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Worries for West Ham as Reading and Southampton keep winning

| 12.03.2012

Southampton are once again considered the favourites to win the Championship at 11/8 after pulling three points clear at the top courtesy of a 2-0 victory over out-of-sorts Barnsley.

Adam Lallana found the net twice as the table-topping Saints recorded just their third win in seven at St Mary’s, and the result was lended extra significance by former frontrunners West Ham being held at home by Doncaster.

The Irons dominated the opening spell of their fixture but faded frighteningly after January arrival Ricardo Vaz Te departed with a hamstring injury after 25 minutes, allowing their second-bottom guests to take charge.

James Coppinger got the all-important equaliser but it was El-Hadji Diouf, who looked set to sign for Sam Allardyce’s side earlier in the season only for fan discontent to help derail a deal, who inflicted much of the damage.

The east Londoners remain 13/8 second favourites despite a fourth successive draw in front of their very demanding supporters, however it is Reading possessing all the momentum right now following their eighth win in a row.

Brian McDermott’s men enjoyed a 3-1 triumph over Leicester to pull level with West Ham in second. They are back in action on Tuesday at Doncaster, where three points will see them join Southampton on top, albeit with an inferior goal difference.

Their status as the division’s form team doesn’t prevent them being rated the third most likely champions at 11/5, perhaps because they must still visit West Ham and Southampton, in addition to Brighton and Birmingham.

The Royals meanwhile are 10/11 to keep their run going at the Keepmoat Stadium against Doncaster, whose point at West Ham was only the sixth that they have earned from a possible 36 when facing the top six this season.



Richard Anderson