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League One

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 26 preview

1 January 2019

As we enter a new calendar year, everything in Sky Bet League One is still to play for at both ends of the table and we are in for another blockbuster matchday.

Tykes to topple high-flying Hatters?

Daniel Stendel takes his side to Kenilworth Road on New Year’s Day looking to upset the Luton Town applecart, Nathan Jones’ side are on a seven-match winning run in Sky Bet League One last tasting defeat back in October to, you guessed it, Barnsley.

The Tykes have won on their last six visits to Luton in the Football League, but the Hatters have not lost a home game in the Football League on New Year’s Day since a 2-1 defeat to Coventry City in 1983.

This will be the first time that Luton will host Barnsley in the league since January 2007, with the visitors running out 2-0 winners on that occasion.


Sunderland to break New Year’s Day hoodoo?

It has been unhappy viewing for Sunderland supporters over the past few seasons especially when it comes to New Year’s Day fixtures, as they have not tasted victory on the first day of the calendar year since Ji Dong-Won’s winner over Manchester City in 2012.

They have since lost to Barnsley (2018) Manchester City (2015) and Aston Villa (2014), and Jack Ross’ side face a tough task when they head to Bloomfield Road to take on Blackpool in Sky Bet League One.

It is a brighter scene at the seaside for the Tangerines as they have not lost at home in the league on New Year’s Day since 1966, going down 2-1 to Chelsea.

This game will also be the first time the two clubs have met each other outside of the top-flight since 1988, both sides had to share the points that day after the game finished in a 2-2 draw.


Oxford to continue Argyle domination

Sitting rock bottom of Sky Bet League One, Plymouth Argyle are in desperate need of three points to kick off the New Year and their bid for survival.

However, they must overcome the challenge of Karl Robinson’s Oxford United, something that they haven’t been able to do twice this season already.

The U’s were 2-0 victors in their league game at the Kassam Stadium and they also saw off the Green Army at Home Park by two-goals-to-one in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Derek Adams will take confidence from the fact that Oxford are still the only side in League One not to pick up an away win this season.


AFC Wimbledon to cause first 2019 League One shock?

Wally Downes’ side face a tough task on Tuesday as they travel to Fratton Park to take on league leaders Portsmouth, the side placed 23rd in the table will be looking to climb out of the relegation zone with three valuable points.

The Dons will take confidence from Pompey’s horrendous record on New Year’s Day which has seen them win only once in their 13 games, that win coming back in 2008 as they saw off Reading by two-goals-to-nil.

Portsmouth will be looking to add another win to their collection at Fratton Park this season, three points will see them make it six wins in their last seven games.

A victory for the Wombles would see them make it back-to-back league wins for the for the first time since October 2016.


Around the grounds

Peterborough United manager Steve Evans will be looking to extend his winning record over Scunthrope United on matchday 26, the 56-year-old has won twice and drawn once against the Iron.

Walsall had to settle for a draw in their last game in League One after a Luton Town 97th minute equaliser, Dean Keates’ side head to Charlton Athletic on New Year’s Day looking to get their first victory at the Valley since 2010.

Grant McCann and Doncaster Rovers got back to winning ways at the weekend with a 3-1 win over Gillingham, but they will have to be wary of a Rochdale side that have won twice out of their last three visits to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Coventry City striker Conor Chaplin has scored three goals in his last four league appearances against Wycombe Wanderers, and the 21-year-old will be looking to add another to his collection on Tuesday afternoon.

Bradford City are on somewhat a mini-revival in League One after picking up three wins in four games, however a resolute Accrington Stanley are the visitors to Valley Parade on New Year’s Day.

Fleetwood Town were hammered by Portsmouth 5-2 on Saturday, and things could go from bad to worse for Joey Barton’s side if Shrewsbury Town pick up three points in League One, a defeat could see them lose seven straight away games for the first time in their EFL history.

Southend United will be looking to make it three wins on the spin against Gillingham and 19th-placed Bristol Rovers take on Carabao Cup semi-finalist Burton Albion at the Memorial Stadium.

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