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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 1 weekend preview

19 December 2014

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

Saturday 20th December 2014

Barnsley v Leyton Orient

The Tykes (15th – 23 points): Three defeats in four winless outings has seen them slip to mid-table, but they overcame Chester 3-0 in the FA Cup in midweek. In Sky Bet League 1 they've conceded a league-high 21 goals on home soil.

The O's (22nd – 19 points): Lost 2-1 last time out in what was Fabio Liverani's first game as boss. That was their third reverse in four and they've dropped into the relegation zone as a result. The manager has stated the importance of the club's next three games, over the busy festive period.

1000 Club: This match will be Danny Wilson's 1,000th competitive game as a manager, and the first time the two clubs have met since January 1982.

Bradford City v Scunthorpe United

The Bantams (10th – 29 points): Have hit form in the weeks approaching Christmas with an unbeaten spell of four matches, three of which have been victories. That has lifted them to within a point of the Play-Offs but only three of their eight wins have come at home.

The Iron (19th – 22 points): Like Bradford, Scunthorpe are also on a run of three wins in four, which has hauled them out of the bottom three. They were 14-13 winners on penalties against non-league Worcester City after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes on Wednesday, so tiredness may play a factor.

Three's a crowd: These two sides most recently clashed during the 2006/07 season and Scunthorpe triumphed in all three meetings, two in League 1 and one in the League Trophy.

Coventry City v Fleetwood Town

The Sky Blues (14th – 24 points): Have won two of three, keeping three clean sheets, including last time out against Port Vale. Four of their six victories have come at the Ricoh Arena, which will give them confidence ahead of this weekend.

The Cod Army (11th – 26 points): Two defeats were followed by two wins, and then another two defeats, before a draw against Sheffield United last weekend. That form would suggest another draw this weekend but they haven't shared the spoils on the road yet this season, winning three and losing seven.

First things first: This will be the first ever competitive meeting between Coventry and Fleetwood.

Crawley Town v Port Vale

The Reds (20th – 22 points): A run of five successive draws was ended last match when they lost late on to leaders Bristol City. They are now hovering just above the drop zone but have been much better at home with four of their five victories coming in West Sussex.

The Valiants (16th – 23 points): Have also been better at home, with five defeats in 10 on the road, but they were on the end of a 2-0 reverse at Vale Park against Coventry most recently. Their last three games have failed to produce a win, with that form coming after they had notched three successive victories.

Double trouble: Port Vale did the double over Crawley last season, winning 3-0 on the road before a 2-1 home triumph.

Crewe Alexandra v Bristol City

The Railwaymen (24th – 16 points): Rock-bottom Crewe have drawn three and lost three over their last six, with their most recent victory coming way back in October, a month in which they recorded three of their four wins so far. They've notched 11 of their 16 points on home soil and overcame City 1-0 in this encounter last term.

The Robins (1st – 42 points): Are back on course after securing back-to-back wins having suffered successive losses in mid-November. Luke Ayling was the hero in their previous game, netting a last-gasp winner to keep them at the summit of Sky Bet League 1. Boss Steve Cotterill is wary of Crewe's threat.

Gillingham v Chesterfield

The Gills (18th – 22 points): Are four undefeated after two draws and two wins, most recently tasting success at Doncaster Rovers. Peter Taylor's side have chalked up 16 of their 22 points at home, but Chesterfield have taken four points over their last two visits to the Kent club. Callum Davies has been ruled out for three months.

The Spireites (13th – 25 points): A run of four undefeated matches was ended by Bradford City in their last match. They are the division's out-of-form side over the last 10 games and that has seen them fall from the Play-Off mix. Top-scoring striker Eoin Doyle is a doubt with a hamstring injury.

We meet again: This will be the 65th competitive clash between Gillingham and Chesterfield and all of those meetings have come in The Football League.

