GW 30 – Ones To Watch

Ally: On the face of it, this looks a fairly tough week without too many standout ‘banker’ fixtures. My first pick is from the National League, where in-form Hartlepool United take on a struggling Barnet side. The hosts have made steady progress up the league in recent weeks to occupy third spot, firmly in the play off places after amassing 22 points from their last 10 matches which puts them top of the form guide. They also boast the best home record in the division, averaging exactly 2 points per game from their 13 matches at Victoria Park, and are no slouches in front of goal either having scored 21 of their 32 league goals on home turf. I was one of just 3 players to select The Monkey Hangers – as they are affectionately known – last weekend when they came from behind to 2-1 win against Yeovil, which incredibly was their 7th straight home league victory. The visitors make the long journey north in wretched form, as they are on a 7 match losing streak away from home, an alrming run which has seen them ship 28 goals. We’ve seen a few winning streaks interrupted of late in this column, but the form book definitely points to Hartlepool grabbing an 8th successive win and the promise of plenty of goals too.

My second pick is another team that doesn’t feature on these pages too often, probably for good reason, but they have an incredible knack of finding the net which has caught my eye. The team in question is League Two’s Carlisle United, who welcome fellow northerners Oldham Athletic to Brunton Park. The Cumbrians made a bright start to the season which has seen them in and around the play off places for much of it, but a poor recent run of one point from a possible 12 has seen them drop down to 10th spot. However they have the third best home record in the league based on total points with 28 from just 13 games, and the best points per game ratio as both Salford and Cambridge United above them have played more games. Carlisle are also the second highest home goalscorers this season, and despite the blip in form have still scored in every home game since a 3-0 defeat to Colchester United on 7th March 2020, a run of some 17 matches. Visitors Oldham head up the M6 with the worst defensive record in the league, shipping 53 goals in 29 games, and on their travels The Latics have managed just one clean sheet in the last 25 matches dating back to January 2020, and therefore I’m expecting Carlisle to keep up their excellent scoring form.