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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 2 midweek preview

21 October 2014

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

Tuesday 21st October 2014

Accrington Stanley v Hartlepool United

Stanley (18th – 16 points): A second successive defeat did not sit well with John Coleman, who is set to ring the changes following the 2-1 reverse at Stevenage. John O’Sullivan is available after extending his loan from Blackburn for another month.

Pools (22nd – 11 points): Sam Collins has hinted at changes ahead of this clash, after his side lost 2-1 at home to Luton on Saturday. There are no fresh injury concerns for the caretaker boss as they look to improve on their eight goals scored this term, the joint-lowest in The Football League.

High five: Pools are chasing a fifth game against Stanley without defeat. Since Accrington’s return to The Football League, they haven’t been able to get the better of Hartlepool, with the side from the North East taking 10 points from 12 available.

AFC Wimbledon v Plymouth Argyle

The Dons (13th – 18 points): Lost 2-0 at league leaders Wycombe on Saturday - only the second time this season that they have failed to find the net. Dannie Bulman is likely to be recalled to the midfield after completing a one-match suspension.

The Pilgrims (5th – 22 points): Lewis Alessandra’s goal against Carlisle at the weekend resulted in a third successive victory in the league, all of which have been by a 1-0 scoreline. Bolton loanee Andy Kellett could make his debut, after being an unused substitute during Saturday’s game.

Broken home: The home side has not been victorious in this fixture in six competitive meetings. The last two encounters at Kingsmeadow have finished a goal apiece, but the Pilgrims took all three points back in 2012, with a 2-1 win.

Cambridge United v Cheltenham Town

The U’s (11th – 18 points): Shut out during Saturday’s goalless draw away at Mansfield, after grabbing eight goals in their previous two outings. The league’s joint-highest scorers are unbeaten in their last three, and Richard Money has no fresh concerns ahead of the midweek fixture.

The Robins (10th – 19 points): A seven-game winless streak was ended at Whaddon Road on Saturday, when two Terry Gornell goals helped them to a 3-2 win over Northampton. Captain Martin Taylor went off in that match with a hamstring injury, and faces a month on the sidelines. Birmingham loanee Jack Deaman is set to deputise.

Home, sweet home: Cambridge have narrowly won both Football League encounters at the Abbey Stadium against Cheltenham, the most recent of which coming in 2005. The U’s have won three of of the four league meetings between the pair.

Carlisle United v Burton Albion

The Cumbrians (21st – 12 points): A run of three successive wins was halted on Saturday, as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Plymouth. Steven Rigg is hoping to return to the squad after missing out with a thigh problem, having netted twice in as many games before that. Danny Grainger will return after serving his one-match suspension.

The Brewers (3rd – 25 points): Two goals in two minutes condemned Burton to a fourth defeat in their last six games at the weekend when they lost 2-0 to Morecambe. John Mousinho pulled up in Saturday’s warm-up and will miss out, and Lucas Akins is also a doubt after coming off with a calf problem during the loss.

Third time lucky: This is the first time the two sides have met since the 2004/05 Conference season. Burton will be hoping to get a first win over Carlisle, as the Cumbrians took four points from those two encounters. The match at Brunton Park that season finished goalless.

Exeter City v Wycombe Wanderers

The Grecians (17th – 16 points): Have only lost once in their last seven games, following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southend. Graham Cummins has got four goals in his last six appearances, the latest of which being the equaliser at Roots Hall. They've only one picked up one win at St James’ Park this term.

The Chairboys (1st – 28 points): The leaders of Sky Bet League 2 maintained their impressive form with a 2-0 win over Wimbledon at the weekend, stretching their unbeaten run to 10 games. They boast the best away record in the division, as they are still yet to lose on their travels.

A close call: 10 league encounters have seen both sides grab three wins apiece, accompanied by four draws. Wycombe took the three points in this encounter last season, and have only lost one of the last four games at St James’ Park.

Luton Town v Dagenham & Redbridge

The Hatters (4th – 24 points): The division’s form team have gone seven games without defeat, and made it five wins on the bounce with a 2-1 victory over Hartlepool on Saturday. Mark Cullen’s opener was his fifth goal of the campaign. Alex Lawless is back in contention after missing the weekend’s game through injury.

The Daggers (19th – 14 points): A last-minute defeat against Newport at the weekend handed Dagenham just their second loss in five games. Abu Ogogo will miss out through suspension and Joss Labadie could join him on the sidelines after coming off injured in the second half of that 1-0 reverse.

All square: Four meetings between the sides have resulted in two wins each. Only two of those encounters took place in The Football League, back in 2008/09, when both fixtures finished 2-1 to the home side.

