Sky Bet League One MD#6 – Weekend Preview

Derby County vs Peterborough United
Liam Rosenior will be a happy man, after he saw his rotated side during the week managed to seal the spot in the next round of the competition after beating Championship side West Bromwich Albion. Lewis Dobbin has impressed since joining the club and will likely to continue as one of the front four. The positive for Rosenior will be that their shutout of The Baggies during midweek means that it is now three straight clean sheets on the bounce for The Rams, and that is a good sign. They have not scored a goal in their last two games in the league, and so will be looking for them to improve in that department.

The visitors to Pride Park are a Peterborough United side that have made a strong start to the campaign, and find themselves sitting second in League One. They come into this weekend off the back of a defeat during midweek, losing 1-0 away to Stevenage, albeit Grant McCann will not be too worried given it was a rotated squad. In their last league outing, they triumphed with a 4-0 win over Lincoln City, with forwards Jack Marriott and Jonson Clarke-Harris both getting a brace, and both will have to be at the peak of their powers if they are to break down a strong County defence.

Key Player – Jonson Clarke-Harris
Goals win games and that can be the difference in big clashes such as this, and in Jonson Clarke-Harris Peterborough United have perhaps the best striker in the division, all things considered. He could be the match-winner at Pride Park.

Accrington Stanley vs Exeter City
Accrington drew 1-1 last weekend away at MK Dons and are returning to home comforts this weekend. John Coleman played an attacking 4-3-3 formation with Sean McConville and Joe Pritchard either side of Korede Adedoyin. Despite going behind Accrington defended well allowing MK Dons to have more of the ball but in areas they weren’t going to hurt them. This weekend will be a different proposition at home to newly promoted Exeter. Although Exeter also play a possession based game but with Accrington being the home side I’d expect them to control proceedings. It will also be interesting to see if Coleman sticks with his 4-3-3 or reverts back to a 3-4-3 matching up against Exeter. In a formation Accrington used last season and helped them come back last midweek against Burton. 

Exeter were beaten last weekend at home to Cheltenham 1-0. The Grecians weren’t too happy with Cheltenham’s game management but on the day weren’t good enough with opposing goalkeeper Luke Southwood making some key saves. Last weekend Jevani Brown was missing for Exeter with a strike partnership of Matt Jay and Sam Nombe last weekend. Both should have been better last week and will be looking to write them wrongs this weekend. Jevani Brown will be back this weekend though after his exploits in Jamaica. Exeter also played in midweek losing away to Gillingham in the Carabao Cup so this will be just as much down to fitness with Accrington having a free midweek.

Key Player – Jevani Brown
Exeter striker Jevani Brown was missing last weekend but after Jamaica’s game was postponed, Jevani wanted to return to Exeter. The striker has three goals and two assists already this season.

Bristol Rovers vs Shrewsbury Town
Bristol Rovers were beaten last weekend 3-1 by Portsmouth much to the disappointment of manager Joey Barton. Barton wasn’t very complimentary of the Cowley’s saying 4-4-2 gets you nowhere but The Gas themselves played a 3-3-2-2 with very little width. They were punished especially late on. This week Barton has added to his team with former Chelsea loanee Luke McCormick rejoining. This time the midfield joins permanently having spent last season at AFC Wimbledon. That’s twice in two seasons he’s been relegated and for Bristol Rovers’ sake I hope this isn’t a third in a row. This weekend I expect McCormick to come in while Bristol Rovers look to write the wrongs of back to back away defeats.

Shrewsbury were beaten last weekend 3-0 at home to Ipswich. The Shrews were really poor with Ipswich able to pick them up time and time again. That was epitomised by the first goal with Shrewsbury allowing Ipswich striker Tyrese John-Jules to waltz through the defence. In midweek Shrewsbury were beaten 1-0 by Burnley putting in a much better performance limiting Burnley to few opportunities despite them controlling the ball. Shrewsbury are currently missing experienced players Elliott Bennett and Aiden O’Brien, but after last seasons strong finish and there business in the summer many people were expecting a better start. This weekend Shrewsbury will want a result to really kick start their season. 

Key Player – Aaron Collins
Bristol Rovers striker Aaron Collins was on the scoresheet last weekend and has four already for the season. He has formed a really strong partnership with John Marquis and will be looking to add to his tally this weekend.

