GW 33 – Ones to Watch
Matt: Welcome to our latest ‘Midweek Bonus Round’, although i use the word “bonus” somewhat loosely given both the recent poor results we’ve been seeing and the general lacklustre performances in previous midweek rounds this season. Maybe the return of the Champions League will help to revitalise those of us who are currently suffering a rather poor run of form.
A world away from the glitz and glamour of European football, we also have National League fixtures available for selection and that’s exactly where I’m headed with my solitary midweek tip. The teams involved are Stockport County and Barnet, who meet at Edgeley Park on Tuesday evening. You only have to take a brief look at the visitors’ league position and recent results to realise that they are in deep, deep trouble. Indeed The Bees are almost certainly going to be reliant on the National League taking a decision not to demote teams due to Covid related issues with fixtures and funding if they are to avoid relegation this season. They did at least manage a morale boosting 2-2 draw away at Bromley on Saturday, but that point came off the back of five consecutive NL defeats, which brings their total losses to an eye-watering 12 out of the previous 13 league matches! Some of those defeats were on the heavy side too; notably 4-1 at home to Yeovil Town, 5-1 away at Kings Lynn Town and a 6-0 thrashing at Chesterfield! By comparison, Stockport are having a far more enjoyable time of things and head into this game fresh from a week’s rest and in high spirits following last Tuesday’s emphatic 5-0 victory away at Solihull Moors. The Hatters won 2-0 against Chesterfield last time they played at home, although prior to that they did record back-to-back 0-0 draws against Notts County and Aldershot Town, but I do not see a third blank in four home fixtures happening here! A win would add another valuable three points to County’s genuine promotion hopes and with Barnet’s defensive inadequacies wholly evident, they’ll surely set out to attack right from kick-off! Good luck to you all.
Ally: For this midweek round I’m delving into League Two, where the best home record meets the worst away record in the shape of Salford City’s home game against Colchester United. The Ammies are fresh from a penalty shoot out victory on Saturday against League One side Portsmouth which saw them belatedly lift the 2019/20 EFL Trophy, and I’m hoping there will be no hangover come Tuesday evening when struggling Colchester rock up to the Peninsula Stadium. The hosts have accumulated an impressive 33 points out of their total of 50 at home, a point more than the next best pair Carlisle and Cambridge, and they’ve also managed 28 goals of their 41 goals there too – the third highest tally in the home standings. Salford of course are co-owned by a number of high profile former Manchester United players from the so-called ‘Class of 92’, and despite some welcome silverware at the weekend it is promotion that the ambitious owners crave most of all. They are currently six points adrift of the play-off places, largely as a result of their poor away form though crucially they have 2 games in hand on several of the teams above them, and manager Richie Wellens will be hoping the confidence gained from the Papa John’s victory can be a springboard for the crucial run in to the season finale. For what it’s worth, The U’s travel to Greater Manchester with just a solitary away victory and a sprinkling of draws to their name, and given that Salford have only failed to score twice at home all season I fully expect them to maintain that record on Tuesday. Good luck with your selections.