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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 2 weekend preview

17 October 2014

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

Saturday 18th October 2014

Burton Albion v Morecambe

The Brewers (2nd – 25 points): Alex MacDonald’s Goal of the Season contender gave Burton a hard-earned win over Northampton last weekend - only their second in five games. MacDonald and loanee Jacob Blyth both doubled their goal tally during the 2-1 victory at Sixfields, which sent the Brewers up to second in the table.

The Shrimps (7th – 19 points): Defeat to new leaders Wycombe last weekend was the fourth in the last five games for Jim Bentley’s side. Jamie Devitt was sent off during the 3-1 loss, but the red card has been rescinded following an appeal, and the midfielder is available for this trip.

The good old days: Morecambe managed to end a dismal spell at the Pirelli last season, as they came away with a 1-0 win. They had lost their four previous Football League meetings at Burton, but it was a different story back in the Conference, when the Shrimps came out on top in four of their five visits.

Bury v Portsmouth

The Shakers (3rd – 23 points): A second loss in three games saw Bury surrender their place at the top of the table. Ryan Lowe’s fifth goal in all competitions was not enough for the Shakers, who went down 3-2 to AFC Wimbledon last weekend. Only Shrewsbury possess a better home record.

Pompey (12th – 17 points): Paul Robinson’s equaliser against Mansfield gave Pompey a share of the spoils last Saturday - their fourth successive draw. They have only netted twice on the road all season, which is the worst record in the division. Defender Ben Chorley is back in Andy Awford’s plans after recovering from a calf problem.

Even Stevens: The pair have battled it out in The Football League on 28 occasions over the years, with each side winning 10 times. The most recent of the eight draws came at the back-end of last season, when the sides served up an eight-goal thriller at Gigg Lane.

Cheltenham Town v Northampton Town

The Robins (14th – 16 points): A run of seven league games without victory has seen Cheltenham slide into the bottom half. Goalkeeper Trevor Carson has called for his team-mates to show more desire, following the 3-1 defeat to Shrewsbury last weekend. Only Hartlepool have scored fewer goals than the Robins this term.

The Cobblers (9th – 18 points): Defender Ryan Cresswell’s second goal in as many games couldn’t prevent a late defeat to Burton last week. It’s now just one win in four games for Chris Wilder’s side. Goalkeeper Matt Duke could return after overcoming a thigh injury, and John-Joe O’Toole has recovered from a back strain.

Bouncing back: There seems to be a pattern emerging whenever the Cobblers come to town. Previous encounters at Whaddon Road have seen a draw occur every other year since December 2009, but the clashes in between have resulted in 1-0 wins for Cheltenham. The spoils were shared last season, so the Robins will be hoping the trend continues.

Dagenham & Redbridge v Newport County

The Daggers (18th – 14 points): Came away from Accrington last week with all three points, their second win in their last three outings. Ade Yussuf came off the bench to fire the Daggers to victory with his first two goals for the club. Rhys Murphy is back training and could feature for the first time since March.

The Exiles (17th – 15 points): Took full advantage of 10-man York last Saturday, as they recovered from going a goal down to win 3-1. Have lost just one match out of their last nine in the league, and have only conceded five goals on the road this season, which is one of the best records in Sky Bet League 2.

Third time lucky: Newport will be looking for a first win against Dagenham, at the third time of asking. Last season saw the first ever competitive meetings between the pair, with the Daggers taking four points from a possible six.

Hartlepool United v Luton Town

Pools (21st – 11 points): Managerless Hartlepool had gone five games without victory going into last weekend’s trip to Exeter. However, caretaker boss Sam Collins secured his first three points with a 2-1 win, lifting them off of the bottom. Jack Compton underwent knee surgery in the week and will be absent until the New Year.

The Hatters (4th – 21 points): In-form Luton secured a fifth win in six games last weekend, defeating Southend 2-0 at Kenilworth Road. They've conceded just one goal in that period, and only leaders Wycombe have a better record on the road than John Still’s side.

Goals Galore: These two sides have only met eight times since the turn of the century, but there has been plenty of entertainment when they have. There have been 34 goals in that period, an average of 4.25 per game. The last meeting in the North East was in 2008, when Pools put four past their opponents without reply.

Mansfield Town v Cambridge United

The Stags (15th – 16 points): Shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Portsmouth last weekend. Matt Rhead, Simon Heslop and Fergus Bell all went off injured during the game and are doubtful. Despite their bottom-half position, they have the fifth best record at home, picking up 12 of their 16 points at Field Mill.

The U’s (11th – 17 points): Five-star Cambridge impressed in front of the cameras last Saturday lunchtime, as they cruised past Oxford. Kwesi Appiah was the stand-out player, with two goals in the 5-1 victory. The league’s highest scorers have got 10 of their goals away from home - a figure only matched by table-topping Wycombe.

A league above: It’s been a while since this pair battled it out in The Football League. The last 10 meetings came in the Conference, so you have to go back to 2004/05 to find the most recent encounter in The League. Both clashes that season resulted in draws, with the fixture at Mansfield ending goalless.

