SKYBET: Gradel looks capable of cracking Championship’s top defence

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With so many teams still involved in the promotion race, the key games in the Championship keep coming thick and fast.

Today, Leeds visit second-placed Swansea at lunchtime, while ever-improving Hull tackle third-placed Cardiff.

The task facing Leeds is to break down the division’s best home defence, with Swansea having conceded just six goals in 16 games at the Liberty Stadium.

That is an outstanding record, but free-scoring United will fancy their chances of putting a dent in it.

Simon Grayson’s side has failed to score only once in the last 22 matches and only twice away from home all season.

Max Gradel has scored 12 goals in his last 22 games, including two against Barnsley on Tuesday, and can be backed at 3-1 to score in 90 minutes.

Hull’s home defensive record is second only to Swansea’s, with just eight goals scored by the visitors at the KC Stadium this season.

Cardiff’s array of attacking talent is perhaps the best in the division, but after only one defeat in 18 league outings, the Tigers will be confident of keeping them at bay.

Defences are likely to be on top in this one and as with the recent visit of QPR, backing ‘No Goalscorer’ could pay dividends.

Norwich, who sit in fifth place, will be hoping that those two games are drawn so they can take advantage by winning at Barnsley.

However, the Tykes have been beaten only three times at Oakwell this season and have beaten both Leeds and Nottingham Forest there.

Their 3-3 draw at Elland Road in midweek underlined the fact that they can still play a part in shaping the promotion race, even if they are destined to finish in mid-table.

Norwich have scored and conceded in nine of their last 10 away games, so backing both teams to score could be the best option.

Injury-hit Doncaster surprised the Canaries with a late equaliser at Carrow Road on Tuesday, but have taken just four points from their last nine games.

Normally I would expect Watford to pick up the points at the Keepmoat Stadium, but Malky Mackay’s men are without a win in eight games, so this game is one to swerve.

If Sheffield United are going to avoid relegation, they need to be taking maximum points against the likes of Derby, who have won only one of their last 15 games. The sale of Kris Commons to Celtic knocked the stuffing out of the Rams, but even that does not make the Blades backable at 13-10.

Sheffield Wednesday showed an improvement of sorts by holding Bournemouth to a goalless draw on Tuesday, although for that they had a woeful penalty miss from in-form Cherries striker Michael Symes to thank. They go to Carlisle without a win in 10 league games and having already been beaten twice by the Cumbrians this season – evidence to suggest Carlisle are generously priced at 13-10.

Huddersfield’s opponents Leyton Orient may well have their minds on Wednesday’s FA Cup replay at Arsenal, but if they can maintain their focus they will provide a real test.

Plenty of punters will look to Bradford to get a result against Stockport, but I would not want to rely on a City side that tends to perform better against the division’s leading lights.

Rotherham go to Burton, who are in a slightly false position due to having played only 26 games. The Brewers were recent 1-0 home winners over leaders Chesterfield and that should serve as a warning to the Millers.

Swansea v Leeds - Max Gradel to score

Barnsley v Norwich – Both teams to score

Hull v Cardiff – No Goalscorer

Carlisle to beat Sheffield Wednesday

Burton to beat Rotherham