Addicks away the way again

Nick Hext backs Charlton to win at Sheffield United in his preview of Sunday's three FA Cup quarter-finals.

Last Updated: 09/03/14 at 12:56 Post Comment

Charlton: Can celebrate victory in Sheffield again

Charlton: Can celebrate victory in Sheffield again

Three of the four FA Cup quarter-finals are being played on Sunday with the kick-offs staggered across the afternoon.

Sky Bet League 1 Sheffield United's clash at home to Charlton from the Championship gets us started at 1200 GMT and that is the game I think provides the best betting opportunities.

The hosts are the 13/10 favourites to claim victory but I wouldn't underestimate Charlton and reckon it's worth taking the 13/5 available for the away win.

Sheffield United are a side in form with eight wins in a row taking them one match away from Wembley in this competition and making them play-off contenders in League 1 after spending most of the season in trouble at the other end of the table.

That's a fantastic turnaround from a side who have underachieved for the majority of the campaign and credit must go to boss Nigel Clough, who many, including myself, believe was hugely unfortunate to lose his job at Derby back i the autumn.

All is good at Bramall Lane but this looks a game too far against a side who have showed they shouldn't be underestimated in any way on their travels.

Charlton remain in the Championship relegation zone but results since the turn of the year have improved after a miserable end to 2013.

Their journey to the quarter-finals has come courtesy of three away wins, at Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield following a third-round replay success at League 2 Oxford.

Chris Powell's side also showed their battling qualities with a 1-0 win at home to promotion contenders QPR in the league a couple of weeks ago and I'm not worried about them being the latest side to fall to leaders Leicester last time out.

The pressure will be on the Blades with an expectant home crowd and I reckon Charlton have their gameplan sorted to claim a fourth away victory of the season in the FA Cup.

There is one spot of value that can be found though from a Sheffield United perspective.

Full-back John Brayford has made a real difference with his attacking play since joining from Cardiff on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Brayford was an impressive performer at Championship level for Derby prior to his move up a level in the summer and now he's showing his pedigree again after a frustrating first half of the season.

The 26-year-old has scored one goal in his eight appearances for the Blades so far and his constant threat makes him a good shout to net anytime.

There is an injury doubt over Brayford's participation after being taken off because of a calf injury in the win at MK Dons last weekend but boss Clough remains hopeful at the time of writing that he'll return.

Betting Zone followers should be cheering on Hull in the second match of the day at 1400 GMT.

Our Andy Schooler backed the Tigers at 100/1 each-way in his outright preview before the third round so another couple of victories would generate us big profits.

Sunderland provide the opposition at the KC Stadium and the Black Cats enter the contest on the back of last weekend's 3-1 defeat against Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final.

It was a good performance from Gus Poyet's men but the loss must still hurt and there is still the big scrap for Premier League survival at the back of their minds.

Hull have already beaten Sunderland twice this season so it's no surprise to see them as clear favourites to make it three victories in a row.

The worry for me would be the lack of impressive new strikers Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic so I'll steer clear and hope for another Tigers win to continue our outright journey.

We end the day with a repeat of last season's final between Manchester City and Wigan at 1605 GMT.

It won't surprise any of you to learn City are 1/6 favourites to gain revenge for their Wembley heartache and they already have a 5-0 win over the Latics to their name this term in the third round of the Capital One Cup.

I'd expect a comfortable win for Manuel Pellegrini's men again but the scare at home to Watford and draw at Blackburn during this season's FA Cup is enough to warn me off at such short odds.

Wigan are a side on the up with five wins in a row taking them to the Championship play-off places.

This is a step up in class but it could be worth an interest backing the Latics on the handicap for those of you expecting them to make it interesting.

I would expect Alvaro Negredo to return to City's starting line-up after sitting out the Capital One Cup final win last weekend but the 8/11 for the Spaniard to net anytime doesn't set pulses racing.

James Milner is one squad player who could get a chance to shine. The 6/1 for the England international is worth a look if you need a City angle to provide interest over the 90 minutes, but it's not for me.

  • Posted at 2045 GMT on 06/03/2014.

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