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Championship - Football: Can Barnsley beat the drop?

Barnsley have given their hopes of survival a massive shot in the arm over recent weeks by winning three of their last four Championship outings.

The Tykes have been in the relegation zone since 2nd October and they sat rock-bottom throughout January and February.

However, they have recently shown an upturn in form, winning two of their last three, and have subsequently climbed to 22nd.

Safety in sights

Barnsley are six points from safety with a game in hand on Reading, who sit 21st, and they still have to play the Royals.

To put their recent form into context, the South Yorkshire club had won just twice in their opening 29 games.

With momentum on their side, Poya Asbaghi might be on the path to pulling off a remarkable survival bid and will hope to see his side boost their hopes at Derby on Saturday.

Barnsley can be backed at 11/4 to win, with the Rams at 23/20 in the 15:00 encounter, while the draw is available at 21/10.

Derby have performed admirably amid ongoing financial issues but following a 21-point deduction, they look set for the drop.

The Rams have played 35 games, two more than Barnsley, and they are one place and two points shy of Saturday's opponents after losing three in a row.

January boost for Barnsley

Barnsley are the lowest scorers in the league, netting just 24 times, but their January business has given them a boost in the final third.

Amine Bassi and Domingos Quina, who both signed on-loan for the rest of the term, have been key to their recent revival.

Bassi came in from Metz and has chipped in with two goals and one assist in five Championship appearances, notching twice in the 3-2 win at home to Middlesbrough. Meanwhile, Quina signed on-loan from Watford after failing to have an impact at Fulham during the first half of the term.

The former West Ham man struck the only goal in a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers and can be backed at 11/2 to score anytime against Derby, while Bassi is 11/2.

The reverse fixture ended in a 2-1 triumph for the Tykes and they are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Derby.

Saturday's game becomes even more important for Barnsley when taking into account the difficulty of the fixtures on the horizon.

They host Stoke and Fulham in their next two games before finishing off the month against playoff contenders Sheffield United.

Millwall making moves

Millwall have emerged as outside contenders to secure a top-six spot after picking up four successive victories.

They will be confident of making that five from five when they travel to struggling Reading at 15:00 on Saturday.

The Lions are 29/20 to pick up all three points against 2/1 Reading with the draw priced at 9/4.

Millwall's success has largely been built on solid home performances, picking up 32 of their 49 points at The Den, but Reading have the fourth-worst home record in the division.

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It's also worth noting that Milwall have enjoyed their recent meetings with Reading, winning three of the last four, including a 2-1 victory in the reverse.

Reading head into this fixture off the back of a 4-1 defeat at Blackpool and with the worst defensive record in the Championship, conceding 67.

At least three goals have been scored in 21 of their 34 engagements this term and over 2.5 goals can be backed at 6/5.

Blackburn braced for tough Fulham test

Blackburn are firmly in the mix for a playoff spot but their hopes of automatic promotion have taken a significant hit over recent weeks.

They head into Saturday's 12:30 clash at Fulham sitting fourth and four points adrift of second-placed Bournemouth, but they've played three games more than the Cherries.

Rovers' season took a turn for the better after they fell to an embarrassing 7-0 loss to Fulham at Ewood Park on 2nd November.

Tony Mowbray's side responded immediately with a victory over Sheffield United and they embarked on a 10-game unbeaten run, which included eight wins.

Their form has tailed off over recent weeks and they head to the capital with just one win from their last six outings, having failed to score in five of those games.

The Lancashire club are also without a win or a goal in five on the road and that doesn't bode well ahead of their trip to Craven Cottage.

Fulham have the best home record in the league, losing just three of 18, and they have been free-scoring on their own patch, netting a league-high 43.

The league leaders are 4/9 to earn back-to-back victories over 15/2 Blackburn and the draw is available at 10/3.

Mitro could be the man

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Cardiff last time out, his third in the last two games, to take his season tally to a remarkable 34.

The Serbian has already broken the record for the most goals registered in a single Championship campaign and can be backed at 5/2 to score first.

He has scored at least two goals on 10 occasions this term and is priced at 3/1 to score two or more this weekend.

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