GW 42 – Ones to Watch

Matt: With this gameweek bringing a conclusion to the regular season in the English Championship, League One & League Two, and the Scottish Championship, League One & League Two already well into their promotion and relegation play-offs, this round probably offers up your best remaining opportunity to put a big score on the board – maybe even notch your highest individual score of the season?! I’ll try and assist you with that aim here!

There’s plenty on the line in all of the league and cup competitions we have available and, as we know all too well, both pressure and also the lack of it does funny things to teams! We do tend to witness some quite bizarre scorelines at this stage of the season, one of which was evident in my first tip’s most recent fixture in fact! Cambridge Utd have been awaiting automatic promotion for what seems like an age, but they just cannot seem to get the job done! A quite incredible 5-4 loss at Harrogate Town last week means that their fate rests solely on Saturday’s game against already relegated Grimsby Town, with various equations all still open to play out; The U’s could yet win the title, they could go up automatically in second or third position, or they could miss out altogether and end up in the play-offs – the latter would be soul destroying for Yellows players and fans alike after spending so much of the campaign in the top three. Despite two home defeats on the bounce, Cambridge’s goalscoring ability isn’t in question – they have scored 70 times in the league this season, the joint-second highest amount in the division. Their previous two away games have both resulted in 4 goal returns, so if they can bring that sort of attacking prowess into this fixture against a Grimsby side playing for nothing but pride (The Mariners have also conceded a league high 66 goals already this season), then The U’s really should seal the deal and announce themselves as a League One outfit come Saturday teatime.

League Two does look the place to go as a source of goals, but I’ll mix it up slightly here by moving up a division. I’m hoping that this second tip pays dividends mainly on the basis that both sides already know their destiny. Sunderland have really stuttered in the latter stages of this season, their recent form costing them what looked like odds-on automatic promotion just half a dozen games ago. The Black Cats did manage a 3-1 victory at Plymouth Argyle last weekend, but amazingly that was their first win in eight games! Manager Lee Johnson will want to ensure that his side build on that and take some momentum into the play-offs, so I expect him to name a fairly strong lineup against opponents Northampton Town, another side who are heading through the trapdoor – The Cobblers unable to extend their stay in League One beyond a single season following their promotion last year. They’ve put up a spirited fight, but last weekend’s 3-0 loss at home to Blackpool signalled the end and they’ll head to Wearside in a downbeat mood as a result. That mood might not improve if Sunderland can rediscover the sort of home form that saw them win six and draw two in the league at the Stadium of Light between January and April, scoring at a good rate in the process. Northampton haven’t won on the road in League Two since November, it’s difficult to see that poor run ending here. Good luck to you all.