Morecambe v York City

The Shrimps (6th – 22 points): Claimed just a second win in their past six fixtures, with an impressive performance at Burton on Saturday. Kevin Ellison grabbed his sixth goal of the season in the 2-0 win. Blackpool loanee Tom Barkhuizen is pushing for a first start, although Jim Bentley could name an unchanged line-up for the midweek fixture.

The Minstermen (23rd – 10 points): Winless in their last seven after a last-gasp 1-0 defeat against Shrewsbury last time out – a result that saw them slip into the relegation zone for the first time this season. Dan Parslow has returned from a loan spell at Grimsby and will join the squad. Ryan Jarvis starts a three-match ban after being sent off in Saturday’s game.

On the draw: Both Football League meetings at Morecambe have seen the spoils shared, with last season’s clash finishing goalless. The Shrimps' most recent home victory over York was at Christie Park in the 2007 Conference Play-Offs, earning them their promotion-winning trip to Wembley.

Newport County v Southend United

The Exiles (9th – 19 points): Chris Zebroski’s last-minute winner against Dagenham handed Newport a second consecutive victory and it’s now only one defeat in 10 for Justin Edinburgh's men. Robbie Willmott came off with a foot injury and faces five months on the sidelines.

The Blues (8th – 21 points): Drew 1-1 at home to Exeter at the weekend, leaving Phil Brown’s side without a win in their last three. Skipper John White failed a late fitness test before Saturday’s game, but could return for tonight’s fixture. Cian Bolger is also in line for a return to the starting line-up after recovering from concussion.

First time for everything: Southend are looking for a first victory against Newport. Last season was the first time the two had encountered each other, and Newport earned four points from the six available, running out 3-1 winners on their own turf.

Northampton Town v Oxford United

The Cobblers (12th – 18 points): Slipped to a 3-2 defeat at Cheltenham on Saturday, meaning it’s only one win in the last five for the Cobblers. Captain Lee Collins will miss out with a foot injury, joining several of his team-mates on the Sixfields physio’s table.

The U’s (20th – 13 points): A 2-0 triumph against Tranmere lifted Oxford out of the relegation zone at the weekend. Alfie Potter came off the bench to clinch the victory and he'll be hoping he’s done enough for a place in the starting 11. Oxford are the only side in Sky Bet League 2 yet to pick up a win on the road.

Home comforts: The Cobblers have won the most recent seven league meetings between the sides at Sixfields, including last season’s 3-1 victory that preserved their Football League status.

Portsmouth v Stevenage

Pompey (14th – 17 points): Their away day blues continued at the weekend when they were comfortably beaten by high-flying Bury. The 3-0 defeat leaves them winless in five. Paul Robinson is set to return to the defence following a hip injury, and midfielder James Dunne could also come back in after serving a one-match ban.

Boro (15th – 17 points): Halted a run of two successive defeats with a 2-1 victory over Accrington on Saturday. Winger Josh Clarke may make his first appearance since arriving on loan from Brentford, while defender Jerome Okimo has recovered from a hamstring injury and could start for the first time since September.

Off the mark: These sides have only met at Fratton Park once, in the 2012/13 League 1 season, when neither side could find a breakthrough as the game finished goalless. Stevenage took all three points in the reverse fixture.

Shrewsbury Town v Bury

The Shrews (7th – 21 points): Notched a second successive victory at the weekend, triumphing 1-0 at York, which moved them back into the Play-Off places. Andy Mangan faces a late fitness test, but James Wesolowski will return after a one-match suspension, as they bid to preserve their unbeaten home record.

The Shakers (2nd – 26 points): A 3-0 win over Pompey kept them on the tails of league-leaders Wycombe. Their last two away games have resulted in defeat, with five goals conceded in the process. Prolific duo Ryan Lowe and Danny Rose are set to continue up front, after both netted during Saturday’s win.

Generous hosts: The Shrews have beaten Bury just once over of the last eight meetings on their own patch, with the Shakers taking three points on four occasions. Their last meeting was in League 1 in 2013, when the game finished goalless.

Tranmere Rovers v Mansfield Town

Rovers (24th – 9 points): Defeated by Oxford at the weekend, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table. The 2-0 loss was a fifth on the bounce, and the fourth consecutive game without finding the net. Micky Adams has brought in Chesterfield’s Armand Gnanduillet to try and relieve the goalscoring crisis.

The Stags (16th – 17 points): A goalless stalemate against Cambridge on Saturday was their second draw in succession, after going 11 games without one. Winleses in four, Mansfield have only taken three points on the road once this season. Injury problems meant Paul Cox could only name five substitutes at the weekend.

Hit for six: Back in the 1990/91 season, Tranmere beat Mansfield 6-2 in an October meeting. Twelve years later, the Stags got some payback as they hammered Rovers 6-1 during the same month. Coincidentally, another 12 campaigns have passed since they met in a League fixture, could there be another October goalfest?

All games are 7.45pm kick-offs unless stated.

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