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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 2 weekend preview

16 January 2015

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


Cambridge United v Newport County

Newport County are Sky Bet League 2's form team and they make the journey to the R Costings Abbey Stadium to face Cambridge United this weekend.

After a slow start to the season, Justin Edinburgh’s side have climbed the table dramatically - seven wins from the last eight have seen the Exiles leapfrog a number of the sides above them and they now lie third, among the automatic promotion places.

Midfielder Mark Byrne scored the second-half decider last Saturday when they triumphed 1-0 to complete a league double over Portsmouth.

From all angles: Newport’s 14 goals from those seven triumphs have seen nine different players get themselves on the scoresheet.

Cambridge sat just a point and a place behind Newport when the Welsh side’s good run started in mid-November, but the U’s have only picked up eight points in the same period to leave them in 14th place. A four-game winless run came to an end last week though, when their only shot on target against Carlisle went in to earn them a 1-0 success at Brunton Park.

The two sides battled it out at Rodney Parade back in September and a last-gasp Robbie Willmott equaliser gave Newport a point in a 1-1 draw.


Shrewsbury Town v Hartlepool United

Shrewsbury Town may have let slip of their lead at the summit of Sky Bet League 2, but they still sit top of the home form table having gone unbeaten at the Greenhous Meadow so far this season ahead of their clash with Hartlepool United.

The struggling Pools will therefore be up against it this weekend – they make the journey down to Shropshire with the poorest away record in the division, having picked up just seven points on the road this term.

The Shrews came into 2015 at the top of the pile but have slipped to fourth place, having picked up just a point from their two games this year. Their most recent outing saw them play out a goalless draw at Luton in front of the Sky Sports cameras, holding out with 10 men after Nathaniel Knight-Percival’s red card midway through the second half.

Pools will be lifted by their result last Saturday, when they ended a nine-game winless streak with a 2-0 triumph over Cheltenham. Ronnie Moore’s side are still bottom of The Football League and seven points adrift of safety though, and it would be a massive boost to their survival hopes if they could upset the form book this weekend.

Not so Shrew-d: Shrewsbury have struggled in this fixture over recent years, picking up only two victories from the 11 clashes since the turn of the century. Both of those successes came on the road, and Hartlepool earned a 2-0 win when the sides met at Victoria Park earlier in the season.


Northampton Town v Dagenham & Redbridge

Two teams towards the bottom of Sky Bet League 2 go head-to-head on Saturday afternoon with Northampton Town hosting Dagenham & Redbridge.

Despite their lowly standings, both teams have had a relative upturn in form over recent weeks.

The Cobblers ended a five-game losing streak by taking four points from their last two matches - A 1-1 draw with Southend a fortnight ago stopped the rot, before they grabbed a much-needed win at Exeter last weekend. The three points took Chris Wilder’s side up to 16th, five places above their weekend opponents.

Lucky 13: Marc Richards netted his 13th goal of the season in the 2-0 win at St James’ Park, taking him clear at the top of the League 2 scoring chart.

The Daggers are also putting up a fight down at the bottom of the table, picking up five points from the last nine available and keeping three clean sheets in the process, including in last weekend’s goalless stalemate with Oxford.

A clean sheet is something they have never managed against Northampton though, having lost eight of the nine encounters between the pair. They did pick up a point on their last visit to Sixfields though, when the sides shared four goals last term, and they will be aiming to go one better at the 10th time of asking.


The weekend’s Sky Bet League 2 action gets under way on Friday night when Cheltenham Town take on Morecambe at Whaddon Road. The Robins are looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Hartlepool, while the Shrimps are unbeaten in three following a 0-0 draw with Tranmere Rovers last time out.

That point for Rovers means they have gone two games without defeat, and they could climb out of the relegation zone with a home win over Accrington Stanley, who are going on the road for the third successive game.

A Play-Off tussle takes place on Saturday, as Plymouth Argyle host Luton Town. The Pilgrims are without a win in four outings, but have shared the spoils in their last two, while the Hatters have taken a point from each of their last three games, so expect a tight affair at Home Park.

It’s the same story for sixth-placed Southend United - Phil Brown’s side have drawn their last three, and they travel to Oxford this weekend. Jake Cassidy is in line to make his debut, while club legend Adam Barrett returns to a Blues' squad for the first time since 2010, after sealing a move from Gillingham.

Burton Albion have won every game at the Pirelli Stadium under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s management but he is still looking for a first win on the road, and the Brewers travel to Portsmouth, who are without a victory in six.

Wycombe are top of the table after an eight-game unbeaten run and Gareth Ainsworth’s side go to Bury, who have just two wins from their last 11 fixtures in all competitions.

The Shakers' last success came against Mansfield, and the Stags welcome Exeter to the One Call Stadium looking to end a three-match winless streak. Paul Tisdale’s side have lost three on the bounce, slipping down to 10th.

One team that has leapfrogged the Grecians is Stevenage, who have notched up 13 points from their last five outings. They make the journey up to York, who have only won once at Bootham Crescent this term.

And last but not least, AFC Wimbledon take on Carlisle United at Kingsmeadow. Keith Curle’s side have lost their last three and sit just a point above the relegation zone, while the Dons lie comfortably in mid-table. The pair have only met once, back in September, when the points were shared in an eight-goal thriller in Cumbria.


Friday 16th January 2015

Cheltenham Town v Morecambe

Saturday 17th January 2015

AFC Wimbledon v Carlisle United
Bury v Wycombe Wanderers
Cambridge United v Newport County
Mansfield Town v Exeter City
Northampton Town v Dagenham & Redbridge
Oxford United v Southend United
Plymouth Argyle v Luton Town
Portsmouth v Burton Albion
Shrewsbury Town v Hartlepool United
Tranmere Rovers v Accrington Stanley
York City v Stevenage   

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