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Match Previews

npower League 2 midweek preview

21 August 2012

THE BIG MATCH

Torquay United will welcome Cheltenham Town back to Plainmoor with a real sense of revenge in their minds in npower League 2.

Both clubs may only have a short history between them having first met in 2000, but there is a very quick developing feeling of rivalry in those 21 fixtures. It may well be spread evenly with eight wins a piece and five draws, but last season was one to forget for Torquay.

United managed to pick up four points in the league with a 1-0 victory and 2-2 draw but then went on to lose in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and even more despairingly in both legs of the Play-Offs semi final.

But with a new season brings new hope for the Gulls faithful and after a solid goalless draw with newly-promoted and title favourites Fleetwood Town, expectations are high.

Manager Martin Ling was satisfied with the point and told www.torquayunited.com: "It was a sound first half without real movement in our play but we started to ask questions in the second half, and had a couple of chances.

"We were more like our old self in the second half and closer to what we were for most of last year against a team second favourites for the league. It is a hard-won point and a lot of plusses defensively."

Keeping a clean sheet against Cheltenham may be a tough ask considering the Robins found the net 66 times in the league last season.

Town managed to kick things off in style with a 2-0 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge - something manager Mark Yates will be keen to kick on from as he hopes to go one better than last year's Play-Offs final defeat at the hands of Crewe Alexandra.

"We were delighted with the three points on Saturday and the performance was decent enough without being spectacular," Yates toldwww.ctfc.com. "It was a clean sheet and there were many, many positives but we are still bedding in new players and it's all about getting back to winning matches on a consecutive basis again and that's the plan.

"We'll have to be on our guard. Their fans, management and players may be baying for blood and want revenge but we'll need to be cool, calm and collected.

"We know it's a tough place to go but we also know we're capable of going there and getting something from the game..

"They are a good side side and Martin [Ling] is a good manager. They got a good point at the weekend but it's a game we're looking forward to. It'll be a tough game."

KEEP AN EYE ON

Northampton Town kick off their first home game of the season by opening their doors to promotion favourites Rotherham United.

The Cobblers ended last season in impressive form, pulling well away from the relegation zone after a disappointing early campaign. When Aidy Boothroyd took over in November 2011, Town were six points adrift from safety and looked unlikely to beat the drop, but he soon guided the club away from danger, giving fans a real hope of better things to come this season.

The ex-Watford boss is no stranger to success and knows all about the recipe for promotion having guided the Hornets to the top flight in 2006. Boothroyd seemed happy with his side's opening performance at Rochdale, despite the goalless draw.

"We defended well and in order to be successful you have got to be able to dig out a point here and there. Every day has got to be a good defending day," he toldwww.ntfc.co.uk. "We are an unknown quantity at the moment and we've got work to do but it's up to us to keep improving.

"We'll keep getting better and I think the fact that the players are disappointed with a point shows their mentality and what they want to achieve this season.

"All in all we've got a lot to do but it's exciting because we know that we can get better."

This may need to be the case as the Cobblers face the bookies' favourite Rotherham United. The Millers kicked off their season in npower League 2 with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over stiff opposition in Burton Albion.

Boss Steve Evans is under no illusion about the task in hand as his side faces a tough midweek visit to Sixfields.

"It will be as hard a fixture as we will face at any time this season, Northampton Town have a certain style of play but I expect my players to stand up to the physical battle we will get," he told www.themillers.co.uk.

"This is one opposition I expect to challenge for promotion as they have a number of top class players for the level we play.

"Hopefully our supporters will travel in good numbers and if they can give us the same fantastic vocal backing that they gave us recently at Hull City that will be greatly appreciated by every player who on the night wears a Millers shirt."

And looking at the recent history books there's not too much between the sides as the last four encounters have ended in draws with a whopping 12 goals scored. Rotherham have the slight edge with 16 wins - three more than the Cobblers - and will be hoping they can add to that tally despite another tough fixture.

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Accrington Stanley play host to Port Vale at the Crown Ground after picking up a hard-fought 1-0 victory over one of npower League 2's promotion favourites, Southend United.

Stanley dug in deep, much to the frustration opposition manager Paul Sturrock, and will be keen to build on that result against a Port Vale team that brushed aside Barnet comfortably with a 3-0 win on the opening of the campaign.

Aldershot Town take on Exeter City and will go into the game with a lot of confidence after getting their season off in the right fashion with a solid 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle.

The Shots will be buoyed further by the visitors' seemingly comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Morecambe. Manager Paul Tidsdale will be wondering where it went wrong but his side have an immediate opportunity to put things right at the Recreation Ground.

Morecambe will hope to follow that success up by beating York City, who made their return to The Football League with an opening-day defeat against Wycombe Wanderers.

Following their victory over the Minstermen, Gillingham are next up for the Chairboys.

Bradford City face Fleetwood Town with the Bantams, once of the Premier League, hoping they can teach newly promoted Fleetwood Town a lesson in life in The Football League.

The Bantams lost their opening fixture 3-1 to Gillingham but certainly showed they were no pushovers which means Fleetwood could be in for another tough evening in npower League 2 following their goalless draw to Torquay.

Elsewhere Burton Albion welcome AFC Wimbledon to the Pirelli Stadium after being soundly beaten by Rotherham at the weekend. And that 3-0 defeat will no doubt spur on manager Gary Rowett to make a real go of it in front of their fans against the Dons.

AFC Wimbledon will be very pleased with their start to the campaign after a solid 1-0 victory over Chesterfield and will be hoping they can push on from last season's maiden adventure in The League.

Chesterfield will be hoping they can bounce straight back after their defeat on the opening day with a home win over Rochdale.

But this won't be an easy task against a Dale side that looked particularly solid against Northampton in their goalless draw on the first game of the season.

The remaining fixture see Dagenham and Redbridge square up to Plymouth Argyle, Southend United visit Oxford United and Barnet host Bristol Rovers.

Click here for all the midweek action


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