GW 32 – Ones to Watch
Matt: Welcome to our second ‘midweek bonus’ round of the season. It’s a busy time here at TUG headquarters, with three rounds in the space of a week, but let’s see if we can unearth some decent picks – especially as GW 31 proved to be a real stickler for us thanks to both Halifax Town and Cove Rangers’ shocking failures!
At first glance this doesn’t look to be the easiest of bonus weeks, particularly as our options are more limited than usual – although we do have a handful of matches from the National North and South leagues in play too. First up i’m heading into England’s League One, where the fixture between Peterborough United and Southend United cannot be ignored in my opinion. The Posh are currently joint top of the form guide, having recorded five consecutive victories since a surprise 1-0 loss at struggling AFC Wimbledon. That result really seems to have galvanised them and, despite the loss of influential midfielder Marcus Maddison in the recent transfer window, P’boro look unstoppable right now – they’ve scored 16 goals in their last five matches, including mightily impressive 4-1 and 4-0 thumpings of Ipswich Town and Oxford United respectively. Rotherham United and Wycombe Wanderers, currently the league’s top two, have also been readily dispatched during this winning streak, so the prospect of facing a Southend side who would be rock bottom but for Bolton Wanderers’ points deduction should be of little concern. The Shrimpers have only kept one clean sheet on the road all season, way back in September, and have shipped an eye-watering 72 goals in league matches alone! Given that Peterborough are the division’s top scorers with 60 goals to their name, and that they possess arguably League One’s hottest property Ivan Toney, who will be looking to add to his already outstanding return of 21 goals, this will surely be a contest where the London Road faithful will see another opposition defence put to the sword.
Moving down into League Two, I’ve been impressed with the form of Crewe Alexandra over the past couple of months, as they target both a return to League One and a title challenge too. On Tuesday evening they come up against a Crawley Town side who won’t have completely ruled out a crack at the play-offs themselves, following a four game unbeaten run. The Railwaymen should be full of confidence after securing a crucial victory against Oldham Athletic on Saturday, courtesy of a 95th minute winner from Charlie Kirk, a result that extended their fantastic home record into another month – Alex have now won six and drawn once in their previous seven games at Gresty Road, scoring 18 times in the process. Compare that to Crawley’s rather atrocious away form; no win anywhere on their travels since August and just two clean sheets away from home all season, and you can see why Crewe should be on the hunt for more goals here. Last season this fixture coughed up an enormous 6-1 victory for The Railwaymen and whilst i certainly wouldn’t be expecting a repeat of that, i do fully envisage Crewe finding the net a time or two in their bid to topple Swindon Town at the summit of the table. Good luck to you all.