Cambridge United vs Burton Albion
Cambridge drew last weekend 1-1 away to Charlton coming from behind to take a point. The U’s were yet again dogged and determined managing to stop Charlton from dominating the game while posing a threat going forward themselves. In midweek however it was a different task for Cambridge with Premier league Southampton visitors to the Abbey Stadium. Mark Bonner’s side were comfortably beaten 3-0 by the Saints with the manager impressed by the opposition while also saying his side could learn something from them. “that’s a waste of time if we don’t learn something from them. The way they committed to their pressing game when they pressed, the way they counter pressed us, and how clinical they were with the ball.” Bonner will be hoping they don’t dwell on that defeat and impress against a poor Burton side.

Burton were beaten last weekend at home to Port Vale 2-0. The Brewers were poor and sit bottom of the league with just one point from their first five league games. Defensively they have been really poor conceding 14 goals which is six more than the second worse side in the league. After last weekend’s defeat Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was asked if he’ll be in charge this weekend to which the manager replied “I don’t know” he’s lasted the week though and this could really be a case of playing for his job as manger. However, with him still in a role at Sky Sports, will JFH have the motivation to turn things around? 

Key Player – Sam Smith
Cambridge striker Sam Smith is keeping last season’s top scorer Joe Ironside out the side. He got the assist last weekend but only has one goal so far and will be looking to add to that this weekend.

Cheltenham Town vs Oxford United
Cheltenham got their first win under Wade Elliott last weekend. Cheltenham were 1-0 winners away at Exeter thanks to a goal from Dan N’Lundulu. The Robins were very smart in their game management constantly running the clock down much to the frustration of their opposition while goalkeeper Luke Southwood also stood out. Elliott singled out N’Lundulu for praise especially for his second half performance using his pace and power to cause problems to the opposition. N’Lundulu is joined up front by Alfie May who relishes playing alongside a big man constantly running to get on the end of flick one and unsettle defenders. Ryan Jackson came off last weekend and it is unknown if the full back will be fit to play this weekend. 

Oxford are struggling with a horrendous injury crisis. Last weekend they drew 1-1 with Morecambe much to the disappointment of most Oxford fans. However, fans were filled with more confidence in midweek with a side mainly made up of youngsters holding there own for the majority of their Carabao Cup tie against a Crystal Palace side featuring Michael Olise, Odsonne Edouard, Luka Milivojevic and Will Hughes. Last weekend, Marcus McGuane, James Henry and Alex Gorrin were the latest players to end up in the treatment room. Elliott Moore, Marcus Browne, Sam Baldock, Josh Murphy and Yanic Wildschut have all missed recent weeks with Karl Robinson only having 14 senior players to pick from in midweek. This weekend, he will be hoping to welcome a couple back while finding ways to pick up points without his best players fit. 

Key Player – Dan N’Lundulu
Cheltenham striker Dan N’Lundulu scored his first goal of the season last weekend. The powerful striker will be hoping it’s the first of many as he looks to exploit the holes left in Oxfords patched up side. 

Ipswich Town vs Barnsley
Ipswich were comfortable winners last weekend with a 3-0 victory away at Shrewsbury. The tractor boys took control from the start and despite not being given a stonewall penalty didn’t give up hope to go on and open the scoring. Tyreece John-Jules opened the scoring last weekend comfortably gliding through the Shrewsbury defence and he seems to be Kieran McKenna’s main focal point up front. However, Kayden Jackson also impressed after coming off the bench last weekend scoring the third goal. Ipswich have kept three clean sheets in a row now which will please McKenna who has prided himself on having a solid defence since taking over at Portman Road. Ipswich have only lost once at home in the league since McKenna took over last December.

Barnsley were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Wycombe last weekend. Anis Mehmeti opened the scoring for Wycombe with some neat footwork breaking open the Barnsley defence. Barnsley had plenty of opportunities to get back into the game but were punished by a spectacular lob before Wycombe sealed all three points. Michael Duff went with the strike partnership of Jack Aitchison and Devante Cole with Luke Thomas behind them. James Norwood came on after an hour but struggled like the rest of Barnsley’s forwards. In midweek Barnsley put up a good fight away at Elland Road, almost coming back from 2-0 down before half time with Callum Styles missing a penalty. That will give them confidence ahead of this weekend against a promotion rival. 

Key Player – Conor Chaplin
Ipswich’s Connor Chaplin joined from Barnsley last summer. The playmaker scored his second goal of the season last weekend and will be hoping to show his former club what they’re missing. 

Lincoln City vs Fleetwood Town
Lincoln were beaten last weekend 4-0 away at Peterborough. The imps were carved open time and time again by the Peterborough attack making sloppy errors and being punished. In midweek Lincoln played League Two Barrow and were almost beaten if it wasn’t for a 92nd minute equaliser before going on to win in a penalty shootout. Anthony Scully showed for Lincoln in midweek what he can do when given time and space while captain Tom Hopper was needed to be a nuisance causing the late equaliser. However, it’s hard not to be worried for Lincoln when they struggle against a Barrow side who changed their entire midfield and front three. 

