Hull's improved record to be put to the test by Royals' Long

With their interest in the FA Cup ended by Arsenal, Leeds United can concentrate on the real business of gaining promotion back to the Premier League.

Today they visit Portsmouth, who are struggling to cope with the demands placed on their small squad.

Steve Cotterill's resources are so stretched – purse strings were tightened by chairman Balram Chainrai following their exit from administration – that he has named only four substitutes for the last two games, both defeats which have extended their losing run to four.

Hull City and Doncaster Rovers both won 3-2 at Fratton Park

on recent visits and there is little doubt Leeds can also come away with the points, while there is also a good chance that there will be plenty of goals today.

Hull's steady improvement has been matched by today's opponents Reading, with both teams winning four of their last six league games.

The Royals are now within touching distance of the play-offs thanks in no small part to the goals of Shane Long, but Hull should not be underestimated and they can take something from this game.

Barnsley fans should get to see just how much of an influence Adam Hammill was for their team as they start life without him with a home game against Swansea City.

Hammill has departed for Wolves and his goals and creativity will be sorely missed, but Swansea still look too short at odds-on to be backed to win at Oakwell.

Sheffield United are without a win in six games and face the prospect of extending that run to seven as they have a tough match against Norwich City at Bramall Lane.

The Canaries are unbeaten in five and have lost only twice away from home all season, showing their spirit with a 90th-minute equaliser against promotion rivals Cardiff last weekend.

Doncaster may find this is the ideal time to face Ipswich and get two heavy defeats out of their systems.

Ipswich, who have lost eight of their last 10 in the league, have a Carling Cup trip to Arsenal in midweek on their minds, so Rovers are worth a small interest at 12-5.

Huddersfield manager Lee Clark may regret selecting a full strength team for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy meeting with Carlisle in midweek, given the 4-0 thrashing his side received, as he will no doubt see securing promotion as vastly more significant.

Town need to show that performance was just a blip and they can do so against Colchester, who have been conceding plenty of goals in recent weeks, including a 4-2 defeat at Leyton Orient.

The Londoners host Sheffield Wednesday today, with the Owls in unpredictable form.

Their impressive 3-0 FA Cup win at Bristol City followed three away league defeats, including a 5-1 thumping at Exeter, so they cannot be relied upon to win.

In League Two, Bradford City are back in the losing habit after suffering three straight defeats.

Their visitors, Burton Albion, have won only once away from home, so it is not advisable to back either side.

It is a big day for third-placed Rotherham, who go to second-placed Wycombe.

The Millers' last two games have produced disappointing results, while top scorer Adam Le Fondre is misfiring, scoring only once in eight games. Yet their away record remains good and I fancy them to pinch the points.

Back to the top of the page