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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 2 weekend preview

24 October 2014

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

Saturday 25th October 2014

AFC Wimbledon v Tranmere Rovers

The Dons (12th – 19 points): Battled out a goalless draw with Plymouth on Tuesday night, the second consecutive match in which they have failed to score. Tom Beere is the only slight doubt, but Neal Ardley should have a full squad to choose from as they look to get back to winning ways.

Rovers (24th – 10 points): Micky Adams’ first official game in charge produced a goalless stalemate in midweek, against Mansfield. That was their first point since mid-September, ending a run of five successive defeats, although they have still only scored one goal in their past eight matches.

Nice to meet you: This will be the first time the two sides have met in a competitive fixture.

Cambridge United v Hartlepool United

The U’s (15th – 18 points): Were defeated 2-1 by Cheltenham on Tuesday, a third home loss in their past four matches at the Abbey Stadium. Kwesi Appiah netted his third goal in three games for the division’s highest goalscorers in that game. Robbie Simpson could return after shaking off a thigh injury.

Pools (23rd – 11 points): Slipped back into the bottom two after a 3-1 defeat at Accrington in midweek. The league’s lowest scorers, with just nine goals, have only one win in their past eight games. Paul Murray was appointed as the new boss on Thursday, and takes charge for the first time.

High five: The team from the North East are undefeated in five games against Cambridge, stretching back to November 1997. The last meeting between the pair was at the Abbey Stadium in 2003, when the game finished goalless.

Carlisle United v Oxford United

The Cumbrians (21st – 12 points): Were on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller in midweek, as they lost 4-3 to Burton. They now possess the leakiest defence in the division, after shipping four goals in the first-half of that match. Defender Troy Archibald-Henville is likely to miss out again through injury.

The U’s (19th – 16 points): Made it two wins in a row on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory at Northampton. The success was their first on the road this term. Danny Hylton bagged a brace, including a chipped penalty, taking him to double figures in all competitions. Striker Carlton Morris has been recalled by parent club Norwich.

Home, sweet home: The away side haven't come out on top in this fixture since 1996, when Oxford recorded a 2-1 win at Brunton Park. The last four games at Carlisle have seen the hosts prosper, winning on each occasion.

Luton Town v Northampton Town

The Hatters (3rd – 27 points): Moved into the automatic promotion places with a 3-1 win over Dagenham on Tuesday. That was their sixth victory on the bounce, but John Still is still hoping for improvement. Mark Cullen’s perfect hat-trick put him amongst the division’s top scorers – he now hs eight league goals.

The Cobblers (16th – 18 points): A 3-1 defeat against Oxford in midweek condemned Northampton to a third consecutive loss, and saw them slide into the bottom half of Sky Bet League 2. Winger Chris Hackett missed the game due to a back injury, but is expected to return for Saturday’s fixture.

A happy home: The Cobblers last four visits to Luton have proved fruitless, with two defeats in the league, and two in cups. They last triumphed at Kenilworth Road in 2000, when Steve Howard scored in a 2-0 win, before joining the Hatters six months later.

Newport County v Accrington Stanley

The Exiles (8th – 22 points): Mark Byrne’s winner against Southend fired Newport to a third successive win, putting them on the fringe of the Play-Offs. The game was the last of Scott Tancock’s loan spell, and he has returned to Swansea. Byrne picked up a knock after his goal, but will be hoping to shake it off in time for Saturday’s match.

Stanley (14th – 19 points): Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Hartlepool halted the run of consecutive defeats. It’s now four wins in six for Stanley, who may welcome Nicky Hunt back into the side, after the full-back missed the midweek game with chest pains.

Third time lucky: Last season saw the pair meet for the first time, and Stanley failed to grab a win in either fixture. Newport took four points from the two games, with the clash at Rodney Parade seeing the Welsh side run out comfortable 4-1 winners.

Plymouth Argyle v Cheltenham Town

The Pilgrims (6th – 23 points): A goalless draw at Wimbledon on Tuesday stretched Plymouth’s unbeaten run to four games. They haven’t conceded in that period, giving them the best defensive record in The Football League, shipping just eight goals. The game sees Bobby Reid’s loan come to an end, but John Sheridan hopes to extend the Bristol City midfielder’s stay.

The Robins (9th – 22 points): After a dry spell of seven games without victory, their 2-1 win over Cambridge was their second three-point haul in the space of four days, and it moved them within a point of the Play-Offs. John Marquis misses the game, after picking up five yellow cards this term.

Home comforts: The two sides have met seven times at Home Park, with Cheltenham only coming away with all three points on one occasion - a 2-1 win in May 2012.

Shrewsbury Town v Portsmouth

The Shrews (5th – 24 points): A five-star performance shook Bury in midweek, as the Shrews romped to a 5-0 victory at Greenhous Meadow. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro's hat-trick helped preserve the only unbeaten home record in the division - they have scored 17 of their 21 league goals on home soil.

Pompey (11th – 20 points): A five-game winless run came to an end on Tuesday, courtesy of a 3-2 win over Stevenage. Away form is still a problem however, having still only scored two goals on the road all season - the same amount that their opponents have conceded in their seven home games so far.

Taming of the Shrews: Pompey have won 12 of the 19 encounters between the two teams, although Shrewsbury came out on top in the last meeting, which was a 3-2 win in League 1, back in 2013.

Southend United v Bury

The Blues (10th – 21 points): Have now gone four games without picking up three points, after suffering defeat at the hands of Newport in midweek, and have scored just one goal in that period. David Worrall has returned to training and could return to play against his former side.

The Shakers (4th – 26 points): Dropped out of the automatic places after the 5-0 thumping by Shrewsbury. Have now alternated between victories and defeats over their past six games, with the three losses all coming on their travels. Tom Kennedy is available after joining on loan from Rochdale.

Close call: The previous 10 encounters between the two have been extremely tight affairs, including two draws last season. Five games have finished a goal apiece, accompanied by one goalless stalemate. The remaining four have been settled by a solitary goal, three of which went in favour of Southend.

Stevenage  v Burton Albion

Boro (18th – 17 points): Tuesday's 3-2 defeat to Portsmouth was a third loss in four for Graham Westley's side. Simon Walton could return after a hamstring problem, and Dean Parrett is hoping to shake off the hip injury that forced him off in midweek.

The Brewers (2nd – 28 points): Another team alternating results over the past six fixtures. However, their most recent result saw them take all three points, as a first-half masterclass led them to a 4-3 win over Carlisle. Stuart Beavon was sent off late on and will be suspended, along with Alex MacDonald after he picked up his fifth yellow card.

Double trouble: The last time these sides met was in League 2 back in 2010/11, when Stevenage took all six points on their way to promotion via the Play-Offs. Burton's last win at the Lamex was in 2006 - a 3-2 win in the Conference.

Wycombe Wanderers v Dagenham & Redbridge

The Chairboys (1st – 28 points): A 2-1 defeat at Exeter in midweek was their first loss on the road this season. Peter Murphy's fifth goal from midfield this season couldn't prevent the league leaders' 10-game unbeaten run coming to an end. Gareth Ainsworth said some of his players looked tired, so could make changes with a full squad to choose from.

The Daggers (20th – 14 points): Lost 3-1 at Luton in midweek, which was a third defeat in four matches for Wayne Burnett's side. Joss Labadie missed the game and remains a doubt; Christian Doidge is pushing for a start after grabbing the consolation goal on Tuesday night.

Shut-out: The hosts of this fixture haven't conceded a goal in the last five encounters between the pair. The last goal from a visiting team came in 2008, although it wasn't enough for Dagenham as they went down 2-1 to the Chairboys.

York City v Mansfield Town

The Minstermen (22nd – 11 points): Denied a first win since the beginning of September by a stoppage-time equaliser from Morecambe on Tuesday night. It's no wins in the past eight games, and they are still to register a first home victory of the season. Wes Fletcher may feature after overcoming a hamstring injury.

The Stags (17th – 18 points): Endured a second goalless draw in four days, against bottom side Tranmere, on Tuesday. It's three draws on the bounce, and no wins in five, with only one goal coming during that spell. Kieron Freeman and Alex Fisher picked up midweek injuries, and the latter is definitely out of this weekend’s clash.

Head-to-head: These two sides have met each other on 90 occasions, stretching back to York's 4-3 win in 1932. The Minstermen have the edge with 35 victories to Mansfield's 29, but the Stags took the three points when visiting last season.

Sunday 26th October 2014

Morecambe v Exeter City – 1pm

The Shrimps (7th – 23 points): Jack Redshaw's 94th-minute equaliser against York kept Morecambe clinging on to the final Play-Off place. They've suffered just one defeat in the last four since shaking off a three-game losing streak. Redshaw may make the starting XI after his midweek goal, along with Tom Barkhuizen, who also impressed coming off the bench.

The Grecians (13th – 19 points): Grabbed a fine 2-1 win over Wycombe in midweek. The victory over the league leaders means it's just one defeat in eight, with 17 points being picked up during the impressive run. Midfielder Liam Sercombe will miss out again with a hip injury.

Rotten Shrimps: Exeter face the 580-mile round trip with a decent record at Morecambe. The Grecians have made the journey on seven occasions, and were unbeaten in the first six. The host's barren spell came to an end last season though, as they ran out 2-0 winners.

All games are 3pm kick-offs unless stated

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