We look ahead to the weekend action in Sky Bet League 2.Friday 9th January 2015
Accrington Stanley v Bury - 19:45pm kick-off
Stanley (13th – 33 points): Come into the game after a 2-1 win at Exeter last week, which was their fourth victory on the road this season. John Coleman’s men had not won any of their previous three prior to that success, and they'll be boosted on Friday by the news that Anthony Barry has extended his loan stay at the Crown Ground.
The Shakers (8th – 37 points): Lost 1-0 to Dagenham & Redbridge in their last outing, but it was their first defeat in three matches. Back-to-back wins over the Christmas period mean Bury sit just one point off the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off places, and they’ve reinforced between the sticks, signing Nick Pope from Charlton Athletic until the end of the season.
Shakers not stirred: Bury have lost just once in their last six meetings with Stanley, a record that was extended after their 2-1 win at JD Stadium earlier in the season.
Saturday 10th January 2015
Burton Albion v Mansfield Town
The Brewers (2nd – 46 points): A 1-0 win over Shrewsbury on Saturday means it’s now five games unbeaten for Burton, who trail table-toppers Wycombe by a solitary point. They’ve been active in the transfer market this week, after they extended Darragh Lenihan’s loan by a further month and brought in defender Stefan Maletic.
The Stags (19th - 27 points): Lost 2-0 to Bury in their latest league fixture, bringing to an end a run of three games without a defeat. They are one of several sides in the division who boast a game in hand, and could go as high as 14th with a victory this weekend. They recruited midfield duo Ricky Ravenhill and Junior Brown on contracts until the end of the season this week.
Stagnated: Mansfield have never got the better of Burton in a competitive match, and have lost four of their five clashes with them.
Carlisle United v Cambridge United
The Cumbrians (22nd – 24 points): Went down to Newport County to make it successive defeats in the league last week, and they’ve now lost six of their last 10 games. They’ve been much more successful at their Brunton Park home than on their travels this term, claiming 17 of their 24 points in front of their fans.
The U's (14th - 29 points): Their dramatic 3-2 defeat to Stevenage now means Cambridge are without a win in the league since November. That record was soon forgotten by all associated with the club this week though, when they drew Manchester United at home in the FA Cup Fourth Round after overcoming Luton in Round Three.
U what? Cambridge haven’t lost to Carlisle in their last seven matches against them, the latest of which was a 5-0 thrashing of the Cumbrians back in August.
Dagenham & Redbridge v Oxford United
The Daggers (21st – 25 points): Tabled a first victory in five with a win over Bury last time around, a result that gave them some breathing space above the drop zone. They’ve recorded fewer points at home this season than they have on the road, losing eight of their 12 games at Victoria Road.
The U’s (16th – 28 points): Lost 2-1 to Cheltenham last Saturday, which was their second defeat in three games. It’s been a busy week of ins and outs at Oxford, with Patrick Hoban and Chey Dunkley signing for the club permanently, while Junior Brown and Michael Raynes have departed.
Always goals: There has never been a goalless draw in a meeting between these two sides, and their last showdown featured six goals as they drew 3-3 in the opening weeks of this term.
Exeter City v Northampton Town
The Grecians (9th – 37 points): Their charge on the Play-Off places has come to a temporary halt of late, after they were turned over by AFC Wimbledon and Accrington Stanley in their latest showings. Alex Nicholls has returned to St James’ Park permanently this week following two loan spells, after he was released by Northampton.
The Cobblers (20th – 25 points): The 1-1 draw with Southend last weekend brought to an end a run of five straight defeats, but it’s still no win in six for Chris Wilder’s men, who are now just three points above the relegation places. Jason Taylor has signed a six-month deal at the club this week, but it's been mostly departures at Sixfields of late, with Ricky Ravenhill, Kelvin Langmead and the aforementioned Nicholls all leaving.
Hartlepool United v Cheltenham Town
Pools (24th – 14 points): Their latest defeat of a so far dismal season came at the hands of league-leaders Wycombe, going down 1-0. Failure to win this weekend will see their run without a victory reach the three-month mark, and new loan signings Rakish Bingham and Aaron Tshibola are likely to make their home debuts.
The Robins (17th – 28 points): Earned their first league win in 10 games against Oxford last weekend, to ease the pressure above the drop zone. Paul Buckle’s men have a respectable showing on the road this season - they’ve won four and drawn two of their 12 away games to take 14 points overall, which is the same amount as they have on home turf.
Rockin' Robins: Cheltenham haven’t lost any of their last four games against Hartlepool, winning three and drawing one in that time.
Morecambe v Tranmere Rovers
The Shrimps (11th – 34 points): Started the New Year with a goalless stalemate against Stevenage on Saturday, a result that followed a mixed festive period for Morecambe. They have won and lost in equal measure this season, posting 10 of each and drawing four times, a haul that justifies their mid-table standing.
Rovers (23rd - 22 points): Things have continued to improve under Micky Adams of late, and their third win in six games came last time out in the league at home to Northampton Town. They could escape the clutches of the relegation zone for the first time since October this weekend should they claim all three points.
Four draw? This game will be just the fourth ever meeting between these two sides, and it’s never ended in a draw, with Tranmere taking two wins to Morecambe’s one.
Newport County v Portsmouth
The Exiles (4th – 43 points): Are now just a point off the Sky Bet League 2 automatic promotion places after their third consecutive victory last weekend - their sixth win in seven outings. Justin Edinburgh’s men have still lost just once at Rodney Parade all season, and only five times in all league games this term.
Pompey (15th - 28 points): Shared the spoils with Luton Town to make it five games without a win on Saturday. Manager Andy Awford has recruited strongly ahead of their trip to Wales, bringing in Paul Robinson from Millwall and striker Matt Tubbs, after he was released from neighbours Bournemouth.
Just the one: Newport have only conceded in one of their four competitive games against Portsmouth, when Pompey grabbed the points in a 2-1 win at the home of the Exiles last season.
Southend United v Plymouth Argyle
The Blues (6th – 40 points): The 1-1 draw with Northampton was the third time Southend have shared the spoils in four matches, which has hindered their assault on the automatic promotion places. Despite their lofty standing in the table, they’ve only scored 24 goals in 24 games this season, which is among the worst returns in front of goal in League 2.
The Pilgrims (7th – 38 points): Also drew their last game as they were held 0-0 at York, and they were out of sorts over Christmas, losing twice in as many days. John Sheridan’s men have one of the best home records in the division, but it’s been a different story on their travels, as they’ve lost six times on the road.
Stevenage v AFC Wimbledon
Boro (10th – 35 points): A 0-0 draw with Morecambe denied Stevenage a fourth successive victory last time out, but that took their unbeaten run to four. Tom Conlon and Michael Richens have made their loan deals from Peterborough United permanent this week.
The Dons (12th - 33 points): Beat Exeter convincingly in their last fixture, and their December efforts were rewarded this week when manager Neil Ardley won the Sky Bet League 2 Manager of the Month award. They ran Liverpool close in the Third Round of the FA Cup on Monday, and another League 2 victory this weekend will see them leapfrog opponents Stevenage in the table.
Goals, goals, goals: Stevenage have scored a minimum of two goals in their last five games against AFC Wimbledon, winning four and drawing one of those meetings.
Wycombe Wanderers v York City
The Chairboys (1st – 47 points): Saw off Hartlepool 1-0 in their first game of 2015 to maintain their place at the summit of the table. Paris Cowan-Hall won the Sky Bet League 2 Player of the Month award on Friday, following his three goals in four games throughout December, but the winger has since sealed a move to Millwall. Midfielder Marcus Bean has been drafted in from Colchester.
The Minstermen (18th – 27 points): Drew a blank at home to Plymouth in the last round of games, but that stretched their unbeaten run to four. At home, only Hartlepool have a worse record than York, but on the road they boast one the best in the division - they’ve posted four of their five wins away from home.
All games are 3pm kick-offs unless stated.