We look ahead to the weekend action in Sky Bet League 2.Friday 3rd October 2014
Burton Albion v Cambridge United - 7.45pm
The Brewers (1st – 22 points): Moved back to the summit with a 1-0 win over Cheltenham last weekend. Stuart Beavon’s goal was the perfect response following two successive defeats. Gary Rowett's side possess the only 100 per cent home record in the Sky Bet Football League.
The U’s (18th – 11 points): Cambridge’s 1-0 loss at Wycombe last Saturday was their third defeat on the bounce. Issa Diallo will miss out after picking up an injury in that match, and the U’s will leave it late to decide on Ryan Donaldson, who is nursing a hamstring problem.
A league above: This is the first time the two sides have met other than in the Conference. The 10 meetings have been edged by Burton, with four wins to Cambridge's three. The Brewers have won three of the five clashes at the Pirelli Stadium.
Dagenham & Redbridge v Exeter City - 7.45pm
The Daggers (19th – 11 points): Dagenham’s 2-0 win over York in their last fixture brought a winless streak of five matches to an end. Joss Labadie found the net twice - his first two goals for the club – to give the Daggers their first home win since August 23rd.
The Grecians (17th – 12 points): Exeter recorded an impressive win over Bury last weekend - their third successive 2-1 victory. It’s now four games without defeat for the Grecians, and gaffer Paul Tisdale is hoping to have David Noble and Craig Woodman back to further strengthen their hand.
Making a point: Dagenham haven’t beaten Exeter at home since 2007 - their final meeting in the Football Conference. However, the spoils have been shared recently, with the last three fixtures at Dagenham finishing 1-1.
Saturday 4th October 2014
Bury v Tranmere Rovers
The Shakers (3rd – 20 points): Bury’s eight-game unbeaten run came to an end last week - the aforementioned 2-1 defeat at Exeter costing the Shakers their place at the top. They will be without Danny Mayor for this match, after the winger picked up his fifth yellow card in the loss to the Grecians.
Rovers (20th – 9 points): Tranmere slumped to a 1-0 defeat at bottom side Carlisle last Saturday, leaving them without a win in their most recent five outings. Rovers have only managed one goal in their last four games, a problem that Rob Edwards is keen to address.
One way or another: It’s very rare that both sides find the net when Bury and Tranmere meet. With the exception of a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game in 2009, the last time it happened was when Bury came away from Prenton Park with a 2-1 win back in August 2001.
Cheltenham Town v AFC Wimbledon
The Robins (9th – 15 points): Cheltenham lost 1-0 to the new league leaders Burton last time out, leaving them without a win in their last five games. They have managed just a solitary goal in those fixtures, so attacker Raffaele De Vita may be handed his first start after completing an hour for the reserves in midweek.
The Dons (12th – 14 points): Wimbledon were overpowered by Newport County last weekend - a 4-1 defeat put paid to their hopes of a third successive victory. The positive was a fourth goal in three games for striker Adebayo Akinfenwa.
A happy home: Cheltenham and Wimbledon have only met at Whaddon Road on three occasions, but the Dons are yet to come away with three points, losing their last two here by a one-goal margin.
Hartlepool United v Carlisle United
Pools (22nd – 8 points): Hartlepool battled out a goalless draw with Pompey in their last match. It took them out of the bottom two, but it extended their winless run to four games. Pools are the lowest scorers in the division, and have only netted twice at home this campaign.
The Cumbrians (24th – 6 points): Carlisle remain bottom of the Sky Bet Football League, despite a first win of the season last weekend. David Amoo's goal earned them a 1-0 victory over Tranmere, but they now need to start picking up points on the road, having only managed one point from five games away from Brunton Park.
Goals galore: Since the 2000/01 season, these two teams have been finding the net at Victoria Park almost at will. The nine encounters have produced 35 goals, at an average of 3.89 goals per game.
Mansfield Town v Accrington Stanley
The Stags (11th – 15 points): Mansfield were aiming for a third win on the spin last week, but they were comfortably beaten 3-0 at Stevenage. The Stags boast a fine home record though, with four wins from their five games at Field Mill. Ryan Tafazolli will miss out with a shoulder injury, but Fergus Bell is set to return.
Stanley (16th – 13 points): Kai Naismith produced the only goal as Accrington defeated Plymouth 1-0 last weekend. That made it two out of two for manager John Coleman, and it was Stanley's fourth win in their last five games, as they make their way up the table. James Gray serves the last game of his three-match suspension.
Bogey team: Mansfield have failed to beat Accrington in the league since the turn of the century, but did grab a win in the FA Cup in 2006. Stanley have won on their last two visits to Field Mill, and their last defeat to the Stags was in Division Four, back in 1961.
