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This Sporting Life

Sporting Life’s TOM CARNDUFF Previews This Weekend's Sky Bet League One Action

25 January 2019

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THERE are only seven games in Sky Bet League One this weekend. The fact that there are five games having to be called off because of the Emirates FA Cup fourth round is a signal of how strong the teams are in this division.

Accrington, Doncaster, Portsmouth, Shrewsbury, Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon continue to go strong in England’s top cup competition, and they have been rewarded with tough contests against Premier League opposition.

Meanwhile in League One, Luton will be looking to capitalise on Portsmouth’s cup involvement to go top of the standings with at least a point against Southend. The Hatters have continued to go from strength-to-strength, despite Nathan Jones departing for Stoke, and find themselves firmly in the mix for the title.

Their home form has been a significant factor in their current position, but their efforts on the road have also played a part – posting the seventh-best away record in the division.

Standing between them and the top is Southend, who could go to within six points of the play-offs with victory. The Shrimpers’ form has been a bit hit-and-miss in recent weeks, but they have won three of their last five at home in the league.

The eye-catching fixture of the weekend in this division comes at London Road, where Steve Evans’ Peterborough welcome fellow promotion hopefuls Charlton. Posh have struggled for consistency in recent weeks but most importantly they are still picking up points and remain in the top-six.

Their home form has been quite strong, too, losing just one of their last nine in all competitions in front of their own supporters.

Charlton, meanwhile, responded to back-to-back defeats away from home by beating Shrewsbury, following it up with a home win over Accrington.

Sky Bet have Peterborough as the favourites, but Charlton are not much bigger in the betting which indicates how close this game is expected to be.

Burton put in a strong performance in their Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg clash with Manchester City on Wednesday, and they will be looking to build upon that as they welcome Bradford to the Pirelli Stadium.

Prior to that game, Nigel Clough’s men were gaining good results in front of their own supporters. They had picked up points in three of their four before the clash with City and can use that confidence here. The Bantams enjoyed a strong December and looked like they were pulling themselves away from relegation trouble. However, back-to-back defeats sees them still in 23rd.

A win here, though, could move them to within a point of safety, a good opportunity given the fact that Bristol Rovers and Oxford are not playing on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Barnsley could end Saturday a point off the top-two with victory over Rochdale. Daniel Stendel’s men are yet to be beaten at Oakwell in the league this season, winning eight of their 13 games at home.

Rochdale are one of those teams looking to move away from the drop zone, although a result against a team of Barnsley’s quality will benefit hugely in the long run.

Coventry and Blackpool both sit on 39 points, and victory for either when the two sides meet will benefit their efforts of reaching the play-offs. Terry McPhillips has kept his Blackpool side steady in the top half and always within reach of the top six, posting a similar tally for both home and away games.

Coventry have been in decent form over the past five games though, despite picking up just one point in their last three. The Sky Blues have gained seven points from a last possible nine at home.

There is an intriguing clash at Highbury Stadium, where Fleetwood welcome Scunthorpe. Stuart McCall’s first transfer window has allowed him to bring players he wants to the the Iron, and that has played a part in their current good run of results.

The Cod Army are still in the running for the play-offs, though, and boast a four-game unbeaten run in the league. Their home form is strong, too, winning three of their last five League One games in front of their own supporters.

Two other sides in good form are Wycombe and Argyle, with only five points separating them in the table. Argyle are, of course, going strong on a four-game winning run, while Wycombe possess the seventh best home record in the league.

Despite our unbeaten start to 2019 and 12 points out of 12, skybet.com has the Pilgrims at an extremely generous 5/2 to make it five wins out of five.


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