Oxford United v Tranmere Rovers

The U’s (23rd – 10 points): Dropped back into the relegation zone, following last Saturday’s 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Cambridge. Danny Hylton put the U’s ahead with his sixth league goal of the season, before the floodgates opened. Oxford’s only two wins this season have come at the Kassam Stadium.

Rovers (24th – 9 points): A home defeat to Plymouth last weekend saw Tranmere sink to the bottom of the division, after four successive losses. Manager Rob Edwards was consequently dismissed and Rovers have moved quickly, bringing in ex-Port Vale boss Micky Adams ahead of Saturday’s clash between the bottom two.

Unfamiliar territory: This weekend will see Tranmere visit the Kassam Stadium for the first time. The pair have not met in a competitive match for 15 years, and the last league encounter at Oxford was back in October 1998, when Rovers recorded a 2-0 win at the Manor Ground.

Plymouth Argyle v Carlisle United

The Pilgrims (6th – 19 points): Reuben Reid netted his fifth league goal of the campaign, as Plymouth heaped more misery on Tranmere last weekend. The 1-0 success was a third win in four games. They've only conceded two goals at home – a joint-best record in Sky Bet League 2.

The Cumbrians (20th – 12 points): Stormed to a 3-0 win over Stevenage last weekend, making it three victories on the bounce for Keith Curle’s improving side, who have not conceded a goal during that period. Left-back Danny Grainger is suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card.

Long way home: Carlisle face an 800-mile round trip for this weekend’s fixture, and it probably seems even longer based on previous results. Their last win at Plymouth came in January 1978, and they haven’t scored in four of their last five visits to Home Park.

Southend United v Exeter City

The Blues (5th – 20 points): Last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Luton was their second on the bounce, after previously going on a four-game winning streak. Cian Bolger went off at half-time with concussion, but both he and Luke Prosser have returned to training this week to ease Phil Brown’s defensive crisis.

The Grecians (17th – 15 points): The tables were turned on Exeter in last weekend’s defeat to Hartlepool; they had won 2-1 four times in succession, but lost by that very scoreline to Pools. Four players are still nursing injuries but they may be forced to play as Paul Tisdale faces a selection dilemma.

Coast to victory: After a barren spell on their travels to Southend, Exeter finally enjoyed some success back in February. Two late goals gave the Grecians a 3-2 win, their first at Roots Hall since 2000.

Stevenage v Accrington Stanley

Boro (19th – 14 points): Have lost two games on the bounce for the first time this season, following their 3-0 defeat against a rejuvenated Carlisle last time out. Ex-England goalkeeper Dave Beasant, 55, was on the bench for Boro last week, with the injury crisis at the Lamex Stadium showing no sign of easing.

Stanley (16th – 16 points): A 2-1 reverse at home to Dagenham last week ended a streak of three consecutive wins. Stanley now have the worst defensive record in the division, leaking 23 goals, of which 15 have been on their travels. On-loan goalkeeper Aaron Chapman has returned to Chesterfield after picking up an injury during the defeat to the Daggers.

Home comforts: There has only been 10 competitive meetings between these two but Stanley have failed to come back with a win from any of their trips to the Lamex. The most recent encounters were in the 2010/11 League 2 Play-Offs, when Stevenage ran out 3-0 winners on aggregate.

Wycombe Wanderers v AFC Wimbledon

The Chairboys (1st – 25 points): Nine games unbeaten, and four wins in the last six, has seen Wycombe hit the summit of Sky Bet League 2. Ten-man Morecambe were the latest side to come unstuck against Gareth Ainsworth’s s men, as Sam Wood scored the pick of the goals in last weekend’s 3-1 away triumph.

The Dons (10th – 18 points): Adebayo Akinfenwa kept up his red-hot form in front of goal last time out, bagging a brace in a hard-fought 3-2 win against Bury. It’s now six goals in the last five league games for the striker, a period which has seen the Dons lose just once.

Double trouble: The Chairboys had no joy against Wimbledon last season, losing on both occasions and failing to score in the process. Adams Park has proved a happy hunting ground for the Dons, although they have only visited Wycombe twice. They also recorded a 1-0 win at Wycombe during the 2012/13 campaign.

York City v Shrewsbury Town

The Minstermen (22nd – 10 points): A 3-1 defeat to Newport last weekend left York winless in six, and resulted in Nigel Worthington stepping down as manager. Russ Wilcox has since been appointed, and the former Scunthorpe boss will be without captain Russ Penn, after his red card against the Exiles.

The Shrews (8th – 18 points): Micky Mellon’s men had only scored one goal in six league games going into last week’s match with Cheltenham, but three goals in 19 second-half minutes eased the crisis, with the Shrews running out 3-1 winners. James Collins and Andy Mangan both scored their fifth goals of the season during that match.

Off the mark: York are the only side yet to win a home match in Sky Bet League 2 this season, while Shrewsbury are one of just two teams still to take all three points on their travels. Therefore, something may give this weekend, although the last meeting between the pair was a draw, at Shrewsbury back in 2003.

All games are 3pm kick-offs unless stated.

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