After a two week break from league action, thanks to the FA Cup, League One teams are ready to get back down to business. With Barnsley facing Colchester on Friday night, it leaves Saturday with only 11 games rather than the capacity 12. However, the league never fails to disappoint. Here’s our League One Preview.
Doncaster Rovers v Sheffield United
Arguably the biggest game of the weekend is the South Yorkshire derby between Doncaster Rovers and Sheffield United. The Blades, who crashed out of the Johnstone Paint Trophy in midweek, will look to get back to winning ways after stuttering of late. Nigel Clough’s men have not scored a goal in 3 games and they are crying out for one. Clough did not play a recognised striker in the games against Crewe and Barnsley, and even though he did play one against Walsall in the form of Chris Porter, he didn’t seem to change the Blades’ fortunes of late. Both of Sheffield United’s main two strikers are injured. Michael Higdon and Marc McNulty are both out for an undisclosed amount of time, and this isn’t helping the Blades.
Doncaster won last time out after a 2-1 win against Bradford. This was their first win since the beginning of October but it was only able to lift them up to 17th in the table; a mere 3 points above the relegation zone. Doncaster have effectively had a 2 week break. Their FA Cup tie away at Weston-Super-Mare was postponed not long before the game, due to a waterlogged pitch. Doncaster have one of the lowest goalscoring tallies in the league. In fact, they’ve conceded more than they have scored. Also, scoring at home has been a problem for Dickov’s men. Rovers have only scored 5 goals at home this season, a poor record by any standard.
Prediction: Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Sheffield United
Coventry City v Notts County
Play off placed Notts County travel to struggling Coventry City as the Magpies look to rectify their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Walsall. Before their defeat against Walsall, Notts County hadn’t lost a league game since the end of August, and even then, they only lost by one goal, and it was against the league leaders who, by the way, still haven’t lost a game. 52.9 miles separates the two clubs navigationally, but in all honesty, it’s about the same with league position. County sit in 6th whilst Coventry are struggling in 19th and flirting with the relegation zone. County have been the team that have shocked everyone so far this season. Last season, they nearly went down! County squeezed into the third division for this season, finishing 20th; 3 points above the drop zone. As a result, no one expected to see Notts County where they are.
The Sky Blues are really struggling to hit any form in the league this year. Coventry have only won 4 games this season. They have also lost 6 of their last 10 games. A shock upset at the hands of Worcester City forced them out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle. Even manager Steven Pressley is feeling the strain. After their defeat to Worcester, he said,
“I cannot sleep right now because I’m so angry about Sunday’s performance. I’m so angry that we embarrassed this proud football club and everything we try and do at this club. I can’t tell you how angry I am.”
Coventry really need to start picking up results otherwise they’ll get themselves bogged down in a relegation dogfight.
Prediction: Coventry City 0-2 Notts County
Swindon Town v Bristol City
1st placed Bristol City travel to 3rd place Swindon Town in a game that has all the signs that it’s going to be good. Bristol City have not lost a game all season and it’s looking like no-one will beat them. They sit top of the tree after winning 10 from 16 and drawing the rest. In this early stage of the season, Cotterill’s men are already 5 points clear of 2nd placed Preston North End, and it looks like they’ll be easy league winners this year. City will be looking to get one over on the hosts after Town won 3-2 in the same fixture last year. But they’ll be without Wes Burns (ankle) and Mark Little (hamstring) is a doubt.
After a relatively positive season in 2013/14, Swindon have really upped the ante this time around. They sit 2 points off an automatic promotion place however, it they do not achieve one, they are comfortably in the play-off places at this moment in time. Town have lost only 2 of their last 10; only losing 3 in total. However, their home form has not been great. They have only won 4 games at home in the league this season. They will also be without Massimo Luongo and Yaser Kasim who are both on international duty.
Prediction: Swindon Town 1-3 Bristol City
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Oldham Athletic v Crawley Town – 2-0 home win
Crewe Alexandra v Chesterfield – 1-1 draw
Gillingham v Leyton Orient – 1-0 home win
Port Vale v Rochdale – 3-2 home win
Preston North End v Bradford City – 2-0 home win
Walsall v Peterborough United – 1-0 home win
Yeovil Town v Fleetwood Town – 2-1 away win