GW 28 – Ones to Watch

Matt: There must be something in the water, we’ve had some bonkers scoring over the past fortnight! Congratulations to Zak Mitchell last weekend, his 163 point haul is the highest of the season and he was just 15 points away from the ‘Perfect 7’, which would have landed him a £1500 jackpot.

GW 28 looks as though it could well offer up more of the same in terms of hefty scoring, with a tasty set of league fixtures in England complimented nicely by the offerings available in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round. I’ll be delving into that competition without a doubt, indeed my first tip is Aberdeen in their match against Dumbarton. This is Premiership versus League One and anything less than a home win, and a convincing one at that, will be considered a real shock. Being as The Dons are miles behind the Old Firm in the league standings and with Celtic already claiming the Scottish League Cup, this competition is realistically their only chance of silverware this season, so i’d fully expect them to go full strength and not underestimate a Dumbarton side who will be relishing the challenge facing them at Pittodrie. Interestingly, the two sides have an identical recent record heading into the game; two wins, two defeats and a draw in their last five outings, but The Dons are consistent scorers on home soil – the only domestic team they’ve failed to net against there this season is (unsurprisingly) Celtic, so The Sons are going to have their work cut out if they are to return South-West with a clean sheet to their name. They’ve already taken a proper beating at Championship side Morton in the League Cup earlier this season (6-1), will this be another day to forget for them i wonder?

Moving back down into England, the League Two fixture between Plymouth Argyle and Mansfield Town rather appeals to me. The Pilgrims have marched into the play-off picture by taking 15 points from a possible 18 in their previous six matches and they currently sit top of the League Two form guide. Furthermore, they’ve only failed to score once at home in the league all season and they’re averaging over 2.5 goals per game in the past couple of months. On top of this, Argyle appear to hold some sort of curse over their visitors – they’ve been victorious in the last five meetings and have only conceded 1 measly goal across all those games. New Mansfield manager Graham Coughlan hasn’t exactly set the world alight since taking over the North Nottinghamshire based side in December, just one win in half a dozen games means The Stags now find themselves down in the bottom six, having been tipped by many as promotion material in pre-season. That poor run actually stretches back to mid-November; in the six matches before Coughlan took over, Town managed just 2 points along with both FA Cup and EFL Trophy elimination. Without a clean sheet in their last eleven, it won’t get any easier at Home Park on Saturday afternoon and i fancy Plymouth to continue with their excellent scoring streak. Good luck to you all!

Ally: My first tip this weekend takes me to the New York Stadium, not in the glamorous US metropolis but the slightly less spectacular surroundings of South Yorkshire, where League One’s pace-setters Rotherham United take on Bristol Rovers. Four successive wins have taken the Millers to the top of the pile, and they welcome a distinctly out of form Rovers side who have taken just 2 points from the last 15 available, and lost their previous 2 away matches by a 3-0 scoreline on each occasion. They will hardly be relishing a trip to a side who top the form guide over the last 10 matches, having taken 20 points and scored 21 goals in the process. That form in front of goal also sees them as top scorers in the league, and I expect Paul Warne’s side will see this as an ideal opportunity to take advantage of rivals Wycombe and Ipswich’s recent poor form and put some daylight between them and the chasing pack.

Next up sees me drop to the National League, where in form Yeovil Town take on Hartlepool United at Huish Park. The hosts have been in good form over the course of the last 5-6 weeks in both league and cup form, especially on home territory. A strong team swept aside National League South side Hampton & Richmond last weekend in the FA Trophy while Boxing Day saw a 6-2 demolition of local rivals Torquay, a result that followed 2 more home wins over Welling and Halifax. The Glovers are second only to Bromley in terms of goalscoring prowess on home turf, having netted 28 times in their 15 league matches. The visitors are hardly likely to make the long trip down to Somerset in bouyant mood, as they are winless in 6 matches on the road and have just one clean sheet in their past 14 away trips, and I think Yeovil will ensure that poor defensive record continues. Good luck!