FA Cup weekend means no Premier League fixtures this Saturday but fortunately there’s still a pretty busy schedule of fixtures from the Football League.
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Here’s a treble to hopeful kick your weekend off in style.
Doncaster Rovers V Barnsley
At the bottom of the Championship, a key clash takes place at the Keepmoat as Barnsley travel to Doncaster knowing that three points would reignite their hopes of survival.
Both sides were expected to struggle this campaign and that has proved to be the case as Rovers and Barnsley have each spent the majority of the season within the bottom three. The respective clubs have struggled for goals and that shows in their lowly league standings.
However, Doncaster have experienced a mini-revival as of late and picked up eight points from four games prior to last weekend’s narrow defeat at Brighton. That sequence has helped Paul Dickov’s men climb to safety, at least on a temporary basis and if he can mastermind a victory on Saturday then their position will look far healthier.
As for Barnsley, avoiding defeat is a must. They might have two ganes in hand on Millwall, who sit just above the dreaded drop zone, but they’d much rather have the extra five points. Having said that, if they do leave the Keepmoat with three points in the bag then a miraculous survival may just be possible.
Worryingly though, Barnsley have won just one away game all year. The Tykes return of six points is the worst away record in the division and Doncaster will hope to take advantage.
The reverse fixture ended in a dour 0-0 but, playing in front of their own fans and with a renewed confidence, I think Doncaster will edge this.
Doncaster to win @ 11/8 with Coral.
Wolverhampton Wanderers V Notts County
A bit of a short priced selection this one, but it really should win.
Promotion hunting Wolves have been favourites for an immediate return to the Championship since day one andKenny Jackett’s side haven’t disappointed. As we approach the final third of the season they look in great shape and their home form has been a major factor in their success so far.
Sixteen games and only two defeats at Molineux have helped Wolves to second in the table and with 28 scored and only 9 conceded at home it isn’t hard to see why they’ve done so well. The challenge of relegation threatened Notts County shouldn’t pose any real threat.
As for the Magpies, they have seen improvement in recent weeks and could yet retain their status as a third-tier team. However, even the most optimistic County fans won’t be holding out much hope for Saturday’s trip to Wolves.
Shaun Derry’s side have picked up just eight points on the road all season, losing 12 of their 16 away matches. Their two wins came against Colchester and rock bottom Stevenage and their track record when visiting the promotion chasers has been poor to say the least.
They will seek confidence in the fact they knocked Wolves out of the Johnstone Paint Trophy on penalties, but that shouldn’t have any real impact here.
Wolves to win @ 8/15 with Coral.
Southend United V Exeter City
At Roots Hall, Phil Brown’s Southend are aiming to boost their promotion hopes with a win over 16th placed Exeter City.
The Shrimpers currently occupy the final play-off spot but will still hold aspirations of automatic promotion. Only four points separate the Essex boys and third placed Oxford, with Scunthorpe just one point ahead of that. Considering Southend have played a game less than both of those rivals, a top three finish is still very much possible.
However, if they look down the table then they’ll still be a little worried about Newport County – who sit just one place below in eighth. The Welsh side trail Southend by eight points but do have three games in hand so cannot be ruled out just yet, Phil Brown knows three points in home games like this one are essential.
Southend won the reverse fixture 2-0; they also claimed victory in the corresponding match last season via a 2-1 scoreline.
Exeter have actually picked up more points on the road so far. Admittedly they have played 16 of their 29 matches away from St James’ Park but twenty points isn’t a bad return from their travels and they’ll be hopeful of picking up another three in Essex.
However, with a mid-table finish almost certain for the Devon club it may be difficult for Paul Tisdale to motivate his side for this one. Conversely, Southend know every match from now on is vital and that may just give them the extra edge.
Southend to win @ 5/6 with Coral.
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