Bournemouth spending, Bruce’s back, the bowler

With some big league games to come midweek, Benjamin Bloom is here to explain everything you need to know, with Betfair odds throughout.

MATCH TO WATCH – Cardiff City v Peterborough
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of some games, but the last five clash between Cardiff and Peterborough could all but reduce the relegation battle from five teams to four. As things stand, Peterborough sit in the last relegation spot on 20 points, with Reading sitting just one place and two points clear after playing one game more. The next position is where we find Cardiff; like Reading, they have played one game more than Peterborough, but they are still seven points clear.

In short, if Cardiff were to win this game, they would be 12 points clear of safety with 17 games remaining. It would surely be an insurmountable gap for Peterborough to jump and based on that theory would reduce potential Championship relegation to three teams in the bottom four. From Peterborough’s perspective, it doesn’t matter if it’s one or ten teams that could end up in the bottom three as long as there’s ultimately someone to chase. That being said, we’ve seen this movie before and often when one or more teams are adrift, we see the mythical “surrender index” kick in and winning becomes that much harder.

If a defeat at Peterborough leaves Cardiff too much of a gap, a rare away win for the Posh would keep them just about within reach. Such a result would see them move within six points of the Welsh side and if Reading were to lose to Bristol City they would be out of the bottom three. Add to that the fact that 23rd-placed Derby take on 19th-placed Hull and it looks like we’ll know a lot more about who and how many teams are in danger of relegation by the end of this midweek round.

Cardiff beat Peterborough – 17/20 (Betfair)

TEAM TO WATCH – Bournemouth
The transfer window was dominated by Bournemouth’s buying spree on deadline day. Kieffer Moore, Nat Phillips, Freddie Woodman, Todd Cantwell and Siriki Dembele arrived, as the team in red and black went all-in on promotion. Arrivals at Bournemouth prompted typically mixed responses. Cherries fans were understandably excited – surely a third-place side adding such extra quality with 18 games to go can catch up that spot needed to cross the line and return to the Premier League. Fans of rivals Bournemouth showed a mixture of fear, outrage and envy as the age-old conversation about the financial imbalance in the Championship returned to the fore.

Unfortunately, these debates almost instantly become partisan and this tends to take away a lot of credibility. In my personal experience, getting a fan of a team with parachute payouts to think balanced about the potential upside can be a very difficult task. Those around Bournemouth have rightly pointed out that the Cherries have raised a lot of money from player sales since relegation, but as with all financial matters in football, we will only know the truth about the balance sheet once age after the action. field. In situations like this we get little agreement and the truth is the problems are systemic rather than an evil of Bournemouth or a perceived virtue of any other club.

Hopefully all eyes are on the pitch now and certainly all eyes on Bournemouth as their new side take on Birmingham. Read what you want there, but after reinforcing so aggressively, many will want to see Bournemouth slip now and not be promoted. It doesn’t quite solve anything, Bournemouth are not the first and will not be the last in this position and although they and all other parachute teams may benefit from it they are certainly not the only ones responsible for the system they are part of.

Bournemouth beat Birmingham – 8/15 (Betfair)

MANAGER TO WATCH – Steve Bruce (West Brom)
Bournemouth’s spending wasn’t the only divisional issue this week as Steve Bruce made his Championship return on the hot seat at West Brom. Valerien Ismael’s short-lived era ended in record time, with the Frenchman’s reputation now in need of some rehabilitation. Unless Ismael comes back and wins the Championship, his rapid rise at Barnsley and fall at West Brom will qualify him as a one-season wonder.

Someone who is definitely not a one-season wonder is Ismael’s replacement Steve Bruce; he’s been a manager for decades and has four championship promotions on his CV. There is, however, something that divides Steve Bruce and asking different sets of fans will give you very different and not unreasonable points of view. Talk to a Birmingham or Hull fan and they’ll probably praise Bruce, talk to a Sheffield United or Aston Villa fan and they might have a different view.

I was always brought up to treat people the way I find them, so I respect the differing opinions of all the fans whose club Bruce has run. Apart from individual club bubbles, the general perception of Steve Bruce has not been helped by all the fuss over his last job at Newcastle. Obviously, Mike Ashley’s absent ownership style was the biggest issue for Magpies fans, but they weren’t too fond of Bruce either.

It sounds like a simple equation for Bruce. West Brom are currently in sixth place, have ample resources and are widely seen as underperforming. It stands to reason that any improvement over what we would reasonably expect would likely see them in the play-offs and three games away from promotion. Despite all the criticism of Bruce’s style at Newcastle, fans of the clubs he has been successful at would argue things would be different with better resources. I guess we’re about to find out over the rest of this season and the 18-month contract he’s signed, whether Bruce is indeed right or wrong.

West Brom beat Sheff Utd – 2/1 (Betfair)

PLAYER TO WATCH – Josh Bowler (Blackpool)
I had been all excited about a chain reaction of right wingers all bought and sold on deadline day. The theory centered on Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson, with Brentford interested in taking the youngster to the Premier League and depositing a huge wad of cash in the Championship. If that didn’t happen, they would try to get Keane Lewis-Potter through Hull instead, which would have similar consequences. If any of those players had to leave move-bound players to replace them, there was Millwall’s Jed Wallace and Blackpool’s Josh Bowler. Both men are hugely important to their sides, but perhaps the drop in Premier League money could have been compelling.

Well, I sat there all day waiting for something to happen and nothing happened. Much to the relief of the fans of the clubs in question, all of these wingers stayed put, although perhaps some Millwall fans would have considered it time to cash in on Wallace with his contract expiring at the end of the season. . Forest fans will be particularly pleased as Brennan Johnson may have already added a bit more to his transfer value after starring in their nationally televised demolition of Premier League side Leicester City in the FA Cup.

Further down the chain, Blackpool’s Josh Bowler is also keeping up appearances. Bowler is in fine form and has now scored four goals in his last seven league games as Blackpool appear to be regaining their form. Bowler has scored in his last two games sweeping home to help Pool score a point against leaders Fulham and topple the Bristol City defense in the weekend’s win at Bloomfield Road. If Bowler and his fellow winged wonders continue to impress in the rest of the season, we may be able to see some of the Deadline Day fireworks that didn’t come when the window reopens again in the summer.

Josh Bolwer all-time goalscorer – 6/1 (Betfair)

Odds correct at time of publication. 18+ Please gamble responsibly. Visit

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