GW 40 – Ones to Watch

Matt: Just a handful of gameweeks remaining now, amazing how fast these weeks and (and seasons) fly by! April has seen a big upturn in form for the majority of players, although that’s not saying much given the disastrous spell we had in February and March overall! We’ll aim to end this (mostly) profitable month on a high…..

GW 40 appears to be one of those rounds where you can note down loads of ‘maybes’ on your shortlist, but with a distinct lack of teams you’re fairly confident with. On that basis, and being as we’re at the stage of the season where strange results and crazy scorelines often become a feature of the game, I’m going to take a couple of punts that I might not otherwise go for. I’ll start with a foray into League One, where outsiders for a play-off spot MK Dons go up against relegation favourites Swindon Town. Dons desperately need a win here if they are to stand any chance of making a late dash for a play-off berth, something that has looked highly unlikely for the majority of the campaign – indeed they were stuck in the bottom four until late December following a dreadful start to the season, before a couple of excellent winning streaks in both January and March really ignited their charge up the table. Back-to-back wins against Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers have left them five points behind that all important 6th place, so manager Russell Martin and his players will be only too aware that they simply cannot afford to slip up here. Swindon are desperate for an entirely different reason, as they head to Milton Keynes knowing that anything other than victory will all but relegate them back into League Two at the first attempt. The Robins kept their survival hopes alive with a brilliant 3-1 win against Portsmouth last weekend, but prior to that serious damage was inflicted on them by way of five consecutive defeats – including a 4-1 thumping at fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon in their most recent away game. Nobody has conceded more goals in the division than Town (currently a whopping 79!), so defending clearly hasn’t been a forte of theirs this season! My hope here is that with both sides knowing that only a win will suffice, this match produces an end-to-end type affair with lots of goalmouth action.

My second pick comes lower down the football pyramid (that word has had some airtime over the past few days re. Super League!), where the National League fixture between Aldershot and Wealdstone is worth consideration in my humble opinion. Rather like MK Dons, Aldershot are firm outsiders to reach the play-offs, but if they can secure all three points here then it would certainly give them hope of sneaking in. The Shots have scored in their previous six outings, picking up three wins and a draw along the way, but in truth this tip is more down to the eye-wateringly shocking results Wealdstone have had in the past week or two! Following a convincing 5-1 drubbing of Barnet, when I actually tipped them in this section, they’ve suffered three defeats on the bounce………but not just any old defeats! A 3-1 loss at Boreham Wood wasn’t ideal, but it was a fantastic outcome in comparison to what followed! 7-2 and 6-0 capitulations at home to Hartlepool Utd and Maidenhead Utd respectively will have left manager Stuart Maynard, and indeed everybody associated with The Stones (including the Wealdstone Raider himself no doubt!) wondering what the heck has happened! And, just like Swindon (plenty of comparisons being drawn this week!), Stones have now conceded the most goals in the division – also 79! Whether or not The Shots will capitalise on this horrendous defensive record remains to be seen, but simply put I’m hoping that the Recreation Ground will play host to a goalfest, with the home side needing the points and the visitors continuing their policy of abandoning any notion of defending their goal! Good luck to you all.