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Back luck of the Irish in Preston Blades battle on St Patrick’s Day

| 17.03.2014

League One outfit and FA Cup semi-finalists Sheffield United are English football’s form side, having won 10 matches in a row going into their Roses derby clash at Preston North End.

In honour of St Patrick’s Day, Coral are offering special odds of 6/1 on Irish midfielders Keith Keane or Michael Doyle scoring anytime for their respective clubs. Both players last netted in October, so they are long overdue a goal.

Nigel Clough’s Blades have come away with victories on their last two visits to Lancashire, but start as 13/5 outsiders to extend their winning run as Preston chase promotion (2/1 to go up) via the play-offs. North End are 11/10 for three home points, but have beaten the Steel City side just once in their last five encounters.

A draw is 9/4 and Simon Grayson’s team have shared the spoils in two of their last three matches at Deepdale. Because of their sensational recent run, United could even make a late surge for the third-tier’s top-six themselves. Back the Blades at 9/2 to make it into the play-offs.

United have kept seven clean sheets in a row, so Coral’s 5/2 price on them shutting out their hosts or 13/4 on the visitors winning to nil are amazing value.

Each of Preston’s last five league outings, meanwhile, have seen both them and the opposition score, so odds of 9/2 on a home victory and this happening again are alternatively attractive.

This encounter pairs two teams that are a threat from all areas. Each of the Blades’ last six strikes have come from different players. North End’s leading marksman Joe Garner has three in his last four, so take even-money on the 20-goal attacker netting anytime.

Chris Porter, United’s hero against Nottingham Forest off the bench, has never suffered defeat against Preston in six attempts. He is 2/1 for a goal anytime.

Alternatively, Clough could start with Billy Paynter, who has two in his last three in matches with Preston. Back him to score at a better price of 11/4.

Punters seeking the best value must look at a 1-0 away win for the Blades at 17/2 – each of their last three away games has ended with this result. Take that price on a narrow victory that keeps Clough’s momentum going.

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Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.