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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 1 weekend preview

13 February 2015

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


Crawley Town v Barnsley

Mark Burton and Paul Heckingbottom will take charge of Barnsley this weekend for their trip to Crawley Town, following the sacking of manager Danny Wilson and assistant Chris Hutchings on Thursday.

Wilson’s second spell at Oakwell came to an end after only 14 months, leaving the club sitting 17th in the Sky Bet League 1 table. Despite that lowly position, the Tykes are evenly poised, seven points from the Play-Offs and seven above the relegation zone.

However, it was Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at home to Fleetwood Town that proved to be Wilson’s final game of his current tenure, in what was the 55-year-old’s 1008th game in management.

Crawley are 23rd in the table after a run of just one victory in their past 16 league games. That success came last month in an impressive 2-1 home win over  Preston North End, but the Reds were thrashed 5-0 in their next game in West Sussex, against Doncaster on Tuesday night. A 2-1 defeat to Yeovil came in between those results.

Barnsley and Crawley met for the first time ever back in August, when the Reds edged a 1-0 scoreline at Oakwell.

Temporary measures: Both of these clubs currently have temporary managers in charge - Dean Saunders is the interim boss at Crawley after John Gregory stepped down in December, while Barnsley coaching duo Burton and Heckingbottom will lead out the Tykes.


Gillingham v Milton Keynes Dons

Gillingham have risen six places in the Sky Bet League 1 table over the past five weeks, and host high-flying MK Dons this Saturday.

Justin Edinburgh’s first game in charge of the Gills ended with a 2-1 victory at Peterborough United on Tuesday night, making it 13 points from the last 15 available.

That form, only bettered by league leaders Bristol City, has catapulted Edinburgh’s men to 15th position and four points from the Play-Offs, as one of four teams sitting on 38 points.

MK Dons will arrive in Kent in third place having seen their bid for the League 1 title take a dent in the past seven days.

The Dons drew their top-of-the-table clash with Bristol City last Saturday before being beaten 2-1 at Bradford City on Monday evening, in what was their first defeat of 2015.

Karl Robinson’s men were given a boost 24 hours later when second-placed Swindon Town lost at Oldham Athletic, keeping the Dons just one point behind the automatic promotion places.

Connect four: These two clubs have met 12 times before, with four wins apiece and four draws coming over those encounters. The Dons won 4-2 in the reverse clash back in August at stadiummk, but they’ve never won at Gillingham.


Walsall v Port Vale

For every Gillingham there is a Port Vale: the Valiants have slipped seven places during the past three weeks ahead of their trip to Walsall.

Such is the tightness of Sky Bet League 1 this season, Vale’s recent run of one point from four games has plummeted them down to 16th from the lofty heights of ninth, which is where they sat on 24th January.

Walsall have, in that time, won three and drawn one, with those 10 points taking them to 10th and within two points of the top six.

With the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final against Bristol City just over a month away, Dean Smith is starting to inspire the Saddlers into a run of form, as well as players like Manchester City loanee Jordy Hiwula, who has netted twice in their past two games.

On Tuesday they recorded a first victory at the Banks's Stadium since 13th December, beating Rochdale 3-2, and that could spark a positive run of results in front of their own fans.

Vale, meanwhile, have lost in each of their past four away League 1 fixtures; against Swindon, Chesterfield, Barnsley and Bristol City.

Half-time heroes: Neither of these sides have lost in league competition this season when they’ve held a half-time lead. In fact, Walsall haven’t even dropped a point, winning all seven games in which they’ve been in front after 45 minutes. Vale have gone on to win five and draw two.  


Bristol City enjoyed the perfect midweek ahead of their game against Sheffield United this weekend.  The Robins' 3-1 win over Port Vale was coupled with defeats for both of their nearest challengers - Swindon and MK Dons – meaning they top the table by four points.

City have now won five of their past six in League 1, and have dropped just seven points at home all season. Sheffield United, in the final Play-Off position, haven’t won in their past four away league trips.

Swindon remain second despite that 2-1 defeat to Oldham and Mark Cooper takes his Wiltshire side to 19th-placed Scunthorpe on Saturday.

That victory for Oldham was their fourth in six matches - form that has elevated them into fifth position – and they welcome struggling Colchester United to Boundary Park.

The U's are 21st having drawn one and lost two in their past three. They’ve conceded the second-highest number of goals in League 1 this season with 50 leaked over 29 matches.

Chesterfield are seventh and chasing the Play-Offs ahead of the visit of Leyton Orient, having been denied a top-six spot by goal difference in midweek after losing 2-0 to Preston North End.

However, the Spireites did play 88 minutes with 10 men after Sam Hird’s dismissal. The defender will be suspended Saturday’s match against an Orient team who prop up the division having lost three successive games and drifted to six points from safety.

Fleetwood Town are ninth on 41 points but could end the afternoon as high as fifth should they win at Crewe Alexandra and other results go their way.

Crewe are starting to find form with two successive victories helping them into 18th and seven points clear of the bottom four.

Yeovil are one of those clubs in a relegation spot and they make the trip to Doncaster in what was a Sky Bet Championship fixture last season.

While Yeovil have won just twice in 10 games, Doncaster have tasted defeat only once in their past nine. An impressive 5-0 demolition of Crawley represented a productive Tuesday night earlier in the week.

Finally, Peterborough host Rochdale in a mid-table encounter at the ABAX Stadium between two teams on 38 points.

Posh, in 13th, have won only once in seven home league games with Rochdale sitting one place higher. Both teams lost in midweek, Posh at home to Gillingham and Rochdale away at Walsall.


Saturday 14th February 2015

Bristol City v Sheffield United
Chesterfield v Leyton Orient
Crawley Town v Barnsley
Crewe Alexandra v Fleetwood Town
Doncaster Rovers v Yeovil Town
Gillingham v Milton Keynes Dons
Oldham Athletic v Colchester United
Peterborough United v Rochdale
Scunthorpe United v Swindon Town
Walsall v Port Vale

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