Tuesday, 15 February 2011

League One Midweek Preview, Game 28

There are nine matches in League One this evening. It's easier to account for the teams that aren't in action - Brighton, Huddersfield, Southampton, Rochdale, Brentford and Plymouth. Yes, that's three of the four above us so a perfect opportunity to move above Southampton and level with Huddersfield on points. Crucially, it would leave us three points behind Bournemouth, who appear not to have dropped a point since Christmas, with two matches in hand. With Exeter facing a nervy visit to a 20,000+ Valley crowd on Saturday, this evening's test could be a pivotal match in our fortunes. It is also an opportunity for us to create our best sequence of the season - five successive wins which would undeniably cement the perfect managerial start for Chris Powell. 

It won't be easier but it should be far more comfortable than the original fixture; Hartlepool have only picked up five points from their last 27 and an unlikely looking play-off place appears to have slipped from their grasp. They did beat Colchester 1-0 in their last home game but have shipped four goals in each of their last three aways and have never managed anything than a defeat in their handful of encounters with the mighty Addicks. 

I hope I am not over-playing this, but I really fancy our chances tonight. Here's where the rest of the action is...

Bristol Rovers v AFC Bournemouth
the Pirates could do us a huge favour tonight. Trouble is, the momentum is all with the Cherries and they might fancy this shortish jaunt to Bristle. 
Prediction; 0-2

Exeter City v Swindon Town
Another close geographical encounter and a vital one for both of these clubs. Exeter's fading chances of play-off hopes is in stark contrast to struggling Swindon who are facing a relegation battle that they surely won't lose? They have gone into reverse since costing Parky his job on an night at the Valley when we made them look like Brazil. A point apiece looks on the cards.
Prediction; 1-1

Hartlepool United v Charlton Athletic
I'm inclined to say we need a more attacking performance away from home and  a 90 minute showing etc. However, if we can shut down the first-half it might give us the platform to focus our efforts to win the game. 
Prediction; 1-2

MK Dons v Leyton Orient
The revived O's could do the Old Pals Act here and take something from MK. Whilst we may be looking optimistically upwards, we should probably be looking more realistically downwards and this game might be more relevant to our end-of-season finish than Bournemouth's game at Bristol Rovers.
Prediction; 2-2

Notts County v Colchester United
Colchester haven't been clinical enough this season and it looks like a mid-table finish on the cards. County need the points more and this could be their eighth home victory of the campaign.
Prediction; 2-1

Oldham Athletic v Carlisle United
I have a colleague at work who hails from Carlisle so have been following their fortunes more closely than many others. It's hard to know what's gone wrong for them but they looked distinctly out-of-place in their early season challenge. They are now only three points above fourth-bottom Swindon and this looks like a step too far.
Prediction; 2-0

Tranmere Rovers v Sheffield Wednesday
I thought Wednesday were hasty in replacing Alan Irvine and it looks like they are paying the price for that. they are now fully nine points off 6th and they are doing a Charlton. Tranmere can climb above them with a win.
Prediction; 1-0

Walsall v Dagenham & Redbridge
Walsall are fighting the Death Rattle and who better than fellow-whipping boys, Dagenham & Redbridge. Dean Smith to grasp a possible lifeline?
Prediction; 2-0

Yeovil Town v Peterborough United
Darren Ferguson will be desperate this evening for a rare Posh away win. Anything else will increase the pressure on a man expected to breathe play-off life back into this side. A point might be as much as they can expect here.
Prediction; 1-1

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