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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 2 weekend preview

19 December 2014

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

Friday 19th December 2014

Southend United v Burton Albio
n - 7.45pm

The Blues (8th – 34 points): A run of four successive victories was brought to a halt by league leaders Wycombe last Saturday. Jerome Binnom-Williams was shown a straight red card in the 4-1 defeat and will miss the festive schedule as a result, but Ben Coker may replace him after overcoming an elbow injury.

The Brewers (2nd – 39 points): Climbed up to second with a convincing win over Hartlepool last weekend, cruising to a 4-0 success over the strugglers. The scoreline was their biggest at the Pirelli in more than two years, with winger Alex MacDonald netting his sixth and seventh goals of the campaign.

Tranmere Rovers v Cambridge United - 7.45pm

Rovers (22nd – 18 points): Came from behind to defeat Oxford 2-1 in Tuesday night’s FA Cup replay with Max Power grabbing his second winner in four days, after the midfielder also fired them to a 1-0 win over Dagenham in their last league outing.  Rovers have only lost two of their last seven league outings, and sit above the relegation zone on goal difference.

The U’s (12th – 28 points): Held in-form Shrewsbury to a goalless draw last Saturday, and moved into the FA Cup Third Round after edging out Mansfield 1-0 in their Tuesday night replay - their second consecutive win on the road. Issa Diallo's contract has been terminated after failing to overcome an Achilles problem.

A good spread: Matches between the pair have come few and far between, with this being the first encounter since 2001/02. Both teams won their respective home games that season, with Rovers romping to a 6-1 victory at Prenton Park. The last meetings previous to that came during the 1991/92 campaign, which saw the club from the Wirral do the double over the U’s.

Saturday 20th December 2014

Accrington Stanley v Wycombe Wanderers

Stanley (11th – 29 points): Missed out on a potential clash with Manchester United after losing 2-0 at Yeovil in Tuesday’s FA Cup replay, but they were victorious on the road last weekend when they defeated Portsmouth 3-2. They've alternated between wins and losses over their last five fixtures.

The Chairboys (1st – 41 points): Came from a goal down to ease to victory over in-form Southend last weekend, a result which saw them remain at the summit of League 2. They now sit clear at the top of the scoring charts too, having found the net 35 times this term after their 4-1 rout over the Blues.

All-square: The pair have met 12 times in The Football League, and they cannot be separated. Both sides boast four wins, with four draws thrown in for good measure. The hosts of this fixture have only won two of the 12 games, with the last home triumph coming for Wycombe at Adams Park in 2009.

AFC Wimbledon v Mansfield Town

The Dons (13th – 27 points): An inconsistent last six fixtures have seen the Dons win two, draw two, and lose two, but they managed to take three points on their last outing with a 3-2 triumph at York. Matt Tubbs scored the winner to join Oxford's Danny Hylton at  the top of the League 2 scoring charts, firing home his 10th goal of the campaign, and 13th in all competitions.

The Stags (19th – 23 points): Shared the points with Cheltenham last Saturday, battling out a 1-1 draw at Field Mill before being knocked out of the Cup by Cambridge in midweek. They've only scored 16 goals this term, the fewest out of all sides in League 2, and have only one league win to their name since mid-September.

Stopping the rot: Wimbledon won the first four meetings between the pair but last season saw Mansfield halt the slide, earning a point at Kingsmeadow before recording their first triumph over the Dons, courtesy of a  1-0 success at Field Mill.

Bury v York City

The Shakers (9th – 30 points): Looking to turn things around after a fourth straight league defeat last Saturday when they threw away a lead to lose 2-1 at Oxford, and were knocked out of the Cup as they slipped to a 1-0 reverse in their Tuesday night replay at Luton. Adam El-Abd and Rob Milsom should return after being unavailable for FA Cup duty.

The Minstermen (21st – 19 points): Fell to a 3-2 defeat at home to Wimbledon last Saturday, extending their winless run at Bootham Crescent to 10 games. However, they have an impressive record away from home, picking up 13 of their 19 points on the road. Diego Di Girolamo found the net in the loss, continuing his run of scoring in every game he has started for the club.

Carlisle United v Northampton Town

The Cumbrians (23rd – 18 points): Have lost three games on the bounce, with their most recent outing down in Exeter resulting in a 2-0 reverse. Remain in the bottom two on goal difference, having conceded a league-high 39 goals this term.

The Cobblers (16th – 24 points): Have just one win from their last seven games in all competitions, following a 3-2 defeat to Plymouth last weekend. Central defender Ryan Cresswell misses out through injury and could be replaced by Zander Diamond, who returns after two months out.

