GW 9 – Ones to Watch
Matt: After last weekend’s bumper 90 odd fixture gameweek, with the FA Cup qualifying matches all included (and indeed fully utilised by many players), we return to a more standard round in GW 9 – although somewhat bizarrely we do have last season’s uncompleted Scottish Cup Semi Finals also available for selection. I can’t recall ever having such a scenario occur in this game before, but that’s kind of where football is at right now. Fingers crossed that we can return to something like normality as soon as possible!
Although my own scores in this game have been below par in general this season (last weekend it was the turn of Chester FC to incur my wrath!), i do have the slight consolation of my ‘form’ in this section being quite the opposite, with another 7 goals chalked up when i was last here a fortnight ago. More of the same this week please.
I’m heading into England’s League One for my first pick, where Peterborough Utd face Shrewsbury Town at London Road. The Posh have made fairly regular appearances here over the past few seasons, having gained a reputation as serial goalscorers in this division, one which they will again be looking to get out of as they bid to finally make a return to the second tier. They’re going the right way about it too; prior to Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Burton Albion, Posh had recorded five league wins on the bounce, with a 4-2 EFL Trophy victory over Fulham U21s thrown in among that run for good measure. Their form at home is formidable too; no defeat at the London Road Stadium since Boxing Day last year and eight straight league wins there before the midweek draw with Burton. Shrewsbury on the other hand head into the fixture in poor form, having lost three games in a row, slipping down into the relegation zone in the process. All told, their results on the road haven’t been great – only two clean sheets in their previous 14 matches in all competitions – but they will take some heart from not conceding at either Portsmouth or AFC Wimbledon this season. Whether or not they can repeat that at Peterborough remains to be seen, but for me there’s every chance that the home side will once again be getting in on the goalscoring action.
Dropping down into the National League, and moving over from East to West, my second tip comes from Edgeley Park as Stockport County meet newly promoted Weymouth. Both teams are six games into their seasons, but they’ve experienced very contrasting fortunes thus far; four wins, a draw and just one defeat for The Hatters, but the exact opposite for The Terras, with four defeats, a draw and just one win to their name. It won’t get any easier for the Dorset based outfit here either, as Stockport are absolutely committed to making it back to the Football League – debts cleared, strong investment in the playing squad and a very impressive start to the campaign a clear sign of their intentions. Despite a 0-0 draw at home to Solihull Moors in midweek, i don’t believe this is too much cause for concern here as goals haven’t been hard to come by up until that point (12 in the four league games leading up to it). On top of that, the visitors have been very suspect on their travels since their promotion from the National League South; one point from three games, including a 3-2 loss at Bromley on Tuesday evening. If County do have serious aspirations of League Two football next season, then this really is a fixture they should be taking three points from. To do that they’ll need to find the net and i firmly expect them to do just that, hopefully on a few occasions, on Saturday afternoon. Good luck to you all.