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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 2 weekend preview

12 December 2014

We look ahead to the weekend action in Sky Bet League 2.

Saturday 13th December 2014

Burton Albion v Hartlepool United

The Brewers (4th - 36 points): After winning their first two under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Burton have lost once and, most recently, drew with Exeter City. Nine of their 20 games have been at the Pirelli Stadium, and they've won six of those, losing only twice on home soil.

Pools (24th - 12 points): Have lost six of their last seven in Sky Bet League 2 and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Blyth Spartans last weekend. Manager Paul Murray parted company with the club after that loss and Sam Collins is in charge on a temporary basis. Matty Dolan, Scott Fenwick and Joe Ironside are all back in contention for Pools.

Third time lucky? Hartlepool and Burton met in The League for the first time last season and Pools failed to win either match, drawing 1-1 in the North East before the Brewers triumphed 3-0 in the reverse clash. Pools did get the better of their weekend opponents in the FA Cup in December 2003, however.

Cambridge United v Shrewsbury Town

The U's (10th - 27 points): Have alternated between defeats and wins over their last six, with a 2-1 victory against AFC Wimbledon coming last time out in League 2. They drew 2-2 with Mansfield in the FA Cup last Saturday and defender Ian Miller is available after spending six months injured on the sidelines.

The Shrews (3rd - 36 points): Got back to winning ways two weeks ago by beating Burton 1-0. That came after a 3-2 defeat to Exeter had ended a run of six successive victories. They suffered a 1-0 defeat at Preston in the FA Cup last time out and have only won two of nine on the road. A visiting side hasn't won this encounter since April 1991.

It's been a while: This will be the first League meeting between Cambridge and Shrewsbury since 25th March 2005.

Dagenham & Redbridge v Tranmere Rovers

The Daggers (20th - 21 points): Back-to-back wins have lifted the mood in the Daggers' camp after they went five games without a victory prior to that. They beat Carlisle 4-2 in their last outing at home but have only secured nine points from nine matches in front of their own fans.

Rovers (23rd - 15 points): Their 3-1 win against Portsmouth two weeks ago was their first since August in Sky Bet League 2 and lifted them within three points of safety. Since then, they've drawn 2-2 with Oxford United and Walsall in the FA Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy respectively, losing the latter on penalties. One victory in nine away games doesn't make good reading.

A Sky Bet League 2 first: This will be the first meeting between Dagenham and Tranmere in League 2, with their two previous clashes coming in League 1 during 2010/11. The Daggers are yet to get the better of Rovers, losing 2-0 and drawing 2-2.

Exeter City v Carlisle United

The Grecians (8th - 31 points): Missed the chance to break into the Play-Off pack after drawing 1-1 with Burton last weekend, but that result took their unbeaten run to eight games. They have shared the spoils in five of their 10 home matches, and drew 0-0 with Carlisle the last time they met in Devon.

The Cumbrians (22nd - 18 points): Have suffered successive defeats, to Dagenham and Newport, conceding seven goals, but they've been boosted by the news that striker Mark Beck has signed a new deal.  They overcame Exeter 4-1 in their last meeting, in April 2012.

On the road: The journey from Carlisle to Exeter is a near 700-mile round journey but Cumbrians boss Keith Curle is looking forward to the trip, as he has been looking at changing the way his team prepare for away games.

Mansfield Town v Cheltenham Town

The Stags (18th - 22 points): Lost 3-0 to Luton last time out in League 2 after previously ending a winless run by getting the better of Plymouth. They were held by Cambridge in the FA Cup last weekend but have shown signs of improvement under Adam Murray.

The Robins (17th - 23 points): Ended a run of four defeats on the spin by drawing with Oxford in their last League 2 outing, but they were brought back down to earth by non-league Dover Athletic, losing 1-0 in the FA Cup. They've won three of nine games on the road and the visiting team has won this fixture in the last five meetings.

All change: Mansfield and Cheltenham are two sides in Sky Bet League 2 to change managers this season, with Adam Murray replacing Paul Cox at Field Mill and Paul Buckle coming in for Mark Yates in the Robins' dugout.

Morecambe v Luton Town

The Shrimps (11th - 27 points): Padraig Amond came off the bench to earn them a point against Stevenage last time out - only their third draw of the season - but that means they've only won once in six. Jim Bentley's men have a knack of securing results against the top sides, though, as they've already beaten Bury, Southend, Burton and Plymouth this term.

