It’s not quite a full house of fixtures this weekend as the Oldham game has been postponed by Latics boss Lee Johnson due to international call ups and injuries suffered this week. The club also face Wolves on Tuesday night in the F.A. cup first round replay and this has also affected the manager’s decision to postpone the weekend’s fixture. However, there are some great fixtures across the division over the weekend as well as an interesting clash on Monday night between Walsall and Peterborough on Sky Sports 1.
Leyton Orient vs Preston North End
Russell Slade is looking for his team to bounce back from the disappointing defeat on Tuesday night against Stevenage. The O’s were 3-1 down in just 16 minutes in the week and Slade is keen for their JPT exit to spark a reaction amongst the squad. Having only been beaten once this season in the league Orient will be confident they can maintain their stunning league form which has seen them win four of their last five games. Preston faced Barnet last weekend in the cup which saw them demolish the non-league side 6-0 including a hat-trick from new loan signing Paul Gallagher. Preston are currently on a four-match unbeaten run in the league and will be confident that they can go to the league leaders and get a positive result.
This promises to be a tight affair between two quality sides but I’d still be tempted to go with Orient who will want to get back to winning ways on home soil.
Prediction: Leyton Orient 2-1 Preston North End
Notts County vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
This season has been a nightmare for County who have lost seven of their last ten league encounters shipping 29 goals in the process. Former QPR midfielder Shaun Derry has been drafted in to turn around the Magpies season which didn’t go to plan in his first game in charge. Derry saw his new side trounced 5-1 by Oldham in the JPT Tuesday night and is demanding a response for the weekend. Wolves will be lifted by the signing of Michael Jacobs on loan from Derby County and Kevin McDonald who is expected to return for Saturday’s clash. Wolves have drawn their last two encounters but after a weeks lay-off they will be expecting to pile the misery on the Magpies. Wolves will be missing key figures in Sam Ricketts and Kevin Doyle but the line will be led by top-scorer Leigh Griffiths. The Scotsman has netted ten goals in the league this season and will be targeting more against County on Saturday.
This will be a lot closer than most people expect and I think County will do their upmost to impress Derry in his first game at Meadow Lane.
Prediction: Notts County 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Tranmere Rovers vs Bristol City
This is a massive clash at the wrong end of the table which will be closely followed by many of the teams around the pair. Rovers have picked up of late and are on a four-match unbeaten run which started after the defeat to the league leaders Orient. Good news off the field for the supporters also as a lifelong fan has donated a five-figure sum to the Tranmere Rovers trust campaign. If they can raise £500,000 by the end of 2013 it would see the club go into community ownership and give the supporters control of the club. Bristol could go into the game without midfielders Scott Wagstaff and Joe Bryan who will both have a fitness check prior to the game on Saturday. Bristol are level on points with Tranmere and in terms of form they are also well matched as they are also enjoying a four-match unbeaten run in all competitions. City will be hoping that Jay Emmanuel-Thomas can keep up his consistent performances and help them get a positive result at Prenton Park this weekend.
Both sides will be desperate for a result here as it will open up a three point gap between the pair but I can see the points being shared.
Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 1-1 Bristol City
Bradford City vs Coventry City
This promises to be a brilliant spectacle and you can see why Sky Sports have chosen to show this game on Sunday afternoon this weekend. Bradford have slipped up in recent times and haven’t won since the start of October against Walsall. The Bantams will be hoping that Nahki Wells can reproduce the form he showed at the start of the campaign where he netted eight goals in just seven league games. It’s going to be tough for them however as they face the in-form team of the league in Coventry. The Sky Blues have won five of their last six in the league and a win could see them go level on points with Bradford. In my opinion Steven Pressley is doing the best job in the division at the moment and it’s clear that Coventry show no sign of stopping. This season has shown that Coventry have some really promising youngsters amongst their ranks and that promotion is by no means out of the question.
I think that Coventry will keep up their stunning form this weekend and secure all three points at Valley Parade.
Prediction: Bradford City 0-2 Coventry City
Brentford 3-0 Crewe Alexandra
Carlisle United 1-1 Crawley Town
Colchester United 1-2 Swindon Town
Oldham P – P MK Dons (Postponed)
Port Vale 2-1 Shrewsbury Town
Sheffield United 1-0 Gillingham
Stevenage 1-2 Rotherham United
Walsall 1-2 Peterborough United (Monday 18th Sky Sports 1)