the Swans look good value to make it 5.
Ryan’s pick – Swansea to Win by 2 goals @ 19/5
Friday 17:30 – Huddersfield v QPR
If there’s one team you want to face right now, it’s QPR.
Their top 6 challenge has completely fallen apart after 5 straight losses and just 2 wins since the start of February.
Mark Warburton’s men have been hopeless and were lucky not to concede 4 or 5 against Preston last weekend.
The Hoops have also only scored more than one goal in one out of their last seven games on their travels.
Huddersfield have won back to back games – keeping two clean sheets in the process – and look to be set for the play-offs next month.
Back in January, this would have been a hard to predict contest – now, it should be a straightforward win for Huddersfield.
Ryan’s pick – Huddersfield to Win to Zero @ 23/10
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Friday 20:00 – Derby v Fulham
Fulham can secure promotion to the Premier League if they beat Derby and Forest lose.
It continues to be just a matter of time anyway, but my instinct is Marco Silva’s men may have to wait a bit longer for it to happen.
Not only because I think Forest won’t keep their side of the deal; but Derby are capable of an upset.
They’ve only lost 3 games at Pride Park all season and have beat the likes of Bournemouth and Sheffield United at home.
Surviving relegation is looking unlikely but as the chant from the Derby faithful goes, they’ll “fight to the end” and they’ll be desperate to get anything from this contest.
Fulham have only won 2 of their last 5 as well, and might be taking their foot off the gas.
Ryan’s pick – Derby double chance @ 7/5
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