GW 18 – Ones to Watch

Matt: It’s been a busy time for us at TUG headquarters, with three rounds in the space of a week, and the burden won’t be getting any lighter through December as we head into our extremely hectic Christmas and New Year period. Before that though, we have a few weekends of relative normality and that starts with GW 18, which brings the FA Cup Second Round into play and opens up a whole world of points-scoring opportunity in that competition. Let’s see what we can dig out…..

  • Bromley v Wealdstone. I’m heading into the National League for my first tip, somewhere that I think we could see plenty of goals on Saturday given the fixtures on offer. Despite consecutive defeats for the home side, I’m backing them to rediscover their mojo in this match and they’ve definitely got the firepower to do it; prior to those two recent defeats, Bromley had gone unbeaten in the league since mid-September, scoring pretty freely along the way – King’s Lynn Town, Aldershot Town, Weymouth and Grimsby Town all conceded 3 goals to The Ravens in that excellent run, whilst Barnet, Torquay Utd and Woking were also comfortably dispatched. They’ve also been involved in just one goalless game across all competitions this season, so the signs are good on that front too. Wealdstone head to Hayes Lane having been involved in back-to-back goalfests against Dover Athletic and then Stockport County. A 3-2 win on the south coast was then followed by a 4-1 home drubbing against the latter, so it’s quite apparent that The Stones are more than happy to leave gaps at the back in their bid to try and outscore their opponents. Hopefully that approach will be adopted again on Saturday and we see lots of goalmouth action in this fixture.
  • Ipswich Town v Barrow AFC. The FA Cup will undoubtedly provide many a talking point this weekend, but it’s goals we’re solely interested in and I’m thinking there could be some in store for the home side here. After a slight wobble and a pair of 2-0 losses recently, The Tractor Boys are back in goalscoring mode as they’ve been ‘at the double’ themselves in their two home games this week – firstly securing a vital three league points by beating Crewe Alexandra 2-1 last Sunday, followed by a 2-2 draw with Arsenal U21’s in the EFL Trophy in midweek. After eventually losing that tie on penalties, Paul Cook will be keen to ensure his side don’t get knocked out of a second cup competition within the space of a few days, especially as victory here sets up a potentially lucrative Third Round match when the Premier League teams become involved. The same applies to Barrow too of course, although this fixture in itself is a pretty big one for a League Two outfit. The Cumbrians make the long journey to Suffolk fresh off the back of three straight losses, all without so much as getting on the scoresheet, as they sit second bottom of the L2 form guide and slipping ever closer to the dreaded relegation zone. Perhaps The Bluebirds save their most potent attacking displays for this very competition, given that they won 4-0 away at Banbury Utd in the First Round! Manager Mark Cooper has ‘been around the block’ many a time in footballing circles and his teams have been known to cause a cup shock or two in their time, but a clean sheet at Portman Road on Saturday would be a pretty big surprise. Good luck to you all.