Coventry - Preston NE Betting Preview: Sky Blues to shade Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash

Two evenly-matched League One clubs meet at the Ricoh Arena in this regional semi-final but Jamie Dickenson is backing the hosts to get back to winning ways
Coventry City entertain Preston North End in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy regional semi-final, with a tie against either Crewe Alexandra or Bradford City lying in wait one step from Wembley.

While these two sides are quite evenly placed in League One - Coventry 12th and Preston 15th - the hosts are the clear favourites with Bet365 for victory priced at 10/11 (1.90).

That may seem poor value for a team that have only won three of 13 home fixtures in the league this season but visiting Preston are struggling for goals and form themselves.

The away side have scored just once in their last four matches in all competitions, and would need to address their finishing if they are to beat Coventry, an outcome priced at 14/5 (3.80).

The league meeting between these two at the Ricoh Arena just before Christmas ended 1-1, and another draw in this clash over 90 minutes is available at 13/5 (3.60).

With Mark Robins' Coventry winning 10 of their last 16 matches they have begun to turn around a dreadful start to their campaign that saw them go eight games in League One without victory.

To qualify for the semi-finals, Coventry are odds-on at 1/2 (1.50) and Preston are 6/4 (2.50), but the hosts should have enough to progress without extra-time.

The Sky Blues have averaged more than 2.8 goals a game in their last six league fixtures, and have enough firepower across the side to cope without the loss of prolific forward David McGoldrick who is now on loan at Ipswich.

Leon Clarke is the joint-third top scorer in League One from his time on loan at Scunthorpe, and he can can get Coventry off to a good start with the first goal, priced at 11/2 (6.50).

Clarke signed on a two-and-a-half year contract in the New Year from Charlton, having scored his 11 league goals in his time on loan at Glanford Park and the ex-QPR striker may be finally ready to settle down with the club.

Coventry to win at 10/11 (1.90) with Bet365
Leon Clarke to score first at 11/2 (6.50) with Bet365

Jamie Dickenson is a 22-year-old freelance journalist who specialises in football, sports and betting.

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