Lays of the Weekend: MK Dons to suffer in huge promotion shake-up

Lay Middlesbrough to win at Fulham @ [1.7]

This should be the dream penultimate fixture for automatic promotion-thirsty Middlesbrough. A recent improvement in form has ensured that Fulham are mathematically safe from relegation, but incapable of climbing any higher than 15th in their closing two games.

So you have to question Aitor Karanka’s logic in making comments which risk firing up opponents who should otherwise be lacking motivation. The Hartlepool Mail quoted him as saying: “At the beginning, they had very high investment and now we are playing to get to the top of the table and they are playing for nothing… it’s nice and I think it shows everybody the spirit of the team.”

Pitching it as a battle between Fulham’s wallet and Middlesbrough’s heart, and crediting his squad’s unity for enabling them to soar – by extension implying that the Cottagers are lacking in that department – was a needless direction in which to steer his media briefings.

There are several alarm bells hinting that Fulham will be a threat if in the mood. The Londoners are unbeaten in four and defeated the duo right below Middlesbrough – Norwich and Derby – at Craven Cottage. Boro have lost four in six on their travels compared to two in 15 before and key trio Patrick Bamford, Albert Adomah and Jelle Vossen are all reportedly doubts, despite completing the journey.

Lay MK Dons to win at Rochdale @ [1.82]

MK Dons are on their fiercest run of the season, yet that is no guarantee of victory against Rochdale, for whom this encounter is just as important: anything other than three points will render the play-offs out of bounds.

The Dale are often at their best on big occasions, which is how they conquered Preston 3-0 and won at Swindon and Bradford. They have also done a fine job turning Spotland into a fortress, prevailing in nine of their 11 clashes with fellow FL72 members in 2015, including six of the latest seven.

Even on their current hot streak, MK Dons haven’t been masterful on the road, winning an unspectacular four from nine since the start of February, while they were held by Rochdale in the stadiummk showdown.

Lay Wycombe to beat Morecambe @ [1.57]

The 81 points that Wycombe have already obtained would have been enough to deliver automatic promotion in three of the past four League Two campaigns. They themselves went up with 78 points in 2008/09 and 80 in 2010/11.

However, the Chairboys are only third and have two pursuers applying excruciating pressure. Southend moved level on points following six straight wins to nil and Bury are two back after 11 triumphs in 14. Gareth Ainsworth’s men have shown the strain, winning a mere two in five.

Throughout 2014/15, their home record has been the worst of the top eight and Morecambe aren’t a club that you want to be facing if you have problems in that department. Though sitting 12th may suggest that they are nothing special, the Shrimps’ results away to the top nine read: P8 W5 D2 L1.