Leyton Orient closed the gap at the top of the division to just a point during the week after defeating Shrewsbury on Tuesday night, courtesy of Moses Odubajo and Scott Cuthbert. All 24 sides are back in action this weekend hoping to improve during the crucial second half of the season.
Brentford vs Port Vale
Brentford have been in stunning form recently and fully deserve to be at the top of the table, since drawing with Wolves back in November the Bees have recorded seven straight wins in league one. Mark Warburton has an array of attacking talent at his disposal and has decided to strengthen this with the loan signing of Arsenal’s Chuba Akpom, who is available to make his debut tomorrow. Micky Adams is well aware of the threat that Brentford possess but is keen for his side to go to Griffin Park tomorrow and express themselves. The Valiants are enjoying life in league one and will believe that if they can improve in the second half of the campaign a play-off place could be achieved come May. A lot will rely on the club’s top scorer Tom Pope who will want to end his run of four league games without a goal.
I can’t see Port Vale getting a result here, the Bees are in fantastic form and I’m certain they will secure another win at Griffin Park tomorrow.
Prediction: Brentford 3-0 Port Vale
Leyton Orient vs Carlisle United
The O’s are recovering from their dip in form a few weeks ago where they recorded three successive draws and a home defeat to Crawley. Since then however, Slade’s men are unbeaten in three, winning twice and earning a vital away point at Molineux on the 29th. Dave Mooney, Orient’s top scorer is still unavailable due to injury along with Roman Vincelot, Jamie Jones and Shaun Batt. The Cumbrians have lost three of their last four league outings and will need a repeat of the heroics that defeated Peterborough to achieve a result at the Matchroom stadium tomorrow afternoon. David Amoo was in inspired form against the Posh and is currently the club’s top scorer with ten in all competitions. Carlisle currently have the sixth leakiest defence in the division, shipping 39 goals in their 24 games which will need to improve if they are to stop flirting with the bottom four.
Similarly to Brentford I believe Orient will have too much firepower for the Cumbrians, a home win for me.
Prediction: Leyton Orient 2-0 Carlisle United
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Preston North End
On the pitch it has been a disappointing few weeks for Wolves, off it Kenny Jackett has made another astute signing this season in Michael Jacobs from Derby County. The 22-year-old impressed in his short loan spell at Molineux and has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract. Wolves are desperate for a win, during their last seven league games Jackett’s men have only recorded one win and a defeat tomorrow would see Preston leap-frog them in the table. It’s a different story for the Lilywhites, who have only lost once in their last ten league games, suffering a 0-3 defeat to Brentford at Deepdale. Simon Grayson has a full team to pick from this weekend which is free of any suspensions and injuries, top scorer Joe Garner will be hoping for a return to the starting line-up.
A very tough game to call, I think both sides will cancel each other out but if I was backing a winner I would be going with Preston.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Preston North End
Swindon Town vs Peterborough United
Swindon are a side that are certainly capable of making the play-offs come May but this will only happen if they can show some real consistency and put together a string of results. Mark Cooper may hand a debut to new signing George Barker, who recently arrived from Brighton earlier this week. Peterborough United still haven’t recaptured the form they showed in the early parts of the season and are looking to end their run of three straight league defeats. The Posh have only managed seven points from their last ten league games and many feel they may have to settle for a play-off place. United’s record signing Britt Assombalonga is without a goal in his last three league outings and will be hoping to add to his 11 league goals already this season.
It has become incredibly hard to predict the outcome of a Swindon match so I’m sitting on the fence with this one, a game I would steer clear of if you do fancy a bet.
Prediction: Swindon Town 1-1 Peterborough United
Bradford City 1-1 Bristol City
Colchester United 1-1 Gillingham
Milton Keynes Dons 0-0 Shrewsbury Town
Notts County 1-2 Sheffield United
Oldham Athletic 2-0 Stevenage
Rotherham United 2-1 Crewe Alexandra
Tranmere Rovers 1-2 Walsall
Coventry City 2-0 Crawley Town (Sunday)