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Match Previews

Sky Bet League 2 weekend preview

23 January 2015

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

JOURNEYMEN

Mansfield Town v Wycombe Wanderers


High-flying Wycombe Wanderers are nine games unbeaten in Sky Bet League 2 and they travel to the One Call Stadium this weekend to take on Mansfield Town.

Wycombe lost their place at the summit at the end of 2014 but seven points from their three games in 2015 has seen them return to the position they have occupied for most of the campaign.

The turnaround since last season under manager Gareth Ainsworth has been nothing short of remarkable, and the club confirmed that they have rewarded his efforts this week with a new five-and-a-half year contract.

Their lofty position is primarily down to their form on the road. No League 2 side have been better away from home than Wycombe this season, who have lost only one of 13 games on their travels. Their last three away days have resulted in draws though, at Accrington, Shrewsbury and last weekend's snowy stalemate at Bury.


One-man team: Despite their fine start to 2015, Wycombe have only found the net on three occasions this year, with all those goals being scored by Millwall loanee Fred Onyedinma.

Mansfield are going through a rough patch with just one win in eight games, and that success was on the road at AFC Wimbledon. The Stags have only celebrated victory once at home since September, which was a 2-0 triumph over Plymouth two months ago.

In the reverse fixture between Wycombe and Mansfield, Peter Murphy's late winner completed an Adams Park comeback to secure a 2-1 triumph for the Chairboys.

WELCOMING HOSTS

York City v Burton Albion

York City have won just once at home this term and welcome Burton Albion to Bootham Crescent on Saturday.

The Minstermen's only home victory this season was a 1-0 victory over Accrington Stanley on Boxing Day and they have picked up only 10 points at home overall - the joint-fewest in the division - along with bottom side Hartlepool. Their poor run of form continued with a 2-0 defeat against Stevenage last weekend.


Russ Wilcox has not been able to dramatically change their fortunes on their own turf since his appointment in October, but he has moved for a striker this week with Emile Sinclair joining on an 18-month deal following his release from Northampton Town.

The Minstermen currently sit four places clear of the relegation zone, but only a point separates them from the drop-zone.

Dry spell: York City are the only team in League 2 not to have reached double figures for goals scored at home this term, netted just nine goals in their 13 matches at Bootham Crescent.

Burton boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink boasts a perfect home record but hasn't won on the road since his Football League managerial debut at Wycombe back in November. The Dutchman could take his side back to the top of the table if results favour the Brewers this weekend.

Burton won the reverse fixture 2-0 against York back in September, with the Minstermen's last success at the Pirelli Stadium coming in a Conference clash in 2007.

COAST TO COAST

Portsmouth v Southend United


Southend United make the journey down to the South Coast this weekend to face Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Southend come in to this fixture on a six-game unbeaten run, thanks to a fine second-half comeback against Oxford last weekend. Phil Brown's side were 2-1 behind and a man down, but goals from Joe Pigott and Barry Corr turned the game on its head and the Blues held out for three points.

Gary Deegan was the man sent off for Southend, picking up two bookings in just 33 minutes, and the central midfielder will miss their trip to Fratton Park as a result. Manager Brown was also dismissed during the game, but he faces no further punishment and will be back in the dugout opposite Pompey boss Andy Awford.

Awford's side are without a win in seven, picking up just three points in that period, despite the addition of Sky Bet League 2 hot-shot Matt Tubbs. The front man netted 15 times in all competitions for AFC Wimbledon earlier in the campaign, but is yet to open his account for the South Coast side since his move a fortnight ago.
 
Last term saw the sides meet for the first time since the 1996/97 season, and Southend have won all three games since the turn of the century. A 2-0 success at Roots Hall in September added to the league double that they secured over Pompey last time around.

Over the Blues: Portsmouth held an unbeaten home record over the Blues, dating back to 1920, until last season's meeting. Just like last weekend's events at the Kassam Stadium, Barry Corr scored an 82nd-minute winner to complete the turnaround for the 10 men of Southend.


AROUND THE GROUNDS

Tranmere Rovers and Hartlepool United go head-to-head at Prenton Park this weekend in a relegation scrap.

Micky Adams' side climbed out of the bottom two last Saturday with a comfortable 3-0 win over Accrington Stanley, while Hartlepool were defeated by the same scoreline at Shrewsbury. Jennison Myrie-Williams is in line for his Rovers debut after joining on-loan from Scunthorpe.

Carlisle United are just a point above Rovers, and travel to Bury after a 3-1 away success last Saturday at Wimbledon. The Shakers sit 10th, just three points off the final Play-Off place, but have only picked up one win from their last seven at the JD Stadium.

The two sides either side of Bury face off at Home Park this weekend, with Plymouth Argyle hosting Morecambe. The Pilgrims are on the slide after failing to win in five outings, and Jim Bentley's side could join them on 39 points if they can pick up three points on the road.

Luton Town and Newport County are tied on 46 points in fourth and fifth, and both teams go on their travels this weekend trying to keep pace with the top three. The Hatters won 1-0 at Plymouth last Saturday and face Cheltenham at Whaddon Road, while Newport travel to Northampton, where they are seeking a league double following a 3-2 triumph over the Cobblers back in September.

AFC Wimbledon and Accrington Stanley meet in a mid-table clash at Kingsmeadow, with both sides suffering disappointing defeats last weekend. The Dons lost at home to Carlisle and Stanley were beaten at Tranmere.

Exeter are one point and one place outside the Play-Offs and travel to Oxford. The Grecians ended a three-match losing streak last Saturday, edging out Mansfield in a five-goal thriller, while the U's are without a win in three following a 3-2 defeat at home to Southend.

The side Exeter are chasing is Stevenage, who now have five wins from six following a 2-0 success at York last weekend. Graham Westley's team have a tough test on Saturday as they travel to the Greenhous Meadow to take on Shrewsbury.

Micky Mellon's men extended their unbeaten streak on their own patch to 13 with the aforementioned 3-0 triumph over Hartlepool, and they will have Keith Southern available after the midfielder arrived on loan from Fleetwood this week.



SKY BET LEAGUE 2 WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday 24th January 2015


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

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