Friday, 24 February 2012

League One Weekend Preview, Game

Two objectives this weekend; burst through the 70 point mark and put on a good home performance. We might not be firing on all cylinders at the moment but we have the squad to play much better than we have managed at home lately and to beat a Stevenage side who lowered our colours in a lack-lustre display that saw our first defeat of the season. We must play the ball on the ground on Saturday and with urgency and movement.  

With our two nearest rivals facing each other on Sunday, we have the chance to increase the gap to fourteen, if Huddersfield beat Exeter at the Galpharm or fifteen over Wednesday if they fail. We also play our game in hand over the Wendies on Tuesday at Chesterfield, so we have to expect to be increasing the gap on them.

AFC Bournemouth v MK Dons
The Cherries may have more to fight for here as they battle to get into contention whereas Milton Keynes look like they have established enough of a lead to defend and a home record to enable them to do it.
Prediction; 2-1

Bury v Leyton Orient
Both anchored mid-table and I fancy the O's might improve further on their decent record away. 
Prediction; 0-1

Carlisle United v Yeovil Town
Carlisle can edge into play-off territory if they win this and we beat Stevenage. I expect them to beat Yeovil.
Prediction; 2-0

Charlton Athletic v Stevenage
On the evidence of our home form, we are heading for our first home defeat of the season and our first league reverse of 2012. However, we have shown an ability to focus and concentrate our performance when we have needed this season in all of the big games and I have to believe we will do it again. Team selection will be important and I hope Chris Solly has recovered sufficiently to return to duty. I am guessing Johnnie Jackson may be some time yet but we need  to tighten midfield. Daryl Russel or even Andy Hughes might give us that option. Pritchard and Green also need a good talking to before they go out because both need to be involved in creating goal-scoring opportunities, something neither managed on Tuesday.
Prediction; 1-0

Colchester United v Rochdale
I expect Colchester to make short work of Rochdale. Perhaps their spirited showing at the Valley is evidence of new manager syndrome but we really should have beaten them and I don't expect Colchester will hang about in the task.
Prediction; 3-1

Huddersfield Town v Exeter City
Huddersfield need to kick-start their promotion bid and with Simon Grayson now installed as manager, this could be a defining moment. They don't deserve it of course after the way they dumped on Lee Clark but I suspect Larry will get his first victory.
Prediction; 2-0

Notts County v Chesterfield
County rack up another 2-1 victory here as Chesterfield continue their relegation battle.
Prediction; 2-1

Oldham Athletic v Tranmere Rovers
Neither of these sides are comfortable yet and Tranmere's away record is probably good enough to earn them a point at least.
Prediction; 1-1

Preston North End v Walsall
Not much to call between these sides although Walsall are just out of the drop-zone and should fight tooth and nail here. It's grim oop north and this hardly promises to be a classic.
Prediction; 0-0

Scunthorpe United v Brentford
All of a sudden, Scunthorpe look in big trouble. Brentford probably only have another handful of games in which to make their play-off case. Can they start here?
Prediction; 1-1

Wycombe Wanderers v Hartlepool United
I see plenty of goals (lump on 0-0) here.
Prediction; 3-3

Sheffield Wednesday v Sheffield United
Sunday's Hog Roast. How these two dislike each other. Until this season, I had always thought of Sheffield United as the more prosperous of the two, certainly in my lifetime. Wednesday have always been massive, of course, but in the same way as Preston North End and Huddersfield Town i.e. when God was a small boy. My education this year has meant I now understand just how wrong I have been. Admittedly, I take bugger-all interest in the Champions League so have missed Wednesday's exploits in the Nou Camp and the San Siro, of late. Having said that, their pre-war (Second World War) exploits are evidently still on the curriculum in the blue half of Sheffield. That will count for nothing, as usual, in 2012 and momentum is with the Blades. A draw would be a satisfactory result but Ched Evans can turn the knife and nick the win. I hope to catch the action at Murrayfield.
Prediction; 1-2

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