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In The Mixer: North West pair tipped for EFL Trophy glory

Updated on 10:21am GMT 5 December 2023
In The Mixer: North West pair tipped for EFL Trophy glory

Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.

In The Mixer is FST’s weekly column where we catch up with our team of football betting experts and get their opinion on the hot topic of the week.

The EFL Trophy knockout stages begin this week and we’ve asked our team of experts to pick out their winners. Defending champions Bolton have got a bit of support and 7/1 favourites Derby have also been backed, while one of our experts has identified an interesting outsider at 33/1.

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Bolton & Derby Dominate Expert Picks

Joe Casey

Big teams have come to dominate the EFL Trophy in recent years and they look likely to do so again this season.

Bolton have been flying in League One this term and are worth supporting to carry that form over into this competition.

Ian Evatt’s men are the top scorers in the second tier and can blow away teams at this level, as proven by their recent 7-0 win over Exeter and their 5-1 victory against Harrogate last time out.

A draw against Port Vale is winnable and from there, Wanderers’ attacking talents mean they may take some stopping.

Joe Champion

In what looks a hugely competitive betting heat, it could be worth backing Bolton to sustain an EFL Trophy bid in tandem with their attempts to seal promotion to the Championship.

The Trotters have been going great guns in League One, winning six matches on the spin before last week’s goalless draw with Oxford, and they returned to winning ways with a 5-1 triumph over Harrogate in the FA Cup second round on Saturday.

While their commitments on a number of fronts could hamper their hopes of a Wembley win, Ian Evatt’s men have been taking this competition seriously, scoring 13 goals to top their group.

A knockout tie with Port Vale holds no fears for Bolton, who have the class to go all the way.

Jack Ogalbe

Derby boss Paul Warne lifted this trophy with Rotherham and could do the same with the Rams.

The club looks to be on the mend after a difficult few years and Warne’s experience of both winning this tournament and guiding a side to promotion in the same season hints that they will be able to maintain their momentum on multiple fronts.

Derby head into Tuesday’s Round of 32 tie against Fleetwood on the back of four wins in five in all competitions and the Rams look to have both the squad and the coach to go all the way.

Aaron Rogan

With a trip to Wembley up for grabs, League One’s biggest sides have been taking the EFL Trophy seriously in recent years. Derby boss Paul Warne has experience of that, having led Rotherham to glory in 2022.

The Rams have really clicked into gear of late, winning four straight League One games, scoring 10 times and conceding just once. Warne’s side have won every one of their EFL Trophy games this season, while their FA Cup exit gives them room to focus on this competition.

Wigan Offer A Value Option

James Milton

Wigan’s home clash with Stockport is one of the ties of the first knockout round and the Latics are worth supporting at around 33/1 in the outright betting.

Getting past the rampant League Two leaders will not be easy but Wigan have home advantage and would be challenging for playoff places in League One but for their eight-point deduction.

Lincoln, another League One side, merit a bet at the same price as Wigan. The Imps, who travel to fourth-tier Accrington in the last 32, have suffered six league defeats this term but five of those came against the top five in the division.

Aidan Perkins

Portsmouth, who are top of League One, have got a decent home draw against League Two Wimbledon in the round of 32, and I think they could be the team to beat overall.

Unlike some of the other fancied teams left in, they are also out of the FA Cup, so the EFL Trophy moves higher up their priority list.

Six Premier League U21 academy sides have made it through to the last 32 but it would be a major shock if any of them progressed much further as the competition becomes more serious with League One and Two clubs beginning to eye a trip to Wembley.

Tom McGarry

The big teams from League One have taken the EFL Trophy seriously in recent years, with the likes of Portsmouth, Sunderland, Rotherham and Bolton all triumphing since 2019.

With that in mind, Oxford could offer plenty of value to go all the way this year, as they appear to have settled into life under new manager Des Buckingham after the recent departure of previous boss Liam Manning.

Promotion is the priority for the U’s this season, but winning breeds confidence and a run to Wembley would surely help their cause. A winnable last 32 tie against League Two strugglers Forest Green also adds credence to their EFL Trophy chances.

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