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Match Previews

npower League 2 weekend preview

28 September 2012


There's another tasty clash at the top of npower League 2 this weekend as second-placed Port Vale travel to fourth-placed Bradford City on Saturday. Both sides will be eyeing promotion this term and they are currently locked on 16 points.

Bradford look a very different side to the one that finished 18th last campaign. And Bantams boss Phil Parkinson will be pleased with his side's 100% record at home that has seen 12 goals scored and just two conceded at Valley Parade. Interestingly, they are the only team in the division to have won every home game so far this season.

Spirits will certainly be high after the Bantams reached the last 16 of the Capital One Cup for the first time in 24 years, having come back from two down to beat a tough Burton Albion side 3-2 in extra time.

Parkinson admitted he would have to take Wednesday's game into consideration when picking his starting line-up on Saturday: "We will be looking for a side who is ready to go again for 90-odd minutes," the boss told

"The lads who played the 120 minutes on Tuesday have had a bit of a recovery day today [Thursday].

"It is important that me and Steve [Parkin] do that because we need to give the players the opportunity to be at their best on Saturday and not to leave their energy levels out on the training pitch.

"It is all about getting that balance right between making sure we are organised and prepared for the game but still physically refreshed and mentally fresh for Saturday.

"Like we did for the Oxford and Burton matches, we will look to pick the best team for this particular game."

Port Vale boss Micky Adams may change his squad around after last Saturday's 2-0 home defeat to league leaders Gillingham.

But the Valiants are not too intimidated by the task in hand on Saturday, after scoring 14 goals in the previous three matches.

Assistant manager Mark Grew told "We had Bradford watched against Oxford on Saturday and they performed very well. They are on a bit of a high as well.

"It's another game where we have to go to try and get three points and we have done well at Bradford in the last couple of years, so there's nothing to be afraid of. We are expecting a tough game."


A South West derby sees high-flying Exeter City host struggling Bristol Rovers with each side hoping to pick up the three points for very different reasons.

Exeter currently sit third in the division with a 16-point tally and will be wanting to make home advantage count after losing 2-1 to Southend United at Roots Hall in their last game.

Following that loss, City boss Paul Tisdale said he was pleased with his side's performance and that they were as good as they have been on the road in the past three games

Looking ahead to the fixture against their near-neighbours, Tisdale told "There are a lot of links between the two sides, local derbies always have that.

"And we've got a fair few former Bristol Rovers players here and of course Andy Tillson, on the coaching staff, was there for almost 10 years.

"So we've got our fair share of connections. But when the game starts I know it'll be very professional and the players and coaches will be playing to win."

That defeat to Southend was a first loss on their travels this season for the Grecians, who had won their previous three away games. But with home advantage showing it's bound to be tough for visiting Bristol Rovers.

The Gas currently sit second from bottom with just four points from seven matches, something boss Mark McGhee will be keen to address after a recent goalless draw against Fleetwood Town.

He knows that his side will need to be at their best if they want to pick up their first win of the season at St James' Park on Saturday.

"Exeter are probably the most experienced team is this division, most of their players are 29, 30, 31 and then there is Jamie Cureton," he told

"They have a huge amount of experience, compared to what we are running with. We are going to have to be patient and disciplined - they play with a very disciplined shape and don't get pulled around and they expect you to come at them.

McGhee has no fresh injury worries to deal with but Michael Smith is missing on compassionate leave. The boss may also hand debuts to strikers Derek Riordan and Tom Eaves, who joined the club this week.


Cheltenham Town boss Mark Yates has a fully fit squad for the game against Morecambe on Friday night. The Shrimps, meanwhile, have just one slight injury concern after Jack Redshaw picked up a knock in the 3-2 defeat to Plymouth Argyle last weekend.

Aldershot Town manager Dean Holdsworth has no fresh injury worries for his team's clash with York City, but he will be without midfielder Peter Vincenti after he received a red card for violent conduct last weekend. The Minstermen are without a win in four but picked up a good point at home to Cheltenham last time out.

Burton Albion welcome Northampton Town to the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday and boss Gary Rowett is likely to hand debuts to centre-half Rob Kiernan and winger Luke Rooney, who both joined on loan this week, from Wigan Athletic and Swindon Town respectively.

Elsewhere, mid-table Chesterfield meet Torquay United - both teams are level on 11 points in the npower League 2 table.

Dagenham and Redbridge play host to Wycombe Wanderers, who begin life without Gary Waddock who was sacked following the Chairboys' home defeat to AFC Wimbledon last Saturday.

Meanwhile, Fleetwood take on Barnet and it could be the 57th consecutive league performance for Town keeper Scott Davies.

Table-toppers Gillingham will be looking to extend their unbeaten run with a home tie against Rochdale, while Plymouth Argyle play host to Southend United.

Rotherham United are set to hand a debut to left-back Bob Harris, who joined on loan from Blackpool, as they take on Oxford United, who have picked up just three points out of a possible 12 on their travels this term.

Finally, AFC Wimbledon host Accrington Stanley. The Wombles got off to the perfect start under the guidance of caretaker boss Simon Bassey last weekend, winning 1-0 at Wycombe, and they will want to build on that on home soil against Stanley, who have lost just once in their last five games.

Click here for all the weekend's action

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