GW 24 – Ones to Watch

Matt: Welcome to our third ‘midweek bonus round’ of the season, another chance to get your Ultimate Goals fix and help break the week up in the best way possible. Having started the season a month later than usual, plus an unfortunate cancelled gameweek over Christmas, we’re looking to make a bit of ground up and provide all of our players with some added entertainment during these rather depressing times.

As things stand, we have 57 fixtures available so let’s hope it stays that way! My first pick sees me take advantage of the only FA Cup tie on offer – it’s the rearranged match between AFC Bournemouth and Crawley Town. Originally due to be played on Saturday, this game was moved back a few days to allow some of Crawley’s first team squad more time to recover from Covid-19. The League Two outfit last played on the 10th of January and I’m sure you’ll recall their historic 3-0 victory over Leeds Utd, so anybody expecting The Reds to roll over and have their bellies tickled in this fixture will probably be in for a surprise! When you also throw in a three game winless streak for The Cherries, including back-to-back 1-0 defeats over the past 10 days, this might be considered a slightly risky pick, but I fully expect Bournemouth to take this game very seriously in a bid to both get back into form and qualify for a Fifth Round tie that would see them travel to Premier League side Burnley. They certainly took that approach in the Third Round, comfortably dispatching Oldham Athletic by 4 goals to 1. Before the blip against Luton Town last week, The Cherries had scored 19 goals in the previous seven games at the Vitality Stadium, including a few 4 and 5 goals returns, and despite Crawley’s very impressive recent form (unbeaten sice a 2-1 loss at home to Grimsby Town in November and three successive wins on the road), anything other than a home win would definitely be regarded an upset. Jason Tindell will be desperate to ensure that doesn’t happen to his team and on the night I’m predicting The Championship side’s superior quality to produce goals.

I make no apologies for returning to familiar TUG stamping ground for my second tip, especially not on a gameweek where there’s not a tremendous amount of ‘sure-fire’ options away from the usual Prem/Scots Prem big boys! It’s another visit to League One and specifically Peterborough United, who take on Bristol Rovers on Tuesday evening. I’m aware Ally tipped Oxford Utd against the same opposition in GW 23, so if any Rovers fans are reading this please don’t take this personally!! There’s no favouritism here, it’s purely about the goals. And goals is exactly what The Posh tend to deliver, especially on home soil! The shock 2-1 FA Cup loss at home to Chorley seems to have served as a big wake-up call to Darren Ferguson’s men, who have banged in 17 goals in their five games at London Road since, most recently turning over fellow promotion hopefuls Charlton Athletic. Posh also possess the league’s joint top-scorer in Jonson Clarke-Harris, who has scored more on his own than Bristol Rovers have on their travels all season! Their recent poor away run in the league – three consecutive defeats and 7 goals conceded – could be about to take another turn for the worse here against the side sitting top of the home form guide, with eight wins and a draw from ten matches, scoring a total of 25 times in the process. Ally’s Oxford tip on Saturday conjured up 2 goals, I’m expecting at least the same from Peterborough here! Good luck to you all.