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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 1 weekend preview

16 January 2015

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


Swindon Town v Chesterfield and Scunthorpe United v Bristol City

Swindon Town returned to the top of Sky Bet League 1 on goal difference on Monday when they overcame Coventry City 3-0, for their third win in an unbeaten run of four matches, and they host Chesterfield on Saturday.

That success at the Ricoh Arena allowed the Robins to overtake their fellow Robins, Bristol City, at the summit thanks to a superior goal difference, after Steve Cotterill's men had thumped Notts County 4-0 last weekend.

That was City's third successive victory and it included a goal for the in-form Matt Smith, who had scored an incredible nine times in five matches over a 16-day period prior to Tuesday's 2-0 FA Cup replay win against Doncaster Rovers.

This week, Cotterill's Robins face a tricky trip to Scunthorpe United, who have vastly improved under the guidance of Mark Robins, going undefeated in seven outings with five wins during that period, including in their most recent two League 1 games against Rochdale and Walsall.

One and only: Scunthorpe are the only team in Sky Bet League 1 without a defeat in their last six league games.

Swindon will need to match or better Bristol City's result to maintain their place at the top of the table and they will be confident of doing so having lost just twice at home this term, on top of the fact they overcame Chesterfield 3-0 in the reverse clash in late October.


Milton Keynes Dons v Sheffield United

Milton Keynes Dons and Sheffield United sit in the Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off places and they go head-to-head at stadiummk on Saturday.

Karl Robinson's Dons are third with 45 points and recovered from two down to draw 2-2 at Crawley last time out with Dele Alli levelling deep into injury time. That came after a 3-0 loss to Walsall in their final outing of 2014, which followed a 13-game unbeaten run.

The sixth-placed Blades, meanwhile, were six games without three points in Sky Bet League 1 before overcoming Play-Off rivals Preston 2-1 last Saturday. It was a welcome win for boss Nigel Clough, who is targeting a top-two finish, and it kept them one point in front of Chesterfield, who head up the chasing pack.

This will be the third time the Dons and the Blades have met this season and it's 1-1 going into the weekend. Clough's men were 2-1 victors in October's Capital One Cup tie, but Robinson's side took the three points in League 1 in December.

Generous hosts: The away side has won this encounter in the last four meetings, including the two clashes this term.

History may favour the travelling team in this match but the Dons have taken 26 points from their 12 games at stadiummk, scoring a league-high 33 goals. Sheffield United are the ninth-best League 1 team on the road so far, notching 17 points from 11 away trips.


Yeovil Town v Bradford City

It's fair to say Yeovil Town have struggled on their own patch this season having won just one of their 12 outings at Huish Park so far.

It's no surprise that they possess Sky Bet League 1's worst home form as a result, taking seven points from a possible 36 ahead of their weekend clash with Bradford City in Somerset.

Gary Johnson's team sit rock bottom of the division on 20 points – five from safety – but one of their five victories to date came in the reverse match against the Bantams in early September, when two goals from defender Aaron Martin helped them to a 3-1 win.

That was the Glovers' second ever win against Bradford, in what was only the fifth clash between the two teams. The Bantams' only success against Yeovil came in January 2006 at Huish Park, while the other two encounters have ended level.

Phil Parkinson's men are mixing it at the opposite end of the table to Johnson's men; fifth in the standings and a narrow five points adrift of the top two.

Their position in the standings is largely thanks to a run of seven unbeaten games at the end of 2014, which earned boss Parkinson and defender Rory McArdle the Manager and Player of the Month awards respectively for December.

That proved to be a curse, however, as they were on the end of a 2-1 defeat to Rochdale last time out in the league, but they did react by thumping Sky Bet Championship side Millwall 4-0 in an FA Cup Round Three replay in midweek, to set up a Fourth Round tie with Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Goal-shy: Yeovil have scored only 19 goals so far this season, and they've found the net just once in their last four games.


The weekend's Sky Bet League 1 action gets under way on Friday night when Preston North End entertain Leyton Orient in front of the Sky Sports cameras in a 7.45pm kick-off.

At this stage last season, Orient were sitting pretty at the top of Sky Bet League 1 but they now find themselves in 20th, above the relegation zone by virtue of a better goal difference. They closed 2014 with back-to-back victories, but suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of Fleetwood Town last weekend.

Preston are fourth, just as they were at this stage 12 months ago, and Simon Grayson's men are well placed for another stab at promotion. Like Orient, they also suffered a defeat last time out, going down 2-1 to Sheffield United to end their unbeaten run of six games.

Crawley Town possess the longest run without a win in Sky Bet League 1, which stands at 10 matches stretching back to mid-October, and they are on the road to Rochdale on Saturday.

Fleetwood are level on points with Dale in the table, just outside the Play-Offs, and entertain Oldham, who are only three points further back.

Port Vale and Peterborough are 10th and 11th respectively, with the latter on a torrid run of one victory in 11, and they lock horns at Vale Park.

Colchester United are the latest team to beat the Posh and the U's now go up against Walsall, who have lost three of their last four including their two most recent outings, against Coventry and Scunthorpe.

The Sky Blues couldn't follow that win up as they fell 3-0 to Swindon on Monday, ahead of their weekend clash with relegation-threatened Gillingham, who remain without a permanent manager after the departure of Peter Taylor in late December. Chairman Paul Scally has called for patience while he looks for a new boss.

Crewe have improved over recent weeks to move out of the relegation zone and they travel to out-of-form Notts County. While the Railwaymen have won three in an unbeaten four-game stretch, Shaun Derry's Magpies haven't triumphed in seven outings, being defeated in their most recent three without scoring.

Finally, there's a Yorkshire derby at the Keepmoat Stadium, where Doncaster Rovers welcome the visit of near-neighbours Barnsley.

Rovers have only won twice on home soil this term but the Tykes haven't travelled particularly well to date, registering only three wins in 11 on the road.

History suggests a draw is likely and so do recent meetings, with the two sides sharing the spoils in each of the last three encounters, and the league head-to-head record currently standing at 23 victories apiece, alongside 21 stalemates.


Friday 16th January 2015

Preston North End v Leyton Orient

Saturday 17th January 2015

Colchester United v Walsall
Doncaster Rovers v Barnsley
Fleetwood Town v Oldham Athletic
Gillingham v Coventry City
MK Dons v Sheffield United
Notts County v Crewe Alexandra
Port Vale v Peterborough United
Rochdale v Crawley Town
Scunthorpe United v Bristol City
Swindon Town v Chesterfield
Yeovil Town v Bradford City

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