Fred Done, co-founder of Birchwood-based Betfred, talks 'balls and odds' in his Warrington Guardian column

TWO Manchester superstars are fighting for favouritism at Betfred in the race to be the next BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In one corner is Tyson Fury, and in the red corner is of course Marcus Rashford.

Fury is currently the EVS favourite, having transformed his out-of-ring demeanour as well as reaching the very top of the heavyweight boxing scene once again.

But it is United star Rashford who is currently doing all the running, having come in from 100/1 to 4/1 following his efforts on Monday to persuade the Government to continue providing free school meals for vulnerable children during the school holidays.

Rashford, 22, who was brought up in Wythenshawe, Manchester, has done so much to show the other side of how a pro footballer can use his public platform for the common good.

Rashford, who has already helped raise around £20m with charity FairShare to supply three million meals for youngsters during lockdown, has revealed that he himself had to rely on breakfast clubs and free school meals when he was growing up.

In his letter to the House of Commons, Rashford pleads for political affiliations to be put aside, asking: “Can we not all agree that no child should go to bed hungry?”

The emergence of both Fury and Rashford has seen Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson and Lewis Hamilton drift out to 7/1 in the race to be the next SPOTY.

This takes some believing but Joe Wicks, the fitness guru who did much to keep families fit during lockdown, has amazingly got in there and attracted some support – now into 8/1.

Rashford will figure of course now he’s back from injury as United visit Tottenham Hotspur on Friday.

For me it is the pick of the matches, with not just Rashford, Paul Pogba, but Harry Kane also figuring in what is traditionally an exciting fixture.

Betfred have United at 7/5 to win – and Rashford 7/2 to score first.

My friends on Merseyside will disagree that the Tottenham fixture is the most attractive, for there is of course the small matter of a Merseyside Derby that will have a big impact on just when Liverpool lift the title.

It’s great that we’re back in business with all our high street shops in England now open again – and it’s a treble boost with Royal Ascot all this week, and of course Premier League football returning.

Let’s hope everyone does the right thing and we can beat the pandemic and all get back to our normal way of lives ASAP.