Milton Keynes Dons v Oldham Athletic

The Dons (3rd – 38 points): Maintained their good form by registering a point against Preston last week. They possess the division's best home form with 23 points from 10 games, scoring a league-high 26 goals, and are League 1's form team over the last 10 matches, conceding only five goals in that unbeaten period.

The Latics (8th – 30 points): Suffered a 4-0 mauling at the hands of Gary Johnson's Yeovil last time out and his son Lee – Oldham's boss – is now looking for a response from his men. Their long unbeaten spell was ended by Bristol City in early November and, since then, they've only tabled one victory.

Close call: The head-to-head record between Milton Keynes and Oldham reads 7-6 in favour of the Dons, while the two have contested three draws.

Peterborough United v Preston North End

The Posh (9th – 30 points): After five defeats and one draw, Peterborough finally broke out of their hoodoo last time out by seeing off Leyton Orient 2-1. That lifted them within touching distance of the Play-Off places and should provide them with the lift they need heading into this weekend's clash with a promotion rival.

The Lilywhites (4th – 38 points): Drew with MK Dons last Saturday before booking their place in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area Final by beating Notts County 1-0 in midweek. Manager Simon Grayson wants his side to build on their recent results, in what will be his 100th game in charge of North End.

Familiar face: Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson is a familiar face with Preston fans having managed the club in 2010, in between his two spells with Posh.

Rochdale v Notts County

Dale (6th – 30 points): Halted a four-game stretch without three points by coasting to a 4-1 success at Colchester last weekend, before beating Aldershot by the same scoreline in the FA Cup in midweek. Keith Hill's men have taken only 11 of their 30 points at Spotland, but the manager is pleased with his side's standing at this stage of the season.

The Magpies (7th – 30 points): Are just below Dale in the table, the wrong side of the Play-Off zone, having won just once since the start of November. They will put the only unbeaten away record in The Football League on the line this weekend, at a ground they won 1-0 at the last time they made the trip.

Two-by-two: Wins for teams in this fixture tend to come in twos, as Dale's two victories in 2010/11 against County were followed by two successes for the Magpies in 2011/12.

Sheffield United v Walsall

The Blades (5th – 32 points): The Capital One Cup underdogs beat Southampton 1-0 to advance to the Semi-Finals in midweek, setting up a tie with Tottenham Hotspur. Their league form has suffered over recent weeks, though, as they've triumphed just once since the beginning of November.

The Saddlers (12th – 26 points): Continued their climb up the division by seeing off Barnsley 3-1 last time out, taking their unbeaten run to six outings. On top of that, they haven't lost to Sheffield United since October 2012, four meetings ago, with their most recent clash coming just last month, when Walsall ran out 1-0 winners in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Swindon Town v Doncaster Rovers

The Robins (2nd – 41 points): Are hot on the heels of leaders Bristol City with their 3-0 beating of Notts County last weekend their fifth successive three-point haul. Ben Gladwin played a pivotal role in that win and he has signed a new deal with the club, to hand them a further boost.

Rovers (17th – 23 points): Two draws and, most recently, a 2-1 loss at Gillingham has seen Doncaster slip to 17th, and just three points above the bottom four. All but one of their wins have come on the road and they've only lost to Swindon once at the County Ground since December 1983.

Dominant Donny: Doncaster have won eight times in this encounter, compared to Swindon's two victories, alongside eight draws.

Yeovil Town v Colchester United

The Glovers (21st - 20 points): Booked an FA Cup Third Round clash with Manchester United after seeing off Accrington Stanley in a midweek replay. That victory came after they overpowered Oldham at Boundary Park last Saturday with a 4-0 triumph, and they could move out of the relegation zone with another three points.

The U's (23rd – 17 points): Are deeper in trouble at the foot of the division following five straight losses. The latest two, against MK Dons and Rochdale, have seen Colchester concede 10 goals, highlighting their defensive frailties. Only Crewe have leaked more goals in Sky Bet League 1.

All kick-off times are 3pm unless stated.

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