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The football finally returns this weekend if you love the EFL and although it's difficult to predict exactly what will happen on the opening day, we've sieved through all the games this weekend to pick out a six fold which could really keep the cold out in the Autumn and Winter months! How will JT get on this campaign? Will Birmingham be the top Midlands club - for a weekend, at least? Read on to find out more...

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ASTON VILLA VS. HULL CITY

Back Aston Villa at 11/10

As expected, Steve Bruce has been extremely active in the transfer market and has really made some good signings, winners and personnel who have plenty of Championship experience. Brucey’s up against his old club and so will summer signing Ahmed Elmohamady, who signed from the Tigers in the summer. It’s been another dodgy summer for Hull, who come into this game armed with new boss Leonid Slutsky and a few new signings with Championship experience, including the returning Fraizer Campbell and defender Michael Hector, who has signed on loan from Chelsea.


IPSWICH TOWN VS. BIRMINGHAM CITY

Back Birmingham City at 85/40

Harry Redknapp’s made some t’riffic signings for the Blues over the summer, including David Stockdale, who achieved promotion with Brighton & Hove Albion last term. Marc Roberts is another new signing who should help ensure the defence is not as leaky as it was last season, too. If their last pre-season game is anything to go by, Ipswich are set for another disappointing season. The Tractor Boys suffered an embarrassing 6-1 defeat to League 1 side Charlton last weekend and Mick McCarthy will also have decisions to make, with a virus doing the rounds amongst the squad. Bersant Celina and Tom Adeyemi are both expected to miss out, whilst there are doubts over the availability of three or four others, too.


SHREWSBURY TOWN VS. NORTHAMPTON TOWN

Back Northampton Town at 15/8

It’s been a busy last few months for Northampton who have bolstered their squad really well, adding quality right across the pitch. This will be Justin Edinburgh’s first full campaign in charge and with more than ten signings this summer, it’s clear to see he’s now putting his stamp on the team. The impressive captures of defensive pair Ash Taylor and Aaron Pierre, and the acquisition of Billy Waters are big reasons why we favour them this weekend. It’s likely to be another season of struggle for Shrewsbury, who haven’t really strengthened too much, but Jon Nolan from Chesterfield does look a pretty decent capture.


PORTSMOUTH VS. ROCHDALE

Back Portsmouth to beat Rochdale at 5/6

How many times do we see a side who have just come up continue their rise with a good start to the following season? That’s exactly what’s happened here as Portsmouth start their journey back in League 1 against Rochdale, with a new manager in place. Kenny Jackett is set for his first competitive game in charge of the Blues. Fratton Park should be rocking again, with more than 15,000 expected to be packed into the atmospheric ground. Pompey have spent well this summer, with their XI likely to include Brett Pitman, who they signed from Ipswich Town. For Rochdale, key duo Peter Vincenti and Matt Lund have both departed for Coventry City and Burton Albion respectively and it will be interesting to see how they have been replaced by Keith Hill.


LUTON TOWN VS. YEOVIL TOWN

Back Luton Town at 4/6

Nathan Jones tackles one of his old clubs on the opening day as his much fancied Luton Town team take on visitors Yeovil. Many expect Luton to be in one of the three automatic promotion places come May 2018, whilst Yeovil are one of the favourites for relegation. Jake Gray signed for Yeovil from Luton in the summer and will be aiming to prove Jones wrong in allowing him to leave. However, the hosts have spent well this window, adding James Collins to their squad from Crawley, Jack Stacey from Reading and ex-Yeovil man Marek Stech in between the sticks. They looks extremely strong this season and should have too much for their opponents from Somerset.


Feeling Lucky?...

CRAWLEY TOWN VS. PORT VALE

Back Crawley Town at 15/8

Both teams are probably set to have a pretty basic season, with the hosts more likely to be fighting off a relegation battle this season. They’ll both want to start the season well, and ironically, this was the fixture which opened Crawley’s Broadfield Stadium almost 20 years ago to the day. And it was also Port Vale, who Crawley faced in their first ever EFL game six years ago. The Valiants have added experience to their ranks this summer in the form of the versatile Lawrie Wilson, whilst Crawley – under the stewardship of former Leeds United and Liverpool winger Harry Kewell – have never lost in their six opening day matches as an EFL club.


Our Accumulator…

A six fold of Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Northampton Town, Portsmouth, Luton Town and Crawley Town returns £1,441.24 from a £10 stake.


*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.

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