GW 11 – Ones to Watch

Matt: Those FA Cup qualifying games sure did throw a bag of spanners in the works last week didn’t they! As players of this game, and football fans in general, are only too aware, there’s often a shock in the early rounds of this competition, but last weekend there were upsets all over the shop! National League teams in particular were badly affected and therefore so were many TUG players, as promotion hopefuls Halifax Town, Wrexham, Notts County and Woking all failed to score (though the first three did all qualify after winning their replays – too little, too late and all that!) against part-time opposition. All four teams were quite heavily backed and as such the chance of scoring big was severely restricted for the majority of players. GW 11 owes us a bit back after a really dodgy couple of rounds and in many ways we have a similar scenario as last week, with the inclusion of the Scottish Cup Second Round and the trip into the unknown that goes with it! Let’s see what’s on offer…..

  • Wycombe Wanderers v Crewe Alexandra. This League One fixture pits a promotion-chasing side against one who already look highly likely to be spending the campaign trying to stave off the threat of relegation. Wycombe’s bid to return to The Championship is a case of “so far, so good”, as they sit third in the table on 27 points from 13 matches. The Chairboys’ home form is exceptional too; they boast a 100% record at Adams Park, which also means they’ve scored in every game there – always a good sign when selecting a team! Manager Gareth Ainsworth is the second longest serving manager in the football league and his troops are doing him proud once more – even last weekend’s 0-0 draw away at Rotherham Utd has to be classed as a decent result given the standard of the opposition, but I don’t see them failing to find the net two weeks running, for Crewe have had a terrible time in the past couple of matches; The Railwaymen have shipped 7 goals, against Fleetwood Town (3-0) and then at home to Sunderland on Tuesday evening (4-0). Wycombe have also bagged four themselves recently, in a 4-3 thriller against Morecambe, so I’m expecting plenty more goalmouth action for Wanderers in this fixture.
  • Stranraer v Darvel. How can you not delve into the Scottish Cup ties! There are no less than 19 to go at on Saturday afternoon, with every single one of them worthy of taking a look at! I’m tipping Stranraer in this section, as after a dodgy start to the season The Blues have showed signs of coming to life in the past few weeks, with back-to-back League Two home wins against Stenhousemuir and Albion Rovers. This fixture should provide further opportunity to get themselves going, as they face junior outfit Darvel FC from the West of Scotland Premier Division. The Vale qualified for Round Two by knocking out Keith 2-1 (cue the jokes about it being an unfair contest for a team to play against one person!), which in itself was a fantastic result as they eliminated a Highland League club. This will be another huge step up for the junior team though, as their trip to Stair Park throws them in against a well established side in Stranraer, who are underperforming to a certain degree as they really should be fighting it out for a return to League One, not scrapping it out towards the bottom of the L2 table. This has the potential to be a goalfest for the Dumfries side if they take this fixture seriously and don’t underestimate their relatively unknown opponents. Good luck to you all.