GW 17 – Ones to Watch
Matt: The ‘Midweek Bonus’ round certainly threw a spanner in plenty of players’ works, with the 0-0 result at Craven Cottage proving once again that top v bottom in any league can mean absolutely nothing in this game!! Fulham were THE most selected side of the gameweek AND the most popular x2 & x7 choice – which means that lots of you went backwards as a consequence of their inability to break down Derby County. No Mitrovic, no party?!! This coming weekend we have another very intriguing gameweek ahead of us, not least because of the inclusion of the Scottish Cup and the numerous league v non-league fixtures that have been pulled out of the hat. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of options you might want to consider…..
- Yeovil Town v Dover Athletic. I almost feel slightly guilty about this pick poor old Dover! But if it’s of some small consolation to any Whites supporters reading this, I can assure them it’s more to do with Yeovil’s impressive recent upturn in form than anything else. The Glovers have suddenly come to life in the National League, collecting 13 points from a possible 15 – including two fantastic away victories at Dagenham & Redbridge and then Bromley in the space of the last seven days. Those cracking wins and the big haul of points in the past month has seen the Somerset based club surge up the table and into a position where they could, if results elsewhere go their way, force their way into the play-offs by winning games in hand. At the start of November Yeovil also hammered Yate Town 5-0 in the FA Cup, so they’ve got goals as well as wins in them! Ironically enough, it was Yate who eliminated Dover from that competition in the previous round! And what can you say about Athletic that hasn’t already been said?! If the pre-season points deduction hadn’t already massively reduced their hopes of staying in the division, their return of just 3 points so far this season has clearly killed them off altogether. It’s nine defeats on the bounce in the NL, with 17 goals conceded in the past month alone thanks to scorelines like 2-5 at home to Stockport County and 4-1 at fellow strugglers Southend Utd. Unsurprisingly, Dover have also been on the receiving end of a league worst 39 strikes against them. Yeovil could have a field day here if they can continue in the same vein.
- Ayr Utd v Albion Rovers. You know I’m a sucker for getting reeled in by the cup competitions we sometimes have available and this weekend will be no different, as we have the Scottish Cup in play. There’s a whole host of matches that you could make a strong case for giving much closer inspection, but I’m going to take a punt on Ayr Utd, despite their recent woes! Without a league win since mid-October, their play-off ambitions are in disarray and a couple of heavy defeats in the past fortnight won’t have helped their mood, BUT I think this could be a turning point for The Honest Men, who are renowned in this game for being a reliable pick on home soil. Furthermore, their cup form this season give much more cause for optimism – Ayr finished top of their League Cup group, winning three out of four games and losing on penalties in the other to………you guessed it, Albion Rovers!! I have no doubt manager Jim Duffy will be reminding his players about that! The visitors to Somerset Park are, by their usual lowly position in League Two, having a relatively good season as they sit comfortably in mid-table. Despite losing only once in their previous four away matches, The Wee Rovers were beaten on five consecutive occasions on the road prior to that, and they do have a history of being suspect travellers. The last time they played a team from a higher division in cup action was a trip to Cove Rangers in October and Albion were heavily beaten 4-1. I’m not sure they’ll get quite the same treatment here, but I’d be very surprised to see them return to North Lanarkshire without any goals against their name.