Oxford United v Newport County
The U’s (23rd – 7 points): Oxford had managed to go five games without defeat, up until last weekend's visit to Luton. A 2-0 loss means it's one win in 10, and that result saw the U's drop into the relegation zone. Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke and defender Andy Whing are back in contention following injuries.
The Exiles (15th – 13 points): A 4-1 win over Wimbledon extended Newport's unbeaten streak to seven games. Loanee Joe Pigott netted his first two goals for the club, making him their joint top-scorer this season. The Exiles have struggled to find the net on the road, with only three goals on their travels so far.
Third time lucky? Last season saw the first ever meetings take place between Oxford and Newport. The U’s failed to get the better of the Welsh side on both occasions, with the encounter at the Kassam Stadium finishing goalless, before a 3-2 win for Newport in the reverse clash.
Plymouth Argyle v Shrewsbury Town
The Pilgrims (14th – 13 points): Plymouth slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Accrington last weekend - their third defeat in their last four. Teenager Ben Purrington broke his wrist in that loss, and now faces a spell on the sidelines. No Argyle player has more than one goal to their name, except for injured striker Reuben Reid.
The Shrews (7th – 15 points): Failed to find the net for the fourth time in their last five league fixtures, as they were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline against Southend. Micky Mellon conceded they need to better at both ends of the pitch away from home, with the Shrews only picking up two points on the road. Andy Mangan misses out after being sent off against Southend.
Head-to-head: This is the 43rd league meeting between the two sides, and it's the Shrews who have the upper hand. They have 14 wins to Plymouth's 12, but Argyle had the edge in 2011/12 in their first encounters for a decade, winning 1-0 at Home Park after a 1-1 draw in the first clash.
Southend United v Morecambe
The Blues (4th – 20 points): High-flying Southend recorded a fourth win on the trot, thanks to that 1-0 win over 10-man Shrewsbury. Shaq Coulthirst scored his second goal for the club since his loan move from Tottenham. Ryan Leonard and Michael Timlin are in contention for a return, but Luke Prosser looks set to miss out.
The Shrimps (6th – 16 points): Morecambe succumbed to a third successive defeat as they were beaten 1-0 by Northampton last weekend, a result that saw them leapfrogged by their opponents. Jim Bentley's side haven't found the net in any of those three fixtures.
Shrimp allergy: Eight league meetings between the two sides have proved fruitless for Southend. Aside from a 1-1 draw in 2011, Morecambe have taken all three points on every other occasion.
Stevenage v Luton Town
Boro (13th – 14 points): Stevenage recorded an impressive 3-0 win over Mansfield last week in which Chris Whelpdale struck twice to double his tally for the season. It's the first time this season that Boro have gone two games without defeat, and they are chasing a third successive victory at the Lamex Stadium.
The Hatters (10th – 15 points): Luton recorded a 2-0 win over struggling Oxford last weekend. It was the first time that John Still's side had recorded a victory greater than a 1-0 scoreline this term. They are now unbeaten in their last four games without conceding and have notched 10 points in that period.
You’re welcome: Stevenage have been generous hosts to Luton in their three previous meetings at the Lamex. The Hatters have won by a single goal on each occasion.
Wycombe Wanderers v Northampton Town
The Chairboys (2nd – 21 points): Wycombe are unbeaten in seven games, following last week's 1-0 win over Cambridge at Adams Park. Top scorer Paul Hayes (5) grabbed the winner, which was his 100th league goal. Wycombe boast the league's meanest defence, conceding only six times this season.
The Cobblers (5th – 17 points): Up against that defence are the top scorers in the division. Northampton grabbed a 1-0 win at Morecambe last Saturday, and did so without the prolific Marc Richards, who has eight goals to his name this season. Richards has trained this week after a hamstring problem, so may return to lead the line.
Stalemate: Last season’s relegation battle between Wycombe and Northampton was the fifth successive draw between the sides at Adams Park. You have to go back to 2001 to find Wycombe’s last home win over the Cobblers.
York City v Portsmouth
The Minstermen (21st – 9 points): York fell to a third defeat in four games last time out - a 2-0 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge saw them slip further towards the bottom two. Ryan Brunt has joined on loan from Bristol Rovers to try and help get them off the mark at Bootham Crescent, as they are still yet to win in front of their home fans this season.
Pompey (8th – 15 points): A goalless draw at Hartlepool was Pompey's second draw in succession, but it extended their unbeaten run to three matches. Ryan Taylor scored twice in midweek for the reserves as he steps up from injury, and may feature at some point. Pompey are in need of goals - they have only managed two on the road which is the league's lowest tally.
Home comforts: York did the double over Pompey last season, after 34 years of avoiding each other. Portsmouth found it just as hard at Bootham Crescent back in the 70s, with the Minstermen winning four of the five meetings.
All games are 3pm kick-offs unless stated