It’s been a while: This is the most contested Football League fixture from the League 2 schedule this weekend, but the pair haven’t crossed paths since March 2009. Cobblers have the head-to-head advantage with 13 wins to the Cumbrians’ 10, alongside 13 draws, but the travelling side hasn’t won in this fixture since 2005/06, when both teams achieved the feat.

Cheltenham Town v Portsmouth

The Robins (18th – 24 points): Haven’t won in six league outings, although their most recent two fixtures have finished 1-1, including last weekend’s stalemate with Mansfield. Lee Vaughan is likely to return at right-back after serving a three-game ban, and Steve Elliott is fit again after missing the same period through injury.

Pompey (14th – 26 points): Their 3-2 loss at home to Accrington last weekend was their third defeat in four, and only the division’s bottom two have worse records on their travels. Andy Barcham is pressing for a return to the first-team, after the winger impressed in a midweek 4-1 Final Third Development League win.

Making a point: These two encountered each other for the first time last season, and they shared the spoils on both occasions. A 2-2 draw at Whaddon Road in September was followed up with a stalemate in Portsmouth, with neither side able to break the deadlock at Fratton Park.

Hartlepool United v Oxford United

Pools (24th – 12 points): A 4-0 reverse at Burton last weekend leaves them without a win in eight. Seven of those have been defeats, and they're six points adrift at the bottom of the table. The man who has the daunting task of turning that around is Ronnie Moore, who was appointed as the club's new manager on Tuesday.

The U’s (17th – 24 points): Are undefeated in four league games after overcoming Bury 2-1 at the Kassam Stadium last Saturday, but were knocked out of the Cup in midweek, losing to Tranmere by the same scoreline. Teenage striker James Roberts could return to the squad after a hamstring problem.

Double trouble: Oxford took all six points from the two meetings last season, recording a 3-1 success up in Hartlepool before grabbing a 1-0 win back at the Kassam. The encounters prior to that came in 2002/03, when Pools did the double over the U’s with the same scorelines.

Luton Town v Newport County

The Hatters (4th – 37 points): Advanced in the FA Cup in midweek, recording a 1-0 triumph over Bury. Their last league outing resulted in a resounding 3-0 defeat at Morecambe, which saw captain Steve McNulty dismissed, however he served his one-match suspension in the midweek loss and is available to return.

The Exiles (6th – 34 points): Have now gone nine games unbeaten following a 2-0 success over Stevenage last weekend, but the result was marred by Aaron O’Connor’s late dismissal. An unsuccessful appeal means the striker, who netted the opening goal in the win, will now serve a three-match ban.

Hello, again: These sides have already clashed at Kenilworth Road once this season, when Luton knocked the Exiles out of the FA Cup with an entertaining 4-2 win. Both teams have scored at least twice in their last three meetings, with 17 goals being scored in that period.

Plymouth Argyle v Dagenham & Redbridge

The Pilgrims (5th – 34 points): Had gone two matches without a league success, but returned to winning ways last weekend with a 3-2 win at Sixfields against an out-of-form Northampton side. The league’s best defence have only conceded three goals in their 10 games at Home Park this term.

The Daggers (20th – 21 points): Two successive victories were followed by a defeat last weekend, as they went down 1-0 at home to Tranmere. Experienced midfielder Luke Howell will return to the midfield after missing three games through suspension.

Blunt Daggers: Dagenham have never managed a Football League win over Plymouth, with the pair battling it out on eight occasions. They do have one triumph to their name though, defeating the Pilgrims in an FA Cup replay in 2003.

Shrewsbury Town v Morecambe

The Shrews (3rd – 27 points): Have seven wins from their last nine league games, although their last fixture finished goalless at Cambridge. They're the only side in League 2 yet to lose on their own turf this season, having only conceded three goals and dropping two points at Greenhaus Meadow.

The Shrimps (10th – 30 points): Have taken four points from the last six available, following their impressive win over Luton last weekend. Returning for Morecambe will be manager Jim Bentley - he had to miss the 3-0 triumph through illness, but will be back in the dugout this Saturday.

Make it a double: The last time the pair met came during the 2011/12 season, when Shrewsbury took all six points on their way to promotion from League 2. That was some sweet revenge, as Morecambe had done the double over the Shrews in the season previous.

Stevenage v Exeter City

Boro (15th – 25 points): Without a win in three matches after suffering a narrow defeat to Newport last time out. Defender Dean Wells has called for his side to stop switching off at vital times after sloppy mistakes from set pieces cost them dear in the 2-0 reverse.

The Grecians (7th – 34 points): A 2-0 triumph over Carlisle stretched their unbeaten run to nine games, and that has seen them climb into the Play-Off positions albeit having played a game more than the sides around them. David Noble's emergency loan has come to an end, with the midfielder now unavailable until he joins the club on a permanent basis in January.

All kick-off times are 3pm unless stated.

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