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Bristol City firm favourites for JP Trophy win over Walsall at Wembley

| 22.03.2015

Bristol City are unbeaten in their last five meetings with Walsall, winning four, so Coral make Steve Cotterill’s men odds-on 5/6 favourites to win the Football League Trophy in 90 minutes this Sunday.

This lower league competition, sponsored by Johnstone’s Paint, represents third and fourth tier teams’ best chance of scooping silverware, and previous recent winners include current Premier League pair Southampton and Swansea City.

The Saddlers, who are 14 places below the Robins in League One and on just over half as many points, are 11/4 outsiders to win at Wembley, but stats like that go out of the window.

Dean Smith’s side have knocked out Rochdale, Sheffield United and Preston North End, all promotion rivals of third tier table toppers Bristol City, en route to reaching this final, and they must be taken seriously.

Walsall leading marksman Tom Bradshaw is key to the West Midlands outfit having any chance of upsetting the Robins, and should be fit. He has 16 across all competitions this term, and could be one Wales national coach Chris Coleman is keeping an eye on.

At 22, Bradshaw still has bags of potential, and punters can cash in on at that if you back him to score anytime for the Saddlers at 15/8.

While Walsall are all about one man up front, Cotterill brings an embarrassment of riches by comparison to Wembley. Target man Matt Smith, so destructive in their semi-final win over Gillingham, is back at Fulham now, so the scoring burden falls on four City forwards.

Aaron Wilbraham, now a veteran at 35, has as many goals as Bradshaw, and is a 6/5 anytime chance, or better at 9/2 to grab the opener having done so last time out against Crewe Alexandra.

Kieran Agard, meanwhile, is also in double figures, and 5/4 to increase his tally here. It’s withdrawn attackers Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (7/4 anytime) and Luke Freeman (9/4) who represent the best value.

Punters should also consider Robins centre back Aden Flint, who has proved a real set piece threat this term. Eight goals is an impressive return, and odds of 11/2 say he can chip in with another here.

It all depends on how much impact Saddlers striker Bradshaw can make against an impressive City defence. If he’s not on his game, then a Robins win to nil at 2/1 looks a worthy investment.

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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.