I’ll start off by directing your attention to the 2 league 1 games that are postponed this weekend due to international call ups. First one is Sunderland v Fleetwood and the other is Burton v Bolton. Pardon the optimism here, but when the break is over, I feel like Bolton is on the cusp of a big points run that will take them in to the positive and possibly out of relegation.
First matchup we’ll be looking at today is Bristol Rovers (18pts) vs MK Dons (12 pts). The Dons are a team that has me baffled this year. They seem to look great some weeks and then other stretches (4 game losing skid) of just looking sub-par. Bristol, sitting 1 point outside the promotion playoffs and 5 outside of auto-promotion spot #2, has a ton to gain from a win this weekend. Prediction: Bristol plays their hearts out and gets past the Dons with a score of 3-1.
Oxford United v Doncaster
Not much separates these 2. In fact, nothing does as far as points are concerned. Both squads enter this weekend with 16 points and look to boost their standing on the table. Oxford look to be the stronger side at the moment, as they have not lost at all in their last 5 and Doncaster has lost twice. Based on form alone, im going to go 1-0 in favor of Oxford United this weekend.
Rochdale v Accrington Stanley
Another matchup of 2 teams on top of each other in the standings, but further down the table. Rochdale have lost 4 of their last 5 and Stanley, though only losing once in their last 5, also only won 1 of those 5. Look for Rochdale to play a decent game in their effort to get off the slide they are on. Their extra effort pays off this weekend with the result 2-1 Rochdale over Stanley.
Blackpool v Rotherham
4th place Blackpool v 13th place Rotherham. Sounds like it should be an easy put away for Blackpool, right? WRONG! Both teams are 2-2-1 (w-d-l) in their last 5. My gut tells me that Blackpool rests a little easy this weekend and end up paying for it. 1-0 in favor of Rotherham.
Portsmouth v Gillingham
A win for Gillingham this week can get them as high up on the table as 9th (they would end up with 16 points if they win). Portsmouth, currently 16th, can only get as high as 13th. One thing Portsmouth does have going for them, they only have 1 loss in their last 5 and Gillingham has 2 (back to back). They also happen to have 2 games in hand. I think another “upset” happens here. Portsmouth comes away 2-1 with a late winner.
Southend United v AFC Wimbledon
The only reason these 2 teams are not at the very bottom of the table is because Bolton is sitting below them both with -8 points. My prediction is that will change by the end of the season. Southend has 4 points on the season to Wimbledons 6. Both also have 1 win in the last 5 games. A struggle for both teams and unfortunately nobody gets the upper hand. 1-1 draw
Peterborough v Lincoln City
Only 2 points separate these sides and I think a fierce contest takes place. Peterborough stands to get as high as 3rd with a win and clearly this would increase their hopes and chances for a promotion bid to the Championship. Lincoln City is a newly promoted side that is doing decently well in their first year in League 1, but they will more than likely end up staying here next season. All that aside, they put up a hell of a fight and come out with a 2-2 draw and keep Peterborough juuuust outside the last promotion playoff spot.
Coventry v Tranmere
I’m going to start this one by saying that I love the Rovers. I really do. Watching their promotion up from League 2 last season was great because this team just doesn’t give up. This year appears to be different as they are only 3 points out of the relegation zone. Coventry, already in a playoff spot can end up tied on points for the 2nd auto-promotion spot, so expect them to come out with “something to prove”. They end up having an easy time of Tranmere but still give up a cheap goal somewhere along the 90. 3-1 Coventry takes this in their sleep.