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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 1 weekend preview

6 February 2015

We look ahead to the weekend action in Sky Bet League 1.


Milton Keynes Dons v Bristol City

It was double delight for Milton Keynes Dons on Friday as boss Karl Robinson and midfielder Dele Alli picked up the Manager and Player of the Month awards respectively, and they have the chance to go top of Sky Bet League 1 on Saturday when they host Bristol City.

The Dons trail the leading Robins by two points but they go into the weekend unbeaten in five after collecting 11 points during January – form that saw Robinson named the division's top boss for the month.

Steve Cotterill's City are also undefeated in five league games, and all of those have been victories, but only two came in January, in a month that was dominated by cup football.

They kicked February off in style by beating Fleetwood Town 2-0 last time out and that result lifted them to the summit, after the Dons had briefly topped the table following a 5-0 mauling of Crewe Alexandra.

Those five goals took MK's total tally to a league-best 59 for the season, but the Robins possess the division's meanest defence having conceded only 22 times over 26 outings.

But don't let that fool you; goals weren't a problem in the reverse fixture at Ashton Gate in late September, when a 74th-minute strike from Wade Elliot settled a five-goal thriller after Robinson's side had fought from two goals down to make it 2-2.

That extended the Dons' fruitless run against Bristol City to eight matches – they've never got the better of them - but could it be ninth time lucky for MK, or will the monthly award winners curse strike and keep the Robins rockin'?


Yeovil Town v Crawley Town

Yeovil Town's first task after relieving Gary Johnson of his managerial duties is a home clash with Crawley Town, in what is a significant game at the foot of the Sky Bet League 1 table.

The Glovers, four points from safety, dismissed Johnson on Wednesday after picking up only six wins from 28 matches this term, following relegation from the Sky Bet Championship, and Terry Skiverton has been appointed acting manager with Darren Way supporting him.

Skiverton was the Huish Park boss before Johnson returned in January 2012, and the former defender is back in charge, for the time being at least, as the rock-bottom Glovers aim to stave off a second successive relegation.

If they are to avoid another drop, their home form will need to improve. Yeovil have won only twice in Somerset, scoring just six goals in 14, and a game against Crawley gives them the perfect opportunity to do so - the Reds possess League 1's worst away record with one victory in 14 outings on the road.

But, last time out, Dean Saunders' men recorded their first win since October by beating promotion-chasing Preston North End 2-1, and on deadline day the manager signed striker Mathias Pogba, who will provide firepower in attacking areas going into the business end of the season.

We meet again: This will be the third time Crawley and Yeovil have clashed in 2014/15. The Reds won the reverse league fixture in West Sussex, while the Glovers triumphed in the FA Cup at Huish Park in November.


Notts County v Chesterfield

Striker Eoin Doyle has been Chesterfield's shining light this term but he departed on deadline day, meaning the Spireites' first match without him is away to Notts County on Saturday.

The Irishman signed for Cardiff City having scored 25 goals this season, which included 21 in Sky Bet League 1, and that has been a key factor in Chesterfield sitting in the Play-Off places going into the weekend.

They have notched four points over their last two games, in which Doyle scored three goals, and overall they've only lost once in seven to lift them to fifth, in what is a tight League 1 table.

Fine lines: 15th-placed Port Vale are only four points behind Chesterfield in fifth.

Deadline day was also busy with regards to incomings at the Proact Stadium with Wolves defender Ashley Carter, Birmingham City midfielder Mark Duffy, and Sheffield Wednesday forward Caolan Lavery joining on loan, following the permanent signings of strikers Byron Harrison and Mani Dieseruvwe.

All three loan players are in line to make their debuts at Meadow Lane against County, who are 14th after just one win in 11, having lost 3-0 to Oldham last time out.

The Magpies have lost over half of their games at home – seven of 13 – but Chesterfield have only notched three victories from 13 on the road, while the reverse meeting between these two ended level at 1-1, which points towards a tight game at Meadow Lane on Saturday.


MK Dons and Bristol City may be going head-to-head for top spot at the weekend, but Swindon Town aren't out of the picture, and they entertain Barnsley on Saturday.

The Robins sit third going into the weekend, trailing the Dons by a point and leaders City by three, meaning the best they can do is jump up to second with a victory against the Tykes, who climbed to 13th last time out by beating Oldham 1-0 for a second successive triumph.

Preston, Chesterfield and Sheffield United occupy the other three places in the Play-Offs, and while the Spireites take on Notts County, North End and the Blades face Coventry City and Gillingham respectively.

The Lilywhites still haven't won since Boxing Day, despite only losing once at home all season, while Nigel Clough's United have alternated between defeats and victories in their last four matches, and the chasing pack are hot on their heels.

Bradford City head the pack despite being winless in three ahead of their meeting with Port Vale, who have lost back-to-back games for the first time under manager Rob Page.

Peterborough United, also on 37 points, have won two on the spin and face Fleetwood, who are level with them in the table, in Lancashire, while Oldham are the other club on 37 points and go to Scunthorpe on Saturday, with the Iron on a run of only one defeat in 10.

Elsewhere, Doncaster Rovers host Walsall with the two teams separated by only two points in the Sky Bet League 1 table, and a key clash at the foot sees Colchester United go head-to-head with Crewe Alexandra.

Colchester are 21st – the highest place in the relegation zone – while Crewe are just a point better off, on the other side of the safety line, highlighting the significance of this meeting.


Saturday 7th February 2015

Colchester United v Crewe Alexandra
Doncaster Rovers v Walsall
Fleetwood Town v Peterborough United
Gillingham v Sheffield United
Milton Keynes Dons v Bristol City
Notts County v Chesterfield
Port Vale v Bradford City
Preston North End v Coventry City
Rochdale P-P Leyton Orient
Scunthorpe United v Oldham Athletic
Swindon Town v Barnsley
Yeovil Town v Crawley Town

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