Fleetwood drew 0-0 last weekend at home to Derby. Scott Brown’s side were definitely lucky with Jay Lynch having an incredible game while Derby had an XG of 2.4. It was the Cod Army’s second home clean sheet in a row having drawn 0-0 with Cheltenham last midweek too. This midweek Fleetwood were narrowly beaten by premier league Everton 1-0. Fleetwood themselves seem to be struggling for goals and that includes creating chances. The signing of Carlos Mendes Gomes was supposed to help with that however he’s been injured since making his debut while Fleetwood’s pursuit of Morecambe striker Cole Stockton is still ongoing according to numerous reports. Fleetwood’s away record is woeful too with them only winning one of their last 13 away league games.

Key Player – Anthony Scully
Lincoln winger Anthony Scully got 11 goals and seven assists last season. The former West Ham youngster finished excellently in midweek and will be looking to have an impact in front of goal again this weekend.

Morecambe vs MK Dons
Morecambe drew last weekend away at Oxford 1-1. The Shrimps lost Ashley Hunter through injury after just seven minutes while striker Cole Stockton who has attracted interest from other League One sides made a return for the second half. Stockton’s presence helped occupy defenders allowing Jensen Weir to finish. Oxford managed to strike back with Morecambe failing to clear from a corner while the Shrimps could have easily lost if Oxford took their chances. In midweek Morecambe who were without Stockton again beat championship opponents Rotherham in the Carabao Cup thanks to a goal from Arthur Gnahoua. Gnahoua has scored the other of Morecambe’s league goals and could be key if Stockton were to move on.

MK Dons drew 1-1 last weekend at home against Accrington. Liam Manning’s side dominated possession but were unable to create many chances with their control of the ball. Dons best chances came from long range with them barely breaking through the Accrington defence. They also had goalkeeper Jamie Cummings to thanks for a number of key saves. In midweek they bounced back beating Championship opponents Watford 2-0. The Dons changed their front three with Will Grigg, Darragh Burns and Louie Barry coming in for Daniel Kemp, Matthew Dennis and Connor Grant. Grigg went off after just 40 minutes but the other two played key parts in helping Mk to an upset. It will be interesting to see who Manning favours this weekend with midweeks changed front three impressing.

Key Player – Matthew Dennis
MK Dons striker Matthew Dennis arrived from Norwich in the summer and opened his account for the side in midweek. The 20 year old slid in at the back post after some lovely link up play with Darragh Burns in midweek and that will hopefully give him some confidence now.

Plymouth Argyle vs Bolton Wanderers
Plymouth were victorious last weekend away at Forest Green. Bali Mumba and Finn Azaz linked up excellently for the opening two goals with them both getting a goal and assist. Plymouth have mostly kept the same side as last season with Mumba and Azaz the exceptions. Last weekend with James Wilson suspended Steven Schumacher opted to bring in Nigel Lonwijk for his first league start having joined on loan from Wolves in the summer. Lonwijk has featured off the bench at right wing back as a defensive option instead of the attacking Mumba. However, having impressed last weekend it will be interesting to see if he starts again this weekend. 

Bolton were beaten last weekend by Sheffield Wednesday 2-0. The trotters were really poor conceding after Ricardo Santos’ back pass was saved by James Trafford only for Barry Bannan to pick out George Byers from the next phase. They then conceded a sucker punch two minutes later through Liam Palmer. Bolton were poor with Santos throwing in a horrendous display summed up by that first goal which although didn’t go down as an own goal against him he was definitely at fault for. Bolton played better in midweek against premier league Aston Villa in the carabao cup and were at one stage 1-0 up. However, Joel Dixon had a nightmare in goal coming in for Trafford and Villa won 4-1. Dion Charles was back starting for Bolton in midweek and was back among the goals too. 

Key Player – Finn Azaz
Plymouth midfield Finn Azaz was excellent in League Two for Newport last season with seven goals and six assists. This season he already has three goals and an assist from five games impressing with his attacking output.

Port Vale vs Portsmouth
Port Vale were winners last weekend away at Burton 2-0. It was Vale’s second win of the season while the signing of Ellis Harrison has been key to them with them having a focal point and a goal scorer up front. Vale were excellent after taking the lead last weekend, they saw the game out defending excellently and not allowing Burton an opportunity to get back into the game. The Valiants will need to be at their best this weekend too with Portsmouth posing a different threat. However, if they can get in front and try to frustrate their opponents they could get an impressive result this weekend.

Portsmouth were victorious last weekend against Bristol Rovers 3-1. Pomepy definitely knew they’d been in a game with Bristol Rovers pushing them into the final ten minutes before scoring two late goals. Portsmouth lost central midfielder Louis Thompson to a double leg fracture. He was replaced by Tom Lowery who was excellent in the centre of midfield. Despite Joey Barton’s criticism, I highly expect the Cowley’s to stick with their four four two formation. Portsmouth sit 3rd in the league with three wins and two draws from their opening five games. They have scored the joint most goals in the league (12). However, they were beaten by League Two Newport in midweek in the Carabao Cup. A much changed Pompey side were beaten with them struggling to contain Newport’s pace and directness; the regulars will be back this weekend, mind. 

Key Player – Ellis Harrison
As previously mentioned, Port Vale striker Ellis Harrison has been key since coming in from Fleetwood. The former Portsmouth man will be eager to get one over his old club having scored two goal in his last two games. 

Sheffield Wednesday vs Forest Green Rovers
Sheffield Wednesday were victorious last weekend away to Bolton 2-0. The Owls managed to break down Bolton thanks to a rather ridiculous opening goal which almost was an own goal before George Byers slotted home. Byers was in the headlines for the wrong reasons last midweek after a spat with assistant manager Jamie Smith so it’s nice to see him among the goals. Wednesday rounded it off with a second two minutes later from Liam Palmer making his 350th appearance for the Owls. Wednesday this week finally made the signing of Hull striker Malik Wilks. Wilks comes in to join Michael Smith, Callum Paterson, Sylla Sow, Lee Gregory and Josh Windass as striking options. In midweek the owls also progressed to the next round of the carabao cup thanks to three absolute screamers which if you haven’t seen already I would advise you to go find them online. I expect Wednesday to go into this unchanged from last weekend’s victory. 

Forest Green are winless since the opening day. Last weekend they were beaten comfortably 3-0 by Plymouth. Plymouth constantly managed to break through Forest Green’s defence with some neat interplay. Ian Burchnall made a double substitution at half-time clearly not liking what he saw from his side but it was too no avail. In midweek Forest Green were comfortably beaten by premier league opponents Brighton in the carabao cup as Ian Burchnall came upon against another former Ostersunds manager in Graham Potter. Forest Green signed midfielder Myles Pearl-Harris on loan from Brentford until January earlier this week. Pearl-Harris is a direct attacking midfielder who likes driving forward with the ball and will be hoping to trouble many League One defences.

Key Player – Mallik Wilks
Wednesday have been chasing new signing Malik Wilks all summer. The former Hull man managed 19 league goals in League One for The Tigers two seasons ago and Wednesday will want him to do the same this season.

Wycombe Wanderers vs Charlton Athletic
Wycombe were winners last weekend 3-0 away at Barnsley. The Chairboys were excellent with Anis Mehmeti’s smart footwork creating some space before rifling in, in the first half. Mehmeti missed a sitter for Wycombe in the second half but it didn’t matter with Dominic Game’s impressive lob and a Nick Freeman goal sealing the victory. Wycombe signed goalkeeper Max Stryjek last week and he had a very impressive debut against Barnsley last weekend. It’s an area Wycombe definitely needed to improve with youngster Tyla Dickinson seeming out of his depth in goal. In midweek Wycombe were beaten by Bristol City in the carabao cup. The Chairboys rested a few players and are still in need of a striker with Sam Vokes out and a lack of another out and out striker barring youngster Ali Al-Hamadi.

Charlton drew last weekend 1-1 with Cambridge. Charlton took the lead thanks to a goal from Scott Fraser but were pegged back by Harvey Knibbs. Ben Garner’s four three three seems to be working well for Charlton especially going forward. They have struggled defensively though in games only keeping one clean sheet so far at home to Derby. In midweek Charlton were winners in the Carabao cup against League two Walsall thanks to a goal from Diallang Jaiyesimi. They got lucky after Danny Johnson had a goal disallowed for handball even though it hit his chest. A changed squad allowed Charlton to give minutes to some players who have rarely featured this season like Sam Lavelle and Jake Forster-Caskey. The Addicks will be hoping they can shock Wycombe who will be expecting a win on home soil.

Key Player – Dominic Gape
Wycombe midfielder Dominic Gape had only scored twice in 147 games before last weekend. He got his third with an incredible lob from 35 yards out last weekend and could we see a new side to the Southampton youth academy graduate.

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