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League Two

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 26 preview

1 January 2019

A quick turnaround to continue the festive feast of football - Sky Bet League Two returns in the New Year...

The formbook can't split them...

A team who have won their last five home fixtures against a side who are on a 14-match unbeaten away run... Good luck predicating the outcome of Grimsby Town v Mansfield Town tomorrow afternoon.

Both sides have seen a considerable upturn in form unsurprisingly lift them up the table, with the Mariners in mid-table, whilst Mansfield sit just two points off second-placed MK Dons.

Despite strong form this season, David Flitcroft's side haven't won away at Grimsby in the EFL since September 1987, whilst Grimsby's last home fixture on New Year's Day ended in a 4-0 defeat against Rochdale in 2007.

 

An intimidating trip to Sincil Bank for Port Vale?

Table-toppers Lincoln City will be looking to stretch their six-point lead even further as they welcome Port Vale to Sincil Bank.

Having become quite familiar with one another, this will be the third meeting between the sides this season, and for the Valiants, the other two encounters have been quite forgettable.

The Imps have already slotted ten past Vale this season, 4-0 in a Carabao Cup meeting, and an impressive 6-2 win in the reverse fixture earlier this season. However, the away side have picked up points on the road, losing just one of their previous six away games.

 

Defensive stability the key to the Silkmen’s resurgence?

Macclesfield Town have enjoyed a small upturn in form since the arrival of manager Sol Campbell, and based on the last three home games, where they have kept a clean sheet in each of them, the defensive improvement is evident.

Promoted alongside them from the National League last season, Tranmere Rovers, are the visitors to Moss Rose hoping to turn around their recent away woes.

Rovers have lost five successive games on their travels, their worst run since 2013. In their previous meeting a Harvey Gilmour goal was enough to give Tranmere all three points, but this particular fixture may play out differently this time around.

 

Szmodics to torment the hosts?

Crawley Town entertain high-flying Colchester United, who are looking to maintain their push for an automatic promotion place come May.

For the home side, a key part of their challenge will be to stop U's forward Sammie Szmodics. He has been directly involved in five goals in his last three league appearances against Crawley, registering three goals and two assists.

After registering five straight home victories earlier in the season, the Red Devils have only picked up four points from a possible 15 since - a tally they'll be hoping to improve upon tomorrow.

 

Around the grounds

Only the second league meeting between Forest Green Rovers and Northampton Town is set to take place on New Year's Day - the away side's only previous visit to the New Lawn came in a 3-0 win in the FA Cup First Round in 2010.

MK Dons' run of 11 home league games without defeat was halted last time out against Colchester United, and they haven't lost consecutive home games in League Two since January 2008 - Cambridge United will be their opposition at Stadium MK.

Oldham Athletic and Notts County do battle at Boundary Park, with the away side eager to climb out of the relegation zone after a poor start to the campaign. Entrusted with their resurgence, all four of manager Neal Ardley's previous league games against Oldham have ended all square.

Meanwhile, Bury, who are unbeaten in eight home league games against Crewe Alexandra, host the Railwaymen looking to make it five home league wins on the bounce in League Two.

Elsewhere, Carlisle United travel to the Globe Arena to face Morecambe, Stevenage host Newport County and Yeovil Town face Cheltenham Town at Huish Park.

Swindon Town host an Exeter City side who have won only one of their last 11 away games on New Year's Day in the EFL.


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