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Hosting Brighton and Burnley can leapfrog Boro with Monday wins

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | May 1, 2016

After Middlesbrough could only draw 2-2 at Birmingham City, despite controversially having a winner disallowed, Brighton and Hove Albion and Burnley have been handed a glorious chance to both leapfrog the Teesside team into the top two Championship places.

The Seagulls host Derby County, while the Clarets welcome QPR for the duo’s penultimate fixtures of the season. Read on to view Coral’s previews of the two Monday Bank Holiday matches.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Derby County

  • Championship
  • Monday, May 2nd
  • Kick-off: 14:30 BST
  • Falmer, Brighton
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

Seagulls and Rams set for close battle

Brighton go up first against Derby on Monday, as they bid to occupy the top two automatic promotion spots with just one game of the regular Championship season to go, and are 8/13 odds-on favourites for victory.

However, the East Midlanders have caused a few problems for the Seagulls over the past few campaigns, such as taking a late point off them this term and smashing them 6-2 on aggregate in the 2013/14 play-off semi-finals.

Derby are also in a great run of form, of four wins in their last five, and have secured a place in top six once more. While they have nothing left to play for, they still have hope of finishing ahead of likely play-off opponents Hull City in fourth, and so are 9/2 to triumph or 14/5 to draw.

There is no doubt that Tomer Hemed has been Brighton’s main man up front, having scored 17 times already, 10 more than the next best Bobby Zamora. Israel striker Hemed is evens to net anytime again, and 5/1 for two or more.

Manchester United loanee James Wilson, who was on target against Derby last time out, meanwhile, is 5/4 to score again.

Derby County v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Championship - iPro Stadium

Derby attack crucial to their chances

The Rams arguably have more options in attack to get them goals, as Chris Martin, Tom Ince and Nick Blackman have all managed to get into double figures this season. You can back the trio at 2/1, 10/3 and 7/2 respectively in the anytime market.

Darren Bent (10/3) is another option, and he’ll be pushing for starting place after getting a late equaliser against fellow confirmed play-off outfit Sheffield Wednesday.

Brighton go into this match in even better form than Derby, having won each of their last five, while they have not lost in their previous 12 second-tier duels. However, they do have some injury concerns, with Zamora, Uwe Hunemeier and Solly March all out, while Liam Rosenior is a doubt.

Bradley Johnson may be fit to take some part for the Rams, but it is too soon for Jeff Hendrick and goalkeeper Lee Grant to make returns.

Burnley v QPR

  • Championship
  • Monday, May 2nd
  • Kick-off: 16:45 BST
  • Turf Moor, Burnley
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

Title favourites Burnley to rise to summit

Burnley have been handed a more straightforward task in matchweek 45, as their odds-on 1/3 price to win the Championship suggests, with QPR the team next to travel to Turf Moor having won just one of their last seven in the league.

While the Hoops managed to hold the Clarets to a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture this term, the Lancashire outfit are heavy 3/10 favourites for a home victory.

QPR (10/1) can take heart in the fact that they’ve lost just one of their last four with Burnley, but a draw at 4/1 is perhaps their best chance of taking points again.

Gray and Vokes can fire Clarets to victory

Birmingham City v Burnley - Sky Bet Championship - St Andrews

Steve Dyche can call upon the league’s top scorer this term in Championship Play of the Year Andre Gray, with 24, who is odds-on at 8/11 to strike anytime and a more enticing 3/1 to break the deadlock.

Sam Vokes has also played his part in his team’s successes so far this season, and is an even-money shout in the former market. Scott Arfield, who was on target in a 2-1 win over QPR in this fixture last term, meanwhile, is a 2/1 shout to score anytime.

For Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s underachievers, Tjaronn Chery and Matt Phillips have been best in front of goal this campaign. You can back them at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively in the same market.

Both teams have relatively full squads of players to pick from, with just Dean Marney of Burnley and QPR’s Jamie Mackie out injured.

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Coral’s top tip: Championship top scorer Andre Gray is a terrific 3/1 to score first against QPR.

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