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Match Previews

npower League 2 weekend preview

31 August 2012

THE BIG MATCH

Table toppers Oxford United have won their first three games of the season and will hope to maintain that record against York City this Saturday.

The match at Bootham Crescent will be a repeat of the 2010 Blue Square Premier Play-Off, which Oxford won 3-1.

It took the Minstermen two more years to finally get out of the non-league top flight and Oxford boss Chris Wilder is happy to see them back in The Football League.

He told Yellow Player: "I'm delighted to see York regain their Football League status, we should know more than anyone how difficult that is. On Saturday there will be a lot of positivity around the place.

"They were promoted in the right way and they didn't 'splash cash' ridiculously. They did it in a sensible proper way. "

York have made a steady start to life back in the League, too.

After an opening day 3-1 loss against Wycombe Wanderers, Gary Mills' side have picked up four points - drawing 2-2 away at Morecambe and winning 3-1 on the road against Barnet last weekend.

The U's, meanwhile, have triumphed against Bristol Rovers, Southend United and Plymouth Argyle - scoring six and conceding just once.

Wilder is satisfied with his side's start but knows York will be a tough nut to crack.

"Three games into the new season and I can't complain. I want to be sat on the bus coming home from York with that unbeaten run still intact and still being top of the league," he added.

"We're going to have to produce a decent performance against a decent opposition."

Gary Mills has bolstered his side with three new players this week.

Experienced duo Clarke Carlisle and Scott Dobie have signed, and Leeds United prospect Charlie Taylor has joined the club on loan.

On the signing of Carlisle and Dobie, Mills commented on www.yorkcityfootballclub: "I'm delighted to get a good player like Clarke [Carlisle] into the club. With that he brings a lot of experience, a lot of leadership and a lot of quality.

"Scott [Dobie] has had an unbelievable career and is still only 33. I think he's one hell of a player, I've had a good chat with him and the door's not been open for him anywhere. But the door's open for him here, and it's down to him now to come and be a success here at York."

KEEP AN EYE ON

Gillingham are the other side in npower League 2 to have a perfect start to the season, with nine points from three games, and they have a visit to Chesterfield to contend with this weekend.

Unlike the Gills, the Spireites have had a far from perfect start to their 2012/13 campaign.

After relegation from npower League 1 last term, Chesterfield have managed just two points from their first three matches this season, which led to the sacking of John Sheridan this week.

The former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder guided the club to the npower League 2 title in 2010/11 and won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last term under the arch at Wembley.

However, after a slow start this time around, he was shown the door at the Proact Stadium.

Tommy Wright has been placed in temporary charge and he believes the Spireites are positive ahead of their trip to the Priestfield Stadium.

"We've been together, we're quite close-knit and the dressing room is good," Wright told www.chesterfield-fc.co.uk.

"The new lads that have come in over the summer have settled well, there's not really any problems.

"I've been here from day one, they know me from being a coach and I've got a good relationship with them so we'll just go there and try and win the game."

The Gills know full well how a new manager can have an instant impact, with Martin Allen, who took over at the club over the summer, producing a very positive start to the season with victories against Bradford City, Wycombe and Dagenham and Redbridge.

Despite the winning run, Allen certainly isn't getting ahead of himself and is focused fully on this weekend's fixture.

"It's a long season," he told www.gillinghamfootballclub.com, "it's only just started and there's a long, long way to go. It is a good start for us, there's no doubt about it.

"Every game is hard - you have to earn the right to play and you have to have that intense passion and desire and calmness and quality to win games and football supporters, players and managers all know you have to be right at it if you're going to win any game you play and this one is no different on Saturday.

"We use the cliche take one game at a time - we will prepare for the game on Saturday and when it finishes at five o'clock it has been well documented preparation starts right away with the warm down, food and the ice baths."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Cheltenham Town sit third in the division, with seven points, and they have a home tie against Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

The Robins were defeated in last season's npower League 2 Play-Off Final but have responded well, with wins against Dagenham and Redbridge and Aldershot, and a draw against Torquay United.

Striker Shaun Harrad, who joined the club over the summer on loan from Bury, has scored in each of their three games and will hope to notch another against a Stanley side who have six points from their first three matches.

Torquay United and Southend United were the other two sides that fell short in the Play-Offs last term and they are up against Port Vale and Wycombe Wanderers respectively this weekend.

The Gulls have begun well, winning once and drawing twice, while Southend have had a below-par start to the 2012/13 npower League 2 season.

They are yet to win and their only point from the first three matches came right at the death against Northampton Town last weekend, Ryan Cresswell scoring in injury time to grab a point for the Shrimpers.

Northampton will want to respond from being denied all three points as they head to Plymouth Argyle, another side with just one point so far.

Bristol Rovers and Barnet also have a single point each and they are up against Morecambe and Rochdale respectively.

The Gas have played a game less, though, with their tie last weekend against Wycombe being abandoned for safety reasons. It was a bitter pill to swallow for boss Mark McGhee as his side were well on their way to three points, leading 3-1. They will take confidence from that, though, into their fixture with Jim Bentley's Morecambe.

Elsewhere, there's an all-Yorkshire tie at the New York Stadium as Rotherham United host Bradford City.

Steve Evans' side have had a fairly inconsistent start - drawing, winning and losing in their first three matches - while Bradford have managed two wins, the latest being a 5-1 thumping of AFC Wimbledon. The Bantams also defeated npower Championship side Watford 2-1 in the Capital One Cup to reach Round 3 of the competition.

That 5-1 mauling at the hands of Bradford was Wimbledon's second loss on the bounce - losing 6-2 to Burton Albion in the previous match.

Terry Brown will be after more from his players as they come up against Dagenham and Redbridge this Saturday.

Burton are also fresh off the back of a Capital One Cup win, as they beat Leicester City 4-2 on Tuesday. Their opponents this week are Exeter City.

The final fixture in League 2 is at Fleetwood Town's Highbury Stadium, where the Cod Army meet Aldershot Town.

Click here for all the weekend's action


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