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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 1 weekend preview

12 December 2014

We look ahead to the weekend action in Sky Bet League 1.

Saturday 13th December 2014

Bristol City v Crawley Town

The Robins (1st – 39 points): The Sky Bet League 1 leaders have had a good week, advancing in both the FA Cup and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy without conceding a goal. Steve Cotterill has no new injury concerns but could freshen up his squad after the 2-0 midweek Trophy win over Coventry. 

The Reds (17th – 22 points): Shared the points with Chesterfield in their last fixture, in a 1-1 draw a fortnight ago. The game ended on a sour note with a mass brawl that saw Izale McLeod dismissed – he will miss the next three games, with Coventry loanee Shaun Miller expected to replace the striker.

All-square: This is just the fourth competitive meeting between these two sides, and they cannot be separated so far. Bristol City were victorious in the first ever league meeting last season, before the pair shared the spoils in the return fixture, while Crawley’s solo success came via a 1-0 win in the 2012 FA Cup.

Chesterfield v Bradford City

The Spireites (12th – 25 points): Advanced in the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at Milton Keynes, although their place in the Third Round is in doubt after fielding Georg Margreitter, who had not been cleared to play by parent club Wolves, however he is free to feature this weekend. One man who isn’t is Daniel Jones, after he was dismissed in that brawl at Crawley.

The Bantams (10th – 26 points): Cruised to a 4-1 FA Cup victory over non-league Dartford, extending their unbeaten run to five games in all competition. Loanees Filipe Morais and Jon Stead both found the net in the comfortable win, and Phil Parkinson is eager to extend the pair’s time at the club.

Making a point: Four of the last six encounters at Chesterfield have resulted in draws, with the Spireites’ last home success over the Bantams coming back in 2007.

Colchester United v Rochdale

The U’s (22nd – 17 points): Recorded a dramatic success last weekend, as they overcame Peterborough 1-0 in the FA Cup. Sam Walker’s late penalty save was followed by an injury-time George Moncur winner, but they haven’t had that luck in League 1, where they have lost their last four games. Will Packwood has returned to parent club Birmingham after picking up an injury.

Dale (8th – 27 points): Haven’t won in four league games, and that form continued as they failed to break down Conference outfit Aldershot last Sunday, battling out a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup. Are over the worst of a sickness bug that recently swept through the squad, and Matt Lund and Matt Done will return to the side this weekend.

Doncaster Rovers v Gillingham

Rovers (16th – 23 points): Moved into the next round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Oldham, but were on the wrong end of the same scoreline in midweek as they were knocked out on the Trophy by Notts County. Full-back Enda Stevens has extended his loan spell and will remain at the Keepmoat Stadium for another month.

The Gills (20th – 19 points): Are struggling with just one win from their last 11 games in League 1, although they have taken five points from their last three to stay above the relegation zone. They triumphed over Leyton Orient in last Saturday’s Trophy clash at the Priestfield, but they are still seeking a first win of the campaign on their travels.

Make yourself at home: Gillingham dominate the head-to-head between the pair with 30 wins to Rovers’ 11, but the Gills are looking to get off the mark at the Keepmoat Stadium this weekend. The two teams have only met here once since Doncaster moved to their new ground, and the hosts ran out 2-1 winners.

Fleetwood United v Sheffield United

The Cod Army (11th – 25 points): Slipped to a late defeat at Swindon in the league a fortnight ago, which was their second successive 1-0 reverse. Jamie Proctor is back from suspension for the weekend’s fixture, and will replace Martin Paterson who has returned to Huddersfield after picking up an injury.

The Blades (5th – 31 points): Jose Baxter’s two penalties set them on their way to a 3-0 win over League 2 outfit Plymouth in the FA Cup last weekend, and they are now looking to return to winning ways in the league - they haven’t won in three outings. Chris O’Grady is doubtful so Marc McNulty or Michael Higdon will fill in for the striker.

Nice to meet you: This weekend will see the two sides come head-to-head for the first time in a competitive fixture.

Leyton Orient v Peterborough United

The O’s (19th – 19 points): Fabio Liverani was appointed as manager earlier this week, and his first task is to arrest a run of four defeats in six in the League. They were also knocked out of the Trophy 1-0 by Gillingham in last Saturday’s clash. Striker Chris Dagnall was dismissed in the defeat to Bradford a fortnight ago and serves the second of a three-match ban this weekend.

Posh (9th – 27 points): Looking to bounce back from their 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Colchester, but they need to halt a run of form that has seen them lose five of their last seven League 1 fixtures. Craig Mackail-Smith and Harry Beautyman were ineligible for the Cup tie and will return, as will Marcus Maddison after recovering from injury.

It’s a knockout: These sides clashed earlier in this season when Orient’s 3-2 success ended Peterborough’s hopes of retaining the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, while the two previous meetings resulted in the O’s advancing to Wembley after defeating the Posh in last season’s two-legged Play-Off semi-final.

Notts County v Swindon Town

The Magpies (7th – 30 points): Have slipped out of the Play-Off spots after only picking up that point from their previous two games, but returned to winning ways with a 1-0 midweek Trophy success over Doncaster. Stephen McLaughlin and Louis Laing’s loan spells are due to end after the game, but Shaun Derry hopes to retain the Nottingham Forest duo.

The Robins (2nd – 38 points): Four successive league victories have put them right on the heels of table-topping Bristol City, with three of those games finishing 1-0 including the most recent win, over Fleetwood. Captain Nathan Thompson is back to full fitness after recovering from an ankle ligament injury.

Keep it clean: The last four encounters between the pair have yielded clean sheets for the host on each occasion, with Notts County coming out on top in the two previous meetings at Meadow Lane, 1-0 and 2-0.

Oldham Athletic v Yeovil Town

The Latics (6th – 30 points): George Elokobi’s late own goal condemned his side to a 1-0 defeat at home to Doncaster in the FA Cup, but they are looking to extend their good league run in which they have lost just once since August. James Wilson and Mike Jones return from suspension and illness respectively.

The Glovers (23rd – 17 points): Threw away a lead at Accrington in the FA Cup at the weekend, drawing 1-1 with the League 2 side. Yeovil are currently on a dismal run of form with just one win coming from their last 10 league outings, but they could claw themselves out of the bottom four with a victory.

Like father, like son: Oldham’s manager Lee Johnson could get the better of his father for the second successive time this weekend, as Yeovil gaffer Gary brings his struggling Glovers to Boundary Park. The previous meeting saw the Latics grab a narrow 1-0 win at the tail-end of last season.

Port Vale v Coventry City

The Valiants (19th – 23 points): A 94th-minute equaliser last time out earned a 2-2 draw at Gillingham, and the attitude shown by the players drew praise from manager Robert Page. Michael O’Connor serves a one-game ban this weekend after reaching the yellow-card limit, while striker Alex Nimely is set to make his debut against his former club.

The Sky Blues (18th – 21 points): Their last six league fixtures have seen them win twice, draw twice, and lose twice, leaving them hovering precariously above the relegation zone, while they were knocked out of the Trophy by Bristol City on Wednesday night.

Preston North End v Milton Keynes Dons

The Lilywhites (4th – 37 points): Have returned to winning ways with two successive league victories, as well as defeating Shrewsbury 1-0 in the FA Cup at the weekend. That was their third successive clean sheet, and centre-back Paul Huntington is contributing at both ends, finding the net in each of the last two matches.

The Dons (3rd – 37 points): League 1’s top scorers are nine games without defeat in the league as they chase down the automatic promotion places, although they slipped to a rare defeat at the weekend, losing 1-0 at home to Chesterfield in the FA Cup. George Baldock completed 90 minutes in the Final Third Development League Cup on Tuesday, and could feature.

Stalemate: Since Preston escaped Milton Keynes with a 1-0 success in the pair’s first ever encounter, back in 2011, the two have battled out five successive draws.

Scunthorpe United v Crewe Alexandra

The Iron (21st – 19 points): Will face a replay with non-league Worcester City after battling out a 1-1 draw at the weekend, in which Paddy Madden netted his fourth goal in three games. They've lost just one of their last seven in the league, but remain in the bottom four. West Brom loanee Liam O’Neil could return having missed the FA Cup tie.

The Railwaymen (24th – 16 points): After winning three games in the space of 10 days in October, Crewe have now gone on a five-match winless run which sees them glued to the bottom of League 1. Lauri Dalla Valle has rejoined on an 18-month deal, after the striker had a successful spell at the club last year.

Double trouble: Crewe secured maximum points from the two encounters the last time the pair met, during the 2012/13 season - a campaign which saw Scunthorpe eventually relegated to League 2.

Walsall v Barnsley

The Saddlers (13th – 23 points): Come into this match on a five-game unbeaten streak in League 1, and advanced in the Trophy with a penalty shoot-out win over League 2 Tranmere in the week. Jordan Cook limped off in Tuesday night’s match, but is fine for this weekend’s game.

The Tykes (14th – 23 points): Failed to break down Conference side Chester last weekend in the FA Cup and will go again after a goalless draw. They haven’t won in three league games either, and have a number of injury doubts. One man likely to return though is Devante Cole, who missed the Cup tie with flu.

Goals galore: League games between Walsall and Barnsley tend to provide plenty of excitement, with both teams finding the net on the last nine occasions, with 37 goals coming in that period – an average of over four per game. The Saddlers did keep a clean sheet in an FA Cup replay in 2006, when they defeated the Tykes 2-0.

All kick-off times are 3pm unless stated.

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