Oxford United are coping without a manager
Considering the quality of the current squad, the departure of Chris Wilder was never going to harm Oxford United’s very immediate future, but, once again, the U’s showed why they are one of the favourites to win promotion. Their quality in both boxes was too much for Wimbledon to deal with and they gained a solid victory in a game that they had less of the chances. Defensively Oxford are the best team in the league, and this showed again this week as they dealt with a lot of Wimbledon pressure, whilst at the other end, new signing David Connolly scored the winner. The next managerial appointment is important for Oxford, but the club are very nicely placed.
Newport can’t buy a win
It’s been a season to remember overall for Newport, but 2014 has not been a kind year for the Exiles thus far. Postponements have wreaked havoc with their fixture schedule and, when they have been able to play, they haven’t been able to win. Their last win came on Boxing Day and, since then, they have lost three (including at home to bottom side Northampton) and drew two. Scoring goals hasn’t always been a problem – they managed to net three against Accrington – but they have let in nine in their last five. The only crumb of comfort they can draw from the events of this year is that they have plenty of games in hand, but their current form has to improve dramatically for them to have any chance of taking advantage of them.
Dagenham have a very strong looking attack
Not every League 2 club can boast to have three strikers who, given the chance, could do a job in a higher division, but Dagenham & Redbridge are currently one of the few in this position. Their 1-0 win against Rochdale yesterday further underlined the quality of Rhys Murphy (who is rumoured to be a transfer target for more than one League 1 club) and the ex-Arsenal man now has 13 league goals to his name this term. Ex-West Ham man Zavon Hines was a key part of Bradford’s success last year and is doing the business for the Daggers again this term, whilst Brentford loanee Luke Norris has scored two goals in three games, and is looking the real deal. If these three can continue banging in the goals, Dagenham could be on course to make a late surge into the Play-Offs.
Teams in the top seven can afford slip-ups
With the large points gap between the current top seven and the chasing pack, those teams who are currently making up the automatic promotion places and the Play-Offs can afford to slip-up. Eight points separate 7th placed Burton and 8th placed Newport and only two of the top seven (Chesterfield and Oxford) won this weekend. Scunthorpe had to see out a late bout of Hartlepool pressure to gain a point whilst Fleetwood suffered at the hands of York, thanks to a late goal. Burton and Southend both drew and Rochdale lost at home to Dagenham. Despite this the gap between the top seven and the rest still remains large. This is mainly down to Newport’s stuttering form but the top seven need to start picking up results again to consolidate their position, especially with the improving form of Dagenham & Redbridge.