The Hatters (2nd - 37 points): Recovered from a 1-0 defeat to Burton to see off Mansfield 3-0 in their most recent League outing, and then drew 1-1 with Bury in the FA Cup last week. They sit only a point behind the leaders and have never lost a competitive match against Morecambe.

For and against: Morecambe have only scored nine goals in nine matches at the Globe Arena, while Luton have conceded a league-best eight on the road all season.

Newport County v Stevenage

The Exiles (7th - 31 points): Five wins and three draws means they're undefeated in eight, stretching back to the beginning of October. They've only lost once at Rodney Parade all season and that was on the opening day against table-toppers Wycombe. Midfielder Mark Byrne has penned a new deal which will keep him at the club until the end of 2015/16.

Boro (14th - 25 points): Are on a slightly inconsistent run but have lost only once in five. They drew 1-1 with Morecambe last time out but have only picked up three points on the road once this term, and that was in late August at AFC Wimbledon. Defender Jon Ashton is out for six to eight weeks.

Nice to meet you: Saturday's clash will be the first competitive meeting between Newport and Stevenage.

Northampton Town v Plymouth Argyle

The Cobblers (15th - 24 points): Have struggled of late, collecting only two wins over their last nine, losing the other seven. Five of their seven victories so far have come at Sixfields and Chris Wilder has five players back from injury, in Ryan Cresswell, Lawson D'Ath, Zander Diamond, Evan Horwood and Lewis Hornby.

The Pilgrims (6th - 31 points): Have lost only once in nine but were defeated 3-0 by Sheffield United in the FA Cup last time out. They have been much better at home than on the road, as they have only two away victories in nine outings so far. Deane Smalley has been ruled out for the season but John Sheridan is hopeful of extending the loan of Bolton's Andy Kellett.

Head-to-head: Northampton narrowly lead Plymouth 20-19 in the head-to-head record, alongside 11 draws.

Oxford United v Bury

The U's (19th - 21 points): Are now unbeaten in three, drawing their most recent two in Sky Bet League 2. They also drew in the FA Cup last weekend, with Tranmere. Their home record this term reads three wins, three draws and three defeats. Wes Burns is in line to make his Oxford debut while fellow recent signings John Campbell and Chey Dunkley are likely to return after being cup-tied.

The Shakers (9th - 30 points): Dropped out of the Play-Off positions after being handed three defeats on the bounce, scoring just once in that period, but they drew with Luton in the Cup last time out. David Flitcroft's side have struggled somewhat on the road, winning only two of nine away trips.

Portsmouth v Accrington Stanley

Pompey (12th - 26 points): Have alternated between defeats and wins over their last seven, being served a 3-1 beating at the hands of Tranmere two weeks ago. That form has seen them slip to 12th but they've performed well at Fratton Park so far, winning six of nine and losing just once.

Stanley (13th - 26 points): Have also been on an inconsistent run of results, going down 3-2 to Exeter in their most recent Sky Bet League 2 match. They drew with Yeovil in the FA Cup last time out and will play Manchester United in Round 3 if they can get the better of the League 1 Glovers in the replay. West Brom goalkeeper Jack Rose has extended his loan spell at the Crown Ground.

Struggling Stanley: Portsmouth and Accrington have met five times and the latter are yet to taste success, with three wins for Pompey and two draws coming since their first clash in 1925.

Wycombe Wanderers v Southend United

The Chairboys (1st - 38 points): Notched two wins in two to move back to the summit but lost to AFC Wimbledon in last weekend's FA Cup clash. They've been better on the road than at Adams Park but overcame Southend 2-1 when they came to visit last term, with goals from Dean Morgan and Steven Craig.

The Blues (5th - 34): Four wins on the spin have lifted Southend up to fifth and just four points adrift of top spot, and that run came after they had previously gone five games without three points. Assistant manager Dave Penney believes the match will be a good indication to see how good Southend are.

York City v AFC Wimbledon

The Minstermen (21st - 19 points): Look to have turned a corner under Russ Wilcox, having lost only one of their most recent six league games. Three of those matches have been stalemates and they are the division's draw specialists, sharing the points 10 times so far. York are the only Football League side yet to secure a home victory.

The Dons (16th - 24 points): Have won just once in seven in League 2 but overcame Wycombe 1-0 to advance to the FA Cup Third Round, where they will face Liverpool. Neal Ardley's men have only triumphed twice on the road in nine - both of those away victories came way back in August.

We meet again: This will be the third time York and Wimbledon have met already this season, having been drawn against each other in the FA Cup. The first match was a 1-1 draw, while the Dons won the replay 3-1.

All games are 3pm kick-off unless stated.

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