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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 1 New Year's Day preview

31 December 2013

Crewe Alexandra v Carlisle United

Crewe Alexandra, in 22nd, begin 2014 with a home tie against 15th-placed Carlisle United.

The Railwaymen climbed two places off the foot of the table on Sunday, coming from behind to win 2-1 at Colchester United. Steve Davis' men have now lost just once in five league outings - that came against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Cumbrians also enter this match on the back of a 2-1 victory, having also fallen behind at home, to Peterborough United, before David Amoo's two-minute brace.

Leyton Orient v Bristol City

Postponed due to structural damage at the Matchroom Stadium.

Milton Keynes Dons v Colchester United

Milton Keynes Dons and Colchester United meet at stadiummk on Ney Year's Day, with both sides looking to bounce back from defeat on Sunday.

Karl Robinson's men saw a three-game winning run emphatically ended with a 3-1 defeat at Brentford, whilst Colchester surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at home to Crewe.

That U's won the reverse fixture 3-1 in November, a victory that silenced a five-game winning streak for the Dons in their head-to-head record.

Notts County v Bradford City

Notts County welcome draw experts Bradford City to Meadow Lane at the start of 2014, looking to reverse their form from the end of 2013.

Despite back-to-back victories in December, County have since drawn and lost twice to pick up just eight points from the past 30 available. That has seen Shaun Derry's men return to the bottom of the Sky Bet League 1 table, five points from safety.

Phil Parkinson's team have drawn 10 out of their 23 games, joint-most alongside Bristol City, with six stalemates arriving in their past nine. They lie in 10th on 31 points.

Oldham Athletic v Shrewsbury Town

Oldham Athletic have already overcome Shrewsbury Town twice this season, and the pair meet for a third time, on New Year's Day at Boundary Park.

The Latics won 4-1 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and 2-1 in Sky Bet League 1 against their Wednesday opponents, with both victories arriving at Greenhous Meadow.

Lee Johnson's men have recorded the third lowest number of points at home, with three wins, three draws and three defeats, scoring and conceding nine. The Shrews have the third-worst away return, with one win, four stalemates and five losses on the road.

Peterborough United v Brentford

Fifth-placed Peterborough United and leaders Brentford enter 2014 on vastly different runs of form, and the pair meet at London Road on New Year's Day, separated by 10 points.

Posh have won just twice in the league in their past 11 fixtures, picking up eight points from a possible 33. Brentford have been victorious 11 times in their past 12.

This will be the third meeting between the teams this season, with one win for each side so far. Darren Ferguson's men were 2-1 winners in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in October, but were defeated 3-2 at Griffin Park in the league in November.

Brentford's Ben Nugent celebrates after scoring for the Bees in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy against Peterborough earlier this season

Preston North End v Port Vale

Preston North End are fourth, five points ahead of Posh, and they host seventh-placed Port Vale.

After losing 3-0 at home to Brentford on 21st December, Simon Grayson's side have responded with successive 1-0 away wins, at Carlisle United and Shrewsbury Town, to make it 21 points from 30.

Port Vale have also picked up six points in their past two games, with wins at home to Notts County and Rotherham United. Vale are ensconced in the Play-Off battle, sitting one place and two points behind the Millers after that victory on Sunday.

Rotherham United v Coventry City

Rotherham United can feel Port Vale breathing down their necks for a Play-Off place, and they host Coventry City at the New York Stadium.

Before that defeat on Sunday, Steve Evans had led his side to an eight-game unbeaten run, comprising of five wins and three draws. The Millers are fighting to keep hold of sixth position, which they held throughout December.

Coventry City prop up the top half of the table. They remain the division's top scorers with 49 goals from 23 games, one ahead of Leyton Orient. Steven Pressley's side are on 29 points, nine behind their Wednesday opponents.

Stevenage v Gillingham

Sky Bet League 1's worst home team, and second-bottom club, are in action on their own turf at the start of 2014, as Stevenage host Gillingham.

Visitors to the Lamex Stadium this season have departed with 20 points, compared to Stevenage's eight. Two wins and two draws from 10 games in front of their own fans is a record Graham Westley will be looking to improve on in the second half of the season.

The Gills are 16th, and scored in injury time on Sunday to pick up a 2-2 home draw against Walsall. Before that, they lost against Leyton Orient, but their last game on the road ended in a 2-1 win at Tranmere. Both teams have conceded 42 goals so far in 2013/14.

Swindon Town v Crawley Town

Two inconsistent sides meet at the County Ground to kick-off the New Year, with Swindon Town entertaining Crawley Town.

Both teams have accumulated eight points in their last six games, courtesy of two wins, two draws and two defeats. Their last two meetings have ended in stalemates, but before that Swindon had won 3-0 on three occasions.

The Robins are eighth, on 34 points, and drew 1-1 at Bradford last time out, while the 13th-placed Red Devils won 1-0 at home to Notts County to take their tally to 29.

Tranmere Rovers v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Tranmere Rovers have the second-worst home form heading into their clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Prenton Park.

Ronnie Moore's side have lost three of their past four league fixtures to drop towards the relegation zone. They have 23 points, and sit 20th - one point and one place above the bottom four.

Wolves sit one place shy of the automatic promotion places, on 48 points, behind Leyton Orient on goal difference only. Kenny Jackett's men have just one win in five, but are unbeaten in three, and have only lost once on the road all season - 1-0 at Peterborough.

Walsall v Sheffield United

The final 3pm kick-off on New Year's Day in Sky Bet League 1 comes from the Banks's Stadium, where Walsall meet Sheffield United.

The Saddlers have lost and drawn in their past two, and are ninth on 34 points. The visiting Blades have won three times in an unbeaten run of seven matches, moving them up to 17th, three points clear of the relegation zone.

Two 1-1 draws have been recorded between these teams in their past two encounters, including earlier this season in November at Bramall Lane.

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