Whilst some League One and League Two teams get the weekend off this time around, plenty of them are still in action in the FA Cup.
It’s 2nd round weekend and that means that teams are just potentially 90 minutes away from getting themselves a lucrative 3rd round tie.
Ahead of the weekend, then, we spoke to James Richards of D3D4Football to preview the cup action as well as talk Sol Campbell’s Macclesfield arrival and other matters League One and League Two..
One of the big headlines of the week has been Sol Campbell’s Macclesfield appointment – how do you see him getting on?
It is a very tough first job to walk into but wins over Yeovil and a very impressive away victory at Exeter have given him something to build on.
Paul Ince started his managerial career with the Silkmen back in 2006 in very similar circumstances and
he was able to oversee a dramatic turnaround so there is no reason why Sol Campbell can’t do the same.
He certainly has the presence and character to get his players on board but the real test will be how he copes with the man management side of being the boss. Looking forward to seeing how he gets on and wish him the best of luck of course!
It’s FA Cup 2nd round weekend – what potential shocks should we look out for?
There are a few tricky fixtures for sides in League One & Two to be concerned about but the three that stand out are as follows:
Solihull Moors v Blackpool – the Friday night game could be a real banana skin for Blackpool against a side going strong in the National League. Jamey Osborne has the ability to get on the ball and make things happen for the midlands club and Terry McPhillips will no doubt have his players well motivated.
Maidstone United v Oldham Athletic – The Kent outfit have been pretty successful at knocking out Football League opposition in recent seasons with Cheltenham falling victim in 2017-18 and Macclesfield already beaten this season. Their notorious 3G pitch could give them an advantage but Frankie Bunn’s side have quality in Sam Surridge and Callum Lang that could see them through.
Wrexham v Newport County – An all Welsh match-up that sees National League high-flyers Wrexham have home advantage against Mike Flynn’s Exiles. County are clearly the favourites and have been excellent this season in League Two but in a one off cup game there is always a chance that Sam Rickett’s side could cause an upset.
There are quite a few all League One ties in the 2nd round – will these have any bearing on the respective clubs’ league form?
I am not a great believer that cup football has much of a bearing on league form. If you’re a side struggling in the league then a win could give that team confidence but in one off head to head games like these it is less likely to make a huge difference.
All these sides will think they have a chance of progressing into the third round where they could potentially draw a big side so don’t expect any of them to be taking it lightly.
Looking at the leagues currently, can you see Luton making at least the top six?
The way Luton are playing right now they have a real chance at challenging for the title let alone top six.
It might be worth keeping a lid on the enthusiasm if only not to get carried away but to have gone undefeated at home and scored three or more goals five times at Kenilworth Road is something to celebrate.
Nathan Jones has his side playing attractive football that would grace any division (just watch the highlights of the Plymouth game if you don’t believe me) and an improving away record should see them challenging come May.
Blackpool, meanwhile, aren’t far away from the top six – do they have a case to get into those spots?
Not to belittle Terry McPhillips’ achievements but I do get the feeling Blackpool are overachieving.
Considering all the off field problems at the club and the loss of Gary Bowyer after just one game it is amazing that they are on the cusp of the play-off places.
A strong defence has been the key with Blackpool keeping 10 clean-sheets in their 19 games so far with Curtis Tilt and Oliver Turton especially impressive. The question remains whether they can keep it up this pace throughout the season.
For their long suffering fans I certainly hope they do.
And, in League Two, Bury are starting to really rack up the points and goals – are they top three contenders?
In a word, yes. They have one of the strongest squads in League Two with their only weak area arguably being the centre of midfield but in Danny Mayor, Nicky Maynard and Nicky Adams they have a trio who are a level above the fourth tier.
Ryan Lowe has removed the players that led to an unsettled dressing room last season and has put together a squad that is hungry for success and playing some delightful football.
They have struggled at times to put teams to bed when on top in games but if recent results are anything to go by that is now behind them.
With goals coming from all over the park this team could certainly be in the race for an automatic promotion spot come May.