GW 26 – Ones to Watch

Matt: GW 25 brought something of a rarity in this game, certainly in recent seasons anyway, as the number of tons vastly outnumbered the number of minus scores. With 39 visitors to Club 100 ( I even managed to sneak in there myself!), this was a very profitable weekend for a large amount of players and this coming weekend there is unquestionably the potential for  more of the same. With some very appealing league games complimented very nicely by an enticing looking Scottish Cup Fourth Round draw, GW 26 could quite easily be a repeat of last weekend. Let’s take a closer look at two teams’ credentials…..

  • Rotherham Utd v Cheltenham Town. Another team I’ve backed in this section previously this season are Rotherham and they did the business nicely with a 3 goal return, so I’m hoping that they’ll reproduce something similar here. A surprise loss at Fleetwood Town last weekend has demoted The Millers to fourth place in the League One standings, but with two games in hand on leaders Wycombe Wanderers they are very much in both the promotion AND title race. Their home form is on a different planet to most other sides in the football league; nine consecutive successes in all competitions, unbeaten in 14 at the New York Stadium and the top scorers on home turf in the entire league – 32 goals in 13 matches. In the last three matches at the NYS alone, Rotherham have racked up 10 goals, including a 5-1 mauling of Bolton Wanderers, and with Cheltenham winless since late November, they will fancy their of adding to that tally here. The Robins haven’t managed a clean sheet in that time either, so a trip to free-scoring Rotherham doesn’t exactly look appealing! On their recent travels, they’ve conceded 4 at AFC Wimbedon and 3 at Shrewsbury Town, before an encouraging 1-1 draw at Oxford Utd most recently – although by all accounts Oxford could have hit them for six on another day! This should be a match that produces plenty of goalmouth action.
  • Arbroath v Darvel. There are no shortage of decent looking options available to you in the Scottish Cup this weekend (some more obvious than others!), but the fixture I’m honing in on is one that pits Championship v West of Scotland Premier. Now on paper this should be a straightforward tie for the home side, especially as their form since late October has been so consistently good they’ve now moved to the summit of the Championship table, but take the visitors lightly at your peril…… higher ranked teams Keith, Stranraer and Brechin City have found out to their cost already in previous rounds! However, Arbroath have an extremely strong record at Gayfield Park and have not lost at home since a League Cup penalty shootout defeat to Premiership St. Johnstone way back in August 2021. They are also the top scorers in their league so far this season, so goals have not been an issue. Forfar Athletic were comfortably seen off 3-0 in the Third Round, but that won’t faze the part-timers from Darvel, who have loved nothing more than upsetting the odds in this season’s Scottish Cup. If Vale’s 2-2 draw, followed by a penalty kicks victory, over Brechin City in their thrilling Third Round replay is anything to go by, this could be another highly entertaining cup tie. Good luck to you all.