A quick preview/prediction of Saturday afternoon’s fixtures in Sky Bet League Two:
1. Cambridge vs Oxford
Two cities famous for their rivalry in rowing take to the football pitch this Saturday. The two sides have not met in four years where they last played each other in non-league football. The previous three encounters have ended in draws which is the likely outcome on Saturday as both sides have made an underwhelming start to the League Two Season.
Cambridge will be slightly more optimistic with the home fixture as they have less pressure to succeed this season, after only gaining promotion from the Conference last term. Oxford on the other hand will be feeling the pressure as their supporters will be expecting their side to finish in the play-offs this term after narrowly missing out two seasons in a row, finishing 9th both times.
Prediction: Cambridge 1 Oxford 1
2. Northampton vs Burton
The Cobblers have made a fantastic start to the season after narrowly missing out on relegation last season and find themselves sitting in the League Two playoffs with 18 points from 11 games. However, the league’s top goalscorer Marc Richards will be out injured which may be a huge blow for the home side.
Burton have also made a solid start to the season and find themselves 3rd in the table. The Brewers have been heavily tipped for promotion to League One after narrowly missing out in the playoffs last term. Albion boss Gary Rowett will be looking for a response from his side after their disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Cambridge on Friday.
Prediction: Northampton 1 Burton 2
3. Accrington vs Dag & Red
Stanley boss John Coleman will be delighted with his sides start to the season as they sit comfortably in 11th and can move into the play-offs if they beat Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday and other results go their way. Accrington will be on a high after their surprise 1-0 away victory against Mansfield last week.
In contrast, Dagenham & Redbridge will be on a low after a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Exeter on Friday. However, the Daggers have found a goalscorer in striker Jamie Cureton, who netted his fourth goal of the season on Friday and will be looking for a fifth against Accrington Stanley.
Prediction: Accrington 2 Dag & Red 1
4. Wimbledon vs Bury
The league leaders face a difficult away trip to Wimbledon on Saturday. Dons striker Matt Tubbs, on loan from Bournemouth, is enough to terrify any defence in the league having netted 7 goals in 11 games and will be looking to add to his tally.
However, league leaders Bury have only lost one game in their previous ten outings and will be looking to secure all three points as they push for promotion. The Shakers won at home on Saturday beating Tranmere 2-0.
Prediction: Wimbledon 1 Bury 2
5. Carlisle vs Stevenage
Two sides who were both relegated from League One last term have both made a poor start to the season. Stevenage find themselves in 17th after losing at home to newly-promoted Luton on Saturday and Carlisle sit in the relegation zone after only picking up nine points from their first 11 games.
However, the Cumbrians will be well up for this fixture after an impressive 3-0 away victory against fellow strugglers Hartlepool on Saturday. Carlisle will also be boosted by playing in front of a home crowd who will be right behind them as they look to move out of the relegation zone.
Prediction: Carlisle 1 Stevenage 0
6. Exeter vs Hartlepool
The Grecians will be looking to pile more misery on Hartlepool this weekend after their bitterly disappointing 3-0 home defeat to 23rd placed Carlisle last week and Pools manager Colin Cooper resigned, with the North Eastern club sitting rock bottom of the League Two table.
It was also revealed on on Wednesday that caretaker boss Sam Collins was unsure of how long he would be in charge of the Pools, creating more fear and uncertainty amongst Hartlepool fans. Paul Tisdale’s men look to jump into the top half of the tale with an expected victory on Saturday.
Prediction: Exeter 4 Hartlepool 0
7. Luton vs Southend
Luton are looking to follow the footsteps of clubs such as Crawley and Stevenage as they look for their second consecutive promotion after being crowned Conference Premier Champions last term. The Hatters currently sit in an impressive 7th place after beating Stevenage 2-1 away last week.
Fellow promotion rivals Southend will also be looking to secure all three points on Saturday, looking to bounce back from their disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Morecambe on Saturday. However, Shrimpers boss Phil Brown may be distracted after being linked to the vacant post at Bolton Wanderers this week.
Prediction: Luton 2 Southend 1
8. Morecambe vs Wycombe
Morecambe will be looking to build up an unbeaten run after ending their run of three games without victory on Saturday, beating Southend 1-0 away. Striker Paul Mullin, 19, who signed a new three year deal last month looks a hot prospect for the Shrimps will be looking to add to his three goal tally so far this season.
Meanwhile, Wycombe will be buzzing after their 90th minute equaliser against Northampton last week and will be well up for this away fixture. The Chairboys currently sit 2nd in the league and can go top with victory on Saturday if Bury drop points away at Wimbledon.
Prediction: Morecambe 0 Wycombe 2
9. Newport vs York
Newport will be hurting after losing to 10 man Oxford on Saturday and its no doubt that Newport boss John Edinburgh will be looking for a reaction from his side against strugglers York on Saturday. The Welsh club currently sit in 18th as they look to cement their place in the Football League for a second consecutive season.
York will be looking to avoid defeat as a loss against Newport could put them in the relegation zone. However, the Minstermen will be boosted by the loan signing of Sheffield United forward Diego de Girolamo on Friday, who will try to make an immediate impact for North Yorkshire side.
Prediction: Newport 1 York 1
10. Portsmouth vs Mansfield
The two sides have only ever met five times, with the 2008 FA Cup winners only losing on one of those occasions in 1977. The two meetings last season both ended in draws so both sides will be gunning for victory on Saturday.
Portsmouth could move into the play-offs with victory over the the Stags, which may be an added incentive for the south-coast team who look to fight their way back up the football league system after declaring themselves free of debt last month.
Prediction: Portsmouth 3 Mansfield 1
11. Shrewsbury vs. Cheltenham
This will be another interesting encounter between two sides who could well be in the play-offs come the end of the season. Both sides will be looking for victory as they both failed to pick up three points last week – Shrewsbury lost 1-0 at fellow play-off rivals Plymouth and Cheltenham failed to beat Wimbledon at home, drawing 1-1.
Both sides will also be boosted by the arrivals of strikers on one-month loan deals. Blackpool forward Bobby Grant hasjoined the Shrews and Cheltenham have acquired the services of Eusebio Bancessi from Wolves – who will be both looking to make an immediate impact for their respectable clubs.
Prediction – Shrewsbury 1 Cheltenham 0
12. Tranmere vs Plymouth
And finally, two sides on the opposite ends of the table come head to head this weekend. But unexpectedly, it is latter who sit just outside the playoffs on 16 points and Tranmere who have sunk to 22nd after losing to league leaders Bury on Saturday.
Plymouth will be trying to ignore reports on Friday that the club had a £1.36 million loss in 2013 as they try to overcome an abysmal Tranmere side who are without a win in six consecutive League Two fixtures.
Prediction: Tranmere 0